At the same time, I would think, mankind would not be obligated to give priority to that one man's opinion, merely to hear it out and give it an honest evaluation. The majority should not oppress and ignore the minority, but neither should the minority have free reign simply because it is the minority.

The thoughts of Martinez on 9 June 2005 - 15:34 Central
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Just to clarify: I wasn't suggesting that you (Wilson) were implying rule of the minority, I just wanted to throw that comment out there because some people seem to think that the minority should rule by virtue of being smaller in number.

The thoughts of Martinez on 9 June 2005 - 15:39 Central
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But...But...If you don't let the minority have a say in how things are run, you're being prejudiced against them! If you don't bow to the whim and fancy of every small group except Christians and maybe Jews and Mulsims, you're a horrible, horrible hater! Everybody is right! Christians are haters! They should never be listened to! *End sarcasm*
So goes the core of the rhetoric of much of the secular world (read: secular left). They want us to think that the country should bow to the will of the minority, unless that minority is...say....Christians. Then of course they are horrible horrible bigots who hate everyone and want to oppress them.
I'm not saying we should stop them from saying such things. I believe in free speech. But I also believe that the minorities should not impose their will on all.
(Not to say that either of you are advocating such a thing).

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 9 June 2005 - 19:46 Central
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I find it amusing that a simple declaration of the freedom of the individual (theoretically the basis of our constitutional form of government, which recognizes no distinction between an oppressive majority and an oppressive minority) would get such a reaction. Why must the right be qualified?

I didn't give it any political context whatsoever. I simply quoted someone else saying that no one should be allowed to silence minority opinions. Do you find challenges to majority opinion that threatening?

The thoughts of Wilson on 9 June 2005 - 22:14 Central
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ah. i smell scents of utilitarianism vs ethical egoism....?

The thoughts of o'er here on 9 June 2005 - 22:34 Central
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I totally agree that the single person has the right to speak up. But I also agree with Martinez that they don't have the right to impose their will on the majority. People can say whatever they want in this country. But if the majority of the people vote the other way, that's just the way it is. My post came out of a sad realization that more and more, the minorities seem to rule this country, rather than the majority. A few cries of "hate" and "bigotry" are all that's needed to shame the general populace into silence, even when faced with things we all know are wrong. That's where the slightly bitter tone came from.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 9 June 2005 - 23:00 Central
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Right now, Knight's Disciple, you haven't explained what specific minority you think is threatening the power of the majority. You are ranting about an unspecified minority that is doing unspecified evil by overturning the unspecified wishes of the majority.

"The secular left is trying to impose its will on everybody else" is far too vague for valid argument, I'm afraid; it's every bit as flawed as saying "the Christians are trying to impose their will on everybody else." You have shown only that one group of people disagrees with the political goals of everybody else, and wants its elected representatives to be persuaded by its arguments rather than those of the larger group. What else is new?

Just so we're clear: If the minority has a right, I don't care if every last person in the country votes to take that right away. That's all the original quotation says (referring specifically to freedom of speech).

I still cannot figure out why you think this statement should be qualified. You protest too much, methinks.

The thoughts of Wilson on 9 June 2005 - 23:33 Central
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For my part, I didn't mean to qualify your original quote so much as to develop or explain it. I actually know a few people (whose names I will not reveal) who say things very much like that quote (e.g. "The minority has a right to be heard")and then seem to assume that "being heard" means "being obeyed;" these individuals that I know suggest that the only way to ensure that the minority is not oppressed by the majority is to give the minority opinion "first dibs" on how things are to be done. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's pretty much exactly the opposite of how normal democracies work.

I simply wanted to point out that this is not the case; listening to someone and considering/analyzing his or her views is not the same as blindly accepting those views. I suppose my comments weren't really relevant to this particular context. Your quote just brought to my mind memories of rather unpleasant debates-turned-verbal fights. If I have caused a figurative mudslide away from your intended subject, I apologize.

The thoughts of Martinez on 10 June 2005 - 1:02 Central
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The problem with what you say, KD, boils down to one very essential and insurmountable fact: You, quite simply, have no right to be bitter. Unless there's something going on that I don't know about, there aren't any minority groups running around keeping you out of a job or telling you what to do or beating up your grandma. Heck, the freaking presidential candidate you supported is the one in power! There aren't any minorities ruling you or anyone you know, so why should you be allowed to whine about it?

I would suggest (and of course I expect you to correct me vehemently with hard evidence if I am wrong) that your comments amount to nothing more than blowing Conservative smoke . . . mindless repetition of a droning position that you, I, and all Christians these days have heard so often and from so many people that we often can't help but believe it.

It's everywhere . . . your pastor drops it into his sermons, Rush Limbaugh slips it into his railing monologues, World Magazine allows dark hints to waft through every page of their publication . . . But what does a statement without corroborating evidence amount to? Jack nothing . . . no matter how many people have said it, or how many times it's been said.

