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The most bracing pieces are sometimes the least defensible.

So it is with Sohrab Ahmari’s fusillade in the religious journal First Things against my National Review colleague David French that has occasioned a cataract of conservative commentary.

Ahmari’s piece is part of the “post-liberal” ferment among a coterie of mostly Catholic writers on the right.

Rich Lowry mug

Rich Lowry

A Catholic convert who has written a widely praised memoir, “From Fire, By Water,” he argues that conservatives should give up on defending a neutral public square and instead “impose our order and our orthodoxy.”

This would seem a fierce rallying cry in the culture war, but really — like the denunciations of the American political order from a smattering of Catholic writers — comes from a place of despair that, if acted on, would promise only futility.

The animating insight of the “post-liberal” writers and their allies seems to be: We are losing the culture war so badly that the only option left is to impose our values on everyone else. How will they do that? Good question! We’ll get back to you after we are done savaging our allies.

To simplify, Ahmari’s prescription is fighting harder, being less civil, caring less about individual liberty and focusing energy on politics instead of culture toward the end of socially conservative government impositions. He also expresses suspicion of evangelicals (French is one) for being naturally inclined to oppose authority (for instance, national churches).

This hardly sounds like a winning formula. Ahmari says he was shocked into his current radical posture by the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight.

Imagine, though, if conservatives had argued for Kavanaugh on the basis that decency doesn’t matter to us much anymore — so we don’t care about the truth of the allegations against him — and furthermore, we expect him to impose his Christian (or more specifically, Catholic) values on the country. We would have lost in a rout.

Kavanaugh won the day by appealing to reason, fair play and the presumption of innocence — in other words, things that the most disillusioned Catholic conservatives perhaps consider a sucker’s game, yet still have purchase with the American public.

Needless to say, America is not a country ripe for the imposition of Catholic traditionalism. Among other things, conservative Catholics aren’t operating from a position of strength. Overall, about 20 percent of the U.S. population is Catholic, and only about 37 percent of Catholics are Republicans. About half aren’t particularly conservative on abortion or gay marriage.

Ahmari appears to envision politics, and government action, as an escape from culture and excoriates French for the emphasis he puts on cultural transformation. But politics isn’t a magic wand. In a liberal democracy, it depends on public sentiment, which is decisively shaped by culture.

Ahmari, strangely, pours scorn on the idea that we need religious conversions. Obviously, though, the religious landscape of the country matters greatly. The growth of evangelicals — while the Catholic Church has been losing numbers — provides a crucial cultural and political backstop for social conservatives.

A top priority of the cultural right has been getting President Donald Trump to appoint constitutionalist judges. This is right and proper. Besides its intrinsic value, as a practical matter, the Constitution is the strongest protection that believers have.

Let’s assume everyone on the right agreed for some reason to strip the First Amendment out of the Constitution. Would this free religious conservatives to steamroll and suppress our opponents, or the other way around? Almost certainly, the latter.

All that said, there’s much I agree with Ahmari about.

There’s obviously cause for great alarm in the culture war, which has unquestionably entered a new, more treacherous phase.

We need to realize that America suffers, not just from a swollen state, but from a toxic individualism, people detached from family, church and community, and thus from larger meaning.

Finally, we need to hang together and, if we can’t muster decency when fighting our adversaries, at least show some when disagreeing with allies.

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Syndicated columnist Rich Lowry can be reached at comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

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(88) comments

capedcrusader

DMoney Jun 10, 2019 10:31pm It's not my fellow citizens I'm worried about and distrust--its the federal government. People who claim to represent us despite being extremely wealthy, corrupt, power hungry. I do not trust them with my livelihood and never will. You mean like Trump? Why do you hate our government so much. You sound like Buggs Raplin.

DMoney

Yes, exactly like Trump! Don't drink the koolaid--I'm not a fan of Trump and never will be. Never have been either. But I AM a fan of conservatism and republicanism. And as he was the Republican candidate and now POTUS, I do agree with most of his policies. Whoever and whatever group can, in essence, leave me alone the most--they have my vote.

