Okay, Now I've Had To Go And Break Out The Soapbox...

I've only been here a few days.

Not long, granted;  but enough time that I've gotten a pretty fair handle on what the the place and the Folks here are about.

It's immediately clear that I am at opposite ends of the political spectrum from the overwhelming majority.

Not altogether unexpected I suppose, but I have to say, I am astonished at the homogeneity of thought that exists among a relatively large group of people who are supposed to be free-thinkers.

I can't help but ask how this is. 

This is not my my first forum.

There have been several other sites that I've spent a fair amount of time on.

Mostly Military, which admittedly have predominantly Religious Conservative memberships.

-- At least, that was the case with Military.com before it was overrun and became Militant.commie --  be that as it may...

I'm pointing this out, because to be absolutely candid, it appears that I was more accepted as a non-religious Conservative (and I made no secret) among religious Conservatives than I seem to be among non-religious, non-Conservatives.

Kind of flies in the face of convention, does it not?

I mean, you have the Military, with its reputation for intolerant lock-step groupthink versus free-thought Atheists who are ostensibly tolerant of practically all dissent.

I've encountered more condescension in a few days here, from just a few people, than I did in a couple of months in other places.

I'd say it takes that convention and stands it on its head.

I'm not being thin-skinned.

It takes a lot to get through the sand-blasted old hide I'm wearin', believe me.

I'm all about objective thought and objective observation.

If I'm wrong, I'm hoping someone will present me with a cogent argument to the contrary.

I'm feeling a bit disillusioned at the moment...

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Mike I am really glad you are here.

Just be yourself. I don't mind what politics you follow. I'm sorry you encountered some condescension.

I am actually really glad you are here.

I think diversity is a good thing - we can't all think exactly the same - can we?

But we are unified in that we are non-theists.

So I hope you will keep being active on the site.

I could have sworn I'd responded to this a few hours ago Steph, but I'm not sure what happened.

Anyway, thank you.

I think you're cool too.

Also understand that I did not have you in mind when I wrote what I did in my opening. 

Don't know how many of you might be familiar with this guy, but for the last thirty years or so, he's been the intellectual heart of the Conservative Movement.

The Man commands a respect among us backward racist troglodytes that approaches reverence. 



Quote, from Tom Sarbeck:

Mike, so much of what you wrote is opinion (some of which I agree with), invective (divine moderates!!!) or invention that I will respond to very little and ignore the rest.

You're correct in saying not all whites in the south are racist; I lived, went to school and worked in the south for eighteen years--five in the urban south, the rest in the cracker south where for three years I worked with racists.

Too many historians have written of Nixon's southern strategy for me to believe your words about the Repubs recruiting white northerners who'd moved to the south, implying that they did not recruit southerners whose ancestors had joined the Dems because the Repubs had freed their slaves.


If you consider light sarcasm to be invective Tom, then you need to review the definition of the word;  invective.

You have no idea, my capacity for invective.

Looks to me like it was more a matter of my words finding their mark.

It also appears that you're looking for an easy evasion.

So where do I start?

Where in my post did you see invention, Tom?

Where's the artifice?

Do you take issue with my contention that the "Progressive" movement in the United States traces its lineage directly to a Socialist movement that began in Europe a few years before?

Are you familiar with the name, William Dwight Porter Bliss?

He was the Episcopal Priest who founded The Fabian Society of America in 1889, at the behest of his good friend, George Bernard Shaw.


Shaw was the guy who referred to Vladimir Lenin as, "The greatest Fabian of all time" (never mind that Lenin and his cohort were among the greatest butchers in Human History).

Shaw also laid out the Fabian method for success, advising:

"methods of stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name."

That's a direct quote Tom, very well documented.

Guess you could call him an early predecessor of Saul Alinski.


After meeting more than a little failure (even after re-naming his little claque, The American Socialist Christian Society) Bliss took the advice of his friend and the Fabians began to refer to themselves as "Progressive".

A few of Bliss' other komrades (at least philosophically) included Walter Lippmann, Stuart Chase (member of FD Roosevelt's Brainless Trust and coiner of the term, 'The New Deal'), Harry Dexter White, Margaret Sanger, and the notable John Maynard Keynes (I know you've heard of him, Tom).

