Shouldn’t Need Saying

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

Related Post Roulette

172 Responses

  1. gregiank says:


  2. George Turner says:

    There are heathens among us, people in the service of Satan and the forces of darkness, who should be burned at the stake. A lot of this country’s problems are due to the dearth of public burnings and our welfare state, which produces idle hands that become the devil’s tools.Report

    • I hold a profound hope that this comment is an attempt at humor.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well, look at how well Europe cleaned up their heathen problems in the Middle Ages. By the 1700’s, heathens were few and far between and civilization could flourish. Americans still flock to Europe to see all the old buildings and classical art, art that wasn’t destroyed by heathens because the heathens had been dealt with.

        Now sure, we destroyed a lot of monuments, cathedrals, and art during WW-II, but that destruction was sanctioned by God and so doesn’t get entered on the ledger as destruction by heathens, and destruction by heathens is the important factor in the fall of a civilization, such as happened to Rome, Carthage, or the Library of Alexandria.

        The question that resonates through time is “Why can’t we have nice things?” The answer is always “Heathens, dear.”Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Burt Likko says:

        One excellent reason for hoping that it’s satire is that if it’s not, we’d all have to nod our heads politely and take it as a serious thing to consider because it’s a religious belief and not a political one.

        “Your input is valued, sir.”Report

      • Now I know whom Mike Huckabee studied under.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

      I’ll have you know that most of us heathens are quite civilized,and limit our destructive impulses to polite and controlled acts of carnage (e.g. highly energetic science experiments).Report

  3. Will H. says:

    I thought the Heathens moved to . . .
    No, that was the Nordiques.Report

  4. Will H. says:

    Personally, I see a statue of Edward Coke or Joseph Story as more appropriate.
    Maybe even Felipe Segundo. Hammurabi.
    I don’t place Moses in the same lot, but I don’t see that as particularly offensive for those who do.
    Misguided, yes; offensive, no.

    If I felt a need to get up on my hackles every time I came across some misguided person, I would do little else.

    I have come to envy the ignorant.
    Had fortune smiled on me, I could have been born in the Ozarks, and fishing my cousin right about now.
    I find the misguided much more disturbing.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Will H. says:

      Given that this post appears to have elicited a subtle death threat aimed at me personally and other people like me, I’m inclined to agree. Not quite what I was expecting when I wrote the post.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Will H. says:

      I don’t think anyone would put up a statue of King Philip II outside of Spain, and certainly not in the South. “Enslave the Indians” and “Death to Protestants” isn’t going to resonate very well.

      Nor is the code of Hammurabi going to go up anytime soon, unless you like reading all the death penalty offenses, including losing a capital case against someone else or harboring a fugitive slave.

      But we can put up the Ten Commandments, and especially so because nowhere on the tablets did it say “XXI: These tablets remain the property of Yahweh. Thou shalt not reproduce these tablets without written permission from Yahweh, the copyright holder, who created copyright law and the known universe.”Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to George Turner says:

        I’m not even mad at this point, just confused.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Don Zeko says:

          Well be confused no longer. Some Christians or Jews put up a stone tablet that were carved with the ten commandments (there were originally 15 but Moses dropped a tablet on the way down the mountain). Some obvious antisemites or Christophobes decided to destroy the stone monument, similar to burning a black church or painting a swastika on a synagogue, because they don’t like the idea of their creator telling them to behave themselves. That indicates that the vandals were not just heathens, but reprobates who gleefully destroy expensive property to cause upset and rebel against authority. They are the kind of people who would go into the Sistine Chapel with a can of black spray paint.

          This is why we can’t have nice things.

          There’s no harm at all in displaying the Ten Commandments, which after all were never a legal code because they don’t list any penalties, and of course because half of them make little or no sense.

          For instance, “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.” Remembering does not make something holy, or else my memory of Crystal, Amber, and Roxie down at Solid Platinum are somehow deeply theological.

          And this one: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Quite an oddball statement in a religion that claims to be monotheistic. It should read something like “There are no other gods!” But then right in Genesis God is talking to some other apparently equal god about the whole Adam and Eve problem.

          Genesis 3:22

          Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!

          They weren’t thrown out of the garden for disobedience, they were thrown out so they wouldn’t become immortal and thus become God’s equal.

          And of course the whole “Thou shalt not covet” thing would completely undermine the entire advertising industry and tank the US economy, so we just ignore it.

          There needed to be some kind of covenant between man and God because that was central to the book’s plot, so the author just made up some commandments that would fill the bill, so as not to leave a glaring plot hole.Report

          • The weird (to me at least) part of all this is that the “ten commandments” of Exodus 20 are never referred to as “the ten commandments” in those verses. But the second set of tablets that Moses brings down, in Exodus 34, are not only specifically referred to as “the Ten Commandments” (Exodus 34:28), but are quite different from that first set. I suppose there must be all sorts of theological theories that talk around that, but the text is very plain. Maybe read The Book sometime…Report

      • Will H. in reply to George Turner says:

        My mistake.
        It was Carlos V, Felipe’s father, who ordained the New Laws.Report

  5. greginak says:

    While i stand by my “ugghh” from above and think this was stuupid thing to do. Lets keep some perspective. Emmit Till’s memorial was apparently recently vandalized and will likely get far less press than this. And many non-christian public monuments have been vandalized in public squares. So lets keep all our undies fairly and uniformly bundled for all those things.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

      “While I disapprove of this, Both Sides Do It.”Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Sorry…sorry….I shouldn’t steal the righteous thunder of the real victims.Report

        • notme in reply to greginak says:

          Or you can’t admit the that is right so you cover it with sarcasm.Report

          • greginak in reply to notme says:

            Right about what? What was my first comment on this thread? Emmit Till’s memorial was vandalized just a couple of days ago. Pagan monuments in public squares have vandalized. It’s. All. Wrong. It’s that simple, all wrong. If you are against this stupidity why is wrong to point out similar bits of stupidity that have not and will not get the same attention.Report

            • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

              All Emmett Till’s memorial really needs to say is “The white b*** lied, like all lyin’ b***es!” He should stand as an icon of anti-feminism.

              That narrows down the list of suspects to SJW’s in pink p***y hats.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                Right on, gotta keep your focus on the real dangers( everybody you righteously hate) and real victim ( you).Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                Yep! Who lied to get a young black kid murdered? A woman. Who got conned into committing a murder? A man. Who got murdered? A man. Who lied on the stand to attack the character of the murder victim? The same woman who lied to set the whole thing in motion.

                Don’t let racism blind you. That’s what the women want you to think. Men are the victims here.

                Remember Emmett Till.Report

            • notme in reply to greginak says:

              Actually it was a historical marker, a sign, not a memorial/monument. The kind you see beside the road as you speed by. If you want to turn it into a liberal secular memorial fine.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yes, all attempts at perspective are easily dismissed at BSDI.

        Accusing someone of BSDIing used to mean they were trying to justify their own side’s bad acts by pointing out the other side’s same or similar bad acts. The problem was in the attempt to justify.

