Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Myth of the Two Party System

A certain Soviet leader once reportedly commented, "We have a hard time convincing people in the USSR that our elections aren't rigged because we have only one party on the ballot, you Americans have figured it out though... you have two parties on your ballots!"

We do.  We have two political parties on our ballots.  But are our elections still rigged?  What good does it do to have two political parties if the people chosen to run against each other are hand picked for us by big money?

What good does it do to have two political parties if there's not an ounce of difference between them?

Case in point: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. 

Both support the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which gives the US government the power to indefinitely detain US citizens on US soil without a trial (a clear violation of the fourth amendment.)

Both support the right of a US president to assassinate US citizens if they are deemed a "terrorist" or a "terrorist sympathiser" by top administration officials (remember that this administration was calling the Tea Party "terrorists" not too long ago!)

Both support bailouts of big financial institutions that have made incredibly bad business decisions (rather than letting the bad ones fail so the good ones can rise to the top.)

Both support Corporate Welfare - the idea that the government needs to intervene on behalf of the corporations it wants to succeed--with bailouts, and tax incentives--and against those it wishes to fail--with excessive regulations and environmental restrictions (refusing again, to let the free market sort out winners and losers on a level playing field.)

Both support the idea that the president can take us to war without a congressional declaration of war (in other words, without the approval of the people.)

Both support Keynesian economics - the idea that government spending will improve a bad economy (in spite of the fact that we are so deep in debt right now that there is not enough physical money in the world to pay what we owe!)

Both support the Federal Reserve system and the idea that financial crises are "eased" (and Wall Street is buoyed) by printing more money (despite the fact that every time money is printed - without being tied to anything with concrete physical value: ie gold or silver - it is worth less in real spending power.)

Both support an interventionist foreign policy and the idea that it is up to America to right the wrongs in the world (despite the fact that the blowback from all of our international interventions has been catastrophic in every region we're in and the fact that we're broke and can't afford to police the world any longer.)

Both support continued foreign aid (again, even though we're broke and even though most of our foreign aid actually goes to interests counter to our own.)

The list is even longer but those are the points I can think of just off the top of my head. 

This Republican primary season has been a real eye opener for me.  I watched in amazement as all the big money interests, and their propaganda machines, got behind Mitt Romney from the very beginning.  I watched them weed out his challengers one by one.  And I watched them completely ignore the one candidate who doesn't share the common views listed above.

So what now that big money has chosen its contenders?  Who do they want to win?  That's the genius of it - it doesn't matter!!!  Either way Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, and the corporations chosen by the government will win.  And everyone else loses.

It's time to wake up America.  It's time to stop letting the media--and the big money interests behind it--pick our candidates for us.  We need to take our country back!



14 comments:

dmw said...

I left a response to your recent comment over at Ed Feser's blog.

BenYachov said...

@Daniel Smith,

I didn't start this fight but I will finish it & since I have no wish to suck up the oxygen over at Feser's Blog I will respond to you on your own turf. You brought it on yourself butting in where you don't belong.

>So I was entirely within my rights to probe the issue further.

I wasn't discussing Sola Scriptura with George R & you didn't ask me anything about that particular false doctrine. We where discussing the 2nd Law as an argument against Evolution. I mentioned EENS in the context of him in the past claiming to be a Roman Catholic while rejecting the authority of Pope Benedict.

How does that apply to you? You don't claim to be a Roman Catholic or any belief in the authority of the Papacy. It simply doesn't apply to you so get over yourself!

>Your statement: "there is no Salvation Outside the Catholic Church" was a personal affront to me and to any other non-Catholic believer who happens to read this blog - so I called you on it.

Hypocrite! The same could be said of the statement "Neither is there salvation under any other name but the name Christ Jesus" from the Bible to any non-Christian Theist who reads a Christian blog Protestant or Catholic.

There are inclusivist Protestants like Dwight Moody & or C.S. Lewis who accept the above statement from the Bible & still allow for invincibly ignorant non-believers to be saved.

So it's OK to believe Jesus is the only way(with qualifications) & say so with conviction but it is not Ok to affirm He only founded One Church outside of which there is no salvation(with qualifications) with equal conviction?

That is a hypocritical double standard!

This is what you sound like Daniel.

Christian: There is no salvation apart from Christ.

