Discussion:
Beware of "Focus on the Family!"
(too old to reply)
spinoza1111
2007-01-09 06:54:49 UTC
Permalink
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.

They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.

Their "advice" is insane.

For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.

For example, in a recent column, the family is counseled that "buying a
computer on a credit card" is irresponsible.

It gives fairly good arguments that mainly due to planned obsolescence,
the typical family will take longer to pay the computer off than its
useful life! But not a peep of criticism of unprincipled computer
companies that plan for this obsolescence and instead of fixing bugs in
older platforms or even in new releases, of course: not a hint that the
family may not be totally to blame.

Also, no consideration of the needs of the homeschooler for access to
educational materials, a consideration which may make her decide to go
ahead, and "waste" her money (on her children's education!) despite the
"irrationality" of the decision!

Her status as a debtor is without argument equated by this "ministry"
to a deeply fallen status in which she loses, at least until she shapes
up, the day to day ability to be a Mother and an educator, as if human
agency is conditional and can be verbally withdrawn by a patriarchal
"ministry" because of a venial "irresponsibility"...which she committed
to educate her kids! This is nuts!

The ultimate unfairness is that the peoples' spirituality is sold back
to them by corporations.

A curious feature of American law is that corporations are considered
"legal persons" even with rights. This was used to delay the end of Jim
Crow racism in America, since the 19th, and early 20th century, since
the Supreme Court interpreted the 14 the Amendment and "equal
protection" in favor of corporations engaged in interstate commerce,
and it actually said that actual violations (including the lynchings of
thousands of black people who did not, under any sensible construction
of the law, receive "equal protection" for nearly a hundred years) were
state matters and beyond its authority!

I think Christians in America need to ask themselves the following
question.

Are some American corporations demons?

This would be an Entity with human and super-human powers but no moral
obligations who would also twist human law and governance to its own
selfish ends.

If corporations are demons, then the corporations behind Focus on the
Family may be exactly what St. John meant by demons in the last book of
the Bible; many Bible scholars say that what he was talking about as
regards "the beast" were the corrupt institutions of the Roman Empire,
which refused to value the personhood of slaves and Christians, until
its conversion under Constantine and even, in many cases, thereafter.

And it stands to reason that these demonic corporations would seek to
counsel Christians in the name of a Christianity that they've sold back
to them, telling them they are not children of God but unutterably
foolish people, who bought a computer to educate their kids.

It also stands to reason that these demonic corporations would seek to
egg humans on to persecute weakness in the form of the perception of
"homosexuality", and cause people to regress from an adult spirituality
to the religion of scared 14 year olds.

It also stands to reason that these demonic corporations would infest
our government...and get 3000 good men and women killed in Iraq.

You don't even have to be a Christian to know that at the latter day,
things might get so awful to be for all intents and purposes an end
time, and to realize that what the Bible says about "demons" can be
fully explained by the sorts of corrupt institutions that MEN form.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-10 06:13:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by spinoza1111
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.
They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.
Their "advice" is insane.
For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go into
debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for example, does
one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual" need? Can we
purchase the Holy Spirit on the installment plan? Buy some reconciliation
with God not already provided us by His Son's death and resurrection? And
are not these things given us in the New Testament as able to meed ALL our
"spiritual" needs?
Post by spinoza1111
For example, in a recent column, the family is counseled that "buying a
computer on a credit card" is irresponsible.
It gives fairly good arguments that mainly due to planned obsolescence,
the typical family will take longer to pay the computer off than its
useful life! But not a peep of criticism of unprincipled computer
companies that plan for this obsolescence and instead of fixing bugs in
older platforms or even in new releases, of course: not a hint that the
family may not be totally to blame.
Also, no consideration of the needs of the homeschooler for access to
educational materials, a consideration which may make her decide to go
ahead, and "waste" her money (on her children's education!) despite the
"irrationality" of the decision!
You started out with the example of "Focus on the Family" alleging that
buying a computer on credit was "irresponsible". Being irresponsible and
being irrational are not necessarily the same things...not be a long shot.

Was the point that making expenditures of monies you don't yet have being
irresponsible except in the extreme's life sometimes presents us with lost
on you? I think the additional point here is that a computer, while a nifty
modern tool for education, is not an indispensible educational tool. After
all, the people who invented them didn't have them. And there are still
books a plenty, and lots of cheap, even free ways to gain access to them.
Remember libraries?

Your argument assumes a trade-off that you don't specify, which I think is a
mistake. The homeschooler isn't faced with a decision to buy a computer on
credit or forfeit the benefits of homeschooling one's children, but between
a more expensive (buying on credit is ALWAYS more expensive than paying
cash) means of acquiring the necessary educational materials in less time,
as opposed to acquiring them less expensively in a greater amount of time.
Since an education is something that proceeds over a long period of time,
and according to a foreseeable plan, the benefit in acquiring the materials
needed quickly seems to be less than the benefit of the money saved in
acquiring them more slowly.
Post by spinoza1111
Her status as a debtor is without argument equated by this "ministry"
to a deeply fallen status in which she loses, at least until she shapes
up, the day to day ability to be a Mother and an educator, as if human
agency is conditional and can be verbally withdrawn by a patriarchal
"ministry" because of a venial "irresponsibility"...which she committed
to educate her kids! This is nuts!
Is that an accurate version of what they are actually saying; or are they
merely saying that one teaches their children a flawed methodology in living
an abundant life by teaching them by example that it is a "good" thing to
have things now and pay for them later?
Post by spinoza1111
The ultimate unfairness is that the peoples' spirituality is sold back
to them by corporations.
That could only be true on a very novel, shall we say, understanding of
"spirituality". Would you care to actually specify your understanding of
what constitutes a person's "spirituality"? It may help understand your
argument here.
Post by spinoza1111
A curious feature of American law is that corporations are considered
"legal persons" even with rights.
Why curious? Is it that you don't understand why? Or is it that you do
understand, but find the reasons puzzling or bizarre in some way? If the
latter, in what ways do you find the fact that corporations are treated as
"persons" under US law (and all state laws, btw) puzzling and/or bizarre?

This was used to delay the end of Jim
Post by spinoza1111
Crow racism in America, since the 19th, and early 20th century, since
the Supreme Court interpreted the 14 the Amendment and "equal
protection" in favor of corporations engaged in interstate commerce,
and it actually said that actual violations (including the lynchings of
thousands of black people who did not, under any sensible construction
of the law, receive "equal protection" for nearly a hundred years) were
state matters and beyond its authority!
Am I reading this correctly?? Are you really suggesting that corporations
lynched thousands of Blacks, and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment
as its reason for not deciding these murder cases? I hope not, because
there are about a dozen things wrong with saying that; enough to fill
several pages if they were presented in detail.

So for fun, let's just take one of them briefly. Murder isn't a federal
offense. It therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the SCOTUS. If the
SCOTUS were going to rule on anything concerning the lynching of Blacks by
ANYONE, it would pertain to how that case was handled by the executive and
judicial branches of the state government that had jurisdiction, and if it
cited the 14th Admendment in doing that, it would have to be in regard to a
violation by the State of the murdered person's right to equal protection
under the law. But unless you're actually going to cite the SCOTUS cases
you're alluding to, it's very difficult to understand what you're actually
saying here.
Post by spinoza1111
I think Christians in America need to ask themselves the following
question.
Are some American corporations demons?
This would be an Entity with human and super-human powers but no moral
obligations who would also twist human law and governance to its own
selfish ends.
On that basis, I'd have to say, no, corporations are not entities with human
or superhuman powers but no moral obligations (not going into the "...would
twist human law...etc." because of its rather amorphous nature). First,
because corporations don't have human attributes unless one has a very vivid
imagination. People have cognition with which they make their decisions to
act in a specific manner; corporations have boards of directors, middle
managers, foremans, etc. People often make decisions to do nothing at all;
corporations produce or die. People can often make decisions free of the
pressure to compete with other people; corporations don't often have that
luxury, and if they do, it is generally fleeting.

But enough about the differences between people and corporations that are
obvious to everyone and that make your analogy more an exercise in emotion
than intellect. What about those "moral obligations"? Well, it turns out
corporations have those as well. They are bound to abide by the letter, if
not the spirit of the laws that exist...just like you. If they don't like
those laws, if they find them oppressive to their interests, then they have
the ability and freedom to work within the system to change them to laws
they find more suitable to their interests....just like you. And they have
both a moral and a pragmatic obligation to their stockholders and customers.
They have a moral obligation to their stockholders in that their
stockholders have invested their hard earned dollars with them in hopes of a
return on that investment...similar to your expectations in opening a
savings account. You have a "right" (under law) to expect the bank to make
good on its advertised savings account interest rate. Stockholders,
likewise, have a "right" to expect a corporation to take advantage of every
legal opportunity to make good on their expectations as well. The only
difference is that corporations exist in such a dog eat dog world of
competition that no corporation can "advertise" a rate of return on
investment. In fact, it is SO unreasonable to speak of rates of return from
corporate investments before they occur that there is a LAW against
advertising them, so as to protect the terminally stupid from being
hoodwinked! And of course, most people live in a completely different
environment; where they have family and friends to help them over mistakes
and rough spots in the road, who will defer collecting debts without tacking
on interest, who excuse their failings and flaws by making "allowances" for
them, etc. In short, who treat them like people instead of corporations.

And as for their pragmatic obligation to their customers, since they vote
with their feet, if a corporation wants to thrive, or even just continue to
exist, it must meet the needs and expectations of its customers. Here again
we find a significant difference between corporations and people. If you
are loved at all, you are loved for who you are, not what you can do for
anyone. Corporations have only one purpose, and it is completely
utilitarian. In this sense, they may be compared more favorably to a faucet
than a person. If you go to the faucet for water, and it doesn't give you
any, or gives you more than you wanted (perhaps by continually dripping?
That anyone else's pet peeve?), or in some other way doesn't meet your
expectations for a faucet, then you rip it out and replace it, or you call a
plumber to do it for you, but one way or another you "vote with your feet";
you find another faucet that DOES meet your expectations (and when you go
out shopping for it, you're going to be balancing performance expectations
with cost, so all those faucets sitting on the store shelf are, in a very
real sense, "competing" for your business...in fact, every bit as much as
was the one you just had ripped out of your sink back home!). But what you
don't do is sit there without any water "loving" that faucet because it's a
"faucet" even if it doesn't work!! Yet this is EXACTLY the relationship
that ALL corporations have with their customers. If they don't perform to
expectations, then the customer base simply goes somewhere else to find what
it needs at a cost it is willing to pay.

This is what the economics of capitalism is all about; a willing producer
selling to a willing consumer. It only works if you, as the customer, don't
buy when you're not actually "willing" to buy, and this is the part of
capitalism that is most vulnerable to this "buy now, pay later" principle of
consumption that you seem to think is so necessary. If you can buy it
without cost, by putting off the cost for another day, then both you, as the
consumer, and the seller, as the producer, have, in effect, circumvented
some of the aspects of being "willing" to conduct the transaction. Each of
you is putting off that aspect of being "willing" for another day, even
though TODAY is when the goods changed hands. Each of you has, in effect,
split up the transaction into an actual exchange of goods in the present,
and a "willingness" to make the transaction to some point in the future; ie.
when you've made that last payment.

In reality, the future belongs to no one but God, and it only belongs to Him
in the sense of His knowledge of it. For everyone else, the future may as
well not exist. It is unknown, and unknowable to us mere mortals. God
promises tomorrow to no one. Yet when I buy on credit, the future is
exactly what I'm using for money. It is my "cost" in acquiring the goods,
and in a very real sense buying on credit is paying for goods with not only
money I don't have, but with a future I don't own. There has to be
something wrong in this; something subtley threatening; lurking, yet
difficult to see and describe adequately; something at work behind the
scenes that shapes lives; has the power to REALLY enslave, by removing
future alternatives/possibilities. Does this not better describe what we
think of as a "demon"?
Post by spinoza1111
If corporations are demons...
But since they're not, we don't have to explore the "ifs" here, so....

<snip>
Post by spinoza1111
And it stands to reason that these demonic corporations would seek to
counsel Christians in the name of a Christianity that they've sold back
to them, telling them they are not children of God but unutterably
foolish people, who bought a computer to educate their kids.
You're claiming that "Focus on the Family" actually said that buying a
computer as an aid to education your child equated with being "foolish"? I
don't know much about FF, but I find that hard to believe. A minute ago
FF's claim was only that buying a computer on CREDIT was foolish. That
claim seems to be evolving as this post goes along!
Post by spinoza1111
It also stands to reason that these demonic corporations would seek to
egg humans on to persecute weakness in the form of the perception of
"homosexuality", and cause people to regress from an adult spirituality
to the religion of scared 14 year olds.
I find this speculation simply bizarre. Bible believing Christians condemn
homosexuality as a sin simply because the Bible condemns homosexuality as a
sin. There is simply no need to go through some convoluted and incoherent
mental process that ends with it being the fault of corporations that Bible
believing Christians condemn homosexuality as sinful. It's like theorizing
a dastardly corporate conspiracy to explain why you don't like chocolate!
Post by spinoza1111
It also stands to reason that these demonic corporations would infest
our government...and get 3000 good men and women killed in Iraq.
Corporations are barred from holding government positions by law. If
anything is "infecting" our government, it's going to be people related, not
corporations related...flights of pure fantasy excluded, of course.
Post by spinoza1111
You don't even have to be a Christian to know that at the latter day,
things might get so awful to be for all intents and purposes an end
time, and to realize that what the Bible says about "demons" can be
fully explained by the sorts of corrupt institutions that MEN form.
Having now a sample of your ability to construct analogies, and your
apparent rejection of any logical or fact based limitations in that effort,
I dare say you could fully explain ANYTHING using ANYTHING!

But hey, don't be shy. When you have these theories come crashing in on
you, please feel free to come here and share them. The 14th Amendment
doesn't just protect lynchers you know.

Chuck Stamford
Eric Fisher
2007-01-10 13:55:57 UTC
Permalink
Chuck=A0Stamford:
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go
into debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for
example, does one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual"
need?
<><><>><><><><<><><><><

the anti-christian posters? they'll be needing all sorts of spiritual
trinkets, spell books, charms, potions, etc.
hehe
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-11 09:02:40 UTC
Permalink
"Eric Fisher" <***@webtv.net> wrote in message news:25346-45A4F06D-***@storefull-3214.bay.webtv.net...
Chuck Stamford:
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go
into debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for
example, does one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual"
need?
<><><>><><><><<><><><><

the anti-christian posters? they'll be needing all sorts of spiritual
trinkets, spell books, charms, potions, etc.
hehe

Well, spinoza1111 seems pretty well rounded. Knows as much about
Christianity as he/she (and I'm leaning toward "she" here) does about
economics...which is to say, not much. In fact, it's difficult for me to
believe this post wasn't a joke it was so ignorantly composed. Difficult,
but not impossible....thus the response.

Chuck Stamford
spinoza1111
2007-01-12 05:50:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go
into debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for
example, does one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual"
need?
<><><>><><><><<><><><><
the anti-christian posters? they'll be needing all sorts of spiritual
trinkets, spell books, charms, potions, etc.
hehe
Well, spinoza1111 seems pretty well rounded. Knows as much about
Christianity as he/she (and I'm leaning toward "she" here) does about
economics...which is to say, not much. In fact, it's difficult for me to
believe this post wasn't a joke it was so ignorantly composed. Difficult,
Do not speak to me of my ignorance, with which I am more aware than
you, without showing me Wisdom.