        No attempt to justify was offered here. Rather, a reminder was offered that vandalism and destruction of monuments is nothing new nor unique to Christian erections and that, CURRENTLY, there appear to be more egregious acts and we shouldn’t let the Manufactured Outrage Industrial Complex dictate the framing of what’s going on.

        All the vandalism is wrong. Focusing on one particular bit of it raises questions. Questions that aren’t answered or dismissed by throwing BSDI at the asker.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          I prefer to think that saying “BSDI” is an argument in itself and it’s one that trumps your argument.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well, there’s that.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

              Just out of curiosity, what argument did you make here?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                My argument was “oh, you said ‘BSDI’, therefore you lose the argument.”Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                But he didn’t say BSDI.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                He said “sure, this is vandalism, but here’s another case of vandalism so let’s keep this stuff in perspective” which is, in a nutshell, BSDI.

                Which, according to BSDI theory, is an automatic loss.Report

              • gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

                I said the vandalism was wrong firstly (woo hoo first comment baby). I added that there has been other vandalism that is also wrong that got less attention. I added that all of it is wrong. Already some had been acting like this recent monument attack was something new and an escalation. It wasn’t. It was just another wrong thing. That is one way to try to diffuse a culture war skirmish by looking at all the things and saying they are all wrong as a starting point. Finding a common point of agreement.

                I’m not sure of the rules of the BSDI game you are referring to. One use of BSDI is to rationalize or excuse one sides behavior by noting the other side does it to. See Trump, Donald and his tweeting about Mika today. A prime example. That isn’t what i was doing here is you noticed. Nothing to be excused since all that vandalism was wrong.

                It was odd seeing the apoplectic response to noting that Emmit TIll’s memorial had also recently been vandalized though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

                Yes, I covered that when I pointed out that your position was “While I disapprove of this, Both Sides Do It.”Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah i can see how vandalism is wrong can be controversial and a real thorn in the side of The Proper Way to Debate Events.

                BSDI usually actually means This is a Thing People Do.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Just to be clear, this is totally different from the time we were discussing something bad someone on the right did (I forget who doing what) and you immediately went to discussing the Nazi puncher, right? That totally wasn’t you BSDIing, right? Because you had A Point (TM)?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                So, to be straight, you’re arguing that both sides argue that both sides do it?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m arguing that you have a very selective definition of BSDI so that others are always guilty of it and you never are.

                When you were called out for BSDIing, you insisted you were not and were merely noting an escalating pattern of behavior.

                When Greg pointed out that this latest act of vandalism was one in a long line of acts of vandalism… also known as a pattern… all of which he repudiated, you accused him of BSDIing.

                But go ahead, use some mumbo jumbo to thread that needle. Never admit fault. Never admit wrong. Keep Trumping.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                So you are. You just lost the argument *SQUARED*.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Because we are here to win, yes?Report

              • notme in reply to gregiank says:

                Who gave you an apoplectic response?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

      It just occurred to me that the irony in describing this as an attack on Christians is that the monument’s presence is justified by it’s universal appeal.
      So either it was an attack on Christians who have no right to their monument OR an attack on us all.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

        Have we actually eliminated the possibility that the thing just fell over because the base wasn’t quite level?

        Before I go burning some heretics at the stake (You can tell who the heretics are because they wear Judas Priest concert T-shirts), perhaps we should establish that a crime was definitely committed.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to George Turner says:

          Of course. This was either Anti-Christian Terrorism and part of the ongoing War on Christmas.

          Or it fell.Report

          • Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

            The eyewitness who saw the defendant cry “Freedom!” like some sort of modern-day William Wallace while gunning his car across the lawn directly at the monument, and witnessed the vehicle impacting and knocking the thing over, has provided fairly compelling testimony that the proximate cause of the monument’s current sorry state is something other than substrate settlement.

            What I wonder is whether the impact was hard enough to deploy airbags.Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    The Polite Tea Party Problem Strikes Again!!!!!!

    We are living in an age of inflamed rhetoric, ill-will, and anger. It seems to me that a lot of people don’t know how to deal with this or acknowledge it.

    As I’ve mentioned before, it seems like many free speech advocates think that all free speech can happen in the manner of an exceedingly polite afternoon tea party, no matter how inflammatory the rhetoric.

    This is wrong. If all free speech could happen the dulcet tones of the polite tea party than we would not need a First Amendment. The very purpose of the First Amendment is to protect inflammatory and dividing speech. If we honestly believe that the remedy to speech is more speech, we should be surprised or shocked or express concern when inflammatory speech gets a reaction of inflammatory speech or reaction. Why would we need a First Amendment but for inflammatory speech?

    George Turner might or might not be joking above but there are lots of people who don’t joke and honestly believe in Christian Dominianism. But we lived in an age where many minorities (religious, racial, ethnic, sexual) are saying Fuck You back and not being subservient. After all, this was a deliberate act of provocation by people who refuse to believe in the separation of Church and State no matter what.

    I honestly don’t know what people expect but it seems to me that there are a lot of people out there who believe conversations like this can happen:

    Richard Spencer: I do say good chap but you minority people really don’t have a place in these United States and must leave at once. Post haste please.

    Minority: I must disagree with you there old fellow. We are American citizens and shall remain here.

    If this conversation could happen, we wouldn’t be where we are now. If the above conversation could happen, Richard Spencer would not be Richard Spencer.

    If you want to believe in free speech, you gotta be willing to accept more extreme reactions to free speech. Prove to me that the polite tea party can happen with inflammatory speech.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Which is why I’m still wondering if @george-turner has actually threatened me with death (by fire) or not, and why he has failed to give a straight answer to that challenge. And, by the way, why I predict he will continue to fail to give a straight answer.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well, I haven’t burned anyone at the stake so far, and I’m pretty old. It would require a large pole, which is quite heavy. Then I would have to use a pair of post hole diggers, which can be totally exhausting and slow depending on soil type. Then there’s gathering up copies of the New York Times and WaPo to put underneath, then at least a day of gathering small twigs, slightly larger twigs, and then sizeable limbs and finally some logs. Then arranging them around the pole, and then deciding they’re not arranged right and restacking them. That would go on for at least three times, especially if people try to help.

        Then, there seems to usually be some kind of platform built over the fire, and it would take a couple of days of research to verify how that’s supposed to be built. I assume it burns up with everything else. Then I have to find someone to sign off on the whole thing, and get an outdoor burning permit.

        Then I have to round up some clerics who will file charges and conduct a religious inquiry. Those don’t come cheap. Perhaps I could bribe them with some young boys or something. Then I have to print up posters saying “Heretic burning this Thursday at Bud’s place next to Bob’s Bait Shop and Beer Emporium!” and get people to staple them all over town.

        Then we have to decide whether it’s BYOB or whether we’ll have a cover charge. And then I have to go back to the clerics and make sure they return a conviction because I’ve already bought three tubes of red Solo cups and splurged for three kegs of Bud Lite.

