Either Sherman was a much better analogy than I thought or there are a million Civil War buffs out there just dying to use him in a post. The latest is the American Thinker:

While the Union Army respected the sanctity of private homes, all public buildings and infrastructure including railroads were subject to complete destruction. Needless to say, resistance was not tolerated. Millions of slaves were freed in the wake of his march.

Recognizing that it was not in their economic interest to continue the fight, civilian political support for the Confederacy began a precipitous collapse and the war soon ended. Despite rebellious pledges that the “South Would Rise Again”, peace and prosperity has lasted 144 years.

It’s a good argument except for the religious component, if the Palestinian Arabs are convinced that there is a religious component they may fight anyways. Secondly unionists were not summarily executed in the south, just try to express support for Israel in Gaza, hell try to express support for Fatah in Gaza and see what happens. Thirdly you didn’t have schoolrooms teaching their kids everyday that the North was a bunch or murderous barbarians. Although AFTER the war the north didn’t do so well in southern classrooms.

I would have found a source other than Wikipedia myself, after all it’s history and not Doctor Who we are talking about.

At the Huffington Post Martin Lewis hits the bulls eye:

The English have claimed that they are merely retaliating against the V-1 flying bombs being launched indiscriminately by Nazis at their civilian population in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry and other cities. The English point out that their enemy is sworn to its utter destruction and has used the missiles and flying bombs against its civilians without any regard to English loss of life. Moreover it makes the case that their own bombing missions are specifically directed to military targets that the German army has intentionally planted in the heart of civilian populations to try and deter English counter-attacks.

These points may of course be true – but they are utterly besides the point.

Of course England has a right to exist. Of course England has a right to defend itself. But it should ensure that its responses are PROPORTIONATE.

Since many more Germans are dying than English – the English should either tone down the success and accuracy of their bombing – or allow the Germans to catch up on the death count.

Read it all and the comments. via Israellycool guest poster Brian.

Since this is still the 11th day of Christmas this post I found at DarwinCatholic seems an excellent companion to my long one on a Christmas Carol.

I’m far from being alone in my affection for A Christmas Carol, and so there are any number of movie adaptations available as well. This particular year, it happens that I saw two versions, the George C. Scott adaptation which is an absolutely superb film, and also The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.

A number of comparisons might spring to mind when watching two such different treatments a few days apart, but in this case what struck me immediately was the way in which each movie attempted to convey the heartlessness of Scrooge’s business methods.

It’s an interesting look at 19th century economics through the eyes of Dickens greatest character.

Well I mentioned one of my pet peeves in my Happy New Year post, its caused a bit of a debate between me and commentator Galapagos Pete. Since it is getting long I figured I’d copy my latest answer as a new post. To follow the debate thus far go here:

I will first post reply to me and answer in a fisking format for easier reading:

“First are you just as angered concerning non-christian religions? If not then why should Christianity get one dander up when other religions do not?”…the former Soviet Union, China and North Korea are or were officially atheist and that didn’t stop them from slaughtering millions upon millions.””

Here’s a sentiment you may have come across in your life:

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3

Let me explain what that means: Your bad behavior is in no slightest degree excused by the bad behavior of others, even if theirs is worse. If you lose your temper and punch someone in the mouth, no one is going to let you off the hook because someone else who lost their temper killed 9 people. And you shouldn’t let yourself off the hook, either.

But you would only agree with this if you subscribed to a moral code, particularly if it was one you believed was handed down by the supreme being of the universe. (Though, as an atheist who believes that the bible was simply written by men but has some very good thoughts mixed in with mythology, it happens to be a position with which I agree.)

Still didn’t get an answer to the first question concerning all religions vs Christianity. I ask this because this will be (once today’s party is done, tomorrow’s cleanup and a day to recover from both) will lead to a series of re-occurring posts on religion.

Nice dodge using scripture to duck the question however.

And although your explanation of the meaning of the passage is correct your application is wrong. Sin is by definition committed by men (in the traditional sense of the word) not by an organization. I of course use sin in the Catholic Christian definition.