And why do you lean toward "she"? Are women more ignorant than men?
What is the gender of Wisdom in Torah?
Post by Chuck Stamford
but not impossible....thus the response.
Chuck Stamford
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-12 07:32:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go
into debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for
example, does one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual"
need?
<><><>><><><><<><><><><
the anti-christian posters? they'll be needing all sorts of spiritual
trinkets, spell books, charms, potions, etc.
hehe
Well, spinoza1111 seems pretty well rounded. Knows as much about
Christianity as he/she (and I'm leaning toward "she" here) does about
economics...which is to say, not much. In fact, it's difficult for me to
believe this post wasn't a joke it was so ignorantly composed.
Difficult,
Do not speak to me of my ignorance, with which I am more aware than
you,
Not any more. Not after putting it on display as you have here.
Post by spinoza1111
without showing me Wisdom.
Okay, here's wisdom. Don't publically assert the truth of propositions you
haven't the wherewithal to defend as true. "Wherewithal" here would
include, but not be limited to, "facts", which taken together, and
scrutinized using commonly accepted forms of induction, would form
"evidence" for the truth of what you're saying is true...just in case you
were wondering.

In short, stick to what you KNOW. And when you wander off into speculation
and conjecture, SAY THAT. And if you don't have any real facts or decent
logical arguments to support those conclusions, THEN SAY THAT. This is what
passes for personal integrity around here. I know it's rough, but there it
is.
Post by spinoza1111
And why do you lean toward "she"?
That would be difficult to explain. It's just a sense I get from reading
you.

I don't really care one way or the other, but now you've got me curious.
So...are you?
Post by spinoza1111
Are women more ignorant than men?
No, but then you don't seem to find a lot of women making their living as
philosophers either. Make excellent business people though, and they're
amazing with kids. Not doing too bad in the political arena these days
either.
Post by spinoza1111
What is the gender of Wisdom in Torah?
Female. Now for the $64, 000 question: Why is that? Hint: the Torah is
written in Hebrew.

Chuck Stamford
spinoza1111
2007-01-12 13:44:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go
into debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for
example, does one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual"
need?
<><><>><><><><<><><><><
the anti-christian posters? they'll be needing all sorts of spiritual
trinkets, spell books, charms, potions, etc.
hehe
Well, spinoza1111 seems pretty well rounded. Knows as much about
Christianity as he/she (and I'm leaning toward "she" here) does about
economics...which is to say, not much. In fact, it's difficult for me to
believe this post wasn't a joke it was so ignorantly composed.
Difficult,
Do not speak to me of my ignorance, with which I am more aware than
you,
Not any more. Not after putting it on display as you have here.
Oh dear. Patriarchal rage.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
without showing me Wisdom.
Okay, here's wisdom. Don't publically assert the truth of propositions you
haven't the wherewithal to defend as true. "Wherewithal" here would
include, but not be limited to, "facts", which taken together, and
scrutinized using commonly accepted forms of induction, would form
"evidence" for the truth of what you're saying is true...just in case you
were wondering.
What's interesting is that the discourse of "facts" so neatly ignores
texts, which unlike the brute fact have to be interpreted.

What's interesting is the Patriarchal Nihilistic Meltdown, which
retreats as it were into an Israeli tank or suit of armor from which
issues nothing but blanket and unsupported denials of credibility, for
to argue the opposite in a fair, democratic way would in turn expose
the Patriarch to question, and we can't have that in a society where
Poor People Mist Serve the Rich.

Can we, now.
Post by Chuck Stamford
In short, stick to what you KNOW. And when you wander off into speculation
and conjecture, SAY THAT. And if you don't have any real facts or decent
I know how to write, jerk face, and I used style to show where I was
speculating and making conjectures. I did not claim to know what Christ
meant or "thought" on the issue of whether it is a *mitzvot* to pay
debts.

In fact, precisely because I did so hedge, you inferred that I was
female and went in for what you thought would be an easy kill. Oops.
Post by Chuck Stamford
logical arguments to support those conclusions, THEN SAY THAT. This is what
passes for personal integrity around here. I know it's rough, but there it
is.
The Patriarch speaks for the Community...despite the fact that he is
sitting all alone by the telephone. Modern technology is great, idn't
it?
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
And why do you lean toward "she"?
That would be difficult to explain. It's just a sense I get from reading
you.
That you can abuse and yourself make no checkable claims, merely
lecture a person who teaches logic at university level about how to
comport themselves amidst right-thinking people.
Post by Chuck Stamford
I don't really care one way or the other, but now you've got me curious.
So...are you?
Getting hot, are we?

FYI, none of your business.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Are women more ignorant than men?
No, but then you don't seem to find a lot of women making their living as
philosophers either. Make excellent business people though, and they're
amazing with kids. Not doing too bad in the political arena these days
either.
Perhaps that's because in American society alone, men have reverted
under economic pressure to barbarism and are reverting to Puritan
times, when women couldn't even form Bible study groups without falling
under suspicion.

Yeah, it's great that they work two shifts so the men folk can sit on
their fat butts discussing Higher Things, ain't it.

FYI, in the few civilized zones of America that remain, such as the
campus of Princeton University, women, including women majoring in
philosophy, now outnumber men.
spinoza1111
2007-01-11 17:46:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.
They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.
Their "advice" is insane.
For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go into
debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for example, does
one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual" need? Can we
purchase the Holy Spirit on the installment plan? Buy some reconciliation
with God not already provided us by His Son's death and resurrection? And
are not these things given us in the New Testament as able to meed ALL our
"spiritual" needs?
I was talking about material needs, and of course the family has the
choice NOT to buy the computer: it's not a spiritual requirement
(although most families buy computers for their children's education,
and parents meet in my opinion a spiritual requirement by providing for
their kids' education).

And, I acknowledge that given planned obsolescence, the computer
purchase is foolish, perhaps if you pay the minimum each month, meaning
that you could still, today, be paying off that IBM PC you bought for
2000.00 in 1981.

In reflecting on this subject after I posted, I realized that my
problem was that the author of the essay at the Focus on the Family
Website was that it acknowledged no right on the part of the person
being addressed, the Christian going to the Web site for advice on her
debt, to question and to make up her own mind.

A critical spirit would have written a more balanced article, admitting
that it might be rational and consistent with a good spiritual life to
spend more on credit, whether to educate your kids or even to take the
family to a nice restaurant once a week in order to have a family time
together.

It wouldn't treat "staying out of debt" as an absolute spiritual
requirement. Christ, in the Lord's prayer, calls for creditors to
forgive debts! It appears that many of His followers were debtors: in
particular, it's probable that St. Peter and the other Apostles who
were fishermen went into debt every season just to buy nets. Of course,
the tax collectors who also followed Him were probably creditors.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
For example, in a recent column, the family is counseled that "buying a
computer on a credit card" is irresponsible.
It gives fairly good arguments that mainly due to planned obsolescence,
the typical family will take longer to pay the computer off than its
useful life! But not a peep of criticism of unprincipled computer
companies that plan for this obsolescence and instead of fixing bugs in
older platforms or even in new releases, of course: not a hint that the
family may not be totally to blame.
Also, no consideration of the needs of the homeschooler for access to
educational materials, a consideration which may make her decide to go
ahead, and "waste" her money (on her children's education!) despite the
"irrationality" of the decision!
You started out with the example of "Focus on the Family" alleging that
buying a computer on credit was "irresponsible". Being irresponsible and
being irrational are not necessarily the same things...not be a long shot.
No, they are not.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Was the point that making expenditures of monies you don't yet have being
irresponsible except in the extreme's life sometimes presents us with lost
on you? I think the additional point here is that a computer, while a nifty
modern tool for education, is not an indispensible educational tool. After
all, the people who invented them didn't have them. And there are still
books a plenty, and lots of cheap, even free ways to gain access to them.
Remember libraries?
Indeed. Many libraries in America are being replaced by JAILS. Remember
libraries?

The problem is that Wikipedia, to take one example, is an order of
magnitude superior to the sort of encyclopedias that are on paper. I
won't claim that a Christian kid has to exhaust herself in "competing"
with upper class kids with computers, but I will say that American
education (a scene of what educational critic Jonathan Kozol calls
"Savage Inequality") savagely relegates kids who can't compete, using
grades almost always "on the curve" to inferior educational tracks as
they get older.

Therefore I conclude that given the Savage Inequality of American
education, the parent owes it to the kid to help her Compete, and this
almost always require that the kid have a computer, if only to access
the same sources as the other kids.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Your argument assumes a trade-off that you don't specify, which I think is a
mistake. The homeschooler isn't faced with a decision to buy a computer on
credit or forfeit the benefits of homeschooling one's children, but between
a more expensive (buying on credit is ALWAYS more expensive than paying
cash) means of acquiring the necessary educational materials in less time,
as opposed to acquiring them less expensively in a greater amount of time.
Since an education is something that proceeds over a long period of time,
and according to a foreseeable plan, the benefit in acquiring the materials
needed quickly seems to be less than the benefit of the money saved in
acquiring them more slowly.
I am not a fan of homeschooling. Part (not all) of schooling is
integration with society, and for me a major goal for Christians and
other good people should be learning at an early age how to get along
with people of other races. Homeschooling is often used to avoid these
lessons and the result is a white racist kid.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Her status as a debtor is without argument equated by this "ministry"
to a deeply fallen status in which she loses, at least until she shapes
up, the day to day ability to be a Mother and an educator, as if human
agency is conditional and can be verbally withdrawn by a patriarchal
"ministry" because of a venial "irresponsibility"...which she committed
to educate her kids! This is nuts!
Is that an accurate version of what they are actually saying; or are they
merely saying that one teaches their children a flawed methodology in living
an abundant life by teaching them by example that it is a "good" thing to
have things now and pay for them later?
I don't think that "staying out of debt" is a virtue at all. Christ,
in the Lord's Prayer, meant, probably, personal grievances as well as
financial debts, but I believe that given His knowledge of His own
Apostles' struggles to catch enough fish to pay for their boats that He
consciously was calling for creditors to exercise self-restraint in
hounding their debtors!

Whereas one finds no word, again to my knowledge, from Christ saying
"be sure to pay your debts or stay out of debt". The Prodigal Son goes
into debt to gambling parlors...and in the parable, is forgiven by his
father.

Many modern mega-churches, like Focus on the Family, are funded by rich
capitalist men and it would be surprising if they didn't reflect their
values. Note that the Christian is almost never told not to work on
Sunday, despite the Commandment given to Moses, but is hounded to both
exercise a financial "restraint" that the typical lower middle class
family can't exercise, to give even more money to already rich
churches, and to repeat nonsensical (in some cases superstitious and
therefore demonic) prayers FOR specific material rewards, despite what
Christ actually said on the Mount...that your prayer should end with
"Thy will be done".

Furthermore, until the 16th century, Christians, like Moslems today,
believed that the charging of ANY interest whatsoever on a loan was the
serious sin of usury.

The rise of capitalism in the 17th century caused preachers, especially
Protestant preachers preaching to, and on behalf of, the rising
entrepreneural class who formed the core of Protestant support, to make
it wicked, not to charge interest, but to fail to pay a debt...even for
a good reason, such as the mother of all good reasons: you don't have
any money.

In fact, the change in view that happened in the 17th century could
arguably make it NOT WRONG AT ALL for the Christian to fail to pay her
debt when the interest (such as the interest on the sort of credit card
that greedhead banks peddle to the poor) is so high as to be gouging.

This is because the Christian, by paying only the interest, is paying
the creditor for his risk in lending to a low income person. And in
fact, greedhead banks make quite a lot of money in peddling their
garbage to low income people, meaning that "not paying a loan" is in
some cases not a wrong at all.

Moslems are commanded not to pay usury or collect it and the Moslem
creditor is advised that he takes a risk when he makes a loan. Whereas
Christian creditors today regard it as a right, even a Christian,
God-given right, to be protected against debtor default. On a world
scale, entire Christian countries (such as Haiti) have been brutalized
by other "Christian" countries because "Christian" bankers harden their
hearts.

Of course, the Focus on the Family writer may not have been concerned
that the Christian not victimize the bank. The writer may instead be
speaking to the Christian's need to plan carefully for her family's
survival in a brutal American economy of Savage (and to me not
Christian) Inequality.

But this seems to me to directly contradict Christ's advice to the
anxious and careworn to look to the birds in the field, and to trust in
God!

I think it is wise and good to stay out of debt, and to save up for a
computer if possible: while you save, computers get better under
Moore's Law.

But the article, in a patriarchal (and sexist) way doesn't allow the
Christian to make up her own mind. Instead, it pushes a capitalist
ideology as Christianity.

This ideology just gives bad advice in America. In Central America, it
gets workers and their spirtitual leaders killed...nearly all of them
Christians who ask for simple dignity in Christ's name. One such person
was Oscar Romero, who was killed by government forces with United
States because he counseled the poor of el Salvador that over and above
their "defects of character" they were not to blame for the
brutalization of their society.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The ultimate unfairness is that the peoples' spirituality is sold back
to them by corporations.
That could only be true on a very novel, shall we say, understanding of
"spirituality". Would you care to actually specify your understanding of
what constitutes a person's "spirituality"? It may help understand your
argument here.
Its name is Liberation Theology and it has to me solid backing in the
Bible, commencing with Job and Amos and reaching its clearest statement
in what Christ said, as opposed to his Apostles.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
A curious feature of American law is that corporations are considered
"legal persons" even with rights.
Why curious? Is it that you don't understand why? Or is it that you do
understand, but find the reasons puzzling or bizarre in some way? If the
latter, in what ways do you find the fact that corporations are treated as
"persons" under US law (and all state laws, btw) puzzling and/or bizarre?
Because to a Christian, a PERSON is a human being. Christians who are
anti-abortion (I am a supporter of choice and not a "Christian" in ANY
sense you would recognize, but I was educated in Catholic schools) have
to say that the only persons worth calling persons are people from the
moment of conception. They can't give "personal" rights to corporations
and it may be evil to do so. Note that the American corporation was
formed in the 1830s by men to evade debt, in the sense of "limited
liability for the debts of the business I started".

This means that there is absolutely no spirituality in the
"corporation" as an idea.
Post by Chuck Stamford
This was used to delay the end of Jim
Post by spinoza1111
Crow racism in America, since the 19th, and early 20th century, since
the Supreme Court interpreted the 14 the Amendment and "equal
protection" in favor of corporations engaged in interstate commerce,
and it actually said that actual violations (including the lynchings of
thousands of black people who did not, under any sensible construction
of the law, receive "equal protection" for nearly a hundred years) were
state matters and beyond its authority!
Am I reading this correctly?? Are you really suggesting that corporations
lynched thousands of Blacks, and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment
as its reason for not deciding these murder cases? I hope not, because
there are about a dozen things wrong with saying that; enough to fill
several pages if they were presented in detail.
The Supreme Court, by refusing to apply the 14th amendment until 1954,
didn't "lynch" blacks. It allowed thousands of blacks to be lynched
despite the fact that the NAACP and other black self-help organizations
filed hundreds of appeals for certiori commencing around 1900, asking
the Supreme Court to accept complaints under the 14th amendment.

In both cases, both a Christian and an ethical non-Christian would
accuse the Supreme Court of MURDER, because if you can stop MURDER and
do not, the common law says you're guilty.

I realize these are shocking facts: that's why they are not daily fare.
However, first year law students learn them in a class on the history
of American law.

The Supreme Court until 1954, when the court under Chief Justice Earl
Warren said that the 14th amendment DID apply to school desergregation,
said repeatedly that the only entities that could get relief under the
14th amendment had to be engaged somehow in interstate commerce.