Muslim: There is no salvation apart from confessing Islam!

Christian: So I am going to Hell because I am not a Muslim?
You Muslims are bigots!!!!

(You would be the "Christian" here)

>Let me also point out that "there is no Salvation Outside the Catholic Church" would be taken by the majority of the English speaking world to mean "only Catholics can be saved" so I don't feel like I was out of place at all to call you on that.

Nice revisionism! Your original objection was "Are you really saying that the sacrifice of Jesus alone is not enough to save anyone? That salvation depends on belonging to a man-made organization as well?"

You where channeling the old Evangelical Canard that belong to the Church somehow "adds" to Christ's sacrifice which was not sufficient.

Which is nonsense! Christ's sacrifice is so sufficient He can save invincibly ignorant Muslims who follow any extra-ordinary grace he gives them but people who know they must obey Christ and by extention the Authorities He sets over them but refuse to obey will not be saved "He who hears you hears me. He who rejects you rejects me!"etc

Why is that so hard to comprehend?

>The fact that you're extremely opinionated, completely intolerant, and unable to control your temper (at least on the internet) is not my problem - nor is it my fault.

In psychology we call the above "Projection". Don't jump into the middle of a conversation & try to take the stick out of my eye while ignoring the log in your own.

Cheers.

Daniel Smith said...

BenYachov,

I'm not really intent on pursuing this any farther. You have explained yourself adequately and I don't see any reason to argue about it anymore.

BenYachov said...

@ Dani9al smith

You are a real piece of work Smith.

A real piece of work.

One last point.

You wrote on Feser's blog:

>I guess I should just assume that when a Catholic says "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church", what he or she means is: "Of course there's salvation for non-Catholics - you just need to understand the finer points of Catholic doctrine to know that by 'the Catholic church' we mean 'the body of Christ' which may include non-Catholics.

I reply: Accept I was addressing George R the High Church Sedevacantist not the Daniel Smith the low church Protestant.

It's still not all about you.

George would know what I was talking about as the remark was intended for him.

If I have to follow your supremely irrational and emotionally weird demand to tailor my language in such a way as to have nobody misunderstand it that is an impossible order to fill.

Even Paul according to Peter wrote things under Divine Inspiration no less that "the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, ... unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures," 2 Peter 3:16.

So if an Author protected by the Holy Spirit can be misunderstood the demand I must anticipate all possible misunderstandings of third party readers and write accordingly is beyond irrational.


The rest I have already addressed.

Daniel Smith said...

BenYachov,

I didn't want to do this but if you're going to push me...

I am going to try to do this without insults however and would only ask that you do the same. (Let’s try to rely on the strength of our arguments alone and not on who can best insult the other one - OK?)

First, in defense of my initial statements:

Anyone who overhears someone say "there is no salvation outside the Catholic church" - will assume that he means that "no Protestant, no Muslim, no Hindu, no non-Catholic can be saved". That's just a byproduct of the English language.

From that, the natural assumption would be that you are saying that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. Thus, anyone who is familiar with the gospel (as I am) would assume that you are saying that the sacrifice of Jesus alone is not sufficient for salvation and that a person also has to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.

Those were my assumptions - thus my questions about whether the cross of Jesus was sufficient, etc.

Now to your defense:

Your defense seems to be based on your belief that the Catholic Church IS the true church and that only those non-Catholic believers who are "invincibly ignorant" of this can be saved (by somehow being Catholics "in spirit").

So, on the one hand you affirm that there is no salvation outside the Catholic church, and on the other you claim that there is - kind of - but only through an 'exception' that allows ignorant non-Catholics to be considered 'Catholic'.
Am I even close here?

Finally, my thoughts on that position:
This seems a bit confused and even a little bizarre – an attempt by the Catholic Church to ‘have its cake and eat it too’. It’s almost like the Catholic Church added an asterisk once they realized that public opinion wouldn’t tolerate the statement “the Catholic Church is the only true church”.

From a Protestant perspective - believing that the gospels and epistles are real historical documents from the earliest Christians - no one is disputing that Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches" or that Paul said that the church is "the body of Christ" - or any number of other things that are said in scripture about the relationship of Christ to his church. The truth of scripture is not the issue. So using scripture in defense of the Catholic Church being 'the true church' and 'the body of Christ' simply begs the question. The question is not whether there IS a true church (that's undisputed), the question is "what is the true church?" So arguments for the Catholic Church being the true church must rely on history subsequent to scripture. These arguments must show that the true church and body of Christ the scripture talks about IS the modern Catholic Church.

