"The grand-daddy of all conspiracy theories"

AnthonyAnthony Shipmate Posts: 10
I've just read this Iwan Russel-Jones article (Ship of Fools Feature 30th October), attracted by the current wave of interest in USA politics. It points to reasonable evidence of 'conspiracy theories' being an influencing factor in pushing evangelicals to place their x's in the Trump box, but it makes the doubtful assumption that a very significant number of US evangelicals are just plain dumb, which I believe is not the truth.
It's my belief that, as is often the case, the truth is stranger than fiction, and in the case of the USA far more dangerous. With regard Trump support, conspiracy theory was confined to a tiny proportion of his extreme right wing support, numbered only in thousands and nowhere near the 30 million or so white evangelicals exercising their right to vote. What swayed the millions of evangelicals and indeed all white Christians in 2016 and 2020 were their concepts of "personal freedom", so perfectly illustrated in the Trump campaign, and so dramatically threatened by Joe Biden. Whether it was the economy, the workforce, immigration, healthcare, law and order, or COVID-19, personal freedoms were at risk and Donald Trump played to it all, both through Republican ideals and through his own personal promises. At the end of the day white Christians voted in their own best interests, for a strong economy, safe jobs, private healthcare, blocking the paths of undesirables and criminals, backed up by the force of law, all summed up by the indignity of social distancing and the wearing of masks.
Why do I say this is potentially more dangerous than any conspiracy theory?
The reasons should be obvious, but my personal fear is that God will begin loosing patience with Christian prayer, and listen more closely to the prayer of other human religions.
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Comments

  • Anthony wrote: »
    my personal fear is that God will begin loosing patience with Christian prayer, and listen more closely to the prayer of other human religions.

    Even if most Christian prayer is BS, God, being omniscient, would still maintain the power to discern which prayers ARE worth listening to.

  • Wait, you think that God is taking sides?
    If so, it will be the side of love, no matter what religious trappings it wears. God will no more listen to the vengeful, hate-filled prayer of a Christian than of any other faith. Or he will listen, but he doesn't have to do what is asked. And will not, cannot without betraying himself.
    If you are right about the reasons while evangelicals voted for Trump (and not all of them did) it is more scary because it shows that such people have only self at the heart of their ideology, and that is not Christianity, but is being promulgated as such. Which is bad for everyone. But not because of whose prayers will be answered.
  • AnthonyAnthony Shipmate Posts: 10
    Cathscats wrote: »
    If you are right about the reasons while evangelicals voted for Trump (and not all of them did) it is more scary because it shows that such people have only self at the heart of their ideology, and that is not Christianity, but is being promulgated as such. Which is bad for everyone.

    This was the fundamental reason for my post. My comments on prayer were superfluous - I appologise.
  • First, just wow.
    Anthony wrote: »
    I've just read this Iwan Russel-Jones article (Ship of Fools Feature 30th October), attracted by the current wave of interest in USA politics. It points to reasonable evidence of 'conspiracy theories' being an influencing factor in pushing evangelicals to place their x's in the Trump box, but it makes the doubtful assumption that a very significant number of US evangelicals are just plain dumb, which I believe is not the truth.
    You'll have to point out where in the article it says this, because I don't see it.
    Anthony wrote: »
    It's my belief that, as is often the case, the truth is stranger than fiction, and in the case of the USA far more dangerous. With regard Trump support, conspiracy theory was confined to a tiny proportion of his extreme right wing support, numbered only in thousands and nowhere near the 30 million or so white evangelicals exercising their right to vote. What swayed the millions of evangelicals and indeed all white Christians in 2016 and 2020 were their concepts of "personal freedom",
    Bullshit. The evangelical block supported GWB who enacted one of the largest attacks on personal freedom: The "Patriot" Act. The evangelical block supports personal freedom in the same way the Puritans did: Everyone has to person freedom to believe as they (the Puritans/evangelicals) do or face punishment. Everyone has the freedom to be their kind of Christian* or GTFO.

    *White, protestant, evangelical and preferably fundamentalist.

    Trump, BTW, doesn't give a shit about personal freedom save his own. He is smart enough to play into the evangelical narrative, just the same as he played into the extremist narrative. And since the evangelical black doesn't seem to care that he did...