The atrocities committed by the leaders of those countries were not committed in the name of atheism, they were done, in general, to suppress dissent. Religious atrocities are committed by people specifically to please their gods. The bible is full of examples, often done at god’s specific command.

The problem with your argument concerning communism is that the in it the state becomes the moral code and the practice of religion becomes anathema because it produces a moral code based on something other that the state.

This is why atheism can’t produce an effective moral code since it can only be by the standards of those producing it. Since those standards can change quite rapidly the code can then mean whatever people want it to mean at any time. Its great for building straw men but is not way to live a life.

A great example of this is an old column of Richard Cohen that I blogged on a bit ago. He was very free to call people bigots but had no history on the same standard.

I will concede without reservation that there have been things done in the name of religion or in the perversion religion that are contrary to their own moral code. There are also corrupt police who have bent the rules because they either wanted to take a dangerous person off the streets or to frame other for their own ends. Should we then decide that the police are a bad thing and the world would be better without them?

I will also state that religious people have used religion for their own ends, Oral Roberts “send me money or god takes me home bit comes instantly to mind. In current news a certain Governer in Illinois apparently has used elected office for his own ends, should we then eliminate elected office and democratic government?

Bottom line anything can be perverted and used wrongly, that is human nature. Why religion in general or as I would argue Christianity in particular get the majority of your animosity?

You say based on a culture rather than a religion but go on to say “Christian culture” and “Jewish culture.” Which comes first: is the culture founded on the religion or the religion on the culture?

If the former, the religion is very much responsible for the laws of the society. Indeed, this is the very point religionists keep trying to make, that all morality comes from their god in the first place. So religion must be blamed for much unnecessary human suffering.

Your question on which came first is a fascinating one and is the best part of your reply, that is a question for anthropology and would be a great subject for study. Your blame of religion for much human suffering because of its origin also must imply that religion should also get a lot of credit for human good since those same laws would have been in place as mankind advanced.

It is a fun argument because human suffering can be defined under this argument as “something I like that religion says is bad.” If only religion didn’t say stealing is bad, I could take what I wanted I can’t so I suffer. If only religion didn’t say that I could sleep around on my wife, because it says I can’t I suffer, et-al. This frankly is a lot of what the argument comes down to. Religion forbids something I like so it cramps my style. Thus I suffer. That is much of the modern objection to it.

If the latter, then religion is simply something made up by people to justify their petty but dangerous hatreds of those who differ from them, and to use as a club to enforce their will.

The justify my piety statement is fun because without religion you can’t have piety, but you can substitute the word habits since semantics are not the topic. I would again ask my primary question; do you refer to all religion or just Christianity?

As a Christian I believe or rather state that there is only one religious path that is correct, it led through Judaism to Christianity. Since I would state that other religions are “false” they would by definition be made up to some degree, either out of the whole cloth, or by a misinterpretation of events or by deception, but it would seem wrong to impute people’s motives without evidence. There are many Christians who would likely disagree with me on this due to the difference between how the Catholic faith sees other religions as opposed to most protestant denominations. The club bit I would refer to my police reference above.

Anyways that’s all I have time for I have to squeeze in one other post before the wife kills me for sitting on my butt with last minute cleaning to be done and guests due in 6 hours, so any replies to this post and approval to comments will be slow.

Jim Wooten’s round-up in the AJC contains this interesting paragraph:

The city of Ringgold is betting that erecting a statue of Confederate Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne next October will bring tourists with fat wallets eager to spend. It’s on my list —- just after the Golf Hall of Fame, the Music Hall of Fame, the Sports Hall of Fame and the various others that were to be the salvation of some place or other. But give the people of Ringgold credit. The statue was not financed by taxpayers.

Cleburne was one of the most effective commanders of the war, particularly on defense. His men were were renowned for holding back the enemy, it was his men that at Lookout mountain that held Sherman on the right flank while the center gave and who covered their retreat.

What he was not so renowned for has his proposal to emancipate the slaves in 1863 by the south and enlist them.