DMoney

As far as hating the government--I don't hate all government. I really like local government. I am ok with State government. I dislike federal government, although I recognize and appreciate the need for one. The further they are away from me and my community; the less they know me and people like me; the more they ask from me for things I am not involved with--the less I like them.

martian2

oh D, you sound like a brash youngster who is invincible and don't need nobody no how, especially the big gummit in D.C. Good thing you were never in the military, you would be required to sacrifice for this country, the whole country, including the D.C. government. All forms of government have their good and not so good points. You sound like a scared rabbit with you guns locked and loaded ready to fend of the feds if they ever ask you for anything. There are things in life we should try to avoid, like selfishness, hate, dehumanizing others, bigotry, just to name a few. Working on improving our personal traits makes the rest of the world that much more enjoyable.

DMoney

You connect "this country" with the federal government. That's your problem. They are two separate entities. "This country" is our constitution, it's citizens, it's traditions, it's values, it's history, it's culture, it's strength, it's honor, it's faults, etc. The federal government is the body who manage it. Just like the Packers are a separate entity than Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers.

martian2

wrong D, The federal government is part of this country, like it or not. It is what protects this country, passes laws, enforces federal laws, and is an entity we pay taxes to. How can you ever say it is not part of "this country". Comparing a pro football team to a country is so bizarre, so twilight zone. That is often what you do when cornered and shown to be wrong, bring up the totally ridiculous.

oldhomey

More evidence of how little D knows anything substantive about those issues he chooses to comment on: " DMoney Jun 13, 2019 5:18pm "You connect 'this country' with the federal government. That's your problem. They are two separate entities. 'This country' is our constitution, it's citizens, it's traditions, it's values, it's history, it's culture, it's strength, it's honor, it's faults, etc. The federal government is the body who manage it. Just like the Packers are a separate entity than Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers." The constitution does not define our nation's "traditions, it's values, it's history, it's culture, it's strength, it's honor, it's faults, etc." It is a document that defines our government and our system of governance. Before the constitution was written and adopted, we lived in a very week confederation of states, and the framers of the constitution were very explicit in that we needed a powerful central government. And that, despite your protestations and hand-wringing, is what we have. It is a document of permanence that guides us in how to govern to maintain the freedoms and responsibilities that they wanted America to represent. What changes constantly are traditions, values, history, culture, strength, honor, faults, etc. The constitution is a brilliant document because it allows us maintain its original ideal of freedom while adjusting to the realities of the dynamics of changing times, technologies and mores.

oldhomey

D, who claims he doesn't know who Ayn Rand is, sounds more like he read a precis of her political philosophy in an encyclopedia biographical entry about her. Whatever that sounds good so long as it saves him from paying taxes that might go toward helping black people is okay by him.

DMoney

Where did race come in? I figured you were above race baiting.

oldhomey

Well, D, it seems pretty obvious that the right-wing mantra of small government and keep your hands off my money is a polite way of saying they don't want to pay taxes that will assist those who are need, often a coded way of saying they don't want to pay taxes to support black people in need. But I don't know you or anything about you, so perhaps I am out of place accusing you of that reasoning. I simply would have no way of knowing that to be true, so I should not have said it. I apologize.

oldhomey

And by the way, D, I did not engage you in race baiting. I called attention to the fact that the reasoning you are using is a common, unspoken code used by right-wingers who oppose tax-supported social legislation because they oppose their tax dollars going to help poor minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics. I felt I assumed more than I should have by assigning you to the ranks of those racists, so I felt I should pull back and apologize. I find you to be terribly naive, and for all I know you are simply adopting right-wing talking points like the ones in question here without even realizing their racial overtones. You may think you are out there in the world making your way all by yourself, expecting nothing from others, but, pardner, the Lone Ranger was a fictional hero.