    BTW, welcome to the SHip, but please note that we do not as yet have kool-aid dispensers.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Trump, BTW, doesn't give a shit about personal freedom save his own. He is smart enough to play into the evangelical narrative, just the same as he played into the extremist narrative. And since the evangelical black doesn't seem to care that he did...

    Do you mean the evangelical block?
  • lilbuddha--

    Is that a matter of kool-aid for kids and newbies? Or "drank the kool-aid", as in Jonestown?

    Thx.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Trump, BTW, doesn't give a shit about personal freedom save his own. He is smart enough to play into the evangelical narrative, just the same as he played into the extremist narrative. And since the evangelical black doesn't seem to care that he did...

    Do you mean the evangelical block?
    Ooops, my bad, that should be bloc. As in Voting Bloc
  • Anthony wrote: »
    At the end of the day white Christians voted in their own best interests, for a strong economy, safe jobs, private healthcare, blocking the paths of undesirables and criminals, backed up by the force of law, all summed up by the indignity of social distancing and the wearing of masks.

    (My bold)

    The US private healthcare system costs around 20% of GDP and not everyone is covered. 'Socialised' medicine as practised in Europe generally costs around half that, and achieves universal coverage and (in many countries) higher life expectancy. How is it in anyone's best interests to vote for the former?

    And how is it in anyone's best interests for coronavirus to run unchecked through their community? Unless their belief is that the threat of coronavirus has been exaggerated, but in that case they are sitting firmly in conspiracy-theory territory.
  • @ Anthony - the indignity of social distancing and the wearing of masks? Here in Australia, that so-called indignity, combined with emphasis on sanitisation and in some extreme cases lockdown, has resulted in today there being a total of 22 cases of community transmission nationwide [the result of an outbreak from a worker infected in returned traveller quarantine] and no deaths. Compare that with your own community statistics. I would choose indignity in order to save lives.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Tough choice - indignity or death?

    I'm relieved Aotearoa/NZ opted for indignity.

    You make it sound like anyone other than white Christians are undesirables or criminals,
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    If I read Anthony right he is taking it for granted that Christians ought not to be voting in what they see as their own best worldly interests; that they shouldn't be putting their dignity over their neighbours' interests.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks Dafyd - I apologise Anthony if I misunderstood you.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    It's not about anything other than tribe. Their tribe uses "freedom" "the constitution" "family" "God" "the Bible" and "America" as totems. They are all almost totally devoid of content.

    But this is nothing new, and draws heavily on the cultural Christianity of my parents' generation in Australia, where Christian phrases became barely more than badges of belonging.

    This will pass, probably, but not in my lifetime I expect.

    [edit - now I'm thinking about what my totems might be. I hope totems is not offensive. Or tribe]
  • AnthonyAnthony Shipmate Posts: 10
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Anthony wrote: »
    At the end of the day white Christians voted in their own best interests, for a strong economy, safe jobs, private healthcare, blocking the paths of undesirables and criminals, backed up by the force of law, all summed up by the indignity of social distancing and the wearing of masks.

    (My bold)

    The US private healthcare system costs around 20% of GDP and not everyone is covered. 'Socialised' medicine as practised in Europe generally costs around half that, and achieves universal coverage and (in many countries) higher life expectancy. How is it in anyone's best interests to vote for the former?

    And how is it in anyone's best interests for coronavirus to run unchecked through their community? Unless their belief is that the threat of coronavirus has been exaggerated, but in that case they are sitting firmly in conspiracy-theory territory.

    I'm sorry I have no answer to your questions as I am not an American evangelical. What I posted was based on several years experience of working in the USA, and the impressions of American life I gained from it.
  • Let's be frank, the reason why so many white people voted for Trump is that they realize they are fast becoming a minority population in America. If you listen to what he was saying throughout the campaign it all hinged on racism. Keeping the suburbs safe from riff-raff. Building a wall. Blaming the virus on the Chinese. Wanting to see more immigration from Northern European countries. There were a lot of whites who just cannot see an African-Indian American woman a heartbeat away from being the next president.
  • Christian evengelists who supported Trump should have read Matthew 7.15.
    "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves".

  • It is not just racism. It was also thinking that every American should be Christian,* and that the heathens were talking over. And don't forget abortion. It doesn't matter that their preferred policy isn't the most efficient to reduce abortions, logic isn't part of this.
    And then there is: "They're taking our jerbs!" Despite Republicans not actually supporting domestic jobs, but again, no logic to see here, please move along.