About the only exception it made was for a Chinese person (Yick Wo) who
wanted to open a laundromat in San Francisco in the 1880s.

It's unbelievable, but true.
Post by Chuck Stamford
So for fun, let's just take one of them briefly. Murder isn't a federal
offense. It therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the SCOTUS. If the
Murder isn't a federal offense? Now, that's nonsense. Murder and
kidnapping IS a federal offense if you cross state lines. In fact, you
are in what I have to say is your ignorance reviving the arguments used
to trash the 14th amendment and the "original intent" of the Republican
congress that passed it!
Post by Chuck Stamford
SCOTUS were going to rule on anything concerning the lynching of Blacks by
ANYONE, it would pertain to how that case was handled by the executive and
judicial branches of the state government that had jurisdiction, and if it
cited the 14th Admendment in doing that, it would have to be in regard to a
violation by the State of the murdered person's right to equal protection
under the law. But unless you're actually going to cite the SCOTUS cases
you're alluding to, it's very difficult to understand what you're actually
saying here.
I'm not going to "cite" because you need first, my brother, to read a
history of American law. You are unconsciously reviving the whole
theory of the pre-Warren court, and this created the unChristian Jim
Crow era.

The original intent of the 14th amendment was to make sure that the
"equal protection of the LAW" (state, local, or Federal) was applied to
all PERSONS resident in the United States, and its wording was clear.
The Supreme Court simply refused to apply this clear law EXCEPT in the
case of corporations, who appealed for relief under this amendment
against ANY government control of their savage and unChristian labor
practices, notably in the Slaughterhouse and "Baker's" cases of the
early 19th century...which prevented local juridsictions from limiting
savage hours for working men even though the companies operated
intrastate.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
I think Christians in America need to ask themselves the following
question.
Are some American corporations demons?
This would be an Entity with human and super-human powers but no moral
obligations who would also twist human law and governance to its own
selfish ends.
On that basis, I'd have to say, no, corporations are not entities with human
or superhuman powers but no moral obligations (not going into the "...would
twist human law...etc." because of its rather amorphous nature). First,
because corporations don't have human attributes unless one has a very vivid
imagination. People have cognition with which they make their decisions to
act in a specific manner; corporations have boards of directors, middle
managers, foremans, etc. People often make decisions to do nothing at all;
corporations produce or die. People can often make decisions free of the
pressure to compete with other people; corporations don't often have that
luxury, and if they do, it is generally fleeting.
But enough about the differences between people and corporations that are
obvious to everyone and that make your analogy more an exercise in emotion
than intellect. What about those "moral obligations"? Well, it turns out
corporations have those as well. They are bound to abide by the letter, if
not the spirit of the laws that exist...just like you. If they don't like
those laws, if they find them oppressive to their interests, then they have
the ability and freedom to work within the system to change them to laws
they find more suitable to their interests....just like you. And they have
both a moral and a pragmatic obligation to their stockholders and customers.
They have a moral obligation to their stockholders in that their
stockholders have invested their hard earned dollars with them in hopes of a
return on that investment...similar to your expectations in opening a
savings account. You have a "right" (under law) to expect the bank to make
good on its advertised savings account interest rate. Stockholders,
likewise, have a "right" to expect a corporation to take advantage of every
legal opportunity to make good on their expectations as well. The only
difference is that corporations exist in such a dog eat dog world of
competition that no corporation can "advertise" a rate of return on
investment. In fact, it is SO unreasonable to speak of rates of return from
corporate investments before they occur that there is a LAW against
advertising them, so as to protect the terminally stupid from being
hoodwinked! And of course, most people live in a completely different
environment; where they have family and friends to help them over mistakes
and rough spots in the road, who will defer collecting debts without tacking
on interest, who excuse their failings and flaws by making "allowances" for
them, etc. In short, who treat them like people instead of corporations.
But note one interesting thing. Corporations have NO New Testament
duties. They can charge top prices to poor people and, within the laws
(often made toothless by corporate law) they will force people to work
absurd hours.

How convenient it is, then, for an ambitious and worldly man to
"incorporate" as a one-man show! All of a sudden, he can partition his
life into his actions as an officer of Me, Inc., and his religious
life, and toss any painful decision into the corporate cesspool!
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-12 07:07:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.
They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.
Their "advice" is insane.
For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go into
debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for example, does
one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual" need? Can we
purchase the Holy Spirit on the installment plan? Buy some
reconciliation
with God not already provided us by His Son's death and resurrection?
And
are not these things given us in the New Testament as able to meed ALL our
"spiritual" needs?
I was talking about material needs, and of course the family has the
choice NOT to buy the computer: it's not a spiritual requirement
(although most families buy computers for their children's education,
and parents meet in my opinion a spiritual requirement by providing for
their kids' education).
And, I acknowledge that given planned obsolescence, the computer
purchase is foolish, perhaps if you pay the minimum each month, meaning
that you could still, today, be paying off that IBM PC you bought for
2000.00 in 1981.
That's one of several reasons it's foolish to buy a computer on time, but
clearly not the only one. Fact is, if you want a short list, you need to
list the GOOD reasons to buy a computer on time. So far, all you've got is,
"Oh, my God! Jimmy needs an education. When did that happen!? Now I need
a computer, and I don't have the money for one...what am I going to do!!?
Jimmy won't be able to have a life!!!!" Fade out to sobbing and nose
blowing.

Not the best reason I've ever seen. But hey, any port in a storm, right?
Post by spinoza1111
In reflecting on this subject after I posted, I realized that my
problem was that the author of the essay at the Focus on the Family
Website was that it acknowledged no right on the part of the person
being addressed, the Christian going to the Web site for advice on her
debt, to question and to make up her own mind.
A critical spirit would have written a more balanced article, admitting
that it might be rational and consistent with a good spiritual life to
spend more on credit, whether to educate your kids or even to take the
family to a nice restaurant once a week in order to have a family time
together.
A balanced article would have noted that having now and paying later
hardly ever makes sense economically unless we're talking about really big
ticket items. For most people, buying a house and a car are the two biggest
purchases they will ever make in their lives, and a good argument can be
made (especially for the house) that buying them on credit is a good idea.

But taking the family out to eat? Never. If you can't pay cash for
something as mundane as an evening's entertainment, then you just can't
afford it and you may as well start dealing with that fact rather than using
a credit card to sweep it under the rug for another day.
Post by spinoza1111
It wouldn't treat "staying out of debt" as an absolute spiritual
requirement. Christ, in the Lord's prayer, calls for creditors to
forgive debts!
Nonsense. Go back and READ it.

It appears that many of His followers were debtors: in
Post by spinoza1111
particular, it's probable that St. Peter and the other Apostles who
were fishermen went into debt every season just to buy nets. Of course,
the tax collectors who also followed Him were probably creditors.
Do you often speak about what you don't know like this? You obviously don't
know the first thing about 1st cent. fishing or fishermen, nor anything
about what a tax collector for the Roman Empire did in the provinces.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
For example, in a recent column, the family is counseled that "buying a
computer on a credit card" is irresponsible.
It gives fairly good arguments that mainly due to planned obsolescence,
the typical family will take longer to pay the computer off than its
useful life! But not a peep of criticism of unprincipled computer
companies that plan for this obsolescence and instead of fixing bugs in
older platforms or even in new releases, of course: not a hint that the
family may not be totally to blame.
Also, no consideration of the needs of the homeschooler for access to
educational materials, a consideration which may make her decide to go
ahead, and "waste" her money (on her children's education!) despite the
"irrationality" of the decision!
You started out with the example of "Focus on the Family" alleging that
buying a computer on credit was "irresponsible". Being irresponsible and
being irrational are not necessarily the same things...not be a long shot.
No, they are not.
Then why did you conflate them in your post?
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Was the point that making expenditures of monies you don't yet have being
irresponsible except in the extreme's life sometimes presents us with lost
on you? I think the additional point here is that a computer, while a nifty
modern tool for education, is not an indispensible educational tool.
After
all, the people who invented them didn't have them. And there are still
books a plenty, and lots of cheap, even free ways to gain access to them.
Remember libraries?
Indeed. Many libraries in America are being replaced by JAILS. Remember
libraries?
Do you know of a single library that has been torn down so that a jail could
be built?
Post by spinoza1111
The problem is that Wikipedia, to take one example, is an order of
magnitude superior to the sort of encyclopedias that are on paper.
A bold claim. What do you base it on?

Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The point was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".

I
Post by spinoza1111
won't claim that a Christian kid has to exhaust herself in "competing"
with upper class kids with computers, but I will say that American
education (a scene of what educational critic Jonathan Kozol calls
"Savage Inequality") savagely relegates kids who can't compete, using
grades almost always "on the curve" to inferior educational tracks as
they get older.
The problems in American education can all be traced back to the fact that
so much of it is paid for by the government with taxpayer dollars. There
isn't a single activity that government is better at than private industry.
Post by spinoza1111
Therefore I conclude that given the Savage Inequality of American
education, the parent owes it to the kid to help her Compete, and this
almost always require that the kid have a computer, if only to access
the same sources as the other kids.
Nonsense. You want your child to be able to compete successfully in the
business world? Teach them that actions have consequences; teach them
personal responsibility and accountability. Teach them self-discipline, the
value of delayed gratification, and give them a good sense of right and
wrong.

In short, help mold their character, and you won't have to worry about the
"savage inequality of American education".

Btw, maybe if you didn't have to pay for the desk that the kid sits in when
he's not selling crack, pay for the books he's never going to open, and pay
the doctor bills of the teacher he's going to assault before the weeks up
(in short, if the government got out of the education business at which they
are spactacular failure!), then maybe you'd have enough money to send your
kid to a private school where he could actually learn if he wanted to, where
he wouldn't have to join a gang and/or pack a large caliber gun just to
survive his "free" educational experience.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Your argument assumes a trade-off that you don't specify, which I think is a
mistake. The homeschooler isn't faced with a decision to buy a computer on
credit or forfeit the benefits of homeschooling one's children, but between
a more expensive (buying on credit is ALWAYS more expensive than paying
cash) means of acquiring the necessary educational materials in less time,
as opposed to acquiring them less expensively in a greater amount of time.
Since an education is something that proceeds over a long period of time,
and according to a foreseeable plan, the benefit in acquiring the materials
needed quickly seems to be less than the benefit of the money saved in
acquiring them more slowly.
I am not a fan of homeschooling.
I don't really care. You used homeschooling to segue into some crackpot
argument that buying on credit is a good thing. That's the issue here, not
what you think of homeschooling.
Post by spinoza1111
snip>
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Her status as a debtor is without argument equated by this "ministry"
to a deeply fallen status in which she loses, at least until she shapes
up, the day to day ability to be a Mother and an educator, as if human
agency is conditional and can be verbally withdrawn by a patriarchal
"ministry" because of a venial "irresponsibility"...which she committed
to educate her kids! This is nuts!
Is that an accurate version of what they are actually saying; or are they
merely saying that one teaches their children a flawed methodology in living
an abundant life by teaching them by example that it is a "good" thing to
have things now and pay for them later?
I don't think that "staying out of debt" is a virtue at all. Christ,
in the Lord's Prayer, meant, probably, personal grievances as well as
financial debts, but I believe that given His knowledge of His own
Apostles' struggles to catch enough fish to pay for their boats that He
consciously was calling for creditors to exercise self-restraint in
hounding their debtors!
Look, you can believe what you want. You don't even need a good reason.
But if you're interested in discussing anything intelligently, you need what
we call "evidence" to support what you believe. That evidence usually comes
in the form of what we call "facts". You don't have any facts about life as
a fisherman in 1st cent. Palestine. You don't have any "facts" to support
the notion that paying as you go isn't a good thing. And you've got even
less than no facts supporting the remarkable idea that the Lord's Prayer has
some lesson in it about creditors not trying too hard to collect from their
debtors. That much is already abundantly clear.

On the side here, what do you mean by creditors exercising "restraint" in
collecting debts? Are we talking not executing some provision of the
promissary note? If we are, then wouldn't it be fair that the creditor
insist that the debtor not execute some provision of the promissary note?
Perhaps the provision that stipulates the creditor will extend to the debtor
such and such monies? Then everything would be on the square! The debtor
wouldn't repay the loan, and the creditor wouldn't extend the loan.
Everyone's happy!
Post by spinoza1111
Whereas one finds no word, again to my knowledge, from Christ saying
"be sure to pay your debts or stay out of debt". The Prodigal Son goes
into debt to gambling parlors...and in the parable, is forgiven by his
father.
Have you ever actually read any of these pericopes in the New Testament, or
are you just relying on your memory of what you've been told about them?
Because the above is pure blather!

Look, the Prodigal Son squandered his inheritance through profligate living
among foreigners (Lu. 15:13). There is nothing in the story about his going
into debt. (In fact, making any sort of transactions on "credit" ca. 1st
cent. was the exception, not the rule.) The story simply says that
after he had lost all of his inheritance, there came a famine, and he began
to be "in want", and that to live he "joined himself to a citizen of that
country" (probably meaning he sold himself into service, or negotiated some
deal with the guy whereby he could hang out on his property without being
treated like a trespasser, so long as he didn't steal anything or get in the
way. He obviously wasn't being FED by this citizen!).

As for the father forgiving the son his debts to these foreigners, nothing
could be further from the truth. There likely weren't any debts to be
forgiven; if there were, it would be the foreigners that would have to
forgive them rather than the father, and finally:

"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your
sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father
said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a
ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 'And bring the fatted calf here
and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 'for this my son was dead and
is alive again; he was lost and is found.' Luke 15:21-24 (NKJV)

Obviously, what the father is forgiving his son for is the son's choice to
make himself "dead" and "lost" to the father's love. This he did by
LEAVING, not by anything the son did in that land, and certainly NOT by any
non-existent "debts" he ran up while there!

You've got to take the time to thoughtfully READ these stories if you're
going to use them as a basis for some argument you want to make. Otherwise,
you just come off looking like you're proud of your ignorance.
Post by spinoza1111
Many modern mega-churches, like Focus on the Family, are funded by rich
capitalist men and it would be surprising if they didn't reflect their
values.
Show me some evidence that Focus on the Family is mainly funded by rich
"capitalist" men. Give me a statistical breakdown by demographics of their
contributors. I've only read two of your posts now and already I'm sick and
tired of the way you make these bold assertions of "fact" without ANY
evidential support whatsoever, and then when called on them, simply move to
a different subject!

Note that the Christian is almost never told not to work on
Post by spinoza1111
Sunday,
Nonsense. It's not a law (because there aren't any, as such, for the
Christian), but most Christians understand that the Lord's day is for public
worshipping and resting from work with the family. If that's not possible,
then they understand that some other day should be set aside for these
things, because these things are vitally important and shouldn't be
neglected.
Post by spinoza1111
despite the Commandment given to Moses,
What?? First, the commandment given to Moses doesn't have anything to do
with the duties Christians have. Christians live under the "new" covenant
with God, not the "old". Second, that commandment instituted the "sabbath",
not Christian activities on the Lord's day. The two are very different in
character and meaning.

but is hounded to both
Post by spinoza1111
exercise a financial "restraint" that the typical lower middle class
family can't exercise,
Pure bull! You're saying, in effect, that the typical lower middle class
family has to borrow to live. That is a self-refuting argument for one
thing, and for another, I KNOW such families and except for one of the two
"high ticket" items most everyone buy's on credit, don't owe ANYONE. They
may need some help from their friends from time to time, but that's a horse
of a whole different color.

to give even more money to already rich
Post by spinoza1111
churches, and to repeat nonsensical (in some cases superstitious and
therefore demonic) prayers FOR specific material rewards, despite what
Christ actually said on the Mount...that your prayer should end with
"Thy will be done".
I will not deny that Christian giving has been twisted completely out of
shape by some "Christian" ministers and churches. But you don't have any
compelling evidence that these churches are typical of Christian churches
world wide, and neither do I. So it makes little sense to use these abuses
as if they represented some "norm" in Christianity.