        There’s a lot involved in burning a heretic, and people tend to overlook that.Report

      • KenB in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Quite honestly, I think you’re being extremely over-sensitive in taking George’s comment as some sort of personal threat. Even if you didn’t recognize the obvious facetiousness and took it at face value, there’s no reason to think it was directed at you, as opposed to the sort of person who would knock down a monument of the 10 commandments.Report

        • George Turner in reply to KenB says:

          Oh, it’s worse than you know.

          Half of the ten commandments we got are filler or BS, and sources can’t even agree on what they are. The last five were the crucial ones, but we will never have any idea what they were because Moses dropped them, because Moses was an insecure uncoordinated fictional moron

          The entirety of Western Culture hinges on those five lost commandments, but we can only guess what they were. Did they cover dogs, cats, rabbits, spiders, and gerbils? Did they cover CO2 emissions? Were they focused on care of the Earth or on behavior in strip clubs or drive throughs? We don’t know. We will never know.

          We will never know because Jews were too lazy to walk up the mountain and piece the third tablet back together, which would’ve taken all of ten minutes, because they didn’t know the lost tablet existed because Moses was focused on me, me, me.

          Does he go into the promised land or does he stay behind because of reasons? What will do more to advance the plot? At some point, authors should be held to account for their characters. But to do that you have to recognize them as characters.

          The alternative is madness, full of Sith Lords and Trump collusion.


        • Burt Likko in reply to KenB says:

          The Poe is strong with this one, is the thing. I hope he’s figured out from this exchange that these performance-art comments are pretty much missing their mark.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I’d give you trial by combat at leastReport

    • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      I don’t think it’s that that conversation can’t happen. I just think that that conversation is unlikely to move anyone’s needle. A conversation such as that one offers little more than understanding of the other. Richard Spencer, if he’s listening, walks away knowing the other dude thinks he is an American citizen and deserves to remain. The other Dude walks away knowing that Richard Spencer thinks he ought to go. That isn’t without value… in fact, I’d argue that it is hard to really go anywhere without beginning to understand positions other than your own.

      The problem is, people seem increasingly uninterested or unwilling to make a good faith effort to understand positions other than their own.

      If I’m understanding you correctly, you are saying that we shouldn’t aim for polite tea party conversations. If so, I’d push against that. I don’t think striving for civility is inherently wrong. I think aiming for a structure to discourse that first promotes understanding the other and then allows for attempting to persuade, while pushing back against point scoring and antagonism would be a good thing. The problem is that the vast majority of the time, calls for civility and the like are really a cudgel for those empowered to dismiss those out of power. It works exactly opposite to that which I hope it did.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

        We do live in a time of increased partisanship but I don’t know if this is an exception or just a return to a norm. After all, fist fights are still fairly common in other legislative bodies and there was a time when violence happened in Congress.

        The NRA ad I posted below is pretty much a call to violence against “liberals” so we stay fearful and silent I guess.

        What I mean by polite tea party problem is that there is a certain kind of civility aspirer that believes the proper response to heated rhetoric like that of Richard Spencer or the NRA below is staying calm and not overreacting and pearl clutching at any firm showing back.

        I’m not sure this works. IIRC there is evidence that authoritarian types respond to pushback more than polite firmness because a lot of them are cowardly too and using huff and puff to get their way. Meek responses only encourage the huff and puff. A scream back exposes their inner meekness.

        And to a certain extent, it doesn’t make sense to listen to the other side when it comes to issues of civil rights and existence. Listening to the other side could be good for economics and social spending issues but it if someone is arguing for supremacy of a certain group above all others (Richard Spencer) and/or arguing that liberal elites need violence committed upon them (NRA), I don’t see the point of seeing the world from that view. I’m not going to concede to second-class citizenship because I’m Jewish and liberal. Nor am I going to allow my rights to be from the point of view of the majority.Report

    • j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The Polite Tea Party Problem Strikes Again!!!!!!


      As I’ve mentioned before, it seems like many free speech advocates think that all free speech can happen in the manner of an exceedingly polite afternoon tea party, no matter how inflammatory the rhetoric.

      Saul isn’t likely to answer this, so maybe someone else will. Where does this come from? I’ve honestly never heard anyone say something like it’s important that we maintain the widest possible free speech and expression norms, because all speech is polite. If anything, it’s the opposite and free speech advocates generally maintain that it’s important to maintain the widest possible free speech and expression norms, especially for provocative and inciteful speech.

      If you want to argue that provocative speech should be subject to extra scrutiny, that’s fine. Make the argument. But this comment is a straw man constructed for the purpose of anticipating the argument that you want to make.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The obvious problem here is that you are assuming “disfavored” equates with “inflammatory.”

      Also, those Amendments were intended as a restriction on government action. Private communications are outside the scope of the First Amendment, because government has no authority to regulate private communications anyway.
      Theoretically, at least. Military families probably remember personal letters with large blocks blacked out. Those black blocks represent a governmental interest.

      That’s before the equating of a display of the Ten Commandments with an “establishment of [a] religion.”
      So, that’s all I need to do to establish a religion?
      Do you say the 12 Steps of AA are a religion?
      “Thou shalt have no other Group before Me…”, etc.?

      That said, there are issues here which are interesting in their own right:

      1) What bent of mind does it take to automatically assume that “disfavored” means “inflammatory”?
      Whatever it is, you’ve soaked in that salt long enough.
      I’m interested in what sort of visions you had down there when the oxygen was running scarce.

      2) This establishment of a religion thing is fairly interesting.
      I take it you would consider the Million Man March as establishing a religion of some sort.
      Ditto the Tea Party protests.
      So, what *ISN”T* a religion?

      Say, I’m at the courthouse one day, and I refuse to walk under a ladder. Have I established a religion in doing so?

      3) The focus on personal interactions in determining appropriate use of the force of the state is interesting, but I already know what this indicates, and I don’t care to rehash it.Report

    • notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      If you want to believe in free speech, you gotta be willing to accept more extreme reactions to free speech.

      If by “more extreme reactions” you mean violence then I say you are full of it. This sounds like an excuse for liberals that can’t exercise self control to commit violance. Just like the reactions of some folks here on this web site. I say something and they can’t control their reaction so they attack me and call for me to be banned.Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    *gif of Abe Simpson walking into the club and walking back out*Report

  8. Hoosegow Flask says:

    The man seems to have actual mental illness.


    Reed was to have a monthly shot for his antipsychotic treatment, but it was $900 after insurance benefits were applied. He was able to get two shots but then could no longer pay.


      • Jaybird in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

        That’s probably the best way to play this.

        “This wasn’t a Culture War attack on the 10 Commandments. This was a psychotic episode that could have been prevented by Single Payer.”Report

        • notme in reply to Jaybird says:

          Doesn’t the left usually rationalize terror attacks by saying the person has behavioral health issues.Report

        • Hoosegow Flask in reply to Jaybird says:

          The same guy did the same thing a couple years ago and was assigned to a mental facility. His recent Facebook posts are full of rambling messages about him fulfilling prophecy and at least 1 threat to Bush Sr., Jr. and Obama.

