I think that Mr. Douthat (Bad Religion) has rightly pointed out the avoidance of the challenges Christianity presents (whether our personal decisions are "righteous") about personal responsibility, but he seems to downplay the challenges to religious institutionalism itself, that I think is also a core lessons of Christ's message and life. Responsibility is personal and private, while judgment belongs to God alone, and compassion should be unconditional, I argue. But, when these tenets are violated (for whatever secular/political or Pharisaical/pious reason) then Christianity is deformed (bad) - and it is frequently the fanatic (more often unexamined/unchallenged authority, rather than the rigorous "open-mindedness" true of "liberal" argument) that does most damage. Moving to policy-making, staunch obstruction regardless of consequences (as the GOP has evidently adopted for debt-limit, regulatory, insurance reform, etc.) is an "orthodoxy" that has been somehow associated with the "virtue" of the country (perhaps insincerely, for partisan advantage). False premises cannot yield true conclusions, and religious "freedom" and separation of church from state are the premises to which theocratic inclination objects (and that should not be tolerated). [.]

The 'beyond outrageous' consequences of excessive (not to mention turbid) financial risks are NOT necessary for capital creation nor, surely not, for good business practice. The Romney accusation that regulatory reform should be "repealed" and remitted because of its useless burden on business is a LIE. The lack of effective regulating of the financial industry is obviously dangerous, and "concentrated power" of irresponsible leverage/hedge-fund marketeers must, I say, be dissipated.

Gov. Haley Barber is often on TV, must not watch much TV, because the touting of their record, against hysterically irrational objection (debt limit), was the first salvo of the Obama re-election advertisements. What the first Congress under this administration ("he got what he wanted") passed was health insurance reform, a small but effective stimulus, civil rights reform, and a deal on setting aside money from military fat for public service. What the GOP wanted was to roll back civil rights and propose more frightening encumbrance of the middle class (to the further benefit of the already wealthy). What Mr. Romney and his party seem to think would be better economic news would be, "Sorry little Johnny, we have to steal from your college fund to pay the boss' bonus, and the bank might foreclose because mom lost her nursing job and we have to forgo grandma's medical bills to pay for the private company that runs the prison farm, but, dod can keep his job if he takes another pay cut and no longer negotiates for deferred benefits"; and someone tells the pollsters that they think that would be better than the incremental liberal pragmatism that has brought us slow but steady recovery. [hmm]


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The America I Knew Has Almost Disappeared

Like an alcoholic family that won't discuss alcoholism (and proving Don Quixote's warning to never mention rope in the home of a man who's been hanged), far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.