    *Protestant, the more conservative the better and preferably white
  • I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
  • AnthonyAnthony Shipmate Posts: 10
    edited November 2020
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Let's be frank, the reason why so many white people voted for Trump is that they realize they are fast becoming a minority population in America. If you listen to what he was saying throughout the campaign it all hinged on racism. Keeping the suburbs safe from riff-raff. Building a wall. Blaming the virus on the Chinese...

    I totally agree, and I fear it signals the decline of an occidental civilization along with the Christian principles on which it was founded.
  • Anthony wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Let's be frank, the reason why so many white people voted for Trump is that they realize they are fast becoming a minority population in America. If you listen to what he was saying throughout the campaign it all hinged on racism. Keeping the suburbs safe from riff-raff. Building a wall. Blaming the virus on the Chinese...

    I totally agree, and I fear it signals the decline of an occidental civilization along with the Christian principles on which it was founded.

    Which Christian principles are you thinking of?
  • AnthonyAnthony Shipmate Posts: 10
    edited November 2020
    Which Christian principles are you thinking of?

    The bit about loving one's neighbour I suppose, but throw in any more you fancy.
  • Anthony--

    Welcome to the Ship! :) I'm glad you explained your thoughts more. I thought you probably meant exactly the opposite.
  • Looking from a UK perspective, I don;t see conspiricy. I see Manipulation. I see people saying they are "voting for change" by voting for the party who have been in power for 10 years.

    That is not stupidity. I heard so many variants of it, I am sure it was manipulation.

    In the US, I noted that Florida voted for a raft of essentially socialist ideas, while also voting for Trump. There is a fear - a remnant of McCarthyism? - that is manipulated to encourage people to vote for the political right.
  • I don't think that fear is necessarily a remnant of McCartyism - or not only that. It also comes from being refugees or the children of refugees from so-called socialist or communist regimes in central and South America and Eastern Europe. Even Ai Wei Wei is a Trump fan, according to my wife. These total pricks - the Stalins, the Hofstetters, the Castros and the rest have used the language of social justice as cover for their bloody and inhuman repression. Is it any wonder that the ones who got away and their kids have a hair trigger to scaremongering around policies intended to promote a more equitable distribution of the wealth of their new home?
  • Anthony wrote: »
    Which Christian principles are you thinking of?

    The bit about loving one's neighbour I suppose, but throw in any more you fancy.

    That's what I'd like "occidental civilisation" to be based on but history doesn't generally support that idea. Sure, it's manifested occasionally but it's hardly foundational.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    Looking from a UK perspective, I don;t see conspiricy. I see Manipulation. I see people saying they are "voting for change" by voting for the party who have been in power for 10 years.

    That is not stupidity. I heard so many variants of it, I am sure it was manipulation.

    In the US, I noted that Florida voted for a raft of essentially socialist ideas, while also voting for Trump. There is a fear - a remnant of McCarthyism? - that is manipulated to encourage people to vote for the political right.
    Of course there is stupidity. Anyone, at any point of the intelligence scale, can do stupid things. There is manipulation from without and manipulation from within.
    As far as Florida, it functions like two or three different states and interests between them elide and collide. Sometimes within the same people.
    For example:Miami. Being a melting pot metropolis, there is a lot of liberalism. However, the Cuban community is significantly anti-immigrant. They see themselves as proud political refugees and not the same as the filthy, dangerous immigrants Trump paints a picture of.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.

    This almost sounds like you are saying " Not all racists are Christians, but all Christians are racist". If you don't mean that, what meaning does that sentence have?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.

    This almost sounds like you are saying " Not all racists are Christians, but all Christians are racist". If you don't mean that, what meaning does that sentence have?

    I parsed it as "there are racists who are not Christians, but Christian racists are a significant element". That does not logically imply that all Christians are racists.

    Not all pets kept indoors all the time are cats, but one cannot separate cats from indoor pets. Especially in the US.

    I think the target though is @Gramps49 's True Scotsman.
  • It's not just in the USA, it's Canada (where I live) and I think also in Europe: the "white world". I think the point @Gramps49 is making is true. The real question is how do we draw the circle wider, to include all of humanity. This means willingness to include people who are very different from the dominant culture.

    I actually think we'll get there. The bulge of the the post-WW2 baby boom population has to give up control, and allow the younger generations to manage the future. A generational shift needs to occur.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.