          But you’re probably right, it’s culture war stuff. But since he seems to be a very devote Christian, I’m not sure it’s the side of the culture war everyone seems to assume it is.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Again, you equate, “Looking at this from different angles upon the gathering of more information,” as “playing”.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

            There are a thousand perspectives and a thousand arguments to make and each of those thousand argument has a thousand counter-arguments and so on, ad infinitum.

            If this is an argument about whether it’s okay to have such a statue/monument on state grounds, you’re going to have one set of arguments.

            If this is an argument that avoids the content of the statue/monument on state grounds entirely to focus on health care and the need for health care to include mental health care, you’re going to have a different set of arguments entirely.

            And to the extent that “the left” is associated with both the “well, you have to understand why someone would destroy such a statue (not that I support this vigilante vandalism)” argument as well as the “health care should be single payer” argument, “the left” should acknowledge that there is more low-hanging fruit to be plucked in the latter than the former. The former is just “Culture War Part Smaller Infinity Of Larger Infinity”. The needle won’t move.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

              One argument is about how anti-Christian liberals plotted this.

              That argument is likely proven false by this information. Does that matter at all?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                To the people arguing “well, I don’t support vigilantism but you have to understand…”?

                I don’t know how much it matters to them.

                As for how much it matters to me, I have to say it’s not very much.Report

            • gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

              It seems like you are pushing the culture war stuff as much as anybody and certainly throwing out all the arguments you want to rail against as opposed the ones people here are making.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

                Greg, I’m arguing that moving this debate to “health care debate” grounds instead of “10 Commandments statue” grounds should be preferable to “the left” given that I think that it will help “the left” achieve more of its goals more quickly.

                So, to the extent that the health care debate is culture war stuff, you’re correct… but when you measure the health care debate as a culture war thing and compare it to the 10 Commandments statue as a culture war thing, you quickly realize that the 10 Commandments statue has been saying its prayers, taking its vitamins, eating right, and working out every day. (Culture war-wise, anyway.)Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Maybe you should spend less time trying to strategize how events should be debated.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:


                But premature Monday Morning Quarterbacking is how I roll.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:


      “While in treatment, his doctors found a combination of medications he can afford. His family developed a support system and know more about what to expect and do when a crisis develops.”Report

  9. Doctor Jay says:

    I pretty much agree with Burt. This monument was obviously illegal. AND, the courts should have been allowed to have their say.

    But to make a point about the obvious illegality of it – putting it up was not an act of good faith celebration of heritage. I can’t read it like that, not after there’s been so much litigation on this very point. I mean, come on, the whole basis of the “secular justification” for this sort of thing is that Moses was one of the first to establish rule of law. So whomever put it up can’t possibly be ignorant of that.

    So, it was not a simple act of earnest, good faith. Please don’t represent it as such.

    It was a provocation. As such, this does not remotely justify vandalism. Living in this country requires every citizen to ignore provocation and incitement. This can be difficult to get across to some people, especially if they feel their honor has been besmirched.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Placing a monument in a place where it is obviously illegal is an act of vandalism.

      The medium happened to be carved stone, not spraypaint, but it was a vandalism on the legislature grounds, property of all the people of Arkansas. It was just unusually high budget vandalism, committed with the approval of a majority of the legislators themselves, which just makes it more troubling than most vandalism.

      So now we have the most powerful people in the state, whining that a vandal vandalized their original vandalism of the most public of public property in the state.

      I am about as sympathetic to this whine as I am to graffiti artists who whine when someone else goes over their work, or to the dude who illegally installed the bull statue on Wall Street whining at the so-called vandalism of someone else legally installing an adjacent statue that recontextualized his.Report

      • Doctor Jay in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I’m going to push back on this a bit. It isn’t vandalism. It’s trolling, for sure. It’s political theater, as well. It’s irritating, smug, self-righteous and obnoxious. But it isn’t vandalism.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Don’t worry, they intend to rebuild it and put it back. Although hopefully they have come to understand the truth about the durability of writing something in stone, and will craft the next one in rubber.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Back here in my hometown, there was litigation up through the Ninth Circuit about the city council starting to hold prayers and religious invocations on the agenda at the opening of city council meetings. When the discussion point got to “Okay, well, why do you want to have these invocations anyway?” the answer was, with one exception,* “Well, the way we read the law, the city can, legally, have these prayers.” As if the fact that the city can have the prayers meant that it should.

      There are some situations in which a Decalogue monument has been held Constitutional. That’s typically either when the Decalogue monument is one of several pieces of public art that can be plausibly identified as commemorating some sort of secular or secular-friendly theme, like “Celebrating the rule of law” or “Reflections upon the history and evolution of the law.” Alternatively, a very old monument is sort of “grandfathered” in to the general history and setting of a particular public location, although this is not a rule that is formally articulated by the courts nor is there a particularly bright line about how old the monument has to be to “qualify” as “historical.”

      So far as I can tell, the Arkansas monument, which was erected on June 27, 2017, meets neither of these two criteria. From this, I think we can safely say that the justification for having this monument on governmental grounds is not one of the Constitutionally-permissible reasons, so even the weak-sauce excuse of “But we can do it” wouldn’t apply here.

      * The one exception was a comment from the mayor, who got pressed by a journalist he later criticized for doing this. He said, “When you compare other cities around our state, the ones that have prayers are just so much better off than the ones that don’t.” Pressed further to identify what this meant — lower crime rates, higher property values, more affordable housing, higher rates of economic growth — of course there turned out to be no data whatsoever. With all that said, the city prevailed in the litigation and to this day holds rotating invocations before city council meetings which, with only two exceptions in ten years, have all been offered by clerics of various Christian denominations.Report

  10. Saul Degraw says:

    So in liberal circles, we are talking about this NRA video as a real life Turner Diaries/Call for White Supremacy:

    From Drum:

    This raises a question for “both sides” apostles: Can you think of a recent video anywhere near as vicious as this one from a left-wing group? I don’t mean some dude on Twitter. I mean some significant organization associated with mainstream liberalism. It’s an honest question. I don’t watch a lot of propaganda videos, so I could easily have missed something. Any takers?


    • notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      So pointing out facts is now “vicious?” At least try and tell me what the video said isn’t true.Report

      • Doctor Jay in reply to notme says:

        The first line of the video is “They use their media to assassinate real news”.

        That’s not a statement that is capable of being either “true” or “false”. It is ridiculously vague, while being inflammatory. It means nothing other than “They are Bad”.

        This is a video that isn’t interested in truth. It’s interested in getting people wound up. It is the opposite of what we do here. I would think that you would get that.

        I’m not interested in watching any more of it. You shouldn’t be either. You really strike me as too smart for that crap.Report

        • notme in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          I only watched the entire thing to see how accurate Saul’s description was. I didn’t hear anything about a “real life Turner Diaries/Call for White Supremacy” Also, I didn’t want to be accused of commenting about a video I didn’t even watch.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to notme says:

        @saul-degraw You at least have to admit that public schools really are just for teaching kids that Trump is Hitler.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to notme says:

        I’m more interested in seeing if someone from the right side of the spectrum can meet Drum’s challenge — are you aware of a roughly equivalent bit of emotional provocation from a significant left-of-center organization? Something that invokes so many images and metaphors of violence, something that so selectively cherry-picks available facts and images to achieve its emotional purpose?Report

        • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Shouldn’t that question be directed at the left? I don’t watch propaganda from either side, but I’d think that the left side would be more familiar with their material.

