Sunday, July 22, 2007

I think it's time that Americans invaded red blogs and hosting sites like, and started refuting the nonsense they can find there. I am seeing more of it as I go there regularly. It's basically the same shill noise they have always promoted.

But I think that perhaps a course of self education is necessary to really challenge the political rhetoric of the right wing extremists.

I would recommend the following:

Acquaint yourself with the writings of Tom Paine. Particularly Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason. Then move on to Thomas Jefferson. The Library of America has wonderful volumes that contain Paine's writings, and a collection of Jefferson's most popular. They also have James Madison's writings, which is the trifecta of the founders writings one should know.

Then I would recommend America's Constitution: A Biography by Akhil Reed Amar to deepen your knowledge of that text. Alon side that, have yourself a pocket version of the Constitution, such as the American Bar Association sells for a couple bucks. Read them together.

I would also suggest you read The Conservative Mind by Russel Kirk. He wrote what has been the bible of conservatism. In it you will find the essential principles that make up conservatism, and you will see where the neoconservatism of today has drifted from it. You will also note that it draws heavily on British Tory loyalist, parliament member, and resister to American independence, Edmund Burke. The foreword was written by the head of Regnery Publishing, and contains some juvenile comments that otherwise betray the level of intelligence the conservatives aspire to.

Susan Jacoby's Freethought is also highly recommended to round out the history portion.

George Lakoff's works Don't Think Of An Elephant and Moral Politics, which deal with the rhetorical framing that the Republicans use, as well as humans in general. The Frameshop website is a good resource as well. And finish up with a text on critical thinking.

That may take some time, but play as you go! You will find stuff that is blatantly easy to refute. This morning, TownHall posted an article by John Boehner about making America safer. Many of the posts were about how ridiculous such a claim is in light of republican management of that issue. It was a no brainer to post to. You'll also find articles about our alleged Christian heritage. That might require regular visits to and Americans United The Wall of Separation blog.

You'll discover a few major things along the way here. First is that there is no historical basis for the idea that America is or ever was meant to be a christian nation. You will also discover that the historical references and roots of today's conservatism don't extend beyond 1980. So their idea of conservatism being an American idea is relatively new. You'll also find that there is no inherent logic in conservative ideas. That will account for many of the contradictions that appear in today's news surrounding healthcare, immigration, and the occupation of Iraq for example. You will also find a lot of fear mongering and bigotry. That obviously isn't a clear use of reason to finding solutions to problems.

John Stuart Mill stated that not all conservatives are stupid, but that most stupid people are conservative. I would alter that to say ignorant(unlearned) as opposed to stupid(unable to learn). However, there are many cases where stupid is the appropriate word. But you will occasionally find that there are some intelligent conservatives with viable solutions with whom you can have reasoned debate. And that is what makes America what it is.

Conservatism actually has a small base. I would venture to say that most Americans are more likely existing on a libertarian continuum to some degree, with most of that still left leaning. Liberalism is the value on which America was founded, and isn't defined by what the right wing extremists say it is. It's defined by the Preamble of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.

So jump into it!


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