Now I've heard some of those arguments and they seem weak to me. If you’re willing to give me (or point me to) the strongest historical argument for the modern Catholic Church being the one true church, I’ll be more than willing to consider it.

Thanks.

BenYachov said...

Reductio ad absurdum

Anyone who overhears someone say "then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth......Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.(Acts 4:12 NIV)"will assume that he means that "no Jew, no Muslim, no Hindu, no non-Christian can be saved". That's just a byproduct of the English language.

From that, the natural assumption would be that you are saying that formally confessing Jesus is necessary for salvation.

Thus, anyone who is familiar with the gospel (as I am) would assume that you are saying that the sacrifice of Jesus alone is not sufficient for salvation and that a person also has to formally confess Jesus in order to be saved.(Thus the invincibly ignorant are out of luck. As are infants who can't confess anything.
My Daughters who are severe in their autism cannot be saved etc. None of them can confess).

If you say not that it does not mean that absolutely or that there are exceptions then you are simply trying to have your cake and eat it too.

You see when you do a Reductio ad absurdum & take your argument to it's natural conclusion there you are you make an argument that can be turned against scripture?

Your rant & uncalled for insult(implying I was a bigot) could have been uttered by any Gnu'Atheist at me and in fact has been.

So you brought it on yourself waving a red flag in front of a bull.

BenYachov said...

>Your defense seems to be based on your belief that the Catholic Church IS the true church and that only those non-Catholic believers who are "invincibly ignorant" of this can be saved (by somehow being Catholics "in spirit").

Amen!!!!!!

Just like C.S. Lewis, Dwight Moody and other inclusivist Protestants believe invincibly ignorant non-Chritians who never really heard the Gospels can be saved. I am no different from them except I hold the historic Faith & they hold a variation of a variation of a variation invented 1500 years after the fact.

>So, on the one hand you affirm that there is no salvation outside the Catholic church, and on the other you claim that there is - kind of - but only through an 'exception' that allows ignorant non-Catholics to be considered 'Catholic'.
Am I even close here?

How is that different from a Muslim who never really hears the Gospel but follows whatever Grace God gives them being called an "unconcious Christian" by inclusivist Protestant?

Well? What is the difference?

Now so far by your feined outrage you have implied you are a inclusivist Protestant. Don't you believe in Act 4:11-12? Does that mean you believe Muslims don't still have to objectivly and normatively formally confess Jesus?

(OTOH if you have been disceptive and you really are a retrictivist Protestant then I will REALLY GET MAD!!!)

Final Note there is a difference between an Inclusivist Protestant who can be an Evangelical vs a Religious Indifferent Protestant AKA a Liberal Protestant who believe God is indifferent to what religion you embrace vs forgiving you for not belonging to the correct one threw no fault of your own.

BenYachov said...

>So using scripture in defense of the Catholic Church being 'the true church' and 'the body of Christ' simply begs the question.

Why do you supose that is? Could it be because there is no Authority to make Luther's, Calvin or Zwingli's "interpretation" better than any other believer?
Unless Jesus already set up an authority to do this & thus by default it must be the Catholic Church.

One thing is for certain as Newman said, it can never be the Protestant Churches.

>The question is not whether there IS a true church (that's undisputed), the question is "what is the true church?" So arguments for the Catholic Church being the true church must rely on history subsequent to scripture. These arguments must show that the true church and body of Christ the scripture talks about IS the modern Catholic Church.

Yes I agree. To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.

>Now I've heard some of those arguments and they seem weak to me. If you’re willing to give me (or point me to) the strongest historical argument for the modern Catholic Church being the one true church, I’ll be more than willing to consider it.

So now the truth comes out. Here we have the reason for your overeaction to my off the cuff remark to George and my profession of EENS. You feel a tug to come home to the Church & you are conflicted. My wife is a former ex-Catholic Evangelical revert you see. She went threw the same thing. Part of you doesn't want the Church to be true. Part of you is angry at it (who can blame you I grew up Catholic too? They didn't teach me Shit about the Gospel.). That I bet dollars to donnuts is the real problem.