My post came out of a sad realization that more and more, the minorities seem to rule this country, rather than the majority.

And from where, pray tell, did this sad realization emanate? It obviously wasn't out of Wilson's post because it isn't even relevant to that. Did you see Martinez use the phrase "rule of the minority" and think to yourself, "Oh! Gee! They do!" I, too, would like to know the answer to Wilson's question: What minority?! Where?! I challenge you to do two things:

1) Back up these vague generalizations (which sound like just more of the same Conservative rhetoric we've been hearing for years) with some rock-solid evidence and examples that conclusively show that the state you see the country in matches the state it actually is in.

2) Answer this initial, hypothetical question (there will probably be more, depending on your answer): Assume Christians are a minority in America. Should our opinions take precedence over the opinions of the majority?

The thoughts of Blame Jared on 10 June 2005 - 10:10 Central
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Two examples for #1, Jared. First, and more directly related, the long mess over judicial nominees. (I'm not saying to get rid of the filibuster at all. Maybe tweak, but not dissolve. Just so that's clear.) Apparently, some nominees have come up for vote just now. After several years. No actual filibusters occcured. Just the threat, apparently. They just now voted on them. I believe that the filibuster has its place. But neither side (yes, I mean both Democrats and Republicans) should pull off this kind of a stunt for so long. It's ridiculous. A few men threaten this, and it stalls the process. Unless there has been an actual filibuster for this long. Which would give me a great amount of respect for their tenactiy, timing, and endurance. At any rate.
Second (to #1, and I know I'll get flamed as a hater for this....)....the whole gay marriage thing. More and more states are voting that marriage is a man and a woman, and only that combo. (Nohting else, mind you, just that...no sweeping loss of rights). And yet, that particular group seems to still be crying out "hate" "oppression" etc. They have all the other rights of citizens. But this one thing, that the majority of all but a few states have determined is only m/f, is still being challenged. I won't be surprised if some judge somewhere starts the ball rolling to get it to the Supreme Court and ruled un-Constitutional. Now, I'm not really a fan of a national amendment about it. But...This is an instance of a minority trying, but not succeeding to impose their will on the majority. I'm sure I could find other instances. But since I'm just blowing "Conservative smoke", I geuss it's pointless to list this off anyway. Because, you know, we Conservatives don't have a good grasp of reality.
Incidentally, I have never listened to Limbaugh, never intend to; I have a rather spotty record lately of going to church, so the term "my pastor" is a bit relative. But my pastors at home don't often engage in political rhetoric. And so what if I read World Mag? Every publication out there has some kind of creeping bias/agenda. So maybe I read one that fits my view better is all. But hey, that must just be a sign of my ignorance.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 10 June 2005 - 10:48 Central
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In answer to #2....To a degree, yes. Why? Because, on moral issues, we're right. Period. Other people say it's all relative, but ultimately, we are right. And by we, I suppose I should shift that to the Bible and God. Christians themselves can be wrong. But our moral stances are based on the Bible and God, which are always right. Now, on purely polictical issues, no. But on issues like...say...(picks out the most hot-button issues possible) abortion and gay marriage, then yes, perhaps the majority should give ear to us.
Maybe I'm all wrong. Maybe it's all relative. Then none of this stuff matters. Whatever.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 10 June 2005 - 10:51 Central
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Knight's Disciple, you have contradicted yourself. When someone overrules your minority opinion on "moral issues" (most issues are moral, last I checked), you think they have a moral obligation to listen to your minority opinion. Yet when you are in a majority and someone else challenges your power, you declare the end of democracy. "Relativism" hardly seems to be a problem only of your opponents, sir.

Now, filibusters are nothing new. They are unusual in judicial apointments, but not unheard of; one happened in 1968 and another (by Republicans) in 1994, plus another GOP attempt in 2000 that failed due to cloture. And bear in mind that while filibusters are a tool of the minority, there are several means at the disposal of the majority to hold up nominations. During President Clinton's administration, the GOP majority refused to hold committee hearings at all on dozens of Clinton's appointees, and some who got hearings were denied actual committee votes.* That, it seems to me, is every bit as problematic constitutionally as a filibuster by a minority.

Now, regarding gay marriage. Homosexuals have every right to ask for the right to marry from the people or from the legislatures, and every right to ask the courts to review the constitutionality of bans against gay marriage. (Constitutionality, remember, has never been decided by majority vote of the people. The whole point of having a constitution is to put a check on the power of the majority.) What exactly do you propose that they stop doing? You say you defend their right to speak, yet you object when they do speak.

The thoughts of Wilson on 10 June 2005 - 12:09 Central
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Never mind. I'm done with this. I don't want to keep arguing like this. I'll just go back to my life, and evaluate my lowly opinions until they are "correct". I'll bow out of this right here, right now. I don't want this to get nasty. But I also don't admit defeat.
Maybe someday, I will be more enlightened, or something. Then maybe I will be worthy.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 10 June 2005 - 13:33 Central
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This is all very strange.

