We the People… Created the Mess

So here we are in 2012 facing another presidential election in a few short months.  We will inaugurate dozens of new leaders, but the real question is, will we elect people who can actually change things?  In reading a few posts about the SOPA/PIPA blackout yesterday, I’ve been faced down with facts that I can’t really deny without being dishonest with myself.

Dustin Sanders, over at The Godless Paladin, points out this fact, that unites so many of the news items we’ve seen over the past year: We get the government we deserve.  I, for one, agree.  This country is fueled and run on anger, threats, ignorance, and ineffective protest practices, and for our ignorance we are punished.

American Derp #1: Jessica Ahlquist

On the whole, this country is so unaware of reality it is disheartening. A few days ago, I reported on Jessica Ahlquist’s case, a clear, cut-and-dry constitutional issue that has the city up in arms.  The town is full of prideful, privileged upper-middle-class citizens who have been defaming a 16-year old girl for weeks, with a renewed sense of vitriol.  Even prominent politicians engaged in the insanity; State Senator Peter Palumbo called Ahlquist an “evil little thing,” and State Senator Beth Moura tweeted that she was an “ACLU Sweetheart.”  This is literally the pinnacle of ignorance, in a case of clear, straightforward, constitutional violation, that majority would seek to continue to shit on the rights of the few.  Disgraceful.

In many of the hearings and school committee meetings, the ignorant propaganda about our “founding fathers” creating a theocratic state is vomited up at every chance possible; and yet this displays the profound disconnect between those saying these things and the facts.  Jefferson and Paine were both incredibly irreligious, and the majority of our founding fathers worked to create a secular state that protected the rights of the citizens from the imposition of any religion.  And yet this tired line is recycled, again and again.

American Derp #2: Wikipedia Blackout

Yesterday also marked the blackout of part of the internet.  As an avid Redditor, and as one who depends on Wikipedia for quick knowledge of issues that I may choose to investigate on my own further, I was keenly aware of the blackout.  However, as a moderately technically-aware citizen, I was easily able to circumvent Wikipedia’s blackout redirect script by simply stopping the page before the redirect occurred. It is the same ease with which pirates will continue to circumvent copyright protections, even if the laws pass.

And yet an incredibly large number of people were completely unaware of PIPA, SOPA, the blackout, the purposes of it, or had any desire to do anything.  While a reported 8 million users accessed the information about their representatives, the bill will not be killed until people realize the officials who created it must be voted out by the majority.  The same majority that took to the streets in 2011 for Occupy, never having stated a clear goal for the movement itself.  In 2010, only 29% of the population voted.  And until the body of America quits trusting half-baked news sources and mobilizes itself as a voting bloc, supporting politicians who want change to happen, we will continue having the government we’ve created for ourselves.

The ignorance over SOPA/PIPA showed up first hand when twitterer @herpderpedia began retweeting the frustration of others with Wikipedia’s blackout.  The ignorance should be astonishing, but at this point in this article, it is not:

There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode There was a problem with the blakbirdpie shortcode

Apparently they were so concerned with wikipedia being down, they didn’t want to bother educating themselves on why.  Ignorance.

American Derp #3: Ron Paul’s Boos

In closing, I want to point out Ron Paul’s reception at the SC Debate.  The boo’s he received, specifically, when he pointed out that the golden rule might be a good standard for us to live by.  I’m floored, and after really coming to terms with the amount of ignorance on core issues such as these, I’m not surprised by people not knowing or caring enough about Christianity to address the core problems it has.  I leave you with the Amazing Atheist, on Ron Paul, and other issues. Perhaps some will heed the warning and the problems in this nation. Perhaps not. One can only hope.

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  • Joe Smurf

    So, I completely agree with all of your points, and intentions. However your method of arriving at these is a bit problematic for me.

    First, the profanity.

    Second, you spend a lot of time focusing on the Tebow thing, and your main point is the idiocy of the situation. Here’s the thing, you said 43% of Americans..