If a Christian church is keeping the money it collects, then that is
wrong....inexcusably wrong. Funds collected should be disbursed to the
poor, and
to pay any expenses incurred in spreading the Gospel. I happen to believe
that is what happens in the vast majority of Christian churches. I know
it's what happens in mine!
Post by spinoza1111
Furthermore, until the 16th century, Christians, like Moslems today,
believed that the charging of ANY interest whatsoever on a loan was the
serious sin of usury.
Oh for crying out loud! Ever heard of the Knights Templar? Eleventh to
thirteenth centuries??

http://www.crystalinks.com/templars1.html

Nothing is ever quite as you depict it.
Post by spinoza1111
The rise of capitalism in the 17th century caused preachers, especially
Protestant preachers preaching to, and on behalf of, the rising
entrepreneural class who formed the core of Protestant support,
Where are you getting this stuff???

to make
Post by spinoza1111
it wicked, not to charge interest, but to fail to pay a debt...even for
a good reason, such as the mother of all good reasons: you don't have
any money.
It is always "wicked" to default on your obligations no matter what sort
they are. This isn't a principle that began with the Reformation. And as
noted above, the "wickedness" of charging interest was something that went
through several permutations within Christian theology and practice; not to
mention Jewish theology (if rabbinic interpretations of the Mosaic Law can
accurately be called by that name) and practice.

"Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept
put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere
man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked
servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not
deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 'Why then did you not put my
money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with
interest?' Luke 19:20-23 (NKJV)

In this parable Jesus used, the "austere man" is obviously God, and the
principle underlying this part of the passage is that even the lazy and
stupid are able to gain a profit on gifted monies by lending it out at
interest; the idea being there isn't any excuse for not earning a profit
from a gift of money. It seems inconsistent that Jesus would portray God as
recommending, even REQUIRING that a servant place money with a banker at
interest if that practice was considered sinful BY HIM at the time. And, if
I have my history correct, charging interest WASN'T considered wrong at that
time and place, i.e., Judaism, 1st cent. Palestine.

If you study the New Testament, you will find that there is no prohibition
against the charging of interest on loans. Jesus didn't proscribe it in
the New Testament, which wasn't completed until near the end of the 1st
cent. The view on the charging of interest had evolved within Judaism over
the centuries so that by the 1st cent. it was no longer seen as strictly
forbidden by the Mosaic Law. So there must have been at least a 50 year
period at the very beginning of the Christian Church when interest charging
wasn't seen as sinful by either Jews or Jews who converted to Christianity
(of course, Gentile converts wouldn't have brought into Christianity the
idea that charging interest was "sinful" either). This means that the
debate within the Church, a debate that lasted for about 1,000 years, began
FROM the stance it wasn't sinful and DEVELOPED into the stance that it was.
Thus, the Reformation was a RETURN to the original stance in repudiating the
then current view of the Roman Church; a return to the position of the
Church in its first 50 years of existence. It was an acknowledgement by the
Reformers that this prohibition against charging interest came out of Roman
Church "tradition", rather than Scripture. We also might note here that it
is no longer the view of the Roman Church that charging interest is a "sin",
bringing us full circle in 2,000 years of Roman Catholic tradition!
Post by spinoza1111
In fact, the change in view that happened in the 17th century could
arguably make it NOT WRONG AT ALL for the Christian to fail to pay her
debt when the interest (such as the interest on the sort of credit card
that greedhead banks peddle to the poor) is so high as to be gouging.
As is pretty easy to see by now, this idea is pure wishful thinking. One
cannot avoid their freely shouldered obligations without responsibility and
accountability. And it doesn't matter one whit what you think of the legal
"person" (which would include corporations, as we've already seen) to which
you owe the obligation. No one put a gun to your head to borrow the money.

As for the high interest rates, maybe you have a certain amount of gripe
coming there. I don't really know. I do know that it is a general rule of
investing that risk and reward must balance. A poor person would constitute
a greater risk the loan wouldn't be repaid, so to keep this balance the
financial institution would have to reap a greater reward for making the
loan...in the form of a higher interest rate. They don't do this because
they are necessarily "greedheads", but because they have stockholders to
whom they are obligated just like the borrower is obligated to them;
stockholders who themselves are on the same sort of risk/reward balancing
act. This is also why loans secured by collateral have lower interest rates
than do these revolving credit lines you've got in mind (credit cards).

This is all a good reason why poor people shouldn't be borrowing money! If
they don't intend to pay it back with the interest, or reasonably expect to
be unable to pay it back, then they're doing little better than stealing in
talking someone into loaning them the money. And if they really need the
money to live, then what we're really talking about are people who can't or
won't take care of themselves, and we have to start asking ourselves, which
is it. We have a moral obligation to meet the needs of those who "can't".
It's called "Christian charity". We don't for those who "won't". For them
we have some good advice: Go to work!

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not
work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk
among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12
Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ
that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 2 Thess 3:10-12 (NKJV)

It is a statistical fact that since serious welfare reform was instituted
during the Clinton administration (and over his stalwart objections, I might
add!), the welfare rolls have decreased over 50%, while poverty levels
remained largely static, and unemployment rates, while moving erratically
year to year, have trended downward over the last fifteen years. Evidently
there were quite a few "won't"'s feeding off the misplaced largesse of the
taxpayers. We've now culled over half the recipients of welfare payments
off the rolls in the US, and golly...we don't have hordes of people starving
in the streets (just like we didn't have before Johnson's "Great Society"
took the idea of a social safety net and ran over a fiscal cliff with it!).
It's a miracle of conservativism!!!
Post by spinoza1111
This is because the Christian, by paying only the interest, is paying
the creditor for his risk in lending to a low income person. And in
fact, greedhead banks make quite a lot of money in peddling their
garbage to low income people, meaning that "not paying a loan" is in
some cases not a wrong at all.
That's nothing but a self-serving argument to justify bad behavior. You
should be ashamed of yourself!

What's next? "Oh judge, it was one of those crazy days (you know the ones I
mean, wink wink), so I had to shoot him!" Or maybe: "You know, if I hadn't
taken that extra Tylenol, I probably wouldn't have set fire to my baby. I
mean, I'm just not that sort of person for God's sake!
You should be arresting those greedheads over at McNeil PPC, Inc.! They're
the one's making that poison. Oh, and make 'em put another caution on the
label, would you? How about, 'WARNING: taking an extra pill may cause you
to set fire to your infant. And....see if you can get me some sort of
compensation for emotional distress or something. I'm thinking eight
figures, but do what you can, okay? This whole thing has made me a complete
WRECK"
Post by spinoza1111
Moslems are commanded not to pay usury or collect it and the Moslem
creditor is advised that he takes a risk when he makes a loan. Whereas
Christian creditors today regard it as a right, even a Christian,
God-given right, to be protected against debtor default.
More blather. If you can't come up with the source, don't make these
outlandish allegations. Who are you looking at as the representative of
"Christian creditors today"? Where is the quote that you're alluding to
here?

On a world
Post by spinoza1111
scale, entire Christian countries (such as Haiti) have been brutalized
by other "Christian" countries because "Christian" bankers harden their
hearts.
Do you even know the difference between a "Christian country" and the
governments of those countries? There are no "Christian" governments, so
far as I know, in the world. The US is a "Christian country", but only in
the sense that when polled, about 90% of the population checked the little
box labeled "Christian". And while the government of the US was founded
upon Christian values and Christian philosophy, it wasn't founded, nor does
it operate on Christian theology. Neither does Haiti. If it did, perhaps
their AIDS epidemic wouldn't be quite so advanced.

The simple fact is that no matter how many Christians there are in a
country, countries are run by secular governments; at least in Europe and
the Americas. And it is secular governments who make the banking
regulations. So don't try it, okay. Just because a country has a majority
of Christians, doesn't mean its banking industry does, and even if it did,
what would give that banker the right to excuse a loan when its not his
money he's losing? That money belongs to small business men who face a
90% mortality rate for their businesses in the first year, to home owners
trying to make the mortgage payments, to the grocers, bakers, truck drivers,
warehousemen, oil workers, scientists, doctors, and fry cooks of the world.
Are you just going to ignore them? Crush them under your feet as you seize
the "moral high ground" here?
Post by spinoza1111
Of course, the Focus on the Family writer may not have been concerned
that the Christian not victimize the bank.
I'm sure they were concerned about that very thing, because, unlike you,
they probably know that a "bank" is just a name for thousands, tens of
thousands of people banking their money...people just like you. Well, maybe
not "just" like you. I'm sure some of them wouldn't be so quick to
countenence defaulting on a loan to the bank!

You know, you argue like someone who doesn't have a savings account. Either
that, or you do, and you feel REALLY guilty about it! If the latter is the
case, seek help. Don't waste time with me - grab the nearest medical
professional.

The writer may instead be
Post by spinoza1111
speaking to the Christian's need to plan carefully for her family's
survival in a brutal American economy of Savage (and to me not
Christian) Inequality.
There is nothing "savage" about being personally responsible and personally
accountable. And in what other country could you find an Oprah Winfrey? Or
an Arnold Schwarzenegger? Where else are you going to find so many first
generation millionaires? So many stories of phenomenal material success?
And if the American economy is so brutal and savage, why are so many
millions of people willing to break our laws to get in here? They weren't
being brutalized enough by the likes of Castro and Fox that they needed to
come to America for more?

If America was as bad a country as you'd like it to be, there wouldn't be
millions of illegal immigrants breaking down our borders and risking their
lives in the process trying to get IN. End of argument. Come back when you
can point to millions of people risking their lives trying to get OUT!
Post by spinoza1111
But this seems to me to directly contradict Christ's advice to the
anxious and careworn to look to the birds in the field, and to trust in
God!
You lost me. But I kind of expected that, given the twists and turns in
your linear thinking, not to mention your fact free, and sometime
self-refuting arguments.
Post by spinoza1111
I think it is wise and good to stay out of debt, and to save up for a
computer if possible: while you save, computers get better under
Moore's Law.
But the article, in a patriarchal (and sexist) way
What was sexist about the article? I hope you've got something more than
just that it was a man giving advice to women.
Post by spinoza1111
doesn't allow the
Christian to make up her own mind. Instead, it pushes a capitalist
ideology as Christianity.
Look, Christians don't get to make up their own minds about ideology for one
thing. They're CHRISTIANS, which means they have a certain ideology
already, and capitalism just happens to best fit within that ideology.

What are the alternatives? Socialism? Communism? Feudalism?
Post by spinoza1111
This ideology just gives bad advice in America. In Central America, it
gets workers and their spirtitual leaders killed...nearly all of them
Christians who ask for simple dignity in Christ's name. One such person
was Oscar Romero, who was killed by government forces with United
States because he counseled the poor of el Salvador that over and above
their "defects of character" they were not to blame for the
brutalization of their society.
I'm sorry. I know nothing about Oscar Romero. But I do know that the US
has little or nothing to do with the inner working of the Salvadoran
government.

However, given what I have now seen of your wild flights of fantasy, I now
have to view your characterizations with a fairly skeptical eye.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The ultimate unfairness is that the peoples' spirituality is sold back
to them by corporations.
That could only be true on a very novel, shall we say, understanding of
"spirituality". Would you care to actually specify your understanding of
what constitutes a person's "spirituality"? It may help understand your
argument here.
Its name is Liberation Theology and it has to me solid backing in the
Bible, commencing with Job and Amos and reaching its clearest statement
in what Christ said, as opposed to his Apostles.
That tells me a name for a system of belief (set of doctrines) you find
spiffy, but nothing at all about your notion of "spirituality", which is
what I asked you. You want to try again?

And what's this "as opposed to his Apostles" routine? Is the Liberation
theologian so arrogant as to think she has a better view of what Christ said
than did the men who lived with Him for three years during which He said it
repeatedly? The men who gave their lives in horrible ways as proof they
were telling the truth?
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
A curious feature of American law is that corporations are considered
"legal persons" even with rights.
Why curious? Is it that you don't understand why? Or is it that you do
understand, but find the reasons puzzling or bizarre in some way? If the
latter, in what ways do you find the fact that corporations are treated as
"persons" under US law (and all state laws, btw) puzzling and/or bizarre?
Because to a Christian, a PERSON is a human being.
Wrong. And I'm beginning to wonder if you're ever going to say anything
that's right!

To a Christian, a human being is ONE KIND OF person. There is also the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all of whom are Divine persons, but not human
beings. There are also angels, spirit beings who are persons, but not human.
A "person" is essentially mind, will, and emotion. Everything else is
"optional equipment", and depends upon what the Manufacturer has in mind for
that "person".

Christians who are
Post by spinoza1111
anti-abortion (I am a supporter of choice
You mean you're a supporter of abortions on demand. It's okay, you don't
have to try to put the best face on it by calling it something it isn't. We
ALL support "choice". But it's only you and your sadly confused ilk that
support killing human beings at the whim of a pregnant woman's raging
hormones and rollercoaster chemical imbalances. For some unfathomable
reason, you nut cases have concluded that SHE'S in the best cognitive
position to make that determination! You don't care about women; you care
about killing human beings because they have the inexcusable misfortune to
be five minutes away from their first breath of air! I'd say that pretty
well wraps up any notion we may have entertained that you have any moral
authority to lecture me on the entailments of Christian love.

and not a "Christian" in ANY
Post by spinoza1111
sense you would recognize,
Don't worry...I got that already.
Post by spinoza1111
but I was educated in Catholic schools)
Which just goes to show how much they're worth!

Actually, that was a cheap shot, and I take it back. I was educated in
Catholic schools from grammar school to my first year at university. They
are generally, except for the religion classes, very good schools. Makes me
wonder how you managed to graduate with the kind of fuzzy-headed thinking
you've demonstrated thus far here. You actually had to learn the material
to pass from one grade to the next in Catholic school; unlike public schools
where they just boot you along until you're a junior in highschool who can't
read or make change for a dollar without a calculator and someone to work it
for you.

have
Post by spinoza1111
to say that the only persons worth calling persons are people from the
moment of conception. They can't give "personal" rights to corporations
and it may be evil to do so.
They don't give personal rights to corporations. The government did, and
does that. They're called, generically, financial laws. Christians have a
moral obligation to obey the law so long as the law doesn't contradict the
nature or commands of God. Now I don't know all the laws, but to my
knowledge, none of them do that. And treating a corporation as a legal
person is necessary to get them into court! AT&T has MILLIONS of owners!
It would be impossible to hold them all, individually and separately,
legally liable for everything the company did. Besides, stockholders, while
they own the company, don't have the type of control over its actions to be
held to that kind of responsibility and accountability. CEO's, however, do,
and they ARE held to the standard of a "person", which shouldn't be a
problem for you because they ARE a person!

Note that the American corporation was
Post by spinoza1111
formed in the 1830s by men to evade debt, in the sense of "limited
liability for the debts of the business I started".
No it wasn't. It was formed so that creditors couldn't reach past the
business relationship in which they were engaged, and seize the personal
property of the businessman. It wasn't for the purposes of evasion of
obligation, but to provide a stopping point for creditors pursuing debtors,
much like the bankruptcy laws.

