Saturday, August 02, 2008

No sect owns child molestation

My regular reader Michael was giving me grief about my alleged anti-Catholic prejudices, based on my mentioning priestly pedophilia and not casting a similar eye on my own faith, such as it is. The answer to this ridiculous criticism is that I am not particularly anti-Catholic, I am anti-authoritarian, and the Catholic Church simply happens to be one of the oldest and most powerful authoritarian institutions in the world. The pedophile stuff is really just a typical example of the inevitable abuse of authority.

I believe I also said something to the effect that there is no strong central authority in Judaism, which is rougly true, although various branches of Judaism have governance structures which are more or less authoritarian. And as you would expect, the more authoritarian branches have the same sort of problems. I can't say I am a bit surprised by this.


Michael S. said...

Once again you have either deliberately or forgetfully misrepresented what I wrote. I said nothing about pedophilia amongst Jews. The comparison I made was as follows, under your heading "Random Religion Round-Up," posted at 11:53AM:

"If you object to religions of 'authority and regulations,' how can you be a practising Jew? Judaism is the grand-daddy of all authoritarian and regulatory religions. Leviticus and Deuteronomy are all about authority and regulation... It seems to me that to censure Catholicism for being authoritarian whilst neglecting to mention Judaism removes your objection from the plane of abstract principle to that of old fashioned sectarian hatred."

Nothing about pedophilia there!

My point about pedophilia was that to all reports it is even more widespread in the public school system than it is or has been in the Catholic church - and public school administrators and teachers' unions have demonstrated the same sort of institutional closing of ranks on this issue as have the Roman Catholic hierarchy - yet the public school system is not censured for this behavior as the church has been. Are you confusing my remarks about the public schools with my point that Judaism has been from ancient times a legalistic and authoritarian religion? That's a curious slip.

And, for that matter, to assert that religious organizations which are now (whatever may have been the case in the past) purely voluntary organiztions, are 'authoritarian,' while at the same time you apologize for virtually unlimited scope on the part of the state, which possesses the power to compel by violence, is to strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel. A practising Catholic (or Jew) subjects himself to the authority of his religion - to whatever degree he does - because he chooses to believe in it. That element of choice does not exist with respect to the state. I always marvel when I hear it stated, usually by some government official, that the Federal income tax is based on 'voluntary compliance.' Try not paying it and see what happens.

TGGP said...

I would like some evidence about whether authoritarian institutions produce child abuse.

mtraven said...

Michael: I never said that you said anything about pedophila and Jews. You have accused me of being anti-Catholic on multiple occasions, based on various nasty things I've said about the Church. The only point of this post was to prove that I am capable of saying nasty things about other religions, including my own.
To the extent the public school system is authoritarian (which of course it is, somewhat) I would expect it to suffer from similar pathologies. The report you had that indicated that public schools have a higher rate than the Church used a bogus methodology, but I don't doubt the phenomonon exists.

In all cases the scandal is not so much the incidence of pedophilia as such, which one must assume is going to occur at some fixed rate among institutions that put adults in care of children, but the institutional coverups that often lead to continued abuse.

You said: ... at the same time you apologize for virtually unlimited scope on the part of the state.... You are delusional. Show me where I did that. Don't we have enough actual points of disagreement without you making shit up?

TGGP: Well, we have a couple of cases where it happened. I'm not sure how you could do any kind of more rigorous analysis; how do you measure degree of authoritarianism? And child abuse is often covered up so data on that side is also not very reliable.

TGGP said...

Perhaps independent groups could first make a rank ordering of religions by authoritarianism while another would survey of those who adhered to them as children as see which report that they were abused.

Michael said...

You wrote, under the "Random Religion Round-Up" head, at 9:18PM:

"...maybe it's time to move on. There is no political party today that supports any sort of limited government."

Your turn of phrase strongly implies you approve. I took it as an apology on your part for a virtually unlimited scope on the part of government. Certainly a government that has, and regularly uses, the power to make warrantless searches for non-standard toilet seats and improperly grounded coffee urns cannot be expected to refrain from making warrantless searches to which you might have more strenuous objections. Attempting to impose such limits is, after all, something that 'no political party today... supports."

First they came for the non-standard toilet seats, but you didn't own one, so it was none of your concern. Then they came for the improperly grounded coffee urns... Soon they will come for you, and the small business owners whose harassment you leftists have engineered will say, he finally got a taste of his own medicine - good for him!

Don't accuse me of being 'delusional' when the real problem is that you can't even remember what you wrote a few weeks ago. Mind your manners.

mtraven said...

Crap. The context of that quote made it as clear as it could possibly be that I am opposed to unlimited government authority and included some suggestions and hopes for how it might be limited.