    How many Americans actually know who Tebow is ? Obviously the TV network, is polling people who actually watch football. So now your sample size is reduced from the original inference of EVERY AMERICAN IN THE COUNTRY to, those who care enough to answer a TV networks poll about football, and religion. This is a reduction in sample size of an enormous magnitude, so to say whatever% of Americans believe Tebow was helped by God, is basically setting up a straw man argument.

    You set up a straw man and beat it to death.

    the focus on Alqhuist and Paul was on the spot, but the Tebow thing is being nearly as silly as them.

    • Art Vandelay

      Don’t read the blog if you wet your pants if you read profanity, he said shit ONCE. Fuck you

      Please address your fellow Jeebus believers about their potty mouths first:
      http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2012/01/jessica-ahlquist-wins-her-lawsuit-prayer-banner-in-public-school-comes-down/

      And there is no mention in the post about Tebow. Fail dude, please unbunch your panties.

      • NC

        Joe Smurf is responding to the video at the end that Patrick introduced as being from “an Amazing Atheist, on Ron Paul, and other issues. Perhaps some will heed the warning and the problems in this nation. Perhaps not. One can only hope.”
        From a literary standpoint it would typically be assumed this means Patrick agrees with both the content and the manner in which it is presented. The Smurf’s critique is not as unwarranted as you say.

        • Art Vandelay

          fair enough…I can’t stand the amazing atheist either

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      Not quite sure what blog you read, but it surely wasn’t mine.

      A straw man is defined as attacking a position that the arguer never makes.

      Since I didn’t mention Tebow anywhere in the article, at all, and you attacked me for an entire paragraph over Tebow, I think you’re the one guilty of a straw man. I guess my points still stand.

      Thanks for (not) reading the article!

  • Anonymous

    For someone who claims to be a proponent of an evidence-based reality, you sure do the scientific method a disservice. I find it interesting that a few weeks ago, you blogged about how Lowe’s pulled their advertising from a show about Muslims living in America, and pointed out that it’s ignorant and small-minded to judge an entire group of people based on a few extreme examples of that group’s bad behavior. Yet, in order to corroborate your view that religion hurts people, you do the very same thing. You link to a site that’s put together a bunch of Christians-Behaving -Badly articles. You blog about a faith healer who refused medical attention for his son and then conclude that “religion hurts and kills people.”

    I feel that this is no different than watching the local news and concluding that all Black people are criminals, or hearing report after report of violence in the Middle East and concluding that all Muslims are extremists who blow people up. We in the South tend to get annoyed with those who think all southerners are uneducated and inbred. I’m just curious as to how you can justify your findings as accurate when they go against some of the virtues you claim to uphold.

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. For good people to do evil things, that takes religion. -Steven Weinberg.

      A couple of weeks ago I also posted on the 3 Million Dollars donated by Christians to stop sex slavery. Perhaps you missed (or ignored) that article.

      I made no conclusions about the faith healer; he made them himself. I merely shared the article he wrote about his life as a strong believer.

      You blog about a faith healer who refused medical attention for his son and then conclude that “religion hurts and kills people.”

      Yes. Ignoring medical attention for your child is bad; I’m sorry you can’t understand that. Someone ignoring it because theybelieve that God can save the child means religion is one of the primary reasons for that child being harmed.

      http://whatstheharm.net/faithhealing.html

      It’s not an isolated case, either. It’s fine if you want to persist in legitimizing medically ignorant murder, but I’d rather not have a part in it, if I were you.

      “hearing report after report of violence in the Middle East and concluding that all Muslims are extremists who blow people up”

      When the fuck have I said that? Never.