          BTW, notme is right, this video isn’t about race at all. It’s messed-up that Saul thinks it is.Report

          • Don Zeko in reply to Pinky says:

            Probably not. The nature of the media environment is that people expose themselves to the most crazy-sounding stuff from the other side, but differ on which parts of their own side they follow.

            Certainly I’m not aware of anything on the left like that video, but I’m interested to hear if that reflects my POV or the truth of the matter.Report

            • Burt Likko in reply to Don Zeko says:

              This. The most likely source of someone being able to identify a batshit crazy left-wing piece of propaganda is going to be someone who gets exposed to it by reading a right-wing site that will find something extreme and then portraying it as typical.

              I rather doubt a liberal is going to provide me with evidence of someone on their own side proving me wrong. “If my side has bad actors, I remain silent about them and at most, fail to defend their indefensible actions. Better, though, would be to find some equivalent behavior on the other side, and pretend that it somehow vindicates my side.” That’s how the game is played nowadays.

              I remain unconvinced that liberals are particularly violent. Some individual people are at least sometimes violent, and they get that way for all manner of reasons. But I have great doubt that the number or proportion of left-politically-active people who behave in that manner is any greater (or, for that matter, lesser) than the number or proportion of right-politically-active people.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

                “I rather doubt a liberal is going to provide me with evidence of someone on their own side proving me wrong.”

                That should tell you that there’s something wrong. Conservatives condemn fellow conservatives all the time.

                Besides, I may be more likely to hear a crazy example from the left repeated by the right, but I’d have no feel for how prominent the original source is.Report

              • gregiank in reply to Pinky says:

                Liberals have been criticizing each other for years. That ain’t new. Some of it is intra party conflict but there is plenty of general criticism of other liberals.Report

              • Pinky in reply to gregiank says:

                Don’t take it up with me; take it up with Burt.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

                “I rather doubt a liberal is going to provide me with evidence of someone on their own side proving me wrong.”

                That should tell you that there’s something wrong. Conservatives condemn fellow conservatives all the time.

                There are responsible outdoorsmen who condemn other, irresponsible, outdoorsmen for ripping around in quads and damaging fragile ecosystems. How come I never hear responsible stamp collectors condemning irresponsible elements of the stamp collecting community for ripping around on quads damaging fragile ecosystems? It must be because there are no responsible stamp collectors!Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

            What’s it about, then? Can you explain it to liberals who apparently don’t understand, and while doing so answer Burt’s above question?Report

            • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

              Can I explain what something that’s not about race is about while demonstrating that people on the left do something similar? Is that what you’re asking?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                You said that Saul’s view of the video is messed up and said that in reply to Burt’s comment asking for conservatives to accept Drum’s challenge. So the question is: can you provide a defense of the video which explains to people like Saul that their views of it are incorrect and that claims the video contains a message of incitement are exaggerated.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                I didn’t say anything about the degree of the video’s incitement. I said that it’s not about race. It was anti-liberal. Liberalism isn’t a race.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Yes. What I’m asking is whether you could explain your view to a liberal who’s reflexive and by your lights incorrect judgment is that it ISN’T about race and incitement and so on. That you could communicate your views and defend them sufficiently so that a liberal would realize that their judgment is wrong. Part of that, it seems to me, requires explaining what the video IS about, and what message you think it’s communicating.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                I don’t know if I could provide a good explanation to someone who looks at a video that’s not about race and doesn’t mention race but assumes it’s about race. I also couldn’t provide Reed with a good explanation to convince him that the devil wasn’t telling him to destroy the 10 Commandments monument. They’re seeing and hearing things that don’t exist.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                I don’t know if I could provide a good explanation to someone who looks at a video that’s not about race and doesn’t mention race but assumes it’s about race.

                I’d think that’d be accomplished by explaining what The Real message of the video actually is. That a call-to-arms to defend conservative values doesn’t entail a call-to-arms defending racist values even tho some conservatives are white nationalists and minorities are predominently liberals.

                Add: I mean, suppose a liberal offered you the above reason for why they perceived the message of the video to be racist. What would your response be? That the word “racism” isn’t mentioned in the video? (Really?)Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                To say that a thing that isn’t racist isn’t racist is not necessary for a mentally healthy person, and it’s not sufficient for a person otherwise.

                I think Burt summed up the video pretty nicely at 2:00 pm.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Amazing. Really. I mean, I could articulate a rebuttal to the above argument pretty easily and I have nothing at stake in this debate, yet you won’t even address it other than to say anyone who perceives a racist message in the video is mentally ill.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                How is it not? I mean, it’s impolite on my part to say that, but what’s the benefit in pretending that something’s racist when it’s not, or that something that’s not racist can be realistically perceived as racist without it reflecting some seriously deformed thinking?Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Pinky says:

                What was racist about the White Hands ad?

                Edit: this is a dumb point but I’ll leave it up.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Because you haven’t argued for the view, you’re just asserting it. Alternately, I presented an argument for why someone might perceive a racial element to the messaging which you concluded would only be held by someone who’s mentally ill, again, just asserting that there is no racial elements conveyed in the video’s message.

                Which brings me back to where we started: can you defend the message conveyed by the video in such a way that it demonstrates to Saul that his perception of it is mistaken? Doing so would require offering your account of what the Real message actually is. And you apparently can’t. Or at least don’t want to.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                I certainly don’t want to. Every once in a while it’s necessary to reply “that’s madness”. It’s a tribute we have to pay to reason.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Pinky says:

                Well, liberals have been taught that everything, from Tibet to economic inequality to dryer lint, is due to either racism, sexism, greed, homophobia, or colonialism. There are five explanations in their mental toolbox, and they have to choose at least one.

                If they see racism where no one else can, it just means that they didn’t see sexism, greed, homophobia, or colonialism, so they went with the default.

                There was a time when colleges provided a truly liberal education that instilled a very broad range of views and created people with a gorgeous mental tapestry to view the world, built from everything the West has learned since Ancient Greece, and including insights into vastly different ways to view the world, views from China, ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, and the rain forests of Brazil.

                Those days are over. Progressive educators decided that the way forward was to turn students into narrowly focused, blindly obedient, weaponized political actors who couldn’t be distracted by things like uncomfortable realities.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to Pinky says:

                FTR, I don’t think it’s about race either, or if it is, the racial signals are so subtle that I can’t hear the dog whistle at all.