Let me guess. You're all for the personal bankruptcy laws...right? These
are shining examples of "Christian love", and corporations are the epitome
of evil..right?
Post by spinoza1111
This means that there is absolutely no spirituality in the
"corporation" as an idea.
No, what it means is that you're only "liberated" enough to look at half the
picture.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
This was used to delay the end of Jim
Post by spinoza1111
Crow racism in America, since the 19th, and early 20th century, since
the Supreme Court interpreted the 14 the Amendment and "equal
protection" in favor of corporations engaged in interstate commerce,
and it actually said that actual violations (including the lynchings of
thousands of black people who did not, under any sensible construction
of the law, receive "equal protection" for nearly a hundred years) were
state matters and beyond its authority!
Am I reading this correctly?? Are you really suggesting that
corporations
lynched thousands of Blacks, and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment
as its reason for not deciding these murder cases? I hope not, because
there are about a dozen things wrong with saying that; enough to fill
several pages if they were presented in detail.
The Supreme Court, by refusing to apply the 14th amendment until 1954,
didn't "lynch" blacks.
Do you have some sort of reading problem I should know about?

Here, try this again: I asked you, "Are you really suggesting that
corporations lynched thousands of Blacks..." That was one question. It was
about corporations. Nothing to do with SCOTUS. The other question was in
the second half of the same sentence (these things are called "complex
sentences", because they're actually two sentences grammatically constructed
as one! Can you imagine!? Oh, the complexity of it all), and it goes,
"...and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment as its reason for not
deciding these murder cases?"

Now have you got that? Two questions. Neither one of which is answered by
your "The Supreme Court, by refusing to apply the 14th amendment until 1954,
didn't "lynch" blacks."

It allowed thousands of blacks to be lynched
Post by spinoza1111
despite the fact that the NAACP and other black self-help organizations
filed hundreds of appeals for certiori commencing around 1900, asking
the Supreme Court to accept complaints under the 14th amendment.
In both cases, both a Christian and an ethical non-Christian would
accuse the Supreme Court of MURDER, because if you can stop MURDER and
do not, the common law says you're guilty.
I realize these are shocking facts: that's why they are not daily fare.
However, first year law students learn them in a class on the history
of American law.
The Supreme Court until 1954, when the court under Chief Justice Earl
Warren said that the 14th amendment DID apply to school desergregation,
said repeatedly that the only entities that could get relief under the
14th amendment had to be engaged somehow in interstate commerce.
I'm sorry, but you're going to have to produce the relevant part of Warren's
written decision for this one. I personally have little use for the Warren
Court. I think it did incredible harm, and very little good. But even
given my dim view of Justice Warren's legal theories, I seriously doubt he
ever said anything so egregious as that only entities engaged in interstate
commerce qualified for protection under the 14th's equal protection clause.
For crying out loud; go back and look at Congress's intent in writing the
thing! READ THE THING! Here, try reading it now:

"Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and
of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Now I understand completely Warren's penchant for finding things in the
Constitution that aren't there, but even HE can read, and there's not a WORD
in section one about interstate commerce! Lots of words about who is a
citizen, no citizen being deprived of life, liberty or property without due
process, and all citizens having equal standing under the laws of the
central government and the states in which they reside.

Even Chief Justice Warren has to read section one before he can get to the
other sections. And you don't have to be a legal scholar to know that in
any document, what LITERALLY appears in section one of a document or article
takes precedence over any interpretations of the text in what follows of the
document or article, unless specified otherwise in the document or article.
Post by spinoza1111
About the only exception it made was for a Chinese person (Yick Wo) who
wanted to open a laundromat in San Francisco in the 1880s.
It's unbelievable, but true.
Well, you're one out of two. It is unbelievable. The 14th Amendment has not
a WORD in it about "interstate commerce".

And if you're going to call the SCOTUS justices murderers for not stopping
the lynchings, perhaps you'd care to provide a sampling of the Court's
responses to all those hundreds of appeals for certioari. Just because Joe
Dokes asks the Supreme Court to file a writ with the lower court for a
transcript of its proceedings doesn't mean the Court is under an obligation
to do so, or even respond. In hindsight that's what we call a "mistake" in
judgment, rather than "murder". And that's all there is to it unless or
until you can present something more than the simple fact the Court didn't
act.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
So for fun, let's just take one of them briefly. Murder isn't a federal
offense. It therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the SCOTUS. If the
Murder isn't a federal offense? Now, that's nonsense. Murder and
kidnapping IS a federal offense if you cross state lines. In fact, you
are in what I have to say is your ignorance reviving the arguments used
to trash the 14th amendment and the "original intent" of the Republican
congress that passed it!
Post by Chuck Stamford
SCOTUS were going to rule on anything concerning the lynching of Blacks by
ANYONE, it would pertain to how that case was handled by the executive and
judicial branches of the state government that had jurisdiction, and if it
cited the 14th Admendment in doing that, it would have to be in regard to a
violation by the State of the murdered person's right to equal protection
under the law. But unless you're actually going to cite the SCOTUS cases
you're alluding to, it's very difficult to understand what you're actually
saying here.
I'm not going to "cite" because you need first, my brother, to read a
history of American law.
Been there, done that. Now cite them or shut up about them.

You are unconsciously reviving the whole
Post by spinoza1111
theory of the pre-Warren court, and this created the unChristian Jim
Crow era.
Look, maybe it's you that needs a brush up here. Legal theory wasn't
responsible for the Jim Crow era. You could reasonably point to Southern
bitterness after the War Between the States, due largely to the
unconscionable suffering inflicted on Southerners by a central government in
which they no longer had any effective representation, but not "legal
theory".
Post by spinoza1111
The original intent of the 14th amendment was to make sure that the
"equal protection of the LAW" (state, local, or Federal) was applied to
all PERSONS resident in the United States, and its wording was clear.
Then Warren had to be senile to say what you're saying he said in his
decision.

And you might find this interesting:

''Persons'' Defined .--Notwithstanding the historical controversy that has
been waged concerning whether the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment
intended the word ''person'' to mean only natural persons, or whether the
word was substituted for the word ''citizen'' with a view to protecting
corporations from oppressive state legislation, 56 the Supreme Court, as
early as the Granger Cases, 57 decided in 1877, upheld on the merits various
state laws without raising any question as to the status of railway
corporation plaintiffs to advance due process contentions. There is no doubt
that a corporation may not be deprived of its property without due process
of law, 58 and although prior decisions had held that the ''liberty''
guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment is the liberty of natural, not
artificial, persons, 59 nevertheless a newspaper corporation was sustained,
in 1936, in its objection that a state law deprived it of liberty of press.
60 As to the natural persons protected by the due process clause, these
include all human beings regardless of race, color, or citizenship. 61
[http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/03.html#f59]

You see those little numbers in the text? They refer to notes. Number 58
refers to, and on the webpage links to the decision of the SCOTUS IN Smyth v
Ames, rendered in 1889, which states, in relevant part:

"By the fourteenth amendment it is provided that no state shall deprive any
person of property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. That corporations are
persons within the meaning of this amendment is now settled. Santa Clara Co.
v. Southern Pac. R. Co., 118 U.S. 394, 396 , 6 S. Sup. Ct. 1132; Railroad
Co. v. Gibbes, 142 U.S. 386, 391 , 12 S. Sup. Ct. 255; Railway Co. v. Ellis,
165 U.S. 150, 154 , 17 S. Sup. Ct. 255."
Post by spinoza1111
The Supreme Court simply refused to apply this clear law EXCEPT in the
case of corporations,
Okay, we're finished here, I think. You've gots lots of opinions, and no
facts having the good fortune to support any of those opinions!

Skipping down, I see you've completely avoided the introduction to
capitalistic economics I spent several minutes typing for your edification.
There is therefore no reason to respond to your following sophistry.

Chuck Stamford
spinoza1111
2007-01-12 14:07:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.
They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.
Their "advice" is insane.
For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go into
debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for example, does
one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual" need? Can we
purchase the Holy Spirit on the installment plan? Buy some
reconciliation
with God not already provided us by His Son's death and resurrection?
And
are not these things given us in the New Testament as able to meed ALL our
"spiritual" needs?
I was talking about material needs, and of course the family has the
choice NOT to buy the computer: it's not a spiritual requirement
(although most families buy computers for their children's education,
and parents meet in my opinion a spiritual requirement by providing for
their kids' education).
And, I acknowledge that given planned obsolescence, the computer
purchase is foolish, perhaps if you pay the minimum each month, meaning
that you could still, today, be paying off that IBM PC you bought for
2000.00 in 1981.
That's one of several reasons it's foolish to buy a computer on time, but
clearly not the only one. Fact is, if you want a short list, you need to
list the GOOD reasons to buy a computer on time. So far, all you've got is,
"Oh, my God! Jimmy needs an education. When did that happen!? Now I need
a computer, and I don't have the money for one...what am I going to do!!?
Jimmy won't be able to have a life!!!!" Fade out to sobbing and nose
blowing.
Your misogyny is astonishing.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Not the best reason I've ever seen. But hey, any port in a storm, right?
Post by spinoza1111
In reflecting on this subject after I posted, I realized that my
problem was that the author of the essay at the Focus on the Family
Website was that it acknowledged no right on the part of the person
being addressed, the Christian going to the Web site for advice on her
debt, to question and to make up her own mind.
A critical spirit would have written a more balanced article, admitting
that it might be rational and consistent with a good spiritual life to
spend more on credit, whether to educate your kids or even to take the
family to a nice restaurant once a week in order to have a family time
together.
A balanced article would have noted that having now and paying later
hardly ever makes sense economically unless we're talking about really big
ticket items. For most people, buying a house and a car are the two biggest
purchases they will ever make in their lives, and a good argument can be
made (especially for the house) that buying them on credit is a good idea.
Actually, we now know that the lower middle class was TRICKED by
"credit advisors" into buying houses, and that the value of most of
these houses will decline as American power declines owing to Bush's
incompetence, and zones of America (such as New Orleans) collapse
because of environmental disaster caused by Amerikkka's failure to sign
Kyoto.

The issuing of Positivistic advice in one key has no loyalty to the
advice except insofar as the issuing makes someone money, and it
teaches the advisee to abandon her critical spirit by insisting that
"one size fits all".
Post by Chuck Stamford
But taking the family out to eat? Never. If you can't pay cash for
What never? No never. Our leaders have feasts on the backsides of
beasts, and spend 10 million dollars on childrens' birthday parties,
but how dare you go to Denny's.

Fuck that shit!
Post by Chuck Stamford
something as mundane as an evening's entertainment, then you just can't
afford it and you may as well start dealing with that fact rather than using
a credit card to sweep it under the rug for another day.
This isn't "spiritual" advice. It's advice given so that credit
companies can get rich and it serves the daemon, Mammon.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
It wouldn't treat "staying out of debt" as an absolute spiritual
requirement. Christ, in the Lord's prayer, calls for creditors to
forgive debts!
Nonsense. Go back and READ it.
In what language?
Post by Chuck Stamford
It appears that many of His followers were debtors: in
Post by spinoza1111
particular, it's probable that St. Peter and the other Apostles who
were fishermen went into debt every season just to buy nets. Of course,
the tax collectors who also followed Him were probably creditors.
Do you often speak about what you don't know like this? You obviously don't
know the first thing about 1st cent. fishing or fishermen, nor anything
about what a tax collector for the Roman Empire did in the provinces.
So, how did old Peter afford that boat?
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
For example, in a recent column, the family is counseled that "buying a
computer on a credit card" is irresponsible.
It gives fairly good arguments that mainly due to planned obsolescence,
the typical family will take longer to pay the computer off than its
useful life! But not a peep of criticism of unprincipled computer
companies that plan for this obsolescence and instead of fixing bugs in
older platforms or even in new releases, of course: not a hint that the
family may not be totally to blame.
Also, no consideration of the needs of the homeschooler for access to
educational materials, a consideration which may make her decide to go
ahead, and "waste" her money (on her children's education!) despite the
"irrationality" of the decision!
You started out with the example of "Focus on the Family" alleging that
buying a computer on credit was "irresponsible". Being irresponsible and
being irrational are not necessarily the same things...not be a long shot.
No, they are not.
Then why did you conflate them in your post?
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Was the point that making expenditures of monies you don't yet have being
irresponsible except in the extreme's life sometimes presents us with lost
on you? I think the additional point here is that a computer, while a nifty
modern tool for education, is not an indispensible educational tool.
After
all, the people who invented them didn't have them. And there are still
books a plenty, and lots of cheap, even free ways to gain access to them.
Remember libraries?
Indeed. Many libraries in America are being replaced by JAILS. Remember
libraries?
Do you know of a single library that has been torn down so that a jail could
be built?
Hoboken, New Jersey.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The problem is that Wikipedia, to take one example, is an order of
magnitude superior to the sort of encyclopedias that are on paper.
A bold claim. What do you base it on?
The fact that a college professor of mine WITHDREW HIS NAME from the
article on Frege in the Microsoft encyclopedia, given the errors
introduced by the editor through excessive blue-penciling.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The point was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.