Here is the deal. I am not qualified to be anybody's spiritual dicrecter. You need to hop on over to Envoy, or Catholic Answers and read some of their books.

The early Pre-constitine Church looks like a Primitive Catholic Church not at all like a Protestant one.

If I was you I would start with a copy of Jesus, Peter & the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy [Paperback] Scott Butler (Author), Norman Dahlgren (Author), David Hess (Author)

Perhaps in the furture if the Spirit moves me I will recomend something in addition.

Daniel Smith said...

You see when you do a Reductio ad absurdum & take your argument to it's natural conclusion there you are you make an argument that can be turned against scripture?

Except I am not saying any of those things (even though I may believe some of them privately).

I believe (as you do) that all salvation is ultimately through Jesus Christ. I do not presume to know what each individual must do to please God. I know that God is omniscient, merciful and just - and I am glad it is up to Him and not up to me who will be saved.

So I'm not going to go on a blog and tell someone that they must do such and such to be saved and that their soul is in mortal danger if they don't. I used to do things like that - when I was a new believer and sure of myself - but not anymore.

That seems to be one difference between us.

I am no different from them except I hold the historic Faith & they hold a variation of a variation of a variation invented 1500 years after the fact.

How do you know that what you call a "variation" is not a return to the original and that your "historic faith" is not a variation invented along the way?

So now the truth comes out. Here we have the reason for your overreaction to my off the cuff remark to George and my profession of EENS. You feel a tug to come home to the Church & you are conflicted. My wife is a former ex-Catholic Evangelical revert you see. She went threw the same thing. Part of you doesn't want the Church to be true. Part of you is angry at it (who can blame you I grew up Catholic too? They didn't teach me Shit about the Gospel.). That I bet dollars to donuts is the real problem.

Here's the deal: I know that the relationship I have with God is real. I don't know that any church is the true church. In fact I'm more than fairly convinced that none of them are. So, even though the Catholic Church is on my list of churches I may eventually attend (I do like their philosophical roots) it is way down the list - due to the numerous doctrinal problems I would have to overcome first.

For instance: Even if they can trace their roots all the way back to Peter - it doesn't mean the modern Catholic Church is God's chosen vessel. They have to prove they never dropped the ball along the way (no small task).

There are a ton of others (Mary, praying to saints, confession, celibate priets, the papacy, transubstantiation, and others I can't think of right now.)

For me, the claim to be "the one true church" has always been a red flag anyway (it is something every cult does). I'm far less inclined to attend a church like that - because I do not trust man to interpret God for me.

I will take a look at some of the arguments again - either on the websites you mention or the books that have been recommended - but I'm telling you straight out that it will take a lot more to convince me than your average sheep.

BenYachov said...

>Except I am not saying any of those things (even though I may believe some of them privately).

Your mad at me for "saying" all non-Catholics are going to Hell alliegedly but it's Ok for you to believe all non-Christians are going to Hell?

That's one standard for you & another double standard for me.

Doesn't this make you both a hypocrite and a bigot?


>I believe (as you do) that all salvation is ultimately through Jesus Christ. I do not presume to know what each individual must do to please God. I know that God is omniscient, merciful and just - and I am glad it is up to Him and not up to me who will be saved.

So it never occurs to you I might believe the same thing? You just employed a ready? Fire! Aim? at me & expect I will be cool about it? While all time inconsistantly believing Jesus is the only savior & yet allowing for the possible salvation of non-Christians?

This level of irrationality can not be excused nor can you hold it in ignorance. You can only own up to it & repent of it.

I would rather see my own children murdered in front of me then deny the Truth. I will never repent of believing in EENS nor that Christ is the only Savior!

Why should you repent the later? Own it! Or Christ will deny you at the judgement like he said he would!


>So I'm not going to go on a blog and tell someone that they must do such and such to be saved and that their soul is in mortal danger if they don't. I used to do things like that - when I was a new believer and sure of myself - but not anymore.

Yet the Apostles had no trouble doing just that nor Our Lord. Granted you must be prudent about it but I still wasn't talking to you! Since when have I ever claimed you claimed you where a pseudo-Catholic & refused to follow the Pope.