                I do think it’s about liberals. It portrays everyone left of center as both an outright enemy of the United States, and everyone who actually engages in left-of-center political expression as thugs from whom “normal” (read: conservative) people need physical protection.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Burt Likko says:

                It’s not just about race, or entirely about race, but this kind of apocalyptic fear of civil disorder, “thugs,” etc isn’t unrelated to race, either.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

                It sure does. It obviously does.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky says:

            Okay I misspoke but it is about violence against liberals and the NRA has a long-standing history of staying mum when it comes to the 2nd Amendment rights of Black people (see Philandro Castile).

            Plenty of liberals condemned the sucker punch of Richard Spencer back in January.Report

            • Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              ” NRA has a long-standing history of staying mum when it comes to the 2nd Amendment rights of Black people ”

              Yeah, not entirely true.

              I just read an article in one of the many NRA publications that specifically referenced early gun control laws to restrict the access of blacks to guns. Perhaps this isn’t common knowledge? Just like the redlining laws and fed housing load subsidies….all done “for the good the people”…just not the blacks.Report

        • j r in reply to Burt Likko says:

          … are you aware of a roughly equivalent bit of emotional provocation from a significant left-of-center organization?

          That entirely depends on how you want to define equivalent. Conservatives and progressives tend to speak different political languages and tend to privilege different aspects of their moral intuition. Where conservatives are self-righteous and obsessed with in-group loyalty and punishing dissent, progressives are smug and obsessed with signaling their virtue through a specious taxonomy of victims and oppressors.

          So no, there is not much quite like that video coming from the left, but there is plenty that serves the same functional equivalent. The interesting thing that you notice once you pull back a bit is that while neither side is shaped like the other, the two pieces snap together quite well.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to j r says:

            Conservatives and progressives tend to speak different political languages

            Exactly this. The problem is that they aren’t translatable into a shared language where real communication could take place.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to j r says:

            I remember once analogizing Upworthy as the liberal equivalent of Breitbart.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to j r says:

            So no, there is not much quite like that video coming from the left, but there is plenty that serves the same functional equivalent.

            What exactly do you mean by ‘functional equivalent’?

            What the left does is attempt to create supposedly inverted hierarchies that are mostly nonsensical and no one out of their little group listens to, and they just end up yammering to themselves. Yes, it can be disconcerting if you actually find yourself inside it, or are given an image of it from the outside, but there does not appear to be any actual harm.

            What the right does is build elaborate reasons their enemies are attempting to destroy everything they hold dear, and their solution is barely restrained threats of violence if the left continues that. Together with massive amounts of Othering that barely acknowledge their political opponents as human.

            I think it’s entirely possible that both of those are serving same ‘purpose’, in the technical sense of keeping groups unified and to some extent blaming the outside, but that doesn’t mean what the right is doing isn’t more dangerous, both in the strictly physical sense of ‘more people running around with guns and a few mentally unstable people pushed off the edge’, and it being more damaging as part of the political ecosystem.

            Shooting road flare guns at campfires might be the ‘functional equivalent’ of lighting a campfire with fire starter and a match, and be intended to get the same result, and often does…but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out that the road flare method of starting a fire is exceptionally stupid and dangerous.Report

        • Will H. in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I haven’t watched the video, and I don’t care to.

          As to the “challenge”:

          The “One in four college women will be raped” qualifies.
          This line has been debunked several times, but resurrected each time for its shock appeal.

          The Right is more about what people are able to do, while the Left is all about what people are *NOT* able to do.
          Viewed from that angle, it is every bit to be expected that the

          I’ll leave it there, because I find the whole concept revolting enough to leave it alone, but I got this far.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Will H. says:

            I will say that, about a year or so ago, I started to wonder if I just really *HATE* people.
            Then I started wondering why it would take me well into my late 40’s to figure out something so basic about my psyche.
            Then I started wondering why I didn’t feel like I just really hated people all the time I lived in California, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, or Kansas. Or the extended stays in Colorado and New Jersey. But, all of a sudden, after I get to Illinois, I start thinking, “Maybe I hate people.”
            That realization made me stop to think maybe it isn’t so much me, but the place. Perhaps the time as well.

            And just a few days ago, I started thinking, “Maybe I just really don’t like black people.”
            And then I started wondering why it would take me well into my late 40’s to figure out such a thing.
            And I thought about my long history of personal and intimate relations with many blacks I have known throughout my life.
            And I wonder what it is about blacks in this place and in this time that would make me wonder if I just really don’t like the whole lot of them.

            I already have part of that figured out, but I don’t care to share it right now.

            I will say that I would rather see women on college campuses murdered rather than touched in any way that might be perceived or mis-perceived as sexual in nature by at least one of the participants, because that way, at least, they would shut the hell up.
            I’m starting to think the Death Flights under the Junto in Argentina were a good idea– a great way to deal with Midwesterners as well as blacks.
            And I hope there’s room for plenty women aboard.

            I believe I place a high value on peace, without regard as to whether I am required to wade knee-deep through blood to get it.Report

            • Damon in reply to Will H. says:

              Disengage dude.

              You can get along swell but not getting involved, not rocking the boat, and keeping to yourself/close fam.

              Screw the rest. “Let them all drown in lakes of blood.” They likely will anyway.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Damon says:

                They likely will anyway.

                I’m aware of that.
                It’s quite probable the absolute worst I can do to them is leave them to their own devices.

                But there really isn’t an indication of malice on my part.
                It’s antipathy. Impatience, in that I would rather them go to hell now rather than drag it out a long time.

                I can’t tell you what’s going on around me, not without it being quite lengthy.
                But the idiocy becomes quite predictable after awhile.
                And it’s probably that they don’t even bother to vary it a bit now & then that bugs me so.
                It’s sort of like a cross between Groundhog Day and Dukes of Hazard, with the worst parts of each.
                The dolor sets in with having too much a mind– as the General Lee goes flying through the air right before the cut to commercial break, all I can feel is, “Goddammit! Not this BS again!”

                Living the dream, buddy.Report

              • Damon in reply to Will H. says:

                I can relate. EVERY day I see some idiot not paying attention to their driving, among other things. Delaying at the green light. Stopping in the middle of the traffic circle thinking I have right of way (entering the circle). People who weave over the yellow line and are a hazard. People who unpredictably speed up or slow down, or insist on doing 20 miles below the posted limit in clear dry weather. And that’s just the driving……Report

            • Pinky in reply to Will H. says:

              I can’t tell if you’re describing something perfectly normal or a complete breakdown.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Pinky says:

                I can’t tell if you’re describing something perfectly normal or a complete breakdown.

                I suppose that depends on which side of it you’re on.

                Let’s say that I’ve been dealing with university administration quite a bit here lately.

                But, so you can enjoy the irony . . .

                I have a 3.85 in all management coursework, and was the case competition chair for the student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management until January, when I resigned in protest.
                I understand task ambiguity when I see it. That’s the sort of thing our competitions depend on. I have been trained by some award-winning professors (research university, publications, etc.).
                Administration needs a bit more coursework, I’m thinking.

                Also, I did very well on the LSAT. I understand a “scope shift” argument when I hear one. And it happens so much in talking with certain personnel, I wonder if they are truly detached from reality and living in a completely fabricated world.

