Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gore shivers

An Fairbanks man has unveiled his assessment of Al Gore's warming theories: an ice sculpture of the former vice president shivering.

"(Craig) Compeau unveiled the sculpture — created by a local artist Steve Dean — near the downtown Thrifty Liquor store, where he said it will stay through March or “until it melts.”

The 8 1/2-foot-tall sculpture dominated the corner from its perch on the back of a flatbed truck."

The article gives a little background on Compeau:

"Compeau described himself as a moderate skeptic of those who “rabidly” believe man-made emissions are contributing to a rise in global temperatures. Gore won his Nobel for raising awareness of global warming as one of the greatest challenges facing mankind."

See the link for photos.

Labels: , ,

<< Home 6 Comments:
Blogger slightlee said...

You seem to be well informed on the subjects which you post, and you seem to possess strong beliefs. My personal views differ from yours significantly, however; I can sympathize with your positions because I seem to have had a similar conservative upbringing (one which I do not regret) and theological training. I was curious if you would give yourself, or soundly reject, the title of political ideologue.

7:11 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger Mark said...

Those who know me would warn you that I have no short answers to such questions, especially if I don't know what the point of asking it was.

To be honest, I don't think I've given it a minute's thought. A short answer could be "I don't care." But that might give you the wrong idea.

I don't consider politics an effective venue for communicating the truth about humanity and its fallen nature. I think even someone like Reagan, for example, was wrong when he emphasized the goodness of man. However, his policies tended to limit the damage we could do to ourselves, so I would support him today.

No set of policies or any political leader can ultimately change what is wrong with us. Only Christ can. I firmly believe that the command to love my neighbor as myself is a command to seek his well being, whether at home or in the political, cultural realm.

Having said all that (in which I address the "political" word), I also have strong opinions, as do many people, about what is a good set of policies for my neighbor and myself.

If by ideologue you mean a person who zealously advocates an ideology, I would say, yes, I zealously advocate for the free market. I believe it is a responsible use of resources and most accurately reflects a biblical understanding of goods and services. It refuses to look at the nation's cumulative wealth as a pie that must be divided, and instead attempts to treat it as a seed that must be grown so it will create more wealth, creates new jobs, new ambition and general abundance.

I suspect that by many people's standards I'm a political ideologue. However, I am reluctant to admit it if I don't know what their definition might be.
Does political ideologue mean I don't have reason's for my positions? No.

Ultimately it doesn't matter. I believe, unlike most of the world, in ultimate truth -- in antithesis. I believe if one person is right, someone who says the opposite is wrong. I believe this applies to every area of life, including politics.

What do you think I am?

9:43 PM, January 22, 2009  
Blogger slightlee said...

Why is it that a person who places no faith in the political process or the redemption of natural man devotes so much energy to political discourse? It seems almost tongue in cheek for one to heavily involve himself in a social medium for change whose purpose and ends he feels ambivalent about (on a metaphysical level), all the while battling those who still believe in government and mankind. It's a special kind of irony, a self fulfilling prophecy where men are declared fallen and incapable; this both evidence and proof of christian doctrine, and thus the christian fights against the humanists on the left in order to prove they are wrong. There are many elements in the political postion of the american conservative christian that i find both bemusing and incompatible, but i don't care to talk about why you think your right, or what makes hayek better than keynes. I'm curious how it is that your opponents are to take you seriously as a political voice when you concede that both your political beliefs and ends are but rubbish compared to your metaphysical obligations. Even if your political viewpoints were sound apart from your religion, it would be irrelevant because you could not separate the two. Asking to be taken seriously as a political voice resembles catholics asking to be taken seriously as followers of christ. Can you persuade me that yours is not the ironic political position?

1:35 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Mark said...

Ironic? Our system of government WAS "ironic" in the first place. (bear with me) It recognized that, since power corrupts, that power should not be seated in one person or a few persons. That was ironic. Government by the people is ironic because we are fallen. We can't keep it that way unless we understand the spiritual reality.

Federal government wasn't even supposed to have the right to spend a dime outside of infrastructure (general welfare) and defense. The spiritual ramifications to our dependence on Government is a serious issue, especially since it becomes an IDOL.

"There are many elements in the political postion of the american conservative christian that i find both bemusing and incompatible..."

I AGREE that "conservatives" (especially evangelical “social” conservatives) fall into the same trap (idolatry), even as they “fight” for “family values.” It’s why I get frustrated with them, even though I hold similar "values." They don’t understand the root of the problem and therefore have the wrong attitude toward government.

Do i display irony. Yes, but not to the extent that I contradict myself. If I advocate for a larger government solution to social ills (even if the government agrees with me), I would then have contradicted myself and no one should take me seriously.

Does that help somewhat?

10:39 AM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger slightlee said...

