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Insert Appalachian Trail Joke Here: ______________________.

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I was not the least bit surprised by Sanford’s win yesterday. It’s cute, really, that people think that the party of “family values” used the “family values” screech as anything other than a bludgeon to keep Democrats/liberals on the defensive, that they really thought Republican voters would vote for Colbert-Busch because they were presumably disgusted by Sanford’s behavior.  But it’s now crystal clear that the moral code conservatives professed to love and live by was nothing but a cynical rally cry that was superseded with mindless tribalism every damn time one of their own was caught doing naughty things with their throbbing bulbous parts.

There comes a point when, if you’d like to claim you are a strict adherent to a bibically-based moral code that informs your love and sex life, that you must actually live by that code. And time after time after time, conservatives have proven they simply are not living by this code. And their constituents–who absolutely purport to live by this same code–reward them for their sexy, sexy behavior.

But in the end, you can pretty much get away with murder so long as you say you’re a member of the right tribe. Hell, it’s ok to be gay, as long as you’re self-loathing. It’s ok to go flitting about the globe, sticking your dick into every willing or unwilling hole, so long as Jesus says he forgives you.

Roy Edroso scooped me on this. I got up all wee-weed up and ready to Win the Headlines this morning by pointing out something that anyone with a quarter of their brain in their head already knows: That conservative politicians and voters are mind-blowingly hypocritical . Well, apparently the hypocrisy is so ubiquitous and blatant than even NRO Cruise superstars have been forced to address it, albeit–in Jonah Goldberg’s case–in the most obnoxious way possible.

AND I QUOTE:

It’s absolutely true that conservatives need to wrestle with the question of what we should expect from our politicians. But I’m not sure liberals have anything worth listening to on the subject.

Keep fucking that chicken, conservatives. I’m sure your constituents/readers will forgive you for it.

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  • bexley

    I’ll say it before JenBob does:

    Appalachian isn’t how you spell Benghazi libtards.

    • Thou hast found the sacred edit … Oh. I get it.

  • There comes a point when, if you’d like to claim you are a strict adherent to a bibically[sic]-based moral code that informs your love and sex life, that you must actually live by that code.

    I disagree. 99% of human beings have some point where what they say they do and what they actually do doesn’t synch up.

    Where I draw a big line, dig a moat, fill it with oil and drop in a lit match is at the point where people who say X and do Y and also fuck with other people.

    So if a person says “I NEVER look at pornography,” and actually spends so much time doing it he (or she) has to replace his keyboard every week? I really don’t care. But I also reserve the right to assume the person who feels the need to tell me he doesn’t look at porn is actually looking at porn. A lot.

    That’s fine. Just make sure it involves consenting adults, you don’t stick cameras in people’s bedrooms so you can watch them fuck and don’t let me catch your ass saying we should pass laws against it. That’s where the mockery can and should begin.

    • “I disagree. 99% of human beings have some point where what they say they do and what they actually do doesn’t synch up.”

      Right, but most people aren’t making policy that effects the lives of others or acting as moral arbiters.

      • fka AWS

        Right, but most people aren’t making policy that effects the lives of others or acting as moral arbiters.

        Perhaps not on a national scale, true. But there are massive numbers of hypocritical evangelicals serving on school boards, running companies and the like around the country who love acting as moral arbiters for other people.

        I tend to agree with Shakezula – what you do on your own time with your own dime is your business, until you start squawking about what other people do on their own time with their own dime. (assuming consent, of course)

        • But…that’s the point I was making.

          • fka AWS

            Well. Carry on then! :)

      • That was part of my point. I go a step further and say people should follow Jesus’ injunction to StFu & MYOB, even if they aren’t in a position to create policy.

        (But we could spend years discussing the lack of overlap in the Bible Humper/Bible Reader Venn diagram.)

        • rea

          Motes and beams.

          • DrDick

            Also first stones and lest ye be judged.

        • Cheap Wino

          (But we could spend years discussing the lack of overlap in the Bible Humper/Bible Reader Venn diagram.)

          I think there’s probably a lot of Humper/Reader overlap. The problem is reading and understanding. The latter is implied by the former but that doesn’t make it true.

          • Mebbe. I know I have gotten not a little amusement debating finer points of the Bible with Godbotherers.