    This almost sounds like you are saying " Not all racists are Christians, but all Christians are racist". If you don't mean that, what meaning does that sentence have?

    I parsed it as "there are racists who are not Christians, but Christian racists are a significant element". That does not logically imply that all Christians are racists.

    Not all pets kept indoors all the time are cats, but one cannot separate cats from indoor pets. Especially in the US.

    I think the target though is @Gramps49 's True Scotsman.
    This.
  • Anthony wrote: »
    Which Christian principles are you thinking of?

    The bit about loving one's neighbour I suppose, but throw in any more you fancy.

    That's what I'd like "occidental civilisation" to be based on but history doesn't generally support that idea. Sure, it's manifested occasionally but it's hardly foundational.

    Yeah the US was founded on slavery and the rights of the white 2% (but I repeat myself).
  • Re "occidental civilization":

    Someone mentioned "Western civilization" to Gandhi, and he reportedly quipped "Yes, I think it would be a very good idea".

    As in, the West needs to become civilized.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.

    This almost sounds like you are saying " Not all racists are Christians, but all Christians are racist". If you don't mean that, what meaning does that sentence have?

    I read lilbuddha's comment the same way as Jonah. Christianity, as Jesus is recorded to have taught it, isn't racist. Much racism has been implemented by Christians; but many Christians fought against it, like slavery abolitionists.

    And racism was around long before Jesus was born.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I am sorry, I cannot call these white racists "Christian."
    Whilst it is true that not all the racists are Christian, it is also true that one cannot separate Christian from racist. Especially not in the US.

    This almost sounds like you are saying " Not all racists are Christians, but all Christians are racist". If you don't mean that, what meaning does that sentence have?

    I read lilbuddha's comment the same way as Jonah. Christianity, as Jesus is recorded to have taught it, isn't racist. Much racism has been implemented by Christians; but many Christians fought against it, like slavery abolitionists.

    And racism was around long before Jesus was born.
    And I clarified this in my response to KarlLB.
    No, Christianity is not inherently racist. However, since we are here, there is a history of Christian complicity* in the fight against civil rights in America. And whist some churches have, and still do, fight against racism, I think it is fair to say that the harm at least meets if not exceeds this.

    If America had been founded by slave-holding Buddhists, then this conversation would be around Buddhism. Christianity itself is excused from this conversation. However a hell of a lot of Christians are not.

    *Especially, but not exclusively, white southern evangelicals.
  • Furtive GanderFurtive Gander Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    lb: "Christianity itself is excused from this conversation. However a hell of a lot of Christians are not."

    Absolutely. Though people who self-identify as Christian but live lives which suit their own 'principles' rather than those taught by Jesus (in a big way like being racist and nasty) are despicable shits and likely CINO.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    And racism was around long before Jesus was born.
    Xenophobia was around, based on culture or language. Racism based on perceived biological inherited traits is a much more recent phenomenon, arising as an attempt to justify the Atlantic Slave Trade after it became common to think that slavery as such was wrong.

  • I like Cino - pronounced with the c as "ch"

    To redirect, one of the key concerns of the white Tribe in America is the loss of white jobs, like factory work, mining etc. allegedly to Globalisation, but also AIUI to places like Arkansas, where wages are lower, conditions less regulated and union power well and truly smashed. People hark back to a golden age in the 60's and 70's when everyone they knew had work, employer provided health insurance and a good pension plan. I suggest we burst that cultural bubble by referring them to the life and music of Johnny Cash.
  • Anthony wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Anthony wrote: »
    At the end of the day white Christians voted in their own best interests, for a strong economy, safe jobs, private healthcare, blocking the paths of undesirables and criminals, backed up by the force of law, all summed up by the indignity of social distancing and the wearing of masks.

    (My bold)

    The US private healthcare system costs around 20% of GDP and not everyone is covered. 'Socialised' medicine as practised in Europe generally costs around half that, and achieves universal coverage and (in many countries) higher life expectancy. How is it in anyone's best interests to vote for the former?

    And how is it in anyone's best interests for coronavirus to run unchecked through their community? Unless their belief is that the threat of coronavirus has been exaggerated, but in that case they are sitting firmly in conspiracy-theory territory.

    I'm sorry I have no answer to your questions as I am not an American evangelical. What I posted was based on several years experience of working in the USA, and the impressions of American life I gained from it.

    Ah sorry, I read you the wrong way round.