They, and a lot of their other fellow travelers had great political influence at the turn of the Twentieth Century, and that influence gained a lot of traction during the Theodore Roosevelt Administration.

Since that time Tom, the United States has has been steadily declining into a Socialist cesspool.

Now you might want to live in a condition like that, but I very certainly don't, and I don't think any other self-respecting Human Being should have to, either.


Also Tom, if the Republican Party had Nixon to thank for his 'southern strategy', we would not have been able to hold on to the South for the past forty years.

The migration of White Northerners into the Southern States is a process that began during Reconstruction, and it is still ongoing.

That is a major factor in the fact the fact that some Northern States have flipped from Republican to Democrat as of late.

The archetypal racist White Southerner is becoming all but extinct.

I might add that Black Northerners have lately been fleeing the Northern Socialist Republics (more commonly known as "Blue" States) in appreciable numbers.

They are doing so because they're quickly becoming disgusted with Democrat policies that leave them without opportunity, options, or hope.

Don't know about you, but I see a gleaming opportunity in this for the Republican Party to reclaim at least part of what should be one of its most natural constituencies.

One last thing here, Tom:

You might want to reconsider and then walk back your insinuation that all White Southerners were slave-holders.

Obviously, the weren't.

Hell, not all those who fought for the South were pro-slavery.

Or even White...

By the time Wilson (or at least his wife) left office, the top marginal marginal rate had risen from an initial seven percent to seventy-three percent, the private economy had been all but nationalized, and the National Economy was on its knees -- probably in worse condition than 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt entered Office.

There are a few points missing from your revisionist history. The rise in income taxes occurred in the Revenue Act of 1916 in anticipation of the country entering the first World War. Although the top rate was high (77% not 73%) it applied only to income over $1 million and affected very few. 85% of families paid no income tax at all.

The recession which followed the end of the war was not the result of high taxation on a small number, but the overall effect of adjusting to a postwar economy in which factories had to retool from war production and the economy had to absorb a large additional labor force of returning soldiers. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates. While the Harding administration lowered tax rates it also greatly expanded the tax base. Tax rates did not drop immediately—in 1924 the top marginal rate was still 46% and it hit its low of 24% only in 1929.

It has become a staple of conservative economic theory that the Mellon tax cuts were the fundamental reason for the economic growth of the 1920's, but that sets aside all the additional economic forces such as the growth of the automobile industry and the great increase in electrical appliance manufacturing.

And of course it ignores the depression which began in the summer of 1929 and accelerated with the stock market crash in October. Mellon, the third or fourth richest man in the United States at the time he served as Treasury Secretary, is supposed to have advised President Hoover during the depression to "liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people."

Hoover said he rejected Mellon's advice, but was unable to slow the downslide because he was committed to a balanced budget and refused to run deficits to supply government aid to the unemployed and to ailing businesses, believing it would destroy incentive. He may well have made a deep recession into a depression by failure to act forcefully.

Conservatives of course prefer to look only at the years leading up to 1929 and forget about the depression which followed. They need a reminder that things did not end well.

The fact that soldiers were returning was no no more a cause of deep recession in 1919 than it was in 1946 (which saw a tax decrease from ninety-one percent to seventy-five percent, along with a significant expansion of tax exemptions and deductions).

In both cases, The United States had virtually the only intact industrial infrastructure in the World, and the only reasons those returnees were not being reabsorbed into the economy was high taxation and overbearing government regulation that impeded economic growth.

The Recession of 1929 was the result of the prospect of a trade war, sparked by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act which Progressive Republicans were in the process of enacting.

It was passed in June,1930 and signed by a gleeful Herbert Hoover.

While that Act (a defacto tax increase) did reduce US exports significantly, for the most part worries of a trade war were unfounded.

By 1931, the economy had absorbed the blow, and a recovery was well underway.

Nevertheless, panic continued in the Congress and the Administration.

Hoover had issued an Executive Order which decreased the lowest marginal rate by one percent.

Because that had zero effect on economic growth, it provided him with the the pretext to increase the top marginal rate from twenty-four percent to sixty-five percent.

I'd have to say he acted pretty damned forcefully.

It was at that point that the economy bottomed.

