Politics: August 2006 Archives

9/11 Conspiracy Theories

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I've never thought the 9/11 conspiracy theories were remotely plausible, but they were so far from believability that I never actually had to think about why I don't even consider them worthy of suggesting. Stuart Buck thinks through what I never bothered with, offering some excellent reasons why the 9/11 conspiracy theories make little sense:

1. A government that couldn't keep all sorts of lesser things secret surely couldn't hold this so tightly to themselves that no one would find out about it.
2. One theory is that explosives really blew up the buildings, and somehow it's supposed to follow that the government was behind it, which doesn't seem at all related to the thing it's supposed to follow from.
3. If they did use explosives, why also use planes? Why use four planes? Couldn't a conspiracy just as easily do the kind of damage intended just by using explosives?
4. The more people involved, the riskier, and if the hijackers were superfluous, why have more people who could get caught (or diverted by a crashed plane) before they could accomplish the task?

Theocracy Paranoia

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Daniel Pulliam, in Putting “theocracy” fears in their place, looks at the irrational paranoia many of the left have about a phenomenon that they regularly misrepresent as conspiracies aiming at theocracy. I had been saving this for a little while. I thought the post made several interesting points, and I wanted to discuss them further, but I've got other things I want to do when I finally get a chance to write something more substantive, and I wanted to post something today without putting in any more work. I've been spending enough time lately just responding to comments.

Molly Ziegler, Leaving politics aside?, looks at the media coverage of borderline evangelical Greg Boyd's recent controversy over refusing to get his church involved in politics. (I say borderline because Boyd is an open theist, and many consider open theism automatically a disqualifier for evangelicalism, while others do not.) While I agree with the general sort of view of the church and politics that Boyd is saying, I agree with the criticism of his erroneous claim that Jesus didn't push people's buttons about sex. He most certainly did. Also, I think the abortion discussion toward the end reveals that there's a distinction between the church taking a stance on the best political policies and leaders (which I'd say is contrary to the church's purpose) and the church taking a stance on moral issues that are clear in scripture (which I think is its obligation).

I've just spent a good deal of time working through Augustine on this issue, and when I get a chance to put it into post form I'll be posting my notes. I really appreciate almost everything he has to say on it, but that will have to wait.

Joe Lieberman's Ego

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I just heard a guy calling in to C-Span to complain about Senator Joseph Lieberman's ego. If he loses the primary (and he's currently behind as I write this by 52% to 48%), he intends to stay in the race as an independent. This fellow who called in considers this the height of arrogance, since it fails to see what his party is doing, where it's heading. Somehow it is arrogance to consider getting almost half of your party's vote in your state to be a good reason to think the general election voters (who will tend to be much less liberal than the party loyalists who vote in primaries) will continue to support him.

Now I'm really curious to know whether this caller was among those who have complained about conservatives who have treated the 2004 election as a devastating loss for John Kerry. That's been a common complaint from those who supported Kerry, who actually did quite well in the election as compared with losers of presidential races. It's something of a commonplace nowadays to hear people complaining that President Bush is treating a relatively slim victory as a mandate. I don't see a huge difference between those numbers and the numbers they're currently floating for Ned Lamont in this Democratic primary for Senator Lieberman's Senate seat, not enough to justify treating Lieberman as arrogant for thinking he could win the statewide election or for thinking that he could represent a liberal state with such a "devastating" loss in a primary.

But this isn't really about Joe Lieberman. It's about the president whose foreign policy Senator Lieberman supported (to some extent) out of principle. Since any stick is good enough to beat Bush with, any stick is good enough to beat those being tarred as Bushies with, even if it's a stick that the same sort of person would complain about Republicans using against Democrats.

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