Sunday, March 18, 2012

Through the Looking Glass

We all have our own particular views and they are certainly not going to be in step with everyone else's. However, there is a point where a viewpoint departs so far from reality that it does no one any good. Case in point is a recent post on the American Thinker blog titled, 'Fluke and Liberals' Bodyguard of Lies'. It touches on the uproar over the contraceptives debate (it is 2012, right?) and the Congressional testimony of Sandra Fluke. As you probably know by now, she's the Georgetown law student that Rush Limbaugh raked over the coals, on-air, for three straight days a few weeks ago. Picking and choosing his words in such a way as to belittle and insult her in every way he could, including referring to her as a 'slut' and a 'prostitute', among others. I had some warning of the kind of piece it was, but wanted to read it anyway. Either I have an insatiable curiosity for the views of others or I'm a glutton for punishment. Probably a little of both. The American Thinker article was indeed pretty eye opening and my amazement, and irritation if I'm to be honest, began with the second sentence, which summed up the author's bias, misinterpretations and a complete misunderstanding of what a Liberal actually is.

"Because liberals are at war with American society and their true beliefs are repugnant to most Americans, liberals constantly conceal the truth of their beliefs with sweet-sounding lies."

I don't know about you, but my first thought was, "Wow!" There is so much wrong with that one sentence that it's difficult to even know where to start. Most surprising to me is that the author obviously, truly believes this. But it's just so . . . out there. When I look for an example of a fringy, right wing, through the looking glass mind set, this would be exhibit 'A'. I give him credit for stepping off with vim and vigor. None whatsoever for accuracy or critical thinking, but boy does he have the unwavering, absolutist swagger down to a 'T'!

I won't play point, counterpoint with the entire post, though believe me I would dearly love to. To be fair to the author, I give him props for imaginative use of rarely utilized metaphors and historical personalities. I mean, really, when was the last time you read something that called out Nietzsche, Caligula or Quetzalcoatl, much less all of them?! Though, to be a bit critical, these and other historical references felt rather forced. More a way to show how well read he was than to actually illustrate or illuminate his point. As such, you will also find references to Communism, Nazis, Roman Emperors, 'true evil' and other pointless and silly hyperbolic statements.

One of the points that the author harps on incessantly, in his aforementioned wild and historically mismatched way, is that it's wrong to require religiously associated, public institutions to offer insurance coverage to their employees that goes against a religious belief of the institution. Specifically that Catholic hospitals and universities shouldn't have to offer contraception coverage for their employees. This is utter, one dimensional nonsense! It only makes any sense at all if these are closed institutions that hire ONLY devout Catholics. Otherwise it is the employees who are having their rights infringed based on a theological tenant that they may not agree with! Does the author think that every employee of these institutions is required to convert to Catholicism as a requirement for employment? If not, then what gives the employer the right to restrict employee insurance options based on their own moral views? By that logic everyone would be beholden to their employer's moral judgements for their medical coverage.

As far as I'm concerned, and I think this fits with the general Liberal viewpoint, I think everyone should be able to practice their faith and live their lives as they see fit. But your right to do that ends when it infringes on my rights. That's what living together in a democracy is all about. We are all different, with different moral foundations and considerations, but we have to live together. The only way that works in a free society is to set the limit of your faith and moral views at the point where my rights begin. I respect Catholics right to practice their faith and live life based on their beliefs, but that doesn't mean they can enforce those beliefs on anyone else, especially non-Catholics.

Contrary to the authors bizarrely distorted theory about Liberals, they aren't trying to force anyone to sell their soul. They just want to limit your ability to force your morals onto someone else in the guise of religious or personal freedom. And that is what this is all about. The author has made the classic mistake of getting so worked up about what he sees as wrong that he's neglected to step back and consider it objectively. He fails to even glance at the other side of the argument. It's so much easier for him to mount his high horse and whine about how horrible Liberals are for saying a religious organization can't force its secular employees to live by its moral code. Boohoo! I'm afraid he has it backwards. But seeing both sides takes so much more energy and is nowhere near as satisfying as a good, full throated pity party!

The author's whole post, while well written and, forgive the pun, liberally seeded with historic markers, is 180 degrees out of line. To claim Liberals are secret totalitarian monsters at a time when the State and Federal government are replete with conservatives attempting to legislate morality is mind blowing. That's why this post was so tough to read. It was like reading an article from an alternate universe, where everything is reversed. And just like Limbaugh, the author seems to have no idea what Ms. Fluke was even testifying about. She spent the majority of her testimony speaking specifically about the use of birth control pills, not for contraception, but as a medical treatment. Even I know that birth control pills are often prescribed for non-sexual reasons! So this is indeed a women's health issue and not, as some brainless prats have claimed, a matter of too much casual sex. As Ms. Fluke stated in her full testimony:

"This is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends. A woman’s reproductive healthcare isn’t a necessity, isn’t a priority. These are not feelings that male fellow students experience. And they’re not burdens that male students must shoulder."

Despite using Ms. Fluke's name in just about every paragraph, in the end, the author's post is less about the Fluke/Limbaugh controversy than it is a letter of condemnation, denouncing anyone with the slightest progressive leaning. His accusations of intolerance and "liberal faith" are made up out of his fevered imagination. The piece is muddled even more by his obvious confusion between Liberals and the small group of activist Atheists when he starts blathering about such things as opposition to nativity scenes on public land. Something that only a minority of Liberals give any thought to. Then there is the Sharia law nonsense that only reinforces the author's warped thinking. Yes, there are Liberals who are a little 'out there'. Yes there are Liberals who will fight to stop nativity scenes from going up in front of the county courthouse. But the majority of Liberals are happy to let others live their lives as they wish, unless it infringes on someone else's rights. As I've stated, the author's thinking is way out of whack when compared to reality, but I wouldn't go out on a limb and declare that ALL Conservatives are this, or ALL Conservatives are that. There's a great line from the movie Gettysburg that I've always liked and it seems to fit well here. "Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." I'm afraid that's exactly what the author of the American Thinker post is doing, judging 'Liberals', as a group, based on his own highly skewed caricature. Reality, you see, is a bit more complex.

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