What time does the library CLOSE? Oops, to fund the high-tech jail, it
closes just when Mother gets off work. Oh well, serve her right.
Post by Chuck Stamford
I
Post by spinoza1111
won't claim that a Christian kid has to exhaust herself in "competing"
with upper class kids with computers, but I will say that American
education (a scene of what educational critic Jonathan Kozol calls
"Savage Inequality") savagely relegates kids who can't compete, using
grades almost always "on the curve" to inferior educational tracks as
they get older.
The problems in American education can all be traced back to the fact that
so much of it is paid for by the government with taxpayer dollars. There
isn't a single activity that government is better at than private industry.
This is so false as to be laughable. Don't you DARE, don't you DARE,
blame the unChristian tax starvation of health, education, and welfare
by the rich on the government of the people!
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Therefore I conclude that given the Savage Inequality of American
education, the parent owes it to the kid to help her Compete, and this
almost always require that the kid have a computer, if only to access
the same sources as the other kids.
Nonsense. You want your child to be able to compete successfully in the
business world? Teach them that actions have consequences; teach them
personal responsibility and accountability. Teach them self-discipline, the
value of delayed gratification, and give them a good sense of right and
wrong.
Such as is displayed by Donald Trump?
Post by Chuck Stamford
In short, help mold their character, and you won't have to worry about the
"savage inequality of American education".
Btw, maybe if you didn't have to pay for the desk that the kid sits in when
he's not selling crack, pay for the books he's never going to open, and pay
the doctor bills of the teacher he's going to assault before the weeks up
(in short, if the government got out of the education business at which they
are spactacular failure!), then maybe you'd have enough money to send your
kid to a private school where he could actually learn if he wanted to, where
he wouldn't have to join a gang and/or pack a large caliber gun just to
survive his "free" educational experience.
This is racist bullshit.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Your argument assumes a trade-off that you don't specify, which I think is a
mistake. The homeschooler isn't faced with a decision to buy a computer on
credit or forfeit the benefits of homeschooling one's children, but between
a more expensive (buying on credit is ALWAYS more expensive than paying
cash) means of acquiring the necessary educational materials in less time,
as opposed to acquiring them less expensively in a greater amount of time.
Since an education is something that proceeds over a long period of time,
and according to a foreseeable plan, the benefit in acquiring the materials
needed quickly seems to be less than the benefit of the money saved in
acquiring them more slowly.
I am not a fan of homeschooling.
I don't really care. You used homeschooling to segue into some crackpot
argument that buying on credit is a good thing. That's the issue here, not
what you think of homeschooling.
Sorry you cannot read.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
snip>
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Her status as a debtor is without argument equated by this "ministry"
to a deeply fallen status in which she loses, at least until she shapes
up, the day to day ability to be a Mother and an educator, as if human
agency is conditional and can be verbally withdrawn by a patriarchal
"ministry" because of a venial "irresponsibility"...which she committed
to educate her kids! This is nuts!
Is that an accurate version of what they are actually saying; or are they
merely saying that one teaches their children a flawed methodology in living
an abundant life by teaching them by example that it is a "good" thing to
have things now and pay for them later?
I don't think that "staying out of debt" is a virtue at all. Christ,
in the Lord's Prayer, meant, probably, personal grievances as well as
financial debts, but I believe that given His knowledge of His own
Apostles' struggles to catch enough fish to pay for their boats that He
consciously was calling for creditors to exercise self-restraint in
hounding their debtors!
Look, you can believe what you want. You don't even need a good reason.
But if you're interested in discussing anything intelligently, you need what
we call "evidence" to support what you believe. That evidence usually comes
in the form of what we call "facts". You don't have any facts about life as
a fisherman in 1st cent. Palestine. You don't have any "facts" to support
the notion that paying as you go isn't a good thing. And you've got even
less than no facts supporting the remarkable idea that the Lord's Prayer has
some lesson in it about creditors not trying too hard to collect from their
debtors. That much is already abundantly clear.
On the side here, what do you mean by creditors exercising "restraint" in
collecting debts? Are we talking not executing some provision of the
promissary note? If we are, then wouldn't it be fair that the creditor
insist that the debtor not execute some provision of the promissary note?
Perhaps the provision that stipulates the creditor will extend to the debtor
such and such monies? Then everything would be on the square! The debtor
wouldn't repay the loan, and the creditor wouldn't extend the loan.
Everyone's happy!
Post by spinoza1111
Whereas one finds no word, again to my knowledge, from Christ saying
"be sure to pay your debts or stay out of debt". The Prodigal Son goes
into debt to gambling parlors...and in the parable, is forgiven by his
father.
Have you ever actually read any of these pericopes in the New Testament, or
are you just relying on your memory of what you've been told about them?
Because the above is pure blather!
Look, the Prodigal Son squandered his inheritance through profligate living
among foreigners (Lu. 15:13). There is nothing in the story about his going
into debt. (In fact, making any sort of transactions on "credit" ca. 1st
cent. was the exception, not the rule.) The story simply says that
after he had lost all of his inheritance, there came a famine, and he began
to be "in want", and that to live he "joined himself to a citizen of that
country" (probably meaning he sold himself into service, or negotiated some
deal with the guy whereby he could hang out on his property without being
treated like a trespasser, so long as he didn't steal anything or get in the
way. He obviously wasn't being FED by this citizen!).
As for the father forgiving the son his debts to these foreigners, nothing
could be further from the truth. There likely weren't any debts to be
forgiven; if there were, it would be the foreigners that would have to
"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your
sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father
said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a
ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 'And bring the fatted calf here
and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 'for this my son was dead and
is alive again; he was lost and is found.' Luke 15:21-24 (NKJV)
Obviously, what the father is forgiving his son for is the son's choice to
make himself "dead" and "lost" to the father's love. This he did by
LEAVING, not by anything the son did in that land, and certainly NOT by any
non-existent "debts" he ran up while there!
You've got to take the time to thoughtfully READ these stories if you're
going to use them as a basis for some argument you want to make. Otherwise,
you just come off looking like you're proud of your ignorance.
Post by spinoza1111
Many modern mega-churches, like Focus on the Family, are funded by rich
capitalist men and it would be surprising if they didn't reflect their
values.
Show me some evidence that Focus on the Family is mainly funded by rich
"capitalist" men. Give me a statistical breakdown by demographics of their
contributors. I've only read two of your posts now and already I'm sick and
tired of the way you make these bold assertions of "fact" without ANY
evidential support whatsoever, and then when called on them, simply move to
a different subject!
Note that the Christian is almost never told not to work on
Post by spinoza1111
Sunday,
Nonsense. It's not a law (because there aren't any, as such, for the
Christian), but most Christians understand that the Lord's day is for public
worshipping and resting from work with the family. If that's not possible,
then they understand that some other day should be set aside for these
things, because these things are vitally important and shouldn't be
neglected.
Post by spinoza1111
despite the Commandment given to Moses,
What?? First, the commandment given to Moses doesn't have anything to do
with the duties Christians have. Christians live under the "new" covenant
with God, not the "old". Second, that commandment instituted the "sabbath",
not Christian activities on the Lord's day. The two are very different in
character and meaning.
but is hounded to both
Post by spinoza1111
exercise a financial "restraint" that the typical lower middle class
family can't exercise,
Pure bull! You're saying, in effect, that the typical lower middle class
family has to borrow to live. That is a self-refuting argument for one
thing, and for another, I KNOW such families and except for one of the two
"high ticket" items most everyone buy's on credit, don't owe ANYONE. They
may need some help from their friends from time to time, but that's a horse
of a whole different color.
to give even more money to already rich
Post by spinoza1111
churches, and to repeat nonsensical (in some cases superstitious and
therefore demonic) prayers FOR specific material rewards, despite what
Christ actually said on the Mount...that your prayer should end with
"Thy will be done".
I will not deny that Christian giving has been twisted completely out of
shape by some "Christian" ministers and churches. But you don't have any
compelling evidence that these churches are typical of Christian churches
world wide, and neither do I. So it makes little sense to use these abuses
as if they represented some "norm" in Christianity.
If a Christian church is keeping the money it collects, then that is
wrong....inexcusably wrong. Funds collected should be disbursed to the
poor, and
to pay any expenses incurred in spreading the Gospel. I happen to believe
that is what happens in the vast majority of Christian churches. I know
it's what happens in mine!
Post by spinoza1111
Furthermore, until the 16th century, Christians, like Moslems today,
believed that the charging of ANY interest whatsoever on a loan was the
serious sin of usury.
Oh for crying out loud! Ever heard of the Knights Templar? Eleventh to
thirteenth centuries??
http://www.crystalinks.com/templars1.html
Nothing is ever quite as you depict it.
Post by spinoza1111
The rise of capitalism in the 17th century caused preachers, especially
Protestant preachers preaching to, and on behalf of, the rising
entrepreneural class who formed the core of Protestant support,
Where are you getting this stuff???
to make
Post by spinoza1111
it wicked, not to charge interest, but to fail to pay a debt...even for
a good reason, such as the mother of all good reasons: you don't have
any money.
It is always "wicked" to default on your obligations no matter what sort
they are. This isn't a principle that began with the Reformation. And as
noted above, the "wickedness" of charging interest was something that went
through several permutations within Christian theology and practice; not to
mention Jewish theology (if rabbinic interpretations of the Mosaic Law can
accurately be called by that name) and practice.
"Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept
put away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere
man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked
servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not
deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 'Why then did you not put my
money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with
interest?' Luke 19:20-23 (NKJV)
In this parable Jesus used, the "austere man" is obviously God, and the
principle underlying this part of the passage is that even the lazy and
stupid are able to gain a profit on gifted monies by lending it out at
interest; the idea being there isn't any excuse for not earning a profit
from a gift of money. It seems inconsistent that Jesus would portray God as
recommending, even REQUIRING that a servant place money with a banker at
interest if that practice was considered sinful BY HIM at the time. And, if
I have my history correct, charging interest WASN'T considered wrong at that
time and place, i.e., Judaism, 1st cent. Palestine.
If you study the New Testament, you will find that there is no prohibition
against the charging of interest on loans. Jesus didn't proscribe it in
the New Testament, which wasn't completed until near the end of the 1st
cent. The view on the charging of interest had evolved within Judaism over
the centuries so that by the 1st cent. it was no longer seen as strictly
forbidden by the Mosaic Law. So there must have been at least a 50 year
period at the very beginning of the Christian Church when interest charging
wasn't seen as sinful by either Jews or Jews who converted to Christianity
(of course, Gentile converts wouldn't have brought into Christianity the
idea that charging interest was "sinful" either). This means that the
debate within the Church, a debate that lasted for about 1,000 years, began
FROM the stance it wasn't sinful and DEVELOPED into the stance that it was.
Thus, the Reformation was a RETURN to the original stance in repudiating the
then current view of the Roman Church; a return to the position of the
Church in its first 50 years of existence. It was an acknowledgement by the
Reformers that this prohibition against charging interest came out of Roman
Church "tradition", rather than Scripture. We also might note here that it
is no longer the view of the Roman Church that charging interest is a "sin",
bringing us full circle in 2,000 years of Roman Catholic tradition!
Post by spinoza1111
In fact, the change in view that happened in the 17th century could
arguably make it NOT WRONG AT ALL for the Christian to fail to pay her
debt when the interest (such as the interest on the sort of credit card
that greedhead banks peddle to the poor) is so high as to be gouging.
As is pretty easy to see by now, this idea is pure wishful thinking. One
cannot avoid their freely shouldered obligations without responsibility and
accountability. And it doesn't matter one whit what you think of the legal
"person" (which would include corporations, as we've already seen) to which
you owe the obligation. No one put a gun to your head to borrow the money.
As for the high interest rates, maybe you have a certain amount of gripe
coming there. I don't really know. I do know that it is a general rule of
investing that risk and reward must balance. A poor person would constitute
a greater risk the loan wouldn't be repaid, so to keep this balance the
financial institution would have to reap a greater reward for making the
loan...in the form of a higher interest rate. They don't do this because
they are necessarily "greedheads", but because they have stockholders to
whom they are obligated just like the borrower is obligated to them;
stockholders who themselves are on the same sort of risk/reward balancing
act. This is also why loans secured by collateral have lower interest rates
than do these revolving credit lines you've got in mind (credit cards).
This is all a good reason why poor people shouldn't be borrowing money! If
they don't intend to pay it back with the interest, or reasonably expect to
be unable to pay it back, then they're doing little better than stealing in
talking someone into loaning them the money. And if they really need the
money to live, then what we're really talking about are people who can't or
won't take care of themselves, and we have to start asking ourselves, which
is it. We have a moral obligation to meet the needs of those who "can't".
It's called "Christian charity". We don't for those who "won't". For them
we have some good advice: Go to work!
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not
work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk
among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12
Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ
that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 2 Thess 3:10-12 (NKJV)
It is a statistical fact that since serious welfare reform was instituted
during the Clinton administration (and over his stalwart objections, I might
add!), the welfare rolls have decreased over 50%, while poverty levels
remained largely static, and unemployment rates, while moving erratically
year to year, have trended downward over the last fifteen years. Evidently
there were quite a few "won't"'s feeding off the misplaced largesse of the
taxpayers. We've now culled over half the recipients of welfare payments
off the rolls in the US, and golly...we don't have hordes of people starving
in the streets (just like we didn't have before Johnson's "Great Society"
took the idea of a social safety net and ran over a fiscal cliff with it!).
It's a miracle of conservativism!!!
Post by spinoza1111
This is because the Christian, by paying only the interest, is paying
the creditor for his risk in lending to a low income person. And in
fact, greedhead banks make quite a lot of money in peddling their
garbage to low income people, meaning that "not paying a loan" is in
some cases not a wrong at all.
That's nothing but a self-serving argument to justify bad behavior. You
should be ashamed of yourself!
What's next? "Oh judge, it was one of those crazy days (you know the ones I
mean, wink wink), so I had to shoot him!" Or maybe: "You know, if I hadn't
taken that extra Tylenol, I probably wouldn't have set fire to my baby. I
mean, I'm just not that sort of person for God's sake!
You should be arresting those greedheads over at McNeil PPC, Inc.! They're
the one's making that poison. Oh, and make 'em put another caution on the
label, would you? How about, 'WARNING: taking an extra pill may cause you
to set fire to your infant. And....see if you can get me some sort of
compensation for emotional distress or something. I'm thinking eight
figures, but do what you can, okay? This whole thing has made me a complete
WRECK"
Post by spinoza1111
Moslems are commanded not to pay usury or collect it and the Moslem
creditor is advised that he takes a risk when he makes a loan. Whereas
Christian creditors today regard it as a right, even a Christian,
God-given right, to be protected against debtor default.
More blather. If you can't come up with the source, don't make these
outlandish allegations. Who are you looking at as the representative of
"Christian creditors today"? Where is the quote that you're alluding to
here?
On a world
Post by spinoza1111
scale, entire Christian countries (such as Haiti) have been brutalized
by other "Christian" countries because "Christian" bankers harden their
hearts.
Do you even know the difference between a "Christian country" and the
governments of those countries? There are no "Christian" governments, so
far as I know, in the world. The US is a "Christian country", but only in
the sense that when polled, about 90% of the population checked the little
box labeled "Christian". And while the government of the US was founded
upon Christian values and Christian philosophy, it wasn't founded, nor does
it operate on Christian theology. Neither does Haiti. If it did, perhaps
their AIDS epidemic wouldn't be quite so advanced.
The simple fact is that no matter how many Christians there are in a
country, countries are run by secular governments; at least in Europe and
the Americas. And it is secular governments who make the banking
regulations. So don't try it, okay. Just because a country has a majority
of Christians, doesn't mean its banking industry does, and even if it did,
what would give that banker the right to excuse a loan when its not his
money he's losing? That money belongs to small business men who face a
90% mortality rate for their businesses in the first year, to home owners
trying to make the mortgage payments, to the grocers, bakers, truck drivers,
warehousemen, oil workers, scientists, doctors, and fry cooks of the world.
Are you just going to ignore them? Crush them under your feet as you seize
the "moral high ground" here?
Post by spinoza1111
Of course, the Focus on the Family writer may not have been concerned
that the Christian not victimize the bank.
I'm sure they were concerned about that very thing, because, unlike you,
they probably know that a "bank" is just a name for thousands, tens of
thousands of people banking their money...people just like you. Well, maybe
not "just" like you. I'm sure some of them wouldn't be so quick to
countenence defaulting on a loan to the bank!
You know, you argue like someone who doesn't have a savings account. Either
that, or you do, and you feel REALLY guilty about it! If the latter is the
case, seek help. Don't waste time with me - grab the nearest medical
professional.
The writer may instead be
Post by spinoza1111
speaking to the Christian's need to plan carefully for her family's
survival in a brutal American economy of Savage (and to me not
Christian) Inequality.
There is nothing "savage" about being personally responsible and personally
accountable. And in what other country could you find an Oprah Winfrey? Or
an Arnold Schwarzenegger? Where else are you going to find so many first
generation millionaires? So many stories of phenomenal material success?
And if the American economy is so brutal and savage, why are so many
millions of people willing to break our laws to get in here? They weren't
being brutalized enough by the likes of Castro and Fox that they needed to
come to America for more?
If America was as bad a country as you'd like it to be, there wouldn't be
millions of illegal immigrants breaking down our borders and risking their
lives in the process trying to get IN. End of argument. Come back when you
can point to millions of people risking their lives trying to get OUT!
Post by spinoza1111
But this seems to me to directly contradict Christ's advice to the
anxious and careworn to look to the birds in the field, and to trust in
God!
You lost me. But I kind of expected that, given the twists and turns in
your linear thinking, not to mention your fact free, and sometime
self-refuting arguments.
Post by spinoza1111
I think it is wise and good to stay out of debt, and to save up for a
computer if possible: while you save, computers get better under
Moore's Law.
But the article, in a patriarchal (and sexist) way
What was sexist about the article? I hope you've got something more than
just that it was a man giving advice to women.
Post by spinoza1111
doesn't allow the
Christian to make up her own mind. Instead, it pushes a capitalist
ideology as Christianity.
Look, Christians don't get to make up their own minds about ideology for one
thing. They're CHRISTIANS, which means they have a certain ideology
already, and capitalism just happens to best fit within that ideology.
What are the alternatives? Socialism? Communism? Feudalism?
Post by spinoza1111
This ideology just gives bad advice in America. In Central America, it
gets workers and their spirtitual leaders killed...nearly all of them
Christians who ask for simple dignity in Christ's name. One such person
was Oscar Romero, who was killed by government forces with United
States because he counseled the poor of el Salvador that over and above
their "defects of character" they were not to blame for the
brutalization of their society.
I'm sorry. I know nothing about Oscar Romero. But I do know that the US
has little or nothing to do with the inner working of the Salvadoran
government.
However, given what I have now seen of your wild flights of fantasy, I now
have to view your characterizations with a fairly skeptical eye.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The ultimate unfairness is that the peoples' spirituality is sold back
to them by corporations.
That could only be true on a very novel, shall we say, understanding of
"spirituality". Would you care to actually specify your understanding of
what constitutes a person's "spirituality"? It may help understand your
argument here.
Its name is Liberation Theology and it has to me solid backing in the
Bible, commencing with Job and Amos and reaching its clearest statement
in what Christ said, as opposed to his Apostles.
That tells me a name for a system of belief (set of doctrines) you find
spiffy, but nothing at all about your notion of "spirituality", which is
what I asked you. You want to try again?
And what's this "as opposed to his Apostles" routine? Is the Liberation
theologian so arrogant as to think she has a better view of what Christ said
than did the men who lived with Him for three years during which He said it
repeatedly? The men who gave their lives in horrible ways as proof they
were telling the truth?
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
A curious feature of American law is that corporations are considered
"legal persons" even with rights.
Why curious? Is it that you don't understand why? Or is it that you do
understand, but find the reasons puzzling or bizarre in some way? If the
latter, in what ways do you find the fact that corporations are treated as
"persons" under US law (and all state laws, btw) puzzling and/or bizarre?
Because to a Christian, a PERSON is a human being.
Wrong. And I'm beginning to wonder if you're ever going to say anything
that's right!
To a Christian, a human being is ONE KIND OF person. There is also the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all of whom are Divine persons, but not human
beings. There are also angels, spirit beings who are persons, but not human.
A "person" is essentially mind, will, and emotion. Everything else is
"optional equipment", and depends upon what the Manufacturer has in mind for
that "person".
Christians who are
Post by spinoza1111
anti-abortion (I am a supporter of choice
You mean you're a supporter of abortions on demand. It's okay, you don't
have to try to put the best face on it by calling it something it isn't. We
ALL support "choice". But it's only you and your sadly confused ilk that
support killing human beings at the whim of a pregnant woman's raging
hormones and rollercoaster chemical imbalances. For some unfathomable
reason, you nut cases have concluded that SHE'S in the best cognitive
position to make that determination! You don't care about women; you care
about killing human beings because they have the inexcusable misfortune to
be five minutes away from their first breath of air! I'd say that pretty
well wraps up any notion we may have entertained that you have any moral
authority to lecture me on the entailments of Christian love.
and not a "Christian" in ANY
Post by spinoza1111
sense you would recognize,
Don't worry...I got that already.
Post by spinoza1111
but I was educated in Catholic schools)
Which just goes to show how much they're worth!
Actually, that was a cheap shot, and I take it back. I was educated in
Catholic schools from grammar school to my first year at university. They
are generally, except for the religion classes, very good schools. Makes me
wonder how you managed to graduate with the kind of fuzzy-headed thinking
you've demonstrated thus far here. You actually had to learn the material
to pass from one grade to the next in Catholic school; unlike public schools
where they just boot you along until you're a junior in highschool who can't
read or make change for a dollar without a calculator and someone to work it
for you.
have
Post by spinoza1111
to say that the only persons worth calling persons are people from the
moment of conception. They can't give "personal" rights to corporations
and it may be evil to do so.
They don't give personal rights to corporations. The government did, and
does that. They're called, generically, financial laws. Christians have a
moral obligation to obey the law so long as the law doesn't contradict the
nature or commands of God. Now I don't know all the laws, but to my
knowledge, none of them do that. And treating a corporation as a legal
person is necessary to get them into court! AT&T has MILLIONS of owners!
It would be impossible to hold them all, individually and separately,
legally liable for everything the company did. Besides, stockholders, while
they own the company, don't have the type of control over its actions to be
held to that kind of responsibility and accountability. CEO's, however, do,
and they ARE held to the standard of a "person", which shouldn't be a
problem for you because they ARE a person!
Note that the American corporation was
Post by spinoza1111
formed in the 1830s by men to evade debt, in the sense of "limited
liability for the debts of the business I started".
No it wasn't. It was formed so that creditors couldn't reach past the
business relationship in which they were engaged, and seize the personal
property of the businessman. It wasn't for the purposes of evasion of
obligation, but to provide a stopping point for creditors pursuing debtors,
much like the bankruptcy laws.
Let me guess. You're all for the personal bankruptcy laws...right? These
are shining examples of "Christian love", and corporations are the epitome
of evil..right?
Post by spinoza1111
This means that there is absolutely no spirituality in the
"corporation" as an idea.
No, what it means is that you're only "liberated" enough to look at half the
picture.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
This was used to delay the end of Jim
Post by spinoza1111
Crow racism in America, since the 19th, and early 20th century, since
the Supreme Court interpreted the 14 the Amendment and "equal
protection" in favor of corporations engaged in interstate commerce,
and it actually said that actual violations (including the lynchings of
thousands of black people who did not, under any sensible construction
of the law, receive "equal protection" for nearly a hundred years) were
state matters and beyond its authority!
Am I reading this correctly?? Are you really suggesting that corporations
lynched thousands of Blacks, and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment
as its reason for not deciding these murder cases? I hope not, because
there are about a dozen things wrong with saying that; enough to fill
several pages if they were presented in detail.
The Supreme Court, by refusing to apply the 14th amendment until 1954,
didn't "lynch" blacks.
Do you have some sort of reading problem I should know about?
Here, try this again: I asked you, "Are you really suggesting that
corporations lynched thousands of Blacks..." That was one question. It was
about corporations. Nothing to do with SCOTUS. The other question was in
the second half of the same sentence (these things are called "complex
sentences", because they're actually two sentences grammatically constructed
as one! Can you imagine!? Oh, the complexity of it all), and it goes,
"...and that the SCOTUS cited the 14th Admendment as its reason for not
deciding these murder cases?"
Now have you got that? Two questions. Neither one of which is answered by
your "The Supreme Court, by refusing to apply the 14th amendment until 1954,
didn't "lynch" blacks."
It allowed thousands of blacks to be lynched
Post by spinoza1111
despite the fact that the NAACP and other black self-help organizations
filed hundreds of appeals for certiori commencing around 1900, asking
the Supreme Court to accept complaints under the 14th amendment.
In both cases, both a Christian and an ethical non-Christian would
accuse the Supreme Court of MURDER, because if you can stop MURDER and
do not, the common law says you're guilty.
I realize these are shocking facts: that's why they are not daily fare.
However, first year law students learn them in a class on the history
of American law.
The Supreme Court until 1954, when the court under Chief Justice Earl
Warren said that the 14th amendment DID apply to school desergregation,
said repeatedly that the only entities that could get relief under the
14th amendment had to be engaged somehow in interstate commerce.
I'm sorry, but you're going to have to produce the relevant part of Warren's
written decision for this one. I personally have little use for the Warren
Court. I think it did incredible harm, and very little good. But even
given my dim view of Justice Warren's legal theories, I seriously doubt he
ever said anything so egregious as that only entities engaged in interstate
commerce qualified for protection under the 14th's equal protection clause.
For crying out loud; go back and look at Congress's intent in writing the
"Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and
of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Now I understand completely Warren's penchant for finding things in the
Constitution that aren't there, but even HE can read, and there's not a WORD
in section one about interstate commerce! Lots of words about who is a
citizen, no citizen being deprived of life, liberty or property without due
process, and all citizens having equal standing under the laws of the
central government and the states in which they reside.
Even Chief Justice Warren has to read section one before he can get to the
other sections. And you don't have to be a legal scholar to know that in
any document, what LITERALLY appears in section one of a document or article
takes precedence over any interpretations of the text in what follows of the
document or article, unless specified otherwise in the document or article.
Post by spinoza1111
About the only exception it made was for a Chinese person (Yick Wo) who
wanted to open a laundromat in San Francisco in the 1880s.
It's unbelievable, but true.
Well, you're one out of two. It is unbelievable. The 14th Amendment has not
a WORD in it about "interstate commerce".
And if you're going to call the SCOTUS justices murderers for not stopping
the lynchings, perhaps you'd care to provide a sampling of the Court's
responses to all those hundreds of appeals for certioari. Just because Joe
Dokes asks the Supreme Court to file a writ with the lower court for a
transcript of its proceedings doesn't mean the Court is under an obligation
to do so, or even respond. In hindsight that's what we call a "mistake" in
judgment, rather than "murder". And that's all there is to it unless or
until you can present something more than the simple fact the Court didn't
act.
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
So for fun, let's just take one of them briefly. Murder isn't a federal
offense. It therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the SCOTUS. If the
Murder isn't a federal offense? Now, that's nonsense. Murder and
kidnapping IS a federal offense if you cross state lines. In fact, you
are in what I have to say is your ignorance reviving the arguments used
to trash the 14th amendment and the "original intent" of the Republican
congress that passed it!
Post by Chuck Stamford
SCOTUS were going to rule on anything concerning the lynching of Blacks by
ANYONE, it would pertain to how that case was handled by the executive and
judicial branches of the state government that had jurisdiction, and if it
cited the 14th Admendment in doing that, it would have to be in regard to a
violation by the State of the murdered person's right to equal protection
under the law. But unless you're actually going to cite the SCOTUS cases
you're alluding to, it's very difficult to understand what you're actually
saying here.
I'm not going to "cite" because you need first, my brother, to read a
history of American law.
Been there, done that. Now cite them or shut up about them.
You are unconsciously reviving the whole
Post by spinoza1111
theory of the pre-Warren court, and this created the unChristian Jim
Crow era.
Look, maybe it's you that needs a brush up here. Legal theory wasn't
responsible for the Jim Crow era. You could reasonably point to Southern
bitterness after the War Between the States, due largely to the
unconscionable suffering inflicted on Southerners by a central government in
which they no longer had any effective representation, but not "legal
theory".
White southerners DESERVED no recognition after they started The War of
the Rebellion.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The original intent of the 14th amendment was to make sure that the
"equal protection of the LAW" (state, local, or Federal) was applied to
all PERSONS resident in the United States, and its wording was clear.
Then Warren had to be senile to say what you're saying he said in his
decision.
''Persons'' Defined .--Notwithstanding the historical controversy that has
been waged concerning whether the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment
intended the word ''person'' to mean only natural persons, or whether the
word was substituted for the word ''citizen'' with a view to protecting
corporations from oppressive state legislation, 56 the Supreme Court, as
early as the Granger Cases, 57 decided in 1877, upheld on the merits various
state laws without raising any question as to the status of railway
corporation plaintiffs to advance due process contentions. There is no doubt
that a corporation may not be deprived of its property without due process
of law, 58 and although prior decisions had held that the ''liberty''
guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment is the liberty of natural, not
artificial, persons, 59 nevertheless a newspaper corporation was sustained,
in 1936, in its objection that a state law deprived it of liberty of press.
60 As to the natural persons protected by the due process clause, these
include all human beings regardless of race, color, or citizenship. 61
[http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/03.html#f59]
All these decisions predated the fall of the "nine old men", corporate
lawyers raised to the Supreme Court during the 1920s by Republican
administrations, who misinterpreted the intent of the Reconstruction
Congress deliberately, both to shore up Northern corporate power and
make sure Southern whites would not restart the Civil War.