In 1934, Smoot-Hawley was repealed, but at the same time the top marginal rate was rammed to ninety-one percent.

The economy stayed on the bottom.

Throughout the 1930's the United States endured a series of recessions in spite of the facts that at some points during that period, the economy grew as much as fourteen percent and economies around the rest of the World had by 1936, already recovered.

Government expansion was absorbing capital faster than the American People could produce.

There's your Great Depression.

That's a recapitulation of standard conservative economic views of the Great Depression, but many economists and historians hold quite different views. In addition it seems that some of your figures are incorrect.

The period following the end of the First World War saw substantial inflation and that was followed by a compensatory deflation. Expansion of the labor force due to returning troops was indeed a significant factor. 

In both cases, The United States had virtually the only intact industrial infrastructure in the World,

That was the case after the Second World War, but it's a stretch to apply it to the First. Aerial bombardment was the cause in the Second, but the main economic hardships in Europe—outside of Germany—in the First WForld War were the actual costs of fighting the war and the loss of many lives.

1946 (which saw a tax decrease from ninety-one percent to seventy-five percent,

No, that's not right. The top marginal rate was above 80% for two decades—from 1944 to 1963.

The Recession of 1929 was the result of the prospect of a trade war,

There are so many conflicting theories about the causes of the Great Depression that you can find an economist to support almost any statement about it. That they have not been able to reach agreement on causes says more about economics as a discipline than it does about anything else. However, I think there is some consensus on the original cause of the downturn being tight money policy and the general cause of the depression being a reduction in aggregate demand.

By 1931, the economy had absorbed the blow, and a recovery was well underway.

That's going to be hard to justify with real numbers since the GNP bottomed in early 1933 and unemployment hit its peak of 24.9% that year.

In 1934, Smoot-Hawley was repealed, but at the same time the top marginal rate was rammed to ninety-one percent.

The top marginal tax rate was 63% from 1932-35 and 79% from 1935-39. It reached its highs during World War II and stayed at 91% until President Kennedy's administration, when it fell to 70%.

In addition to considering the rate, you have to look at the range to which it applied. From 1916-21 it was always above $1 million, but in the Harding administration it was lowered to $200,000 and from 1925-31 it was $100,000, meaning that many more paid the top rate and those already paying it had a larger portion of their income taxed at that rate.

The economy stayed on the bottom.

The economy expanded from 1932 to 1937—there was a steady increase in GDP.


My point is that we need to be very careful with regard to the protection of Human Life, because unless an individual acts in a manner that would disannul their own value, Human Beings have great value. 

It just seems to me that if we are going to call ourselves Humanist, then it is absolutely incumbent that we respect and defend Human life more so than even the most rabid bible-beater.

If nothing else, to show 'em we really are better than they are.


why the singular focus on the unborn then?  not to lump everyone together, but many of the people who are ardent pro-life support American wars, neglect urban violence, are certainly pro-gun, and think that poverty is social darwinism.  i'm not sure why you are enthusiastic about the movement, but for many it's so they can call themselves holy warriors, out to save the defenseless pre-toddlers from sadistic killers.  they see it as there gateway to heaven.  yet they ignore the actual living more often than not.  i don't consider that pro-life.     


I don't know what you've been experiencing here, I haven't read the threads - I've only been here a couple of days myself.

And I may be way off base by offering this info, because not everybody identifies with or cares about Secular Humanism, but I just read this recently and thought you might be interested:

In the October/November issue of Free Inquiry they did a segment called, "Does Secular Humanism Have a Political Agenda?"  In which they ask why most Atheists (or in particular Secular Humanists) seem to be liberal. They then had four articles from four different atheist viewpoints: a progressive, a conservative, a libertarian, and a hard left-liberal. The conservative article is here. It is by Razib Khan, the founder of SecularRight.org.

They also posted a poll of their readers which showed that they are

Socialist 7%

Liberal 41%

Progressive 27%

Moderate 12%

Centrist 3%

Libertarian 7%

Conservative 3%


So in total, about 75% self-describe as liberal.

Apologies if this is not germane to your discussion! I just thought it was interesting. On a related note, in another thread some of us have been musing that most women atheists are feminists. As well as liberal. for some reason that is the correlation.




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