    That said, I think the underlying point stands; that is, I don't get the impression that conservative US opposition to 'socialised medicine' is based on pragmatic self-interest, but on a principled objection to Too Much Government (unless it's because they believe all the stuff about NHS death panels, but that puts them into conspiracy theory territory, or at least extremely misinformed territory). And likewise opposition to masks.
  • Dafyd--

    What about anti-Semitism? (Specifically anti-Jewish persons, distinguishing from other Semitic groups.)
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    What about anti-Semitism? (Specifically anti-Jewish persons, distinguishing from other Semitic groups.)
    That was definitely based on religion and culture until after the Spanish reconquista.

  • lb: "Christianity itself is excused from this conversation. However a hell of a lot of Christians are not."

    Absolutely. Though people who self-identify as Christian but live lives which suit their own 'principles' rather than those taught by Jesus (in a big way like being racist and nasty) are despicable shits and likely CINO.
    That is just what Gramps said that I am arguing against. The No True Scotsman fallacy. You might not agree with them but many racists were and are well and truly Christian. You might have a good argument that a follow of Jesus shouldn't be racist, but they still fit the accepted parameters.

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    And racism was around long before Jesus was born.
    Xenophobia was around, based on culture or language. Racism based on perceived biological inherited traits is a much more recent phenomenon, arising as an attempt to justify the Atlantic Slave Trade after it became common to think that slavery as such was wrong.
    The modern usage of racism is, unsurprisingly, modern. But the roots of the behaviour have existed at least as long as humans have.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The modern usage of racism is, unsurprisingly, modern. But the roots of the behaviour have existed at least as long as humans have.
    Citation needed.

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The modern usage of racism is, unsurprisingly, modern. But the roots of the behaviour have existed at least as long as humans have.
    Citation needed.
    Sure, I'll just get out my copies of all the stuff written in pre-history, scan them and upload. Link to follow soon. 🙄
    Tribalism is endemic to our species. We have a history of warring, shunning, etc. others of our species based on that.
    Otherwise, where the fuck do you think racism came from?

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The modern usage of racism is, unsurprisingly, modern. But the roots of the behaviour have existed at least as long as humans have.
    Citation needed.
    Sure, I'll just get out my copies of all the stuff written in pre-history, scan them and upload. Link to follow soon. 🙄
    Tribalism is endemic to our species. We have a history of warring, shunning, etc. others of our species based on that.

    "And dasheth their little ones against the stones" etc. Racism is basically just those sorts of sentiments gussied up in 19th Century pseudoscience.


  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Xenophobia was around, based on culture or language. Racism based on perceived biological inherited traits is a much more recent phenomenon, arising as an attempt to justify the Atlantic Slave Trade after it became common to think that slavery as such was wrong.

    I think this is defining 'racism' a bit more narrowly than how the word is commonly used; I doubt many Tommy Robinson supporters (for example) possess a fully worked out, Haeckelian theory of race.
  • It also seems to be saying xenophobia isn’t as bad as racism.

    It’s all fear and/or hatred of The Other. Does it really matter exactly which aspect of behaviour or appearance is being used to identify said Other?
  • There are so many things that Trumpsters fail at which would be the marks of a Christian. Take a look at the parable of the sheep and goats. People are hungry, many are homeless, many more will soon join them. Kids do not have adequate clothing. Trumpsters do not welcome the stranger. They would rather lock someone up and throw away the key. They are in deep denial about the coronavirus. Any effort to address these needs bring about cries of socialism. They all claim they have individual rights, but they overlook communal responsibility.

    No, deep down, these people are not Christian.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited November 2020
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    There are so many things that Trumpsters fail at which would be the marks of a Christian. Take a look at the parable of the sheep and goats. People are hungry, many are homeless, many more will soon join them. Kids do not have adequate clothing. Trumpsters do not welcome the stranger. They would rather lock someone up and throw away the key. They are in deep denial about the coronavirus. Any effort to address these needs bring about cries of socialism. They all claim they have individual rights, but they overlook communal responsibility.

    No, deep down, these people are not Christian.

    The problem with that is you end up looking over church history and concluding that at most times and in most places the church wasn't Christian. You run into problems like Bernard of Clairvaulx preaching the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Luther's advocation of murderous anti-Semitism and Calvin's unfortunate Genevan theocracy which rather came to a head with Servetus.
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