DMoney

I've never differentiated between which welfare reliant people do not deserve a hand out. If anything, I view the creation and maintaining of systematic welfare as racist. As if these poor black people's only hope is Uncle Sam's handouts. I believe as free and equal people that they can and will succeed regardless of how much people like you THINK they need you. Call it old school republicanism I guess. And yes, I learned that train of thought from an online political analyst--who happens to be a black conservative.

oldhomey

Well, gosh, D, your 1:06am post is a revelation of what a color-blind humanitarian you actually are, seeing through the racism of helping the poor. A true, old-school egalitarian reformer -- that defines you.

Cassandra2

"Imagine, though, if conservatives had argued for Kavanaugh on the basis that decency doesn’t matter to us much anymore — so we don’t care about the truth of the allegations against him — and furthermore, we expect him to impose his Christian (or more specifically, Catholic) values on the country. " At least they would have been honest with us and with themselves.

johnnybragatti

Spot -on ! as long as the Wing-Nutz got their guns they don"t need health care and can be by themselves alone, and watch Fox Fake and have no one to bother them. Lowry often seems like he doesn"t know which way to turn, as are trump supporters. He often seems like an attendee at a trump rally, where most folks are not "playing with a full deck". Lowty likes to play the chaos seeking trump game and keep everything in upheaval and like the trump ,he is making big bucks doing it.

PhysicsIsFun

"For the past two decades, a suicide epidemic fueled by guns, poverty and isolation has swept across the West, with middle-aged men dying in record numbers" (https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/suicide-rate-america-white-men-841576/)

oldhomey

Funny, martian, while reading Lowry today my eyes stopped at the very same quote that you cited, but for slightly different reasons, perhaps: "We need to realize that America suffers, not just from a swollen state, but from a toxic individualism, people detached from family, church and community, and thus from larger meaning." First of all, that is one humongous oxymoronic statement. He thinks the government has gotten too large, doing too much for the greater good at the expense of taxpayers not always wanting to pay for the greater good of others. The mantra of conservatism, and of a lot of right-wing posters on these boards, is rugged individualism, i.e.: no national health insurance, make people find their own healthcare; no unions, I am such a good worker I can negotiate my salary and benefits on my own; no Social Security or Medicare, old people like everybody else should be responsible for taking care of themselves; no government oversight on work place conditions, industrial waste, land use, pharmaceutical manufacture and sales and so on, let free markets control that stuff; let people indiscriminately arm themselves with whatever weapons they personally deem necessary for their protection and amusement, it is their God-given constitutional right to do so, and, besides, what could go wrong with that policy? In other words, that is some of the toxicity that taints today's society, Mr. Lowry. I don't quite understand, if you are angling at this, what liberal rugged individualism it is that you want to cease. Life and lifestyles change with time and technology, but life becomes no easier. It is always going to be a struggle, and government is the most powerful tool we have in easing many facets of life for all people, not just the few. The silliest application of Lowry's own wisdom is in his closing observation: "Finally, we need to hang together and, if we can’t muster decency when fighting our adversaries, at least show some when disagreeing with allies." D'ya think, Mr. Lowry, our president might take heed of your wisdom here as he sticks needles in the eyes of all of our trading and mutual defense friends and allies internationally while he gets cozy with the worst, most murderous regimes in the world?

new2Lax

Seems you should look at who is cozy with Russia and China, Hillary Clinton with Russia and the Biden’s with China. It wasn’t Trump who paid the Russians for there meddling in our election according to the Mueller report. It looks like the Biden’s see no problem with China as a competitor and they received a billion dollar contract from them, it’s no wonder they don’t see a problem. If Trump and his campaign was cleared of colluding do you think Hillary and the DNC have anything to answer for, after all they paid Russian operatives through Perkins Coie law firm through Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson. I suspect you will find out who has been colluding with the most murderous regime in the world. I think you are in for a big surprise.

oldhomey

Thank you for your impeccably sourced, absolutely dead to nuts truthful observations, new2. We can always count on you to regurgitate Fox News bilge in every and any instance.

new2Lax

Well I heard the Biden China statement on NBC, they seemed to be some what shocked by it as well. They didn’t mention the billion dollar deal the Biden’s pulled off but even they questioned the China not being a concern or even a competitor of the US. I see Biden tried walking it back today after he was counseled by his staff. I wasn’t sure you were familiar with who actually paid for the Russian dossier, as you may not know the FISA court was not informed it was the Hillary Clinton and the DNC specifically. I just heard tonight they just got some newly released emails further implicating the Obama State Department and Christopher Steele. Seems there was conspiring going on in the State Department with the 2016 election in an effort to disparage Trump with the dossier which was known to be false at the time.