            They are invariably flummoxed once talk goes beyond the well-worn verses. As in, not even aware it was in there.

    • ajay

      99% of human beings have some point where what they say they do and what they actually do doesn’t synch up.
      Where I draw a big line, dig a moat, fill it with oil and drop in a lit match is at the point where people who say X and do Y and also fuck with other people.

      Even then. I don’t think people should drive faster than the posted speed limit. I think that if they are caught doing so, they should be punished, and I support measures aimed at imposing such punishments. But I do, occasionally (generally through inattention) drive faster than the speed limit.

      I think that puts me in line with a fairly large chunk of the population…

      • Another Halocene Human

        Then you basically misunderstand the theory and purpose of those speed limit signs.

        The roads are designed (in most places, according to standard engineering practice, not saying that’s right, but it is ubiquitous) for higher speeds than posted during dry pavement conditions for cars. You unconsciously* will adjust your speed to the conditions around you and the average speed of other vehicles. The engineers want everyone going close to the same pace for safety, and to the extent law enforcement understands road engineering and road safety, they want the same thing.

        You’ll note that in most places they won’t even write a ticket for 4mph above and there is no fine for 9mph, or as they used to say of the Mass State Police on the Turnpike, “They give you the first 10 for free.”

        *-the real problem with average drivers is that they have poor awareness of anything not directly in front of them, and never maintain appropriate following distances, and TOTALLY overestimate their skills and the capabilities of their car during inclement weather, oh and they drive while sick/sleepy/low blood sugar/drunk, too

        • Tristan

          where do you guys come from

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      So if a person says “I NEVER look at pornography,” and actually spends so much time doing it he (or she) has to replace his keyboard every week? I really don’t care. But I also reserve the right to assume the person who feels the need to tell me he doesn’t look at porn is actually looking at porn. A lot.

      This is especially annoying when you consider that some studies show that Republicans watch more porn than Dems. Given that alot of these people claim that various sex acts (anal, oral and gay/lesbian sex) are immoral, unnatural and relevant to policy considerations like SSM and LGBT rights. I’m no statistician but I did work a brief spell at a sex shop and I couldn’t help notice that the racks of dvds for sale featured predominantly acts of the sorts that these people claim to be an affront to god. Heck, finding a video that doesn’t have any butt/mouth/lesbian action is a pretty daunting challenge. So unless some sort of huge repository of porn exists that I’m unaware of, that sticks to only Jesus-approved activities (yawn), it is a certainty that in addition to the hypocritical Conservatives who are privately engaging in the same acts they condemn in public, the rest are probably fapping and fantasizing about them.

      • Another Halocene Human

        The problem with porn is that nobody sells porn I would watch. So I guess I’ll have to stick with my imagination.

        I wonder if there’s a correlation between the mental fast food (porn) and eating fast food, like Chik-fil-A and cakes we like. The pleasures of the pig. Seems to correlate to religious fast food (Joel Osteen and the like).

        • Origami Isopod

          the mental fast food (porn)

          Mainstream porn from the porn industry, sure. That said, good erotica has always existed, and I object to its classification as “mental fast food.”

  • Scott Mc

    I thought this phenomenon was well known, like dog biting man. Even has its own acronym: IOKIYAR.

    • But at some point you’d think we could go a week without seeing an example of IOKIYAR.

      • The hypocrisy tones down when they have the white house. Not because there’s less of it, but because the media ignore it.

    • Mr Peabody

      I generally think that “Family Values” is code for “Hippie Punching”.

      It’s not any specific action you take, but the idea that it might be OK, in general for anyone to take those actions in public (rather than white men doing it in secrecy) is something that those damn hippies would support.

      • Origami Isopod

        “Family values” has only ever been a dogwhistle for “bitches and queers, know your place.” The FLDS conforms to “family values.” A monogamous gay or lesbian couple raising kids doesn’t.

  • Of course, Jonah, Liberals don’t have anything worth listening to, for you Conservatives on this subject.

    Recently, Republicans reelected “Diaper” Dave Vitter, despite him frequenting prostitutes in two states.
    And, now, Sanford goes back to his old Congressional seat.

    This, while modern Democrats like Spitzer left office (and so did McGreevey, but that was a scandal involving homosexuality, so I know he wouldn’t have been reelected by Republicans), and so did Wiener, after sending photo’s of his “junk” around.