      The point I make, and make repeatedly is: Religion suspends many people’s conscience from their morality, trading their conscience for “God’s Voice.” This voice has no reality check and can cause severe harm to everyone. Furthermore, anyone that is good but still believes that God’s Voice is a legitimate thing to follow (as in the case of Abraham or the woman that burned the dog alive), legitimizes the positions of Westboro, Hitler, Faith Healers, the Crusaders, and everyone else that has ever suspended their desire to be a decent human being in favor of killing/murdering/raping/torturing in the name of “God’s Will.”

      But continue straw-manning me; continue ignoring everything I say. I’ll go ahead and send you the email i was sitting on. You made me rethink the way I presented myself, because I thought from your mental state at the time, it was unwise and unhelpful of me to try and remove your mental crutch of a loving father. Showing me you’re strong again by coming back, I think we can pick up our discussion where it left off.

      Before you comment again, please actually make an effort to understand where I’m coming from, instead of pretending you know a shit about where I stand. Your last email response showed me you have absolutely no clue what Humanism is, and don’t want to. You just listen to what ignorant people tell you.

      • Anonymous

        “Ignoring medical attention for your child is bad; I’m sorry you can’t understand that. Someone ignoring it because theybelieve that God can save the child means religion is one of the primary reasons for that child being harmed.”

        Actually, I do understand that withholding medical attention from a child is bad. Completely guessing here, but I think that most people in this country would agree, religious or not.

        I don’t agree, however, that because this man claimed only God could save his son, and thus caused him harm, that religion is harmful.

        Consider this story. Two vegan parents end up starving their baby to death, having fed the child only soy milk and apple juice:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2036671/Vegan-couple-serve-life-sentences-starving-baby-death-extreme-diet.html

        By your logic, wouldn’t that mean being a vegan causes harm to other people? I doubt you would come to that conclusion. Their story is an extreme example of faulty reasoning, and I believe the example of the faith healer is the same thing. These are cases of child abuse, not examples of how being a Christian, or being a vegan, is bad for society.

        I am not saying that people have not done atrocious things in God’s name and felt completely justified in their actions. I just feel that without religion, people would be just as hateful and do just as many awful things. People hate and kill each other over race, nationality, sexual orientation; people even kill each other over sports. Science has its own examples of dangerous behavior as well–the Tuskegee syphilis study, the forced sterilization of thousands of people, the doctor who published a fraudulent report stating that vaccines were ultimately responsible for high autism rates.

        If you are a scientist, does that mean you are legitimizing these things? I don’t think so.

        What I’m trying to say is this–there is no aspect of society that is pure. Therefore, I don’t think it’s very honest to use stories like the woman who killed the dog to illustrate your point. It merely shows that people, who more than likely need professional psychological help, absolve their responsibility by claiming God told them to do it. Also, I believe Hitler was a drug addict, which may or may not explain why he felt he was acting in God’s will.

        As for the whole death debate, and the post you authored on it, first off, I am sorry that you felt I ignored everything you wrote. I did not. You had some great points, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me in that manner. But please, don’t take this personally: you don’t know anything about death. Or at least not the grieving process.

        It is impossible to know just exactly what mourning entails unless you have been through it yourself. No amount of reading or studying on the topic will prepare you for it. Maybe you don’t like that answer, but ask anyone who had dealt with it, and they’ll admit the same.

        Grief is utter despair. It is darkness with no promise of light. It is painful; it hurts to breath. Grief is jealousy, anger, bitterness, frustration, unending sadness, and a host of other ugly emotions rolled into one. And so, while it may make sense to you that the way to honor my mother is to remember that she lives on in me, believe me when I say that in those moments of grief, remembering that is not enough. Dealing with her loss has brought me to my knees, and the usual venues of pleasure are not sufficient. It has required some more than just success in a career or the freedom to pursue activities to get by each day. I have lost all of my grandparents and it was nothing compared to this. Nothing.

        When I read your response to my email, I can see that you misunderstand a lot about my experience. Which is ok, because I apparently misunderstand a lot about your position. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m ignorant. You think if only I would approach life in the same you have, I would just “get it.” Sorry, Patrick.