We can do this more effectually than the North can now do, for we can give the Negro not only his own freedom, but that of his wife and child, and can secure it to him in his old home.

He believed that it would also remove the “all selfish taint from our cause” he figured that slavery was doomed anyway so why not, particularly since tens of thousands of black soldiers were already in the Northern ranks.

It was considered so incendiary that it was suppressed for over 30 years after his death at the battle of Franklin. Foote states that the result of his paper Cleburne was never promoted from that point.

A luckier break the Union never had.

The wife accidentally hit me about 3 hours ago waking me up. Unfortunately I stayed up, but that means Morning Joe and I got the chance to see the start of the show. Since I’m typing as they are speaking quotes may not be exact.

Chuck Todd is on and just pointed out that moderates and independents voted for Obama in droves even though the candidate was John McCain.

This is John McCain who is supposed to be Mr Moderate

Joe Scarborough gets it:

Republican Moderates usually do poorly Republican true believers tend to do well.

Pat questions Todd pointing out that when he selected Palin he was up for a while until the market crashed and killed him.

(all this sounds like Rush Limbaugh so far)

Todd however is blaming a bad Obama campaign rather than the Palin pick.

Here is the actual answer. Obama didn’t run a great campaign against McCain, the media ran a great campaign for Obama. Obama was and in my opinion is a rookie pitcher from a corrupt machine with a lot of questionable associations but the media decided he was the next JFK and the cure to all that was wrong with race in America. They didn’t want anything in the way of the history they were making.

As far as McCain goes rallied conservatives with Palin and could have won this campaign but his position on the bailout murdered him and kept conservatives home. The media did and still hates Palin for what she is, an actual living example of conservative values who doesn’t give a damn what they think. So they did their best to destroy her.

Limbaugh was absolutely right about this one but as always we got the government we deserve, and we have 4 years to see if it was the right move.

Update: Morning Joe would be so much better if Andrea Mitchell wasn’t on it. Unlike the others on the show she still pretends that she is a reporter and not an advocate but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

I dug out my copy of Shelby Foote’s Masterpiece The Civil War a Narrative after that first post and in the first Volume on pages 58-59 there is a speech by Sherman on pages that could have been made to the Palestinian authority:

You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it

Substitute “Israel” for North and either “Arabs” or “Palestinians” for South and read it again. The next statement says something profound about the Arab world

Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors.You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, … If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.

The Arab world is blessed with oil wealth yet hey have done nothing but emasculate their own people with it. Even in Gaza, the Israeli’s left greenhouses an infrastructure intact. The Palestinian authority has been given hundreds of millions in aid from the west and Europe and where has it gone?

How do you think Arafat his wife and his boytoys managed to get so rich? If just half of the money was spent on improving the lives or promoting industry the Palestinians would now be prospering.

I could be dead wrong but my gut says that if it was up to the avg. Joe there they would rather just live their lives. Given the chance they could live them well. (Even if hey still wanted to go to war they would have their own wealth and infrastructure to help support it.) The rest of the Arab world and at the moment Iran prefer the Palestinians to remain a tool to threaten Israel and a distraction to their own peoples. That is why there were never absorbed. The other Arabs don’t give a damn about them.

I’ve invoked William Tecumseh Sherman several times in the last few weeks. Via Glenn The Other McCain does so as well:

Sherman’s sober words about the “terrible hardships of war” were written to the mayor of Atlanta, who had complained about the cruelty of the Union commander’s order for the evacuation of the civilian population of the city. Sherman’s merciless attitude was motivated by his belief that the South bore responsibility for starting the war, and thus had no legitimate grounds to complain about the consequences of war. Sherman furthermore believed that by devastating the interior of the Confederacy, destroying its infrastructure and resources, he would hasten the end of the war and thereby end its attendant misery:

This is exactly right.

He also says this:

If the IDF had a Sherman in command, he would no doubt vow to “make Gaza howl” with a March to the Sea.

Boy that sounds familiar.

Sherman BTW is a fascinating person I suggest finding a good biography to read of him, but not this one by Lee Kennett which managed to make the story of an interesting man into a boring tale.