    So, there’s NO lesson to be learned here.
    Nope.
    None at all.

    • One lesson the GOP should certainly not learn is that what plays well to Republican voters in certain carefully selected sections of the U.S. might gross out the rest of the country.

      No, no, no. Don’t think of that at all.

  • Steve LaBonne

    If you look at the state by state statistics, it’s pretty clear that their constituents also only purport to live by that code. The hypocritical “family values” red state politicians are truly representative of their supporters.

    • NonyNony

      I had a friend in college who came from a very strict evangelical Christian background who once laid it all out for me. Words and belief were more important than actions. So long as you believed the right things and said the right things you could be forgiven for screwing up, even if you kept screwing up in exactly the same way over and over again and it was clear to everyone else that you had not real intention of changing your ways it didn’t matter. The flesh was weak, and so what you did wasn’t ultimately nearly as important as what you believed and what you espoused and what you evangelized.

      Given that I was raised Roman Catholic, this struck me as a profoundly fucked-up worldview (Roman Catholic theology requires belief but that’s like the ground floor – actions are where it’s at in the RC church. And this is the reason that Catholics believe in Purgatory and Protestants do not. But I digress.). I know now some of the roots of this craziness, but whenever Republican religious hypocrisy rears its head I assume that this watered-down version of St. Paul, filtered through Martin Luther, and then poorly disseminated by ranks of poorly-educated or outright horrible evangelical ministers is at its core. It’s okay to actually go out and visit prostitutes or cheat on your wife, so long as you know it’s wrong, say it’s wrong, and promise to not do it again (even if you don’t mean it). Jesus will forgive you for it as long as you believe the right things and say the right things. And if Jesus isn’t going to condemn you, then who am I to do it?

      • fka AWS

        but whenever Republican religious hypocrisy rears its head I assume that this watered-down version of St. Paul, filtered through Martin Luther, and then poorly disseminated by ranks of poorly-educated or outright horrible evangelical ministers is at its core.

        Misses a short detour through John Calvin, but basically.

        • Hogan

          Putting the U in TULIP.

          • mds

            Wow, TULIP vs. TCURB. That brings back memories. Even as a callow youth, I found myself concerned about how “Unconditional” looked like a license to do whatever you want as long as you had declared for Team Jesus, regardless of how Calvin or the Puritans interpreted it. Subsequent events have only reinforced that notion. (See also Fred Clark at Slacktivist, who has repeatedly addressed this whole “salvation as magic spell” tendency.)

            • Something else Fred talks about in this context is a Fundamentalist emphasis on “orthopraxy” meaning right action/right words where those things occur in public as opposed to an ethical stance on action which is derived from experience. He argues (IIRC) that the emphasis on being seen to do the right thing (such as publicly repent) takes the place of sincere thought about the meaning of actions in context.

            • jafd

              Might one of you possibly enlighten those of us with inadequate theological educations as to what TCURB and TULIP are the acronyms of ?

              Thanx muchly

              • Hogan

                For TULIP, see here.

                I can’t help you with TCURB.

              • mds

                As I recall, TCURB is pretty much the negation of TULIP, except for the first letter:

                Conditional election
                Unlimited atonement
                Resistible grace

                and, uh, whatever B meant in the context of “Christians can fall out of salvation.”** It’s been twenty-five years since I heard about it.

                **Note that this was presented in the context of what Reformed doctrine (TULIP) claimed was a version of non-Reformed Protestant doctrine (e.g, Baptist). However, this is not actually Baptist doctrine, though TCUR are close enough for theological work.

        • drkrick

          The Baptists don’t owe much to Calvin (or Luther, for that matter), but the general idea is certainly spot on.

          There’s an old story about a newly departed soul being shown around heaven who sees a tall brick wall with a lot of noise coming from behind it. He asks his guide what it is and is told “Oh, those are the Baptists. It spoils it for them if they know the rest of us are here.”

          • fka AWS

            Actually, the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention would like a word with you.

      • Josh G.

        I know now some of the roots of this craziness, but whenever Republican religious hypocrisy rears its head I assume that this watered-down version of St. Paul, filtered through Martin Luther, and then poorly disseminated by ranks of poorly-educated or outright horrible evangelical ministers is at its core.

        “Be a sinner, and sin boldly, but believe more boldly still.”