                Why do they teach me this stuff?

                I know, for a fact, they certainly don’t wish for me to apply it to them.

                Thank God I didn’t study psychology (beyond what I needed to satisfy a gen ed req).Report

            • George Turner in reply to Will H. says:

              Rejoice and be happy. Just as many of our problems started with the hippy generation, so too did they provide solutions. We have conflicts, but we also have illegal drugs. Illegal drugs are like Ivory Soap for the gene pool.

              Kaiser data showing 33,000 deaths in 2015, mostly white compared to the population.

              CDC data with chart covering up through 2015.

              New York Times chart covering 2016, which saw between 59,000 and 65,000 deaths, which is 20 deaths per 100,000 people, far higher than the homicide rate of 4.9. It’s so bad that hit men have probably ditched silencers for needles, because at this point I doubt cops would even take a second look at an overdose victim. Tag ’em and bag ’em.

              We’ve lost roughly 110,000 people in just three years. In raw numbers, the 2016 rate is around half the deaths we sustained annually during WW-II, but twice the total number of battle deaths we suffered in the Korean War.

              And by the charts above, the death rate is increasing almost exponentially. It’s like a mass suicide event. With China shipping fentanyl and carfentanil to the drug cartels, the country will soon be back down to a population made up entirely of church ladies and rotary club members.Report

          • notme in reply to Will H. says:

            Or this false statistic that 4.2 percent of American kids have witnessed a shooting in the past year and how it’s being pushed by the “news”


        • aaron david in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Ah, how quickly Michael Moore is forgotten.

          I actually like Drum and read his columns, but he is rather silly here. That said, I do think @jr is correct, in that both conservatives and progressives speak different languages, though they both stem from High Medieval Outrage. If you work diligently, you can start to pick up the patterns in that language family.Report

        • notme in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I don’t know if someone of the right can find such a video. Even if they can’t, I say so what. What does it prove of disprove? I’d find it more interesting if Drum could tell us if and how the video is factually incorrect. I also still want to hear from Saul to support his race claim.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Drum, ‘vicious’
      Well we got the ‘deplorables’ video.
      We got the ‘you didn’t build that’ video.
      We got the ‘bitter clingers’ video.

      Calling Hollywood an organization, or maybe just considering the actors guild, we could go into what the actors are doing.

      Late night. period. No need to even unpack that one.
      Madonna and blowing up the white house.
      Kathy with the severed head.
      Johnny talking presidential assassinations.

      The SPLC constantly demonizing the far right. There is no telling what kind of videos come out of that institution and who is brainwashed with them.

      Do we really need to unpack the Department of Justices leanings?

      The left does have a few that point at the media problems associated with a particular type of liberalism:

      With all that said it doesn’t mean much. Gun sales are down, The paranoia has to be stirred.

      The NRA is in trouble of loosing control/support of significant portions of it’s base.

      The thing about atomization is you do not need social constructs like the NRA. The FBI was infiltrating heavily into many events the last eight years. Gray manning was actually trained to troops within the boundaries of the nation.

      The NRA is trying to use disdain for modern liberalism to consolidate support from a significant percentage of the population. (Bannon is somewhat doing the same with his films.)

      These folks are concerned. The authoritarian right is concerned. Members of congress have been shot. The media for months have been printing that the sky is falling. Calls to RESIST, without actually saying what that means.

      All this is politics. All this is the slow escalation into authoritarianism. I wish both sides could put down the need to control politics. The desire for control, the desire for power. This has a predictable end, and it isn’t peace.Report

  11. DavidTC says:

    Are we sure that this is someone who objected to the ten commandments in general, or is it someone who objected to the fact that version of that ten commandments didn’t include the second commandment!

    You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    And it leaves out all the detailed instructions about the Sabbath. That commandment is actually:

    Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

    As a Baptist, I am very offended they just decided they could rewrite the Ten Commandments. What the hell is this? Is this the Official US Government version of the Ten Commandments? Who gave them that authority?

    It also weirdly includes the statement that the tablet is God. The tablet is not God, and that sentence is not part of the Ten Commandments. God first says who he is, and then gives the commandments. This is not rocket theology, people. This is like being told to swear an oath and you think the first line of the oath is ‘Repeat after me’. U R DUMB.

    It also tells people not to kill, instead of not to murder. Kinda vague translation there, guys. The correct concept really is ‘murder’…’kill’ not only applies to stuff that isn’t included under that, but can also apply to non-people!

    Edit: Also, I know it seems pointless because almost no one has them, but they dropped ‘neighbor’s ox or donkey’ from the explicit list of things not to covet. That’s a minor quibble compared to leaving an entire commandment out, though, or most of the rest of another one.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

      The photo there does have “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven images” FWIW.

      It does seem odd to cut the second commandment down so short, and still devote so much of the available space to the list (albeit incomplete) of things one shan’t covet.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Just a question for the Judeao-Christian monotheists here. Innocent entirely, just a bit of curiousity from this maybe-not-so-imminently-to-be-immolated-atheist: doesn’t the phrase “graven image” inherently mean “an image that has been carved into stone”? That monument was made out of stone, right? And it had an image carved into it?

        If it turns out that “Oh, you see, some images are OK, what YHWH really meant was these kinds of images,” then I think our man @davidtc may have a point: what was on the monument were not the actual Ten Commandments.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I don’t read Hebrew, so I can only go from the translations, but every translation I’ve seen is pretty explicit that it’s any image or likeness of any thing – representational visual art is forbidden. Engraving in stone or other medium is not the point.

          So, the text on the monument there is probably alright, but the visual representations of arch-topped tablets, scrolls, a bird, and is that supposed to be a US flag? – those are right out.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Burt Likko says:

          One of the versions of the Ten Commandments has that one referring to bowing down before guilt gods, which was an Israelite stab at Judea, where Jews did just that. Needless to say, the Judean version of that commandment was different.

          But then the commandments God had Moses chisel on the tablets in Exodus 34 is virtually unrecognizable. Stuff about unlevened bread and whoring with foreign women and cutting down enemy orchards.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Oh, there’s a reason the rest of the graven images thing was left out.

          I kinda want to demand the right to put just this part of the ten commandments in courthouses: for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me

          Let’s see how the courts like putting up punishment suggestions that literally violate the constitution.Report

          • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

            Those don’t violate the constitution because we have Deuteronomy 7:9

            Know that the LORD your God is God, the trusted God who faithfully keeps his covenant to the thousandth generation of those who love him and obey his commands.

            And we have Exodus 34:6-7

            The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
            I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations.”

            You see, the courts would recognize that although the father had sinned, he and his heirs are still covered under the thousand generations clause. As long as one of your ancestors, up to a thousand generations prior, had loved and obeyed God, you and your descendants are protected from God’s wrath mentioned in the second part.