The "original intent" of the Congress was twisted to include
corporations after 1876. Congress clearly intended, in 1865, to exclude
traitors from the political process by empowering all natural persons,
especially African-American freedmen.

"Corporations" didn't exist in 1865 in the sense they did by 1900. They
were under considerably more regulation and were NOT "persons" in the
modern sense until it became convenient for the Supreme Court to evolve
a doctrine which isn't in the Constitution: that an assemblage of men
can have rights as an assemblage.
Post by Chuck Stamford
You see those little numbers in the text? They refer to notes. Number 58
refers to, and on the webpage links to the decision of the SCOTUS IN Smyth v
"By the fourteenth amendment it is provided that no state shall deprive any
person of property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. That corporations are
persons within the meaning of this amendment is now settled. Santa Clara Co.
v. Southern Pac. R. Co., 118 U.S. 394, 396 , 6 S. Sup. Ct. 1132; Railroad
Co. v. Gibbes, 142 U.S. 386, 391 , 12 S. Sup. Ct. 255; Railway Co. v. Ellis,
165 U.S. 150, 154 , 17 S. Sup. Ct. 255."
This massively begs the question at issue. I claimed already that
commencing in 1876, the Supreme Court, selected exclusively as it was
from the Northern capitalist lawyer-lackey and the Southern plantation
lawyer-lackey classes, evolved a theory, unsupported and per curiam,
that corporations are the only persons with any rights a white man need
respect, because in that time, actual people were bound to the land for
most part.

You give in fact an excellent instance of what I am talking about. The
theory of Jim Crow was the defanging of the 14th amendment, which
defanging protected local authorities in the South when they defaulted
on their duty and did not prosecute the organizers of lynch mobs.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
The Supreme Court simply refused to apply this clear law EXCEPT in the
case of corporations,
Okay, we're finished here, I think. You've gots lots of opinions, and no
facts having the good fortune to support any of those opinions!
It's a fact, jack, that the Supreme Court was PERVERTED AND CORRUPTED
from 1876 to 1954, as it was PERVERTED AND CORRUPTED on December 12,
2000, when George Bush was appointed by a corrupt, perverted, and
depraved Supreme Court (one of whose justices, Antonin Scalia,
subscribes to the legal theories of the Holy Inquisition).
Post by Chuck Stamford
Skipping down, I see you've completely avoided the introduction to
capitalistic economics I spent several minutes typing for your edification.
There is therefore no reason to respond to your following sophistry.
Boo hoo. Hugo Chavez is rewriting Samuelson and good for him.
Post by Chuck Stamford
Chuck Stamford
Jani
2007-01-12 18:11:33 UTC
Permalink
[]
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The point was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.
Just a brief point. Chuck, publishing is an *industry*. Books don't get
published because they have some innate moral or ethical value which makes
them deserving of a place on library shelves, they get published because
they'll sell.

Jani
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-14 10:38:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jani
[]
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The point was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.
Just a brief point. Chuck, publishing is an *industry*. Books don't get
published because they have some innate moral or ethical value which makes
them deserving of a place on library shelves, they get published because
they'll sell.
Sorry if I wasn't clear as to my point. The publishing "industry" (or
"publishers" as I put it) acts on several levels to keep material that has
no discernable value (the concept of "value" was to be taken in its broadest
connotation possible here, rather than be limited as you have above), except
to its author, from ever appearing in a library. One of those levels is the
fairly uncontroversial notion that a book without a minimum market isn't
going to be printed, and that having a minimum market (where "minimum" would
offset paying the author and fronting the printing and marketing costs)
would tend to indicate some sort of value in the material printed.

Because the fuction of author and publisher so often become one and the same
on the Internet, it doesn't inherently have this filtering for the material.
Therefore, by an accidental collision of tangential interests between
author, publisher, and reader, the reader at the library is less burdened by
vetting the material than the visitor to a webpage. That was my point.