You seem so attached to your frame of reference that you apparently can't read plain English without utterly distorting its meaning.

We disagree, plainly, on what constitutes the most serious forms of government abuse of authority. You think it's OSHA regulations on ocffee urns, I think it's things like unlimited surveillance power, the undermining of haebus corpus, and starting wars under false pretenses, and other trivial items like that.

Michael said...

The point is that OSHA, IRS, and their ilk, exercise against people who, as capitalists, you detest, the same kind of arbitrary power to which, should it be applied to yourself or to people (like lower-class criminals or Arab terrorists) with whom you sympathise, and in other settings, you object. You can't have it both ways.

As Rose Wilder Lane observed in 1943 about FDR's expansion of state powers:

"If school teachers say... 'We believe in Social Security," the children will ask, "Then why did you fight Germany?' All these 'Social Security' laws are German, instituted by Bismarck and expanded by Hitler. Americans believe in freedom, [not in[ being taxed for their own good and bossed by bureaucrats."

Lane was wrong, in that most Americans never did question the intrusion of the state into hitherto private matters "for their own good." They, like Europeans before them, thought they could get something for nothing. And when the state proved less than benign in its intentions - as it began doing even in Lane's time - most of them did not raise a peep.

If you do not like government today you must go back seventy years or more to find the reason.

mtraven said...

It was pretty stupid for some halfwit in 1943 to assert that there was no difference between Social Security and Nazi rule, but it is unbelievably stupid to repeat that kind of stuff in 2008 and expect to be taken seriously.

Whatever power the IRS exercises it exercises against me just as much as "capitalists"; indeed, rather more so since I can't afford fancy lawyers or (for advanced players) to manipulate the laws in my favor. Government power is, one hopes, not completely arbitrary. Unless you are an anarchist or an absolutist authoritarian, you believe that government power should exist but should only be exercised in certain ways. Since any government needs to support itself, any non-anarchist believes that people should be "taxed for their own good". So I have no clue what you mean about "You can't have it both ways." I'm not an anarchist, and neither are you, so presumably we both want a government and disagree only on its size, scope, powers, and structure. I'm not sure why this is difficult for you to understand.

The other point of the post that you selectively quoted was that the New Deal was a long time ago, your side lost, and there is no political party that is going to bring back the pre-New Deal world. The Republicans use small-government rhetoric while inflating the size and corruption levels of government to new heights. Every other advanced economy has an even bigger governmental social safety net than the US, and so there is no existence proof that you can run a 21st century economy on 19th century principles. It's not going to happen, short of a major economic and political collapse, in which case OSHA regulations will be the least of our problems.

Michael S. said...

The European governments that have 'bigger governmental social safety net(s)" than the United States does also have much higher rates of unemployment. France and Germany, for example, have averaged about 10% in recent years. The comparable rate in the U.S. has been less than 5% during the same period. Even in the present supposed recession it is scarcely more than 5%.

Ireland has been one of Europe's great economic success stories based on its low tax rates. The Baltic states and some of the other eastern European countries, having had experience with hard socialism, have rejected the softer variety, and have adopted flat taxes. Even Sweden has abandoned the taxation of inheritances. These things represent an incremental, albeit not total, abandonment of the principles of the welfare state. So matters are not quite as you say the are.

Do you dispute that the American social security program was patterned after Bismarck's earlier one in Germany, which was (as Rose Wilder Lane accurately pointed out) expanded by Hitler? Do you dispute that Frances Perkins, FDR's labor secretary, gushingly commented of Mussolini that he made the trains run on time? Do you dispute that FDR and Sir Oswald Mosley, in the early years of the New Deal, greatly admired each other? The matter of fact is that the New Deal was an implementation of fascist principles. The problem with trying to pick and choose amongst them is that a government that has the power to do all the things FOR people that earnest leftists want it to, implicitly has the power to do things TO them that you find objectionable.

Do you seriously believe that a government capable of conducting warrantless searches for non-standard toilet seats in small business places will scruple at conducting such searches for other things, perhaps in your own home? Do you suppose that a government that can pry into your bank account to see if you have been paying taxes on all your income will scruple at prying into your correspondence, telephone conversations, or e-mails? It is not simply a matter of which party or which politicians are in power at a given moment. It is the vastly enlarged scope of government that not only permits but just about guarantees that these events will happen - as they have happened for the past seventy years or more. Nothing you blame on the current presidential administration - "unlimited surveillance power, the undermining of haebus [sic] corpus, and starting wars under false pretenses" - is without ample historic precedent going back to Roosevelt, Wilson, or even Lincoln.

goatchowder said...

OMG you are arguing with libertarian ideologues again.

Stop that.