            Basically, God needed a lawyer when he drafted that one, and as we all know, he doesn’t have access to any because they go somewhere else. This came up before when an engineer went to hell and installed a nifty HVAC system and in anger, God demanded that Satan send the engineer to heaven. Satan refused and God threatened to sue, so Satan retorted “Ha! Sue me? Like you can find a lawyer up there!”Report

        • notme in reply to Burt Likko says:

          “A graven image is an image carved out of stone, wood, or metal. It could be a statue of a person or animal, or a relief carving in a wall or pole.” This is all about an image of a deity. Besides no one is worshiping the the stone with the commandments on them.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to notme says:

            Besides no one is worshiping the the stone with the commandments on them.

            Why not? It’s explicitly claiming to be a deity and demanding people worship It. It says that It Is the LORD our GOD. Surely someone has started worshiping by now.

            Although that wouldn’t make It an image of a deity, I guess, but the actual deity Itself. (Himself? Herself? I cannot figure out the gender of this deity.)

            Conclusion: I demand that someone take down the image at the top of the page! It is a graven image of the deity named…Ten Commandments? (Not sure if that’s the name either. Well, I guess keeping us from knowing the name is a good way to keep us from using the name in vain.)

            Incidentally, if this is true, if that thing is claiming to be God, instead of worrying that someone knocked it down, traditionally we should just wait a couple of days and see if it comes back by itself.

            That’s when people will really get on board with the worship.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

              Prior to 9/11, the Taliban in Afghanistan were destroying the Buddhas of Bamiyan. There were a handful of people who complained that these statues were 1500 years old and they were being destroyed by barbarian iconoclasts but, thankfully, there were smarter people around who explained that the *REAL* Buddha would have merely seen these as what they were: mud, straw, and stucco.

              So we shouldn’t care that people were destroying them.

              I think that that was how the argument went.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                There were a handful of people who complained that these statues were 1500 years old and they were being destroyed by barbarian iconoclasts but, thankfully, there were smarter people around who explained that the *REAL* Buddha would have merely seen these as what they were: mud, straw, and stucco.

                From what I understand of Buddha, he probably would have thought them pointless to erect in the first place, but also thought the fanatical demand to destroy them somewhat crazed and not in anyway helpful to a person’s well-being.

                He’d probably be okay with them just falling to pieces over time, though.

                But I’m just basically guessing…as are the people who seem to think we shouldn’t condemn them being torn down.

                So we shouldn’t care that people were destroying them.

                That doesn’t make much sense, when you think about. We are not (presumably) Buddhist, so are hardly required to listen to what Buddha (hypothetically) thinks about things. 😉

                And he didn’t even put them up, so doesn’t get any sort of hypothetical creator rights.

                We’re modern Westerners, and the modern Western world says ‘Leave old stuff alone’.

                But even Christianity, even before any sort of pluralism or historical protection stuff, never did waste a good religious statue or holy site. If Christendom, in the Middle Ages, had ended up with a giant Buddha statue, someone would have added some hair and put a cross on the end of his walking staff or around his neck or something, and have figured out a Christian saint to pretend he was.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

          The Jews never treated the Ten Commandments as the sum total of the law. (Remember the tassels and pork and stuff?) One method of rabbinical interpretation is known by its Hebrew initials “pardes”, which stand for the literal meaning, the allegorical meaning, the comparative or textual meaning, and the mystical meaning. An example of an allegorical meaning would be that G-d says that He is jealous, and clearly the worship of the golden calf was frowned upon, so we can generalize beyond the literal meaning to understand that G-d was commanding against any kind of idol worship.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Remember also that the law was seen as a gift and a privilege, not something to be scoured for loopholes. Human nature being what it is, there was always the danger of legalism, but the law was seen as an opportunity to develop a stronger relationship between G-d and His people.

          If your spouse is headed off to an office party alone, and says, “it’s going to be a late night, oh, and by the way, do you have the exact text of our wedding vows? I want to check something”, you’re going to be upset. A loving relationship looks beyond the mere words.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

        The photo there does have “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven images” FWIW.

        Doh! You are correct.

        Then a bigger problem is, because they made ‘do not covet your neighbor’s house’ separate from the other coveting commandment…they actually list eleven commandments. Seriously, count them:

        1. No other Gods.
        2. No graven images.
        3. No name in vain
        4. Sabbath
        5. Honor father and mother
        6. No killing
        7. No adulturing
        8. No stealing
        9. No false witnessing
        10. No coveting neighbor’s houses
        11. No coveting other pieces of personal property, like someone’s wife or servants.

        And that’s not counting the tablet declaring itself God as ‘a commandment.’

        TABLET: I, A Stone TABLET Your GOD, Do Write Upon Myself These Ten Commandments…I Mean Eleven, Sorry, I Split The House Part Out Because The Last One Was Too Wordy

        Moses: That’s the one you thought was too wordy? You’ve put a short biography of yourself in the second one!

        It does seem odd to cut the second commandment down so short, and still devote so much of the available space to the list (albeit incomplete) of things one shan’t covet.

        But, remember, folks, you can still covet your neighbor’s husband. That’s completely fine.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

          I’m gonna to home now and covet my neighbour’s ox. Cause I can. Get in about an hour of ox-coveting before my tattoo appointment to get “Lev 19:28” on my shoulder in the gothicest gothic font they can do.Report

    • George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

      There are eight versions of the Ten Commandments. One entirely omits the graven image commandment. One includes as one of the commandments the commandment to erect the Ten Commandments on Mount Gerizim.

      None of them make much sense. It’s filler to advance the plot, because having a covenant with God wouldn’t work as a literary device unless the text mentions what the covenant actually says. So they stuck in some stuff about donkeys not working on Sunday.Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    The minor thing that I worry about when I see “well, you have to understand…” arguments in service to this sort of thing is related to the major thing that I worry about in general.

    This is vigilantism.

    I worry about more people saying something to the effect of “One Man With Courage Makes A Majority” and taking matters into their own hands and Making Things The Way They Ought To Be.

    I mean, look out there. There are a *LOT* of really, really messed up things that have happened over the last few years. A shift where more people start thinking “One Man With Courage Makes A Majority” will result in more nouns receiving kinetic feedback than merely tombstones.

    And the “well, you have to understand…” arguments betray how dry this tinder has become.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

      I like the way you cut to the heart of the matter.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will H. says:

        War or Divorce.

        We’re actually pretty lucky that the guy who did this is diagnosed as having been off his medication.

        My first assumption was that the guy who did this was following his premises to a logical conclusion. (He, apparently, even set up a gofundme beforehand.)Report

        • Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

          The article says the monument was at the state capitol rather than a courthouse.
          Big difference there.

          Personally, I’m ok with it being at a courthouse.
          Two ways it can turn out there: Either people use it as a means of remembering their humanity, and connecting to the humanity of others, or they will use it as an excuse to be a complete d!ck to people.
          Hope for the best, I say.
          Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

          The state capitol is a different dynamic.
          It makes me think that legislators might be getting delusions of the origins of their legislating, and start doing weird things.

          A fundamentally utilitarian view, I suppose.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Will H. says:

            Well, of course I too worry that the Arkansas legislature will drive out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, peoples who wouldn’t be here if we’d just BUILD A WALL.Report