Monday, November 16, 2009

McLaren Types Words Into His Computer

It’s been said that conservatives are people who honor the tombs of dead progressives.

I have never heard this, though I cannot dispute that it has "been said". Other things that have probably "been said":

This Leprechaun is ravishing my grandmother's ottoman.

Your kitten is waffles.

Whiskey is the truest form of religion.

If that’s true, then within the Democratic movement, even with its progressive reputation, there could be a wing of conservative progressives, those who remember the good old days and the great leaders who then presided.

Brian has no idea what conservatism is, what it stands for, or how to engage it. Instead, he muddles together some things he saw on Rachel Maddow.

What would a conservative wing of the progressive party stand for?

Abortion rights.

First, I think, they would be staunchly secular, deeply suspicious of progressive Evangelicals and Catholics being “out of the closet” about their faith in party circles.

Progressives are historically religious, dating back to the social gospel movement of the early 20th century, the wheel which McLaren is ignorantly re-inventing.

Second, they would be nervous about progressive religious Democrats who do not favor criminalizing abortion but are deeply committed to abortion reduction.

Does McLaren use the word "criminalizing" to describe the act of officially prohibiting anything other than abortion? But yeah, the conservative liberal would be pretty much about abortion rights, and I can't imagine why they would have any problem with a little bit of lip service about reducing abortions.

Third, they would be concerned if these Evangelical and Catholic Democrats wanted the same kinds of accountability for big government that they want for big business.

Fortunately, they'll never have to worry about that.

Most progressive Evangelicals, it turns out, are the sons and daughters of religiously righteous conservative Republicans,

They also use ridiculous phrases like "religiously righteous conservative Republicans". That's some bad writing, is what I'm trying to say.

so they have already learned how to break free from conservative strangle-holds. Wouldn’t it be ironic if they become the ones to help shift the center of gravity in the Democratic Party — not regressively, but in a freshly progressive direction?

It would not be ironic to anyone who understands the political history of this country. What would be ironic is if their kids saw through their theological and political piffle and became more conservative than their grandparents.

We need to realize this inconvenient but urgently needed truth: it’s not the 1980s anymore.

What? Who thinks it's the 1980s? Who is acting as though it's the 1980s? What planet does McLaren live on?

If we keep asking the same old poorly framed or unproductive questions — What is your position on abortion?

If this question is so unproductive, then why did McLaren introduce his position early on in this piece? This question is only unproductive for McLaren because it requires him to acknowledge that he is pro-choice, and therefore costs him credibility with moderate and conservative Christians who cannot tolerate the sanctioned slaughter of nearly half of our population.

What’s your position on gay marriage?

Apparently, direct questions are poorly framed and unproductive. Best to stick with innuendo and banalities - What is your modality?

Are you religious or secular?

How irrelevant, the whole question of whether one subscribes to a religion. Meaningless, religion, as a concept. Deep down, we're all the same.

Are you for or against big government?– whatever our answers are, we remain stuck in a past moment and can’t get out of it.

I have never been asked whether I am for or against big government, though I agree that it is a useless question, albeit for more precise reasons than McLaren. Also, Brian McLaren hasn't written anything compelling in nearly a decade. Who, exactly, is stuck here?

We don’t just need new answers to the same old questions; we need to raise new questions entirely, and in that way, change the conversation in both parties in a truly progressive way.

I'd ask McLaren to pose one such question, but I suspect this is just a setup to talk about his latest book.

Democrats and Republicans alike need to progress to a new list of critical issues, beginning with three emergencies I identified in my book Everything Must Change:

Yahtzee. Like clockwork, this guy.

1. The Crisis of the Planet: How can we reorient our economy around sustainability and regeneration rather than consumption and environmental degradation?

Why is this more important than the question of whether literally any human being in this country might be subject to execution prior to exiting the womb? Also, a planet is not a crisis. That is a categorical error.

2. The Crisis of Poverty: How can we address the growing economic gap between a powerful rich minority and the marginalized poor majority of our world’s people, especially when rich corporate elites have found ways to co-opt democracy and control political agendas here and around the world?

Answer, by extracting control from the democracies. By limiting government, you reduce the influence of corporate scoundrels on same. McLaren has never engaged this argument, and never will.

3. The Crisis of Peace: How can we move beyond the morally bankrupt and economically bankrupting endless wars of terrorism and counter-terrorism to pursue peace through justice and reconciliation in a world armed with too many and too-dangerous weapons?

Catch phrases. Catch phrases solve everything. Everything must change. Therefore, the catch phrases must change. Alternately, you could find military personnel to think through the issue and recommend... Ah, forget about all that.

Christians have every reason to address these three issues with faith-based energy and passion, whatever their party. I hope that Democrats will welcome a shift in focus to a new kind of question, and that progressive Evangelicals (and Catholics) will aid in that process.

And, we're done. Yes, let's all get together and ask mundane questions of each other. That will make everything better, and everything will change therefore.

And let's keep the Catholics in their place, enclosed in parentheses.


Anonymous HMS said...

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12:36 PM  

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