The thoughts of Wilson on 10 June 2005 - 14:58 Central
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For pity's sake, KD, stop playing the martyr. Nobody's crucified you yet, nor are we likely to. At best we have disagreed with something you said (how can you ever forgive us?) . . . at worst we have stated our belief that what you believe to be true is, in fact, untrue. Either way, nobody is suggesting that you are beneath anyone else. Oh, no . . . there's no way you're getting off that easily.

People who know me really well know that I don't openly disagree with anyone that I have no respect for, and when I do disagree with someone, I expect them to either be able to back up what they say, or be willing to modify their position if they find that it does not stand up to close scrutiny.

I see no reason to make this personal . . . but I would like to point out something. Earlier in this discussion, you said, "A few cries of 'hate' and 'bigotry' are all that's needed to shame the general populace into silence, even when faced with things we all know are wrong." Well, guess what, we aren't going to shamefacedly leave this discussion alone just because you're bowing out on pretexts of being hated on . . . that's simply not true, and it's a tacky way of wriggling out from under the gun when you've been caught contradicting yourself.

Now, I'm struggling hard with myself, because there are a lot of side issues that I'd like to address, but let's just try to break this down to the core of where we began, and follow the thread from there. In a nutshell, you asserted that "more and more, the minorities seem to rule this country, rather than the majority." I came back with three simple questions:

First, I wanted to know where you were getting your ideas about the minority takeover, revealing within that the primary places where I hear it. From your response I took that you essentially have pulled this idea out of the news you read (leaving aside the question of slant for the time being). I take no issue with the response to this.

Second, I asked you to produce some solid examples of abuse of the system . . . of minorities having their way, flying in the faces of the now helpless majority. You came up with two. Now, as Wilson pointed out, the filibuster issue is hardly an indication of the implication in your statement that this problem is worsening, having been around in the US Senate since 1806 (and at first, the House of Representatives permitted them as well . . . and there were essentially no rules restricting them in any way until 1917). That's really all we were pointing out.

Next, the controversial morality of homosexuality aside, you yourself said, "This is an instance of a minority trying, but not succeeding to impose their will on the majority." That's not what I asked for, nor is it what you originally said ("minorities seem to rule this country").

In the end, while both of these issues may be good examples of a problem in America (I haven't said I disagreed with you there) neither of them is a good example of a minority takeover, which is what I wanted.

Third, and last, I wanted to see how consistent your view is . . . I wanted to know whether you really think that minorities should not be allowed to dictate to majorities, or whether you only thought that about minorities that you personally disagree with. And, while what you came back with included some very admirable sentiments ("Christians themselves can be wrong. But our moral stances are based on the Bible and God, which are always right." I quite agree!) surely you must see that you have now completely undermined your original lament at the prospect of minorities being in charge. You've got a lot of good ideas . . . I don't think any of us are disputing that. It's just that these two views are not totally consistent with each other.

And the position of Wilson and myself in this discussion is quite simply this: In any system of government where people are permitted to exchange ideas and opinions freely, there will be minority opinions, and these minority opinions will do their best to make their voices heard, both by those in power and by their fellow citizens. This is what makes democracy work, it is what you and I both believe that Christians in the minority ought to be doing, and it is what Wilson and I are asserting that all human beings in the minority have a perfect right to do.

The thoughts of Blame Jared on 10 June 2005 - 16:31 Central
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Just so you know, I bowed out for two reasons, neither of which was because I was "being hated on". First, I saw that my position did need more backing up, if not more evaluating. I realized I was in a difficult position at best. Rather than argue from ignorance and emotion, I decided to stop then and there. Second, and more importantly to me, I saw much of the posting I did had a lot of emotion in it. I was reacting, rather than acting. I still consider you people my friends. That's why I stopped. I tend to get emotional and unrational in talks like this, as you can see. I didn't want to say anything further that I would regret. Also, my personality is such that I actually dislike arguing with emotion instead of logic and facts. But I found myself doing so anyway. I hijacked a friend's comment section because I was in a bad mood, or bitter at the moment,or something. That was the wrong motive to begin, and my later posts bear this out. Thus I decided that the best and most mature thing for me to do was to stop commenting directly on this. For what it's worth, the points the both of you have brought up have caused me to think on this issue some more. However, I stand by my earlier comment, and will not post directly on this here.
I'm sorry for the tone I took with my posts. I'm not entirely sure why I said things in this way. It was horribly unprofessional of me. You and Wilson are to be commended for keeping cool heads when I could not. Once again, I have bowed out because of the realization that any further posts directly on this topic could be bad for...well, my friendships. And those are things I take seriously. That is all.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 10 June 2005 - 16:43 Central
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Thanks, Knight's Disciple. I appreciate your friendliness and friendship very much.

The thoughts of Wilson on 10 June 2005 - 17:13 Central
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