I will concede the ironic elements in the government's birth, although i would contend that those elements of irony, distrust of man and history, originated in the christian influences of the founders. (No, i don't care to discuss if america is a christian nation or how much of our government should resemble the founders intentions). I am purely interested in the motives, the methodology, not the politics, if you'll indulge me. The way in which you, among others, constantly refer to man's fallen nature, the temptation of idolatry in politics, only reinforces my belief that christians only use politics seriously for, and can only view politics through, their religious intentions. I do not believe you are necessarily contradicting yourself, i know that rationalism is the true twelfth apostle, but there is an element in your position that lets your presuppositions (founded or not, it is irrelevant) manifest behavior which creates the reality your position posits. I say creates, not proves it, because a large group of ideologues who combat both humanism and a socially active government cannot prove what they are unable to test, their actions create the circumstances for a weakened humanist movement and a socially incapable government. If it were ever to succeed (or if indeed it has already begun) you would not accept it because you are ideologically bound to the contrary, you believe (know) that it cannot succeed. You belief justifies your actions, your actions retard the process, and then you fault the government for it's inability to do what you won't allow it to, and that is the evidence you use to sustain your presuppositions. No apparatus or medium will ever be efficient if its users operate on the assumption that it cannot, and then take steps to insure that it will not. I still cannot wrap my mind around the amount of zeal christians use in politics to use the government to keep the government in check; the political process becomes both symptom and cure. There are many subtle conflicts in this position (as i see it) and i believe our mutual friend jesseRdempsen has sensed this imbalance, perhaps in spirit, and thus has delivered two posts 'separation of spheres' and 'i interrupt...' which i do not necessarily agree with, but at least i can see them as more coherent. And thus my inquiry.

11:08 PM, January 28, 2009  
Blogger Mark said...

It sounds like you want me to think external of truth. As if the political process was a science by which we could measure ideals without consequence. To some degree, that's possible. Especially to the extent that we have history (Plymouth, FDR) and current examples (Europe's failed society) to teach us what is wrong with elevating man to the level of God via government. This is what socialism is. Divine government. Another irony isn't it -- like we are coming full circle from medieval systems of divine right monarchs and serfdom.

But all that aside, I can't help think (in the absence of a statement of values), that you deny truth. Or that you separate truth from life, as if it had no bearing on what we do, how we think or live.

Why would I separate politics from the sphere of truth? It comes with relief, and yet consternation, that I hear you mention your "belief that christians only use politics seriously for, and can only view politics through, their religious intentions." Yes, I can only view life through what I believe about it. However, your willingness to externalize yourself from the discussion of truth, as if it were irrelevant, is troubling. Your use of the word "religion" begs the inference that it is intrinsically irrelevant.

As an aside, your rejection of an argument regarding America as a "Christian nation" is welcomed, as it would have been by our founders. The notion implies something that goes above and beyond the simple fact that they were wise in the ways of man because they understood, by and large, the character of God. However, a theocracy we are not.

Moving on...

"If it were ever to succeed (or if indeed it has already begun) you would not accept it because you are ideologically bound to the contrary, you believe (know) that it cannot succeed. Your belief justifies your actions, your actions retard the process, and then you fault the government for it's inability to do what you won't allow it to, and that is the evidence you use to sustain your presuppositions."

1) I'd say this is a completely myopic view. You have taken my motives (the why) for political involvement, which at their core are rooted in moral responsibility and respect for truth, and completely ignored the fact that many free market thinkers, libertarians and advocates of my political opinions simply see the practical side of them.

For instance, most of my strongest influences regarding the need for free markets were from a professor at my liberal arts alma-mature. I can assure you he did not share my motives. However, unlike MOST Christians, I connect the market on a large and small scale to a discussion of morals. I have to. I must because there is no such thing has moral truth without application. There is no such thing as a moral truth and a practical truth that says otherwise. I have Canadian friends who's only reason for political involvement is as "values voters" who ultimately end up being "fringe voters" because they can't connect their beliefs to the practical reality of the nation's needs, creating real, useful ideas.

"you fault the government for it's inability to do what you won't allow it to..."

2) I don't fault the government for failing. I fault it for trying. If a man wants to jump off a cliff because he thinks he can fly, I can assure you I won't fault him for failing to fly. I will fault him for trying in the first place and, indeed, I will consider it my moral duty to stop him from trying.

3) You have ultimately said that I am blind to the possibility that I am wrong, as if socialism has never run its course because of ideological opposition. This is untrue, not only because I don't know many Christians who make the economy their number one issue, but also because socialism has been tried again and again both in the US as well as in history (Not that you want to hear me tell you when because, as you have said multiple times, you are not interested in the issues).

4) Here's a new thought (since you mentioned humanism):

"...their actions create the circumstances for a weakened humanist movement and a socially incapable government."

I don't believe this is accurate. I believe political action alone on social issues (such as abortion), can, and often is, the catalyst for the growth, not weakening, of humanism. By addressing the symptom (legal abortion) and finding ways to write new laws to restrict it, we simply puts a stop to actions, but not the way of thinking that believes those laws only represent the will of the people. No law on the books can stop humanism. A humanist can decide that no one should be allowed to have an abortion just as much as a Christian can. It is only in the "why" that there is a difference. As long as society accepts that standard, there is no difference. However, the humanist can change his mind because he believes man is his own god and can change based on what he decides is best at any given time. A humanist can consistently have no problem with genocide (Hitler) if that is what society decides is acceptable.

So why could the pro-life political movement be a catalyst for the growth of humanism? Easily, if those Christians who are a part of it start believing that "winning" is just changing the laws. If they convince someone that it is simply bad for society at the moment, that is no weakening of humanism... Humanism is a philosophy with symptoms in the body politic and society. However, it can't be defeated there. It can only change form for a time.

Having said that, I don't believe it is wrong of me to try to restrain humanism in politics. I just don't do so thinking that I can defeated it. Only Christ can do that.

5) Can I be convinced that scripture is anything but truth? I answer that with a question: Why should I entertain the thought when nothing is as remotely consistent and rational?

I'm sorry this had to be such a long-winded response. The ramifications of your line of reasoning was just too broad to answer otherwise. I appreciate your willingness to discuss it.

12:15 PM, January 29, 2009  

Post a Comment