Granted there is no metaphysical difference between a Sedevacantist vs a Protestant but at least the Protestant admits he doesn't believe in the Papacy.
The Sede is inconsistant claiming to believe in the Papacy and refusing to follow the Pope. the Protestant has more integraty.

The rest I will deal with later. I have to watch the kids.

Daniel Smith said...

it's Ok for you to believe all non-Christians are going to Hell?

While all time inconsistantly believing Jesus is the only savior & yet allowing for the possible salvation of non-Christians?

Well - the second accusation contradicts the first (so which is it?)

Secondly - Jesus is the savior of the whole world - and no one can be saved but through him. That's the scriptural position. There is no inconsistency in believing that - since Jesus can save anyone he wishes to save. I do not presume to be able to look into a man's soul and pronounce with certainty that he will or will not be saved. I am not God. I also do NOT claim to know which group of humans belong to the right (only) church - nor which specific set of man-made doctrines are absolutely correct.

Since when have I ever claimed you claimed you where a pseudo-Catholic & refused to follow the Pope.

there is no metaphysical difference between a Sedevacantist vs a Protestant

Your position is so nuanced it's maddening! I guess that's a byproduct of belonging to a church that systematically categorizes people in order to determine their spiritual status.

BenYachov said...

>I will take a look at some of the arguments again - either on the websites you mention or the books that have been recommended - but I'm telling you straight out that it will take a lot more to convince me than your average sheep.

Do that and you will be on the right.

I really have nothing else to say.

You must make the first step in this Journey.

BTW I haven't read it in years but I do seem to recall BORN FUNDAMENTALIST BORN AGAIN CATHOLIC was a good one.

I am sorry if I was too fierce with you.

Peace & God Bless on your journey.

BenYachov said...

Some lose ends.

>Well - the second accusation contradicts the first (so which is it?)

You tell me? Do you believe non-Christians who fail to accept Christ threw no fault of their own can be saved or not?

>Your position is so nuanced it's maddening! I guess that's a byproduct of belonging to a church that systematically categorizes people in order to determine their spiritual status.

Rather I have 2,000 of precise doctrinal development and precise formulation of religious dogma.

Protestants start from scratch and often have to re-invent the wheel. Naturally their theology lacks nuance and is quite primitive and chaotic.

Pope Pius IX and Pope St Pius X both said you can't really determine an individual non-Catholic's spiritual status nor can you use the possibility they might be saved as an excuse not to preach the Gospel or invite people to join the Church.

>Secondly - Jesus is the savior of the whole world - and no one can be saved but through him. That's the scriptural position. There is no inconsistency in believing that - since Jesus can save anyone he wishes to save.

He also made that conditional to obeying His teaching and obeying the authority figures He set over believers "he who rejects you rejects me"etc...

>I do not presume to be able to look into a man's soul and pronounce with certainty that he will or will not be saved. I am not God. I also do NOT claim to know which group of humans belong to the right (only) church - nor which specific set of man-made doctrines are absolutely correct.

Neither do I which is why I never said George was going to Hell. I merely warned him he should not be outside the Catholic Church.

It is better to warn him he might lose his soul and be wrong. Then to not warn him he might lose his soul and be wrong.

As for "man-made doctrines" all Catholic doctrines can be found in the first 500 years of Church history at least in primitive form. Protestant doctrines all came after the 16th century and are traced to men.

Sola Scriptura=Whitclife & later Luther
Sola Fide =Luther
Symbolic Eucharist=Zwingli
No Infant Baptism=Meno Simmons and Yohann Grebble
Once Saved Always Saved=Calvin
etc

So there you are.

Daniel Smith said...

As for "man-made doctrines" all Catholic doctrines can be found in the first 500 years of Church history at least in primitive form. Protestant doctrines all came after the 16th century and are traced to men.

First: 500 years is a long time. Look at the history of this country and what's happened in half that time!

Second: Protestant doctrines were - for the most part anyway - attempts to return to the original intent of the NT. They were not 'start-from-scratch' - except in the sense that they threw out a lot of the things that didn't fit with scripture.

I do need to get one of the recommended books so I can see for myself how the things I object to are justified.

I am sorry if I was too fierce with you.
Peace & God Bless on your journey.


Thank you for that. May God bless you as well.