Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mindreading McSame

Ed Brayton refers to a very pro-choice-sounding John McCain from 1999 and muses:

I've said all along that the religious right is correct not to trust McCain. He isn't one of them and he never has been. He's been frantically pandering to them for the last few years because he knows he has to do so to have any chance of winning the presidency, but that isn't what he really believes. His real beliefs were stated when he called Falwell and Robertson "agents of intolerance." He's not really anti-abortion, nor is he a particularly religious man at all.
With all due respect to Ed Brayton, whose analysis and writing I treasure, I have no idea how he can speak so authoritatively on what John McCain really believes. I certainly agree McCain has a pronounced tendency to speak on both sides of major policy questions, especially over the long expanse of his public career, but that underscores the futility of trying to divine "the real McCain."

We know McCain wants to be president -- he's been extremely consistent there -- and we know what he has promised to do if he gets what he wants. I see no reason to pretend he's more moderate than his stated policy choices indicate; surely one of the lessons of the Bush-Cheney disaster is to assume these moderate-sounding noises are just that, noises emitted for the sake of the campaign.

Certainly McCain has gone to great lengths to pander to the religious right, not least in his very public promises to nominate Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts, which is a pretty unmistakable dogwhistle that he'll nominate people who will overturn Roe vs. Wade and otherwise curtail reproductive freedoms and privacy rights. And dogwhistles aside, he's made absolutely no secret of his views on abortion rights:
"I have stated time after time after time that Roe v Wade was a bad decision, that I support a woman — the rights of the unborn — that I have fought for human rights and human dignity throughout my entire political career," McCain said. "To me, it's an issue of human rights and human dignity."
He has been equally clear on his promises to stop not only gay marriage but gay civil unions. On the evolution-creationism divide, McCain has taken the pro-creationism "let them hear both sides" position quite clearly -- note the explicit agreement with unabashed Christianist Mike Huckabee:
I believe that’s up to the school districts. But I think that every American should be exposed to all theories. But I can’t say it more eloquently than Pastor Huckabee — Governor Huckabee just did, and I admire his description, because I hold that view.

The point is that the time before time — there’s no doubt in my mind that the hand of God was in what we are today. And I do believe that we are unique, and I believe that God loves us. But I also believe that all of our children in school can be taught different views on different issues. But I leave the curricula up to the school boards.
Again, leaving it up to local school boards is the Christianist position, their preferred means of inserting creationism into science classes.

Last but not least, McCain has agreed with the foundational claim of the Christianists:
I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.
There's no need to read the man's mind. He's promises a continuation of Bush-Cheney on all significant fronts, and we have every reason to assume he will do so if elected.

3 comments:

I was just stopping by and I said...

to quote you...

"Again, leaving it up to local school boards is the Christianist position, their preferred means of inserting creationism into science classes."

Wouldn't the "Christianist" position be to only teach creationsim? Wouldn't the "humanist" "Athiest" or "naturalist" position be to just teach evolution? What are we afraid of in exposing people to both sides of an argument?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but my side of the argument is the right one. Perhaps, but only because someone has to be right, at least in most cases. So what are we really afraid of? Truth?

Any intolerance is bias and bigotry.

Dale said...

I was just: non-science should not be taught in science class. Creationism is not science.

If a school wants to teach about creationism(s), it can do so in social studies (as a political / religious phenomenon) or humanities (history of ideas) or the like. Science classes definitely need to weed out the evidence-starved bullshit if they are going to serve their raison d'etre -- physics courses shouldn't be bogged down having to present the "controversy" over Aristotle's ideas of motion; chemistry courses shouldn't have to "teach the controversy" over alchemy; astronomy courses shouldn't have to spend any time elaborating on Ptolemaic astronomy or astrology, even if a 5-4 majority of the local school board wants it. I would hope medical doctors are trained in evidence-based, scientifically-established techniques and knowledge, not spending time learning about breaking hexes or the four humors.

You say: "any intolerance is bias and bigotry." Really? If person A is intolerant of the existence of Jews while person B is intolerant of teaching Holocaust denial to students, they're equally guilty of "bias and bigotry?" Would you consider yourself tolerant or intolerant of child rapists and Islamist suicide bombers? If you're intolerant of them, how do you live with the "bias and bigotry" of it all?

Are you, by any chance, just a plant stopping by here to stir the pot? Thanks for stirring.

I was just stopping by and i said...

By "plant" do you mean a flowering blossom of significant beauty, or a "spy seeking to foster dissent and controversy?" Either way, water me and I may grow...

Yes, I stand by my statement that any bias in bigotry. So I choose to be a biogot when it comes to child molesters and suicide bombers, etc. We all have our biases, some just are in denial more than others. I never said I was not bias, so I live with it by trying to be honest with myself about it (you should try it sometime).

If science is about the pursuit of truth, and we only look at the angles that we believe to be true, then we have chosen our biases and must live with them. As a "plant" (the flowering kind) I understand that a little bullshit helps me grow.

While you're at it, how about a little more water too?