DMoney

Like Mexico?

oldhomey

What about Mexico, D? Are you like new2, counting chickens before any eggs are even deposited in the nest, let alone hatched? Wasn't it predictable that Trump, under the gun by his most ardent supporters to not impose tariffs, to take what was already on the table, declare it to be something new and announce it as his latest victory? Is that the "like Mexico" in your question?

DMoney

That is the "like Mexico" I'm referring to. And the coming days will she'd some light on the details. I could have used another retort, "Like South Korea"?

oldhomey

Well, your retorts are almost always misinformed, D, like your "Like Mexico?" one, your 10:28pm one and, for sure, your proposed "Like South Korea?" one. Congratulations. Three chances and you struck out on all three.

DMoney

According to you we poke sticks in the eyes of our allies and trade partners (or whatever analogy you used). Yet, in the past 6 months, we renegotiated a more favorable deal with Mexico and renegotiated a more fair price for protection with South Korea. Just because you renegotiate doesn't make you unfriendly. We gotta watch out for ourselves, first. By the way, we've lost absolutely nothing with any other allies/trade partners.

martian2

yea we lost absolutely nothing with our allies, just their respect and admiration they used to have for this country. And our influence over the world has waned, but hey who cares. We got a great deal with Mexico, so says the narcissists in chief. You see the thing with a narcissist is you never get the truth, you get a fabricated story that makes him out to be either the hero or the victim, but never ever will he be the villain ( admit mistakes). Sad but true.

new2Lax

Why was it not implemented if it had been on the table. Now they have 90 days to get it done. For Trump it is new and you can bet it will get done. Trump has many of the qualities of a (Teddy Roosevelt) and (Abraham Lincoln ) what a guy.

oldhomey

D, look at our new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. It is almost identical to NAFTA. You are a sucker for a shell game, and Donald Trump is the master con man running the game. He made a couple of cosmetic changes and now calls it the greatest deal ever, though it is simply still NAFTA. And even then he disregards the agreement, threatening to impose new tariffs on Mexico unless it does some things that it already had announced months ago that it already was doing. So Trump once again says he pulled off a terrific new victory, and you buy into it. Do you think anybody in the world at this point puts any stock whatsoever in what America says it will or will not do?

DMoney

Respect and admiration? What exactly does that get us? They respect and admire our economy and our military strength and that won't change until we're not the strongest. You really think we'll offend a weak and insignificant European Ally so much that they will turn on us?!

martian2

what does respect and admiration get us? you got to be kidding D! You keep moving the end line, the goal posts or parameters or whatever in order to justify your totally immature and weak arguments. There is just no reasoning with you. You obviously have been indoctrinated into the far right wing philosophy of hate government, hate your fellow citizens, hate other countries, just keep up the hate. Just worry about yourself and only yourself. Sounds just like the ramblings of AM talk radio and fox news.

DMoney

You never answered my question. What does respect and admiration (aside from our leading economy and military) get us? Let's say we became just like Canada. Canada is nice to everyone, but can't offer security guarantees and can't offer an economic partner that another country can literally build it's own economy around. So what assurances does Canada have if things ever go sour in the world? Sure, every Democratic country "likes" Canada--what does that result in?

DMoney

What--more invites to state dinners? More offers to have sister cities? What tangible advantage is gained by being nice on the international setting?