Chuck Stamford
Jani
2007-01-17 19:42:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by Jani
[]
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The
point
was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.
Just a brief point. Chuck, publishing is an *industry*. Books don't get
published because they have some innate moral or ethical value which makes
them deserving of a place on library shelves, they get published because
they'll sell.
Sorry if I wasn't clear as to my point. The publishing "industry" (or
"publishers" as I put it) acts on several levels to keep material that has
no discernable value (the concept of "value" was to be taken in its
broadest connotation possible here, rather than be limited as you have
above), except to its author, from ever appearing in a library. One of
those levels is the fairly uncontroversial notion that a book without a
minimum market isn't going to be printed, and that having a minimum market
(where "minimum" would offset paying the author and fronting the printing
and marketing costs) would tend to indicate some sort of value in the
material printed.
But the value, in any ethical or moral sense, could be minimal. The
publisher publishes what will sell. Librarians might apply more stringent
moral filters, but even if they do, they're still restricted by what is
decided by the publishers, on *economic* grounds, as "worth publishing".
Post by Chuck Stamford
Because the fuction of author and publisher so often become one and the
same on the Internet, it doesn't inherently have this filtering for the
material. Therefore, by an accidental collision of tangential interests
between author, publisher, and reader, the reader at the library is less
burdened by vetting the material than the visitor to a webpage. That was
my point.
The Internet reader has to exercise some degree of discernment and
discretion as to the validity of the published material, certainly. The
library reader has no choice but to draw from a restricted amount of
material which has already been through several sets of other people's
filters. It depends how far one wants or needs a babysitter, I suppose.

Jani
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-18 06:53:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jani
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by Jani
[]
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The
point
was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.
Just a brief point. Chuck, publishing is an *industry*. Books don't get
published because they have some innate moral or ethical value which makes
them deserving of a place on library shelves, they get published because
they'll sell.
Sorry if I wasn't clear as to my point. The publishing "industry" (or
"publishers" as I put it) acts on several levels to keep material that
has no discernable value (the concept of "value" was to be taken in its
broadest connotation possible here, rather than be limited as you have
above), except to its author, from ever appearing in a library. One of
those levels is the fairly uncontroversial notion that a book without a
minimum market isn't going to be printed, and that having a minimum
market (where "minimum" would offset paying the author and fronting the
printing and marketing costs) would tend to indicate some sort of value
in the material printed.
But the value, in any ethical or moral sense, could be minimal. The
publisher publishes what will sell. Librarians might apply more stringent
moral filters, but even if they do, they're still restricted by what is
decided by the publishers, on *economic* grounds, as "worth publishing".
True. But you're stuck on the idea that "value", as I was using it in my
post, refers to ethical or moral value, and that's just not the case.
Post by Jani
Post by Chuck Stamford
Because the fuction of author and publisher so often become one and the
same on the Internet, it doesn't inherently have this filtering for the
material. Therefore, by an accidental collision of tangential interests
between author, publisher, and reader, the reader at the library is less
burdened by vetting the material than the visitor to a webpage. That was
my point.
The Internet reader has to exercise some degree of discernment and
discretion as to the validity of the published material, certainly. The
library reader has no choice but to draw from a restricted amount of
material which has already been through several sets of other people's
filters. It depends how far one wants or needs a babysitter, I suppose.
I'm not sure what you're talking about with this "already been through
several sets of other people's filters" idea. It has nothing to do with the
point I was obviously making fairly poorly.

Let me try one last time. When I go online, I have no idea if the material
I look up was successful enough in the marketplace of ideas to earn its
place on the Net, because all it takes to earn a place on the Net is ponying
up the monthly fee for a webpage. When I go to a library, or a bookstore, I
am very confident that virtually all of the material there has ALREADY
competed in the marketplace of ideas, and competed with at least a minimum
of success.

Maybe you'll get it easier if you think of it as analogous to the process of
"natural selection" in evolutionary theory. There is no "natural selection"
that operates consistently on the Internet version of the marketplace of
ideas, because there is no "marketplace" where ideas compete for their place
on the Net. But in a library, to get to the library and on the shelf,
material has to have already successfully competed in the marketplace of
ideas. Now sure, there's no way to know whether it took first prize in the
competition or barely survived...but you know it competed and survived, and
that's my whole point. Library material has survived some sort of "natural
selection" process that Internet material very often has not even been
exposed to, let alone survived. That in itself, in my opinion, grants to
the library material a "value", as in a "valuable property" (i.e., having
been tested by competition), that Internet material very often just doesn't
have.

Chuck Stamford
Jani
2007-01-29 11:49:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by Jani
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by Jani
[]
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Besides, what do encyclopedias have to do with anything here? The
point
was
that libraries are chock full of the sort of material one would need to
homeschool a child. And unlike the Internet, every author there got PAID.
Some one thought enough of them to pay them their hard earned dollars for
giving their conclusions, arguments, facts, etc. These people are called
"publishers".
Wow, money talks, huh.
Just a brief point. Chuck, publishing is an *industry*. Books don't get
published because they have some innate moral or ethical value which makes
them deserving of a place on library shelves, they get published because
they'll sell.
Sorry if I wasn't clear as to my point. The publishing "industry" (or
"publishers" as I put it) acts on several levels to keep material that
has no discernable value (the concept of "value" was to be taken in its
broadest connotation possible here, rather than be limited as you have
above), except to its author, from ever appearing in a library. One of
those levels is the fairly uncontroversial notion that a book without a
minimum market isn't going to be printed, and that having a minimum
market (where "minimum" would offset paying the author and fronting the
printing and marketing costs) would tend to indicate some sort of value
in the material printed.
But the value, in any ethical or moral sense, could be minimal. The
publisher publishes what will sell. Librarians might apply more stringent
moral filters, but even if they do, they're still restricted by what is
decided by the publishers, on *economic* grounds, as "worth publishing".
True. But you're stuck on the idea that "value", as I was using it in my
post, refers to ethical or moral value, and that's just not the case.
Post by Jani
Post by Chuck Stamford
Because the fuction of author and publisher so often become one and the
same on the Internet, it doesn't inherently have this filtering for the
material. Therefore, by an accidental collision of tangential interests
between author, publisher, and reader, the reader at the library is less
burdened by vetting the material than the visitor to a webpage. That was
my point.
The Internet reader has to exercise some degree of discernment and
discretion as to the validity of the published material, certainly. The
library reader has no choice but to draw from a restricted amount of
material which has already been through several sets of other people's
filters. It depends how far one wants or needs a babysitter, I suppose.
I'm not sure what you're talking about with this "already been through
several sets of other people's filters" idea. It has nothing to do with the
point I was obviously making fairly poorly.
Any book on a library shelf consists of a piece of writing that's gone
through the selection process by an agent, a publisher, one or more
librarians, possibly local community lobbyists. All of those are influenced
by numerous ideological factors, so what the reader gets is what all of
those individuals and groups think is "suitable" to be on the shelf.


been >
Post by Chuck Stamford
Let me try one last time. When I go online, I have no idea if the material
I look up was successful enough in the marketplace of ideas to earn its
place on the Net, because all it takes to earn a place on the Net is ponying
up the monthly fee for a webpage. When I go to a library, or a bookstore, I
am very confident that virtually all of the material there has ALREADY
competed in the marketplace of ideas, and competed with at least a minimum
of success.
Maybe you'll get it easier if you think of it as analogous to the process of
"natural selection" in evolutionary theory. There is no "natural selection"
that operates consistently on the Internet version of the marketplace of
ideas, because there is no "marketplace" where ideas compete for their place
on the Net. But in a library, to get to the library and on the shelf,
material has to have already successfully competed in the marketplace of
ideas. Now sure, there's no way to know whether it took first prize in the
competition or barely survived...but you know it competed and survived, and
that's my whole point. Library material has survived some sort of "natural
selection" process that Internet material very often has not even been
exposed to, let alone survived. That in itself, in my opinion, grants to
the library material a "value", as in a "valuable property" (i.e., having
been tested by competition), that Internet material very often just doesn't
have.
I suspect we're saying much the same thing, but from different angles. The
library reader doesn't have all the available material to choose from, only
what's been chosen *for* her by other people. The Internet reader has to do
a lot more work to assess what's valuable material and what isn't, but isn't
subject to other people's assessments of that material.

(IMO the main problem with the Net is not that anyone can put up a webpage,
it's that individuals using the Net aren't taught proper research skills,
and will take websites as being "true", much as they take something written
in a printed book to be "true".)

Jani

Eric Fisher
2007-01-12 20:52:18 UTC
Permalink
Chuck Stamford wrote:
..In short, help mold their character, and you won't have to worry
about the "savage inequality of American education".
Btw, maybe if you didn't have to pay for the desk that the kid sits in
when he's not selling crack, pay for the books he's never going to open,
and pay the doctor bills of the teacher he's going to assault before the
weeks up (in short, if the government got out of the education business
at which they are spactacular failure!), then maybe you'd have enough
money to send your kid to a private school where he could actually learn
if he wanted to, where he wouldn't have to join a gang and/or pack a
large caliber gun just to survive his "free" educational experience.
.........

"spinoza1111" :
This is racist bullshit.
<><><<>><><><>>><>><>

lol. i didn't necessarily believe spinoza's claim to be college educated
until i got to this. it's gotta be true. lol.
spinoza1111
2007-01-14 09:10:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Fisher
..In short, help mold their character, and you won't have to worry
about the "savage inequality of American education".
Btw, maybe if you didn't have to pay for the desk that the kid sits in
when he's not selling crack, pay for the books he's never going to open,
and pay the doctor bills of the teacher he's going to assault before the
weeks up (in short, if the government got out of the education business
at which they are spactacular failure!), then maybe you'd have enough
money to send your kid to a private school where he could actually learn
if he wanted to, where he wouldn't have to join a gang and/or pack a
large caliber gun just to survive his "free" educational experience.
.........
This is racist bullshit.
<><><<>><><><>>><>><>
lol. i didn't necessarily believe spinoza's claim to be college educated
until i got to this. it's gotta be true. lol.
Laughing out loud? At, precisely, what? That one might learn about
"racism" in a university?
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-14 09:59:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Eric Fisher
..In short, help mold their character, and you won't have to worry
about the "savage inequality of American education".
Btw, maybe if you didn't have to pay for the desk that the kid sits in
when he's not selling crack, pay for the books he's never going to open,
and pay the doctor bills of the teacher he's going to assault before the
weeks up (in short, if the government got out of the education business
at which they are spactacular failure!), then maybe you'd have enough
money to send your kid to a private school where he could actually learn
if he wanted to, where he wouldn't have to join a gang and/or pack a
large caliber gun just to survive his "free" educational experience.
.........
This is racist bullshit.
<><><<>><><><>>><>><>
lol. i didn't necessarily believe spinoza's claim to be college educated
until i got to this. it's gotta be true. lol.
Laughing out loud? At, precisely, what? That one might learn about
"racism" in a university?
I'm not sure, but I think he's laughing at the notion that the disconnected
fuzz ball of ideas you think of as reasoned argumentation is typical of the
liberal mind set that currently infects most universities in America.

Personally, I disagree. Not that liberalism isn't currently infecting
American education at all levels, especially college and university, because
that is a fact beyond reasonable dispute. It's the nonsense you spout being
typical of it with which I disagree. You exemplify what we lovingly call
the "foaming at the mouth lefty"; the sort of champion of free speech so
often found shouting down opposing points of view; the sort that becomes
hysterical the moment they are faced with a fact based objection to their
theories.

Chuck Stamford
Eric Fisher
2007-01-14 11:42:54 UTC
Permalink
"spinoza1111" :
Laughing out loud? At, precisely, what?
<><><>>

.... that you would run that quickly to yell "misogyny" and "racist"

... and, as chuck said....

"....the notion that the disconnected fuzz ball of ideas you think of as
reasoned argumentation is typical of the liberal mind set that currently
infects most universities in America."

"... You exemplify... the sort of champion of free speech so often found
shouting down opposing points of view..."

that pretty much sums it up.
Chuck Stamford
2007-01-14 10:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Post by spinoza1111
Keep in mind that in America, due to the intersection of freedom of
speech (a great thing) and freedom of religion (another great thing),
unprincipled rich people consider religion a market.
They set up glitzy Web sites which try to "help" American families.
Their "advice" is insane.
For example, they "counsel" married couples deep in debt. In this
counsel, they send the crazymaking message that getting into debt is
basically irresponsible when in fact most families do so to meet basic
psychic, medical, educational and even spiritual needs.
I can concieve of a state of affairs wherein a family might need to go into
debt because of some medical need, but the rest? Where, for example, does
one go with their credit card to satisfy a "spiritual" need? Can we
purchase the Holy Spirit on the installment plan? Buy some reconciliation
with God not already provided us by His Son's death and resurrection?
And
are not these things given us in the New Testament as able to meed ALL our
"spiritual" needs?
I was talking about material needs, and of course the family has the
choice NOT to buy the computer: it's not a spiritual requirement
(although most families buy computers for their children's education,
and parents meet in my opinion a spiritual requirement by providing for
their kids' education).
And, I acknowledge that given planned obsolescence, the computer
purchase is foolish, perhaps if you pay the minimum each month, meaning
that you could still, today, be paying off that IBM PC you bought for
2000.00 in 1981.
That's one of several reasons it's foolish to buy a computer on time, but
clearly not the only one. Fact is, if you want a short list, you need to
list the GOOD reasons to buy a computer on time. So far, all you've got is,
"Oh, my God! Jimmy needs an education. When did that happen!? Now I need
a computer, and I don't have the money for one...what am I going to do!!?
Jimmy won't be able to have a life!!!!" Fade out to sobbing and nose
blowing.
Your misogyny is astonishing.
This is what happens virtually every time you bring facts and logic into an
argument with a radical liberal. They start crying and calling you names.

And how my making the point forcefully that your argument is BS; a
transparent appeal to emotions and an insult to intellect, is supposed to be
evidence I hate women has GOT to be made out of the same stuff Tinkerbell
needed sprinkled on her wings so she could fly!
Post by spinoza1111
Post by Chuck Stamford
Not the best reason I've ever seen. But hey, any port in a storm, right?
Post by spinoza1111
In reflecting on this subject after I posted, I realized that my
problem was that the author of the essay at the Focus on the Family
Website was that it acknowledged no right on the part of the person
being addressed, the Christian going to the Web site for advice on her
debt, to question and to make up her own mind.
A critical spirit would have written a more balanced article, admitting
that it might be rational and consistent with a good spiritual life to
spend more on credit, whether to educate your kids or even to take the
family to a nice restaurant once a week in order to have a family time
together.
A balanced article would have noted that having now and paying later
hardly ever makes sense economically unless we're talking about really big
ticket items. For most people, buying a house and a car are the two biggest
purchases they will ever make in their lives, and a good argument can be
made (especially for the house) that buying them on credit is a good idea.
Actually, we now know that the lower middle class was TRICKED by
"credit advisors" into buying houses, and that the value of most of
these houses will decline as American power declines owing to Bush's
incompetence, and zones of America (such as New Orleans) collapse
because of environmental disaster caused by Amerikkka's failure to sign
Kyoto.
Okay, that's going to have to wrap up this episode of the Twilight Zone for
me. When we get to the point where the normal up and down movement of
investment markets (in this case, the housing market) become, for you, the
basis for the above trip to the event horizon of Oz, then I'm going to have
to regain control of my set and switch channels back to something more
similar to earth.

Chuck Stamford
Burkeladies
2007-01-13 02:36:03 UTC
Permalink
Beware of "Focus on the Family!" Indeed beware of the agendas here.
Mr. Dobson is clearly delusional.
Post by spinoza1111
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
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