        Yes, it’s very easy to read Paul (especially Galatians, which was Luther’s favorite epistle) to justify some sort of half-ass antinomianism.

        • Hogan

          As a youth I prayed, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”

          • drkrick

            You and St. Augustine. I like the theory that chastity for others became very important in his theology about the time impotence caught up with him.

        • sparks

          I think that was Dr. Gene Scott’s favorite epistle, too.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yes, it’s very easy to read Paul (especially Galatians, which was Luther’s favorite epistle) any part of the Wholly Babble to justify some sort of half-ass antinomianism any damn assholery you want.

          Fixed.

      • This great post has rendered my entry unnecessary.

      • Cody

        Shit.

        You really give new meaning to the point that if your morality comes only from fear of God’s wrath, then you’re not a moral person at all.

        • I would argue that these people don’t really believe in God’s Wrath for themselves. Note that when they suffer a mishap “The Devil is Testing Me!” When you suffer a mishap “God is punishing you!”

      • Anonymous

        Catholicism has it’s own issues with the sin/forgiveness cycle, starting with the sacrament of confession, and ending with indulgences (forgiveness for cash) which is one of the things that started the whole Reformation ball rolling.

        • Another Halocene Human

          Not sure I grasp the relevance of pre-Counter Reformation Roman financial and political corruption has to do with the lived experiences of Vatican II era American Catholics being discussed here.

          Catholicism like many organized religions has always had a special path to favored status for wealthy donors. What aroused Luther was that the Roman hunger for gold for its construction projects was pushing this ethos down to the middle class. He probably was pressured to sell indulgences (it is the selling, not granting, of indulgences that is the issue) and reacted about like those retail slaves who post to BestBuySucks about being forced by their shitty, rapey managers to try to sell worthless warranties at the register, or else.

          • Another Halocene Human

            Also, I don’t think it’s clear from the research whether confession (to another person) is good or bad. Psychologists seem divided. My intuitive belief is that it’s overall negative as a system (especially in lieu of more secular approaches to intervention and criminal justice) but I have nothing to back that up.

            However, there’s plenty of research showing that Christians who practice and believe that they only have to ask Jesus for forgiveness are less likely to ever attempt to make amends with people they have wronged and will over time increasingly start behaving like somebody with a personality disorder. They’re basically self-satisfied and feel that if they hurt others it’s irrelevant.

            I don’t think confession does anything for people who are bad, but it may have a salutory effect on people who are good. Who knows? There are other sorts of confessors available than Catholic priests. Now we call them “accountability partners”. Plenty of research shows that can be effective, as long as the person is committed.

            If the RCC is selling confession as actually being able to reduce anti-social and criminal behavior, no, I don’t think it accomplishes that at all.

            Some evangelical Protestant groups also practice confession, although since it is public there is a sort of established narrative, eg, I was a big sinner then Jesus found me and raised me up. Catholic confession is more of the order of “this week I did such and such shitty things”, and the priests often ask you questions like a therapist would. I quit when it was clear that the bishops were watching and the priests were actually afraid to be honest with parishioners for fear they were bishop’s spies. A good therapist relationship can be just as productive. Also, in time, you learn to be accountable to yourself. It’s a process. And you have to have people around you willing to be honest with you about your shortcomings.

  • R. Porrofatto

    There comes a point when, if you’d like to claim you are a strict adherent to a bibically-based moral code that informs your love and sex life, and you demand that everyone else, even those who don’t share your beliefs, must abide by your professed code, that you must actually live by that code.

    Hope you don’t mind, I added the part that’s particularly irritating.

  • Scott P.

    I have come across a truly elegant Appalachian Trail joke, but this post is too small to contain it.

    • rea

      Well, of course not–the post would have to be 2200 miles long.

      • mds

        Harumph.

    • LittlePig

      Want me to Fermat the HTML for it?

  • Anonymous

    I think there is a really left/right tribal divide around the whole notion of hypocrisy and virtue.

    The left values virtues that are practicable in real life, and asks that those who make preach morals for others demonstrate this by living as patient teachers and role models.

    The right values virtues that they themselves admit are beyond human ability to live by (“all have sinned”) so failure is inevitable. But the way to address the failing is not to amend the sacrosanct values, but screech the hymn to the unattainable even louder. From their perspective, a loud hypocrite does more “good” than a person of humble, realistic integrity.

