Sources of Meaning

  • How the Catholic League finds meaning at Christmas only in its own teachings, while presuming everyone else must be miserable;
  • How Republicans have found tribal meaning in Christian Nationalism;
  • How Republicans search for voter fraud only among populations who would not vote for Trump;
  • How conservatives resist the evidence that crime has fallen;
  • How 30% of Trump voters want him to break the law;
  • Trump’s childish taunt about who’s the insurrectionist;
  • And a gorgeous R.E.M. song, about being strong.

First of all, I can’t resist noting this. To me this represents the insularity and cluelessness about the real world that religions, at least Catholicism and Christianity, represent.

Joe.My.God, 21 Dec 2023: Catholic League: Atheists Are Miserable During Xmas

No, we’re not. Atheists like me have just as much fun observing cultural traditions as anyone else. This guy is deluded, perceiving the world as simplistic black and white — his particular religion on the white/right side — and thinking that everyone else (including everyone following other religions, all the eastern religions?) must be “deeply unhappy” because they don’t see the world in the same way he does.

Read his whole quote, at the link. Yes — we just happen to exist, and our value and worth are not derived from bronze age fantasies about gods and afterlives. Here in the 21st century we understand the actual, objective world, and find meaning and value there, in reality. The traditional religions are beholden to the fantasies of ancient sheepherders; humanity has learned much about the world and universe and humanity’s origin since then. The flaw in modern religions is that they ignore all that, and cling to those ancient fantasies. There is a real world out there, and if meaning is to be found, it must be consistent with that real world.


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 13 Dec 2023: How Republicans convinced themselves America was meant to be a “Christian nation”, subtitled “Most Republicans now support Christian nationalism. This was not the case during the Obama years”

The answer, basically, is that the conservative party became a tribe in need of ways to define their tribal identity. Via David Barton (!), according to a new book by Tim Alberta, “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism,” resulting in hypocrites like Trump and zealots like Nick Fuentes who’s said

that when his America First movement takes power, all non-Christians will be executed: “When we take power, they need to be given the death penalty … They must be absolutely annihilated when we take power.”

Charming, these Christians.


Washington Post, 20 Dec 2023: GOP voter-fraud crackdown overwhelmingly targets minorities, Democrats
Subtitled “Black and Hispanic people made up more than 75 percent of defendants and Democrats nearly 60 percent in a controversial push by Republicans to prosecute election cheating, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by The Washington Post”

No surprise. It’s not about election “integrity” — no one was worried about it until Trump lost his election — it’s about voter suppression (in red states) of people who likely won’t vote for Trump. Isn’t this obvious?


Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, 21 Dec 2023: Opinion | Crime is down. No, really.

Now matter how obviously true this may be, Republicans will never admit it, and want you to believe differently. There is also this key point, concerning Republican hysteria over immigrants.

The data also suggest Republicans’ incessant efforts to tie a lack of border security to crime is entirely misplaced. For one thing, immigrants have lower crime rates than native-born Americans. Therefore, if crime is declining while the border situation (at the very least) persists, it really is time to delink once and for all immigration and crime.

And this, concluding. They won’t.

Finally, there is something we can do to further reduce crime: Take weapons off the streets and pass sensible gun reforms. We know that blue states with robust gun safety laws have fewer murders than red states that don’t. In other words, if Republicans really want to address the crime problem, they could pass gun laws that have proved to be effective.


Don’t confuse my ideological narrative with the facts!

Media Matters, 20 Dec 2023: Fox News personalities dismiss their co-host when she mentions FBI data showing crime is down

Subtitled: “When Jessica Tarlov mentioned that FBI data shows violent crime is down, her co-hosts denied reality and instead fixated on a story about LA DA George Gascón’s staff and how progressive DAs are ‘tearing down the current system'”


Washington Post, analysis by Aaron Blake, 18 Dec 2023: 3 in 10 Trump voters want a president willing to break ‘rules and laws’

These people certainly aren’t law-and-order conservatives; I’d venture to say they’re not Christians either, despite their likely claims. Who are they?


I’m not, he is.

NBC News, 21 Dec 2023: Trump says he’s ‘not an insurrectionist’ after Colorado high court removes him from ballot, subtitled “The Colorado high court on Tuesday barred Trump from appearing on the state’s 2024 primary ballot under the insurrectionist clause of the 14th Amendment.”

“I’m not an Insurrectionist (“PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICALLY”), Crooked Joe Biden is!!!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social account.

A schoolyard taunt, without a particle of evidence or reason.


The untitled, unlisted 11th track of R.E.M.’s album Green.

Hold him, and keep him strong, while I’m away from here.

Hold her, and keep her strong, while I’m away from here.

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