    I don’t mean to imply that the difficulty of living by traditional values puts those values on a pedestal. What is difficult or even painful is not automatically meritorious. Compassion, understanding, and fairness lead to morals that are both easier to live by and morally superior.

    • One of these approaches has been used as an excuse to persecute, bully, detain (in prisons or asylums), assault and even kill those who aren’t members of the club and don’t follow The Code.

      Nah. Surely that is a coincidence.

      • Steve LaBonne

        To the authoritarian mind, that’s the whole purpose of moral codes.

        • BigHank53

          Moral codes are never about behaving. They’re all about giving yourself a cudgel to beat your inferiors with.

          • Uncle Ebeneezer

            I would like to take this comment somewhere private (or public, what the hey…) and perform acts with it that would set countless cudgels in motion.

            • gocart mozart

              Go ahead, just remember to ask Jesus to forgive you afterwords.

    • Origami Isopod

      “Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.” Wingnuts who “sin” and “repent,” rather than renounce the social order that defines their (consensual) desires as sins, are painted as more “moral” than liberals who do renounce that social order, whether or not their own behavior would be considered sinful by the social order. The true sin is overturning the Great Order of Things.

  • Thanks to Hogan for reminding me of TULIP. Me, I’m totally depraved because I was totally deprived.

    But the issue for all of us in the Sanford case isn’t whether or not Sanford sinned and is saved, but whether his fellow citizens reward him for sinning, apologizing, and basicallly saying “catch me if you can.” What Jonah is arguing is that there is no religious principle that is worth suffering a small electoral defeat over. In the abstract he argues that heterosexuality, marriage, chastity outside of marriage, self sacrifice for the children, and fiscal honesty are incredibly important “values” that his party espouses in the person of the people they put up for election. They are so important that women who want divorces, gays who want to get married, and single mothers are routinely castigated for their refusal to accept a lifetime of pain because they don’t fit the model.

    But lo and behold, when its the Republican party that would feel the pain because the actual candidate in a real live election is a cannibal with marital problems suddenly its more important not to sacrfice for principle. The basic argument he makes in what we might call “Sanford? Oh…well.” article is that if a principle causes discomfort to the party then it should be temporarily abandoned until the next time it needs to be roped in to humiliate the other party. That’s not even hypocrisy, its just out and out deception.

    Its ok to be flexible with principles when you do so to spare another person pain–that’s basically the entire point of Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan. But to forgive yourself your tresspasses so that you can continue to lie and cheat your neighbor or, in Sanford’s case, his constituents? That’s something else. I dare Jonah to find the gospel that backs that up.

    • Also note that if (when?) Sanford turns out to be a complete clusterfuck we’ll hear “I never liked that cheating so-and-so” and “I’m not from SC, I didn’t vote for that philanderer.”

      The sin can be used to embrace or reject, as circumstances demand.

      • I never thought Republicans would vote against Sanford because of the infidelity or the crazy divorce behavior–that’s right up there with sins every (male republican) wants to commit. But the running off in the middle of the session, the applachian trail story, and the financial improprieties? Aren’t the Republicans supposed to be the party of hard headed fiscal responsibility? The guy’s a crook. A flaky crook but a flat out, simple minded, cheap bastard, embezzler of public funds for private sexcapades. In a weird kind of way its as though the two different forms of wrong behavior cancelled each other out in the minds of the voters. But I guess after Florida elected Rick Scott its simply not possible to believe that the Republican party has the sense god gave little fishes when it comes to out and out criminals as their representatives.

        • Pee Cee

          Aren’t the Republicans supposed to be the party of hard headed fiscal responsibility

          They are about as serious on this as they are on the “family values”.

          And anyway, Sanford’s a member of the party that owns SC-1. It’s so heavily skewed Republican that any factors about the candidate himself – such as whether or not he exhibits criminal behavior – will merely change the margin of victory a bit.

          • True fact – When a Democrat is in the White House, anti-fraud/waste activity spikes (along with money recouped). When a Republican is in the White House, it drops.

  • Maybe it is all code. The profession of faith/politics is used in lieu of different colored hankies.

    “I’m a born again Christian and proud Republican” = Anal and spankings.

    “I’m a staunch supporter of the 2d Am.” = Bukkake.

    And so on.

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