DMoney

Homey, I looked at the new agreement, the USMCA, when it was first drafted and again just now and it's just as great now as it was then. It has major changes, which benefit our country and our North American partners much more than previous. It benefits workers, companies and entire markets. Go read the Washington Post summary. What you say simply is not true. I invite anyone to go do the research.

oldhomey

What a simplistic view you have of the world, D. We used to have the respect and admiration of our friends and allies and much of the rest of the world because we put our economic and military might to work guaranteeing and preserving the freedom of people everywhere. Now we have a president who is sticking needles in the eyes of those former friends and allies while he cozies up to the bloodiest, most dangerous dictators on Earth. Our friendship and mutual respect with other nations was not entirely altruistic. It was for our own protection and benefit, too. You think the pomp and ceremony that surrounded our former close relationships was window dressing? Of course it was. But now we have a bizarre president whom all other world leaders see as being above all else impressed with personal flattery showily presented to his incredibly inflated ego. You know, the sort of ego that obviously masks deep self-loathing and feelings of terrible inferiority.

DMoney

You just admitted I am right. It's window dressing. End of the day, can our military help keep them secure? Yes. Can our economy be their largest market? Yes. Everything else is for show. Like Martian, you failed to offer any tangible evidence for being liked less by other countries.

martian2

There is no reasoning with D homey. He just keeps up the foolishness and changes the end game. He doesn't understand that respect and admiration is paramount if you want to maintain peace and stability throughout the world. He doesn't understand how respect and admiration can prevent wars. It also helps those suffering from natural disasters or diseases in the world because of our generosity and leadership. It can help save the planet from climate changes by leading the way in reduced carbon emissions. Respect and admiration can mitigate differences between nations by peaceful means. Respect and admiration can help foster true democracy around the world so the common citizen has a say in his country. My gawd, this is so obvious, so elementary, its like reinventing the wheel. Even a second grader can understand it. Being a bully with a narcissist and demented leader in charge brings chaos, and increases the likelihood for wars and increased suffering. Just look at Russia as one example.

DMoney

Martian, again you are just nakedly, starkly incorrect. First, Obama initiated more armed conflict than Trump has. Obama didn't do as much to pacify NK. But yet, you would say (and I'd agree) he's more "well liked". Regaring disaster aid--what's changed? Absolutely nothing. Prove me wrong. Regarding promoting democracy--one word for you: Venezuela. You are wrong, wrong, wrong.

DMoney

Regarding Russia--Trump has stood equally as or more firmly as Obama ever did. Who's administration posted bases and troops in Norway and the Baltic countries? Our Navy and Air Force has increased it's patrols near the borders with Russia and are intercepting their planes/ships regularly. Warm and fuzzy towards dictators? Who? What? Kim Jong Un? Trump threatened to wipe them off the face of the earth before extending an olive branch. Is that "warm and cozy"? He just got done with an official state visit to England where the Queen welcomed him with open arms. If they hated us, why make the invitation? Yet, I'm the one who doesn't understand?

oldhomey

The pomp and ceremony is window dressing, yes, D. That is not what is important. It is the friendship, the alliances and what the accomplish that is important. We have a president who thinks the pomp and ceremony is all that is important. And you support him while he ignores the real problems and torpedoes the real solutions. I assume you graduated from high school and college. The graduation ceremonies are full of pomp and circumstance, including the song by that name, but they are merely a formal acknowledgement of the long effort and accomplishment of the graduates. Does that clear it up for you, D, or did you think the graduation ceremony was the whole object of your educational experience?

DMoney

Graduation ceremony doesn't happen without the substance of adequate grades. The USA is in A+ standing with our allies in the matter of substance. We can protect them and we can provide them with an economic partner of no equal. EVERYTHING else is bells and whistles. You can be unpopular in school and graduate with honors.

oldhomey

Well I will grant you, D, that Trump gives himself an A+ for his international policies. I expect Mr. Putin pins gold stars on Trump each time they meet, too, for his good standing in Russian eyes. All the stances you mention that the U.S. has taken under Trump's watch were dictated by the State Department under long-standing measures and norms that Trump does not dare rescinding because of his open bromance with Putin. Who else is giving him an A+ for his diplomacy? Maybe Kim. That would be about it. And, of course, there is you and the rest of the Trump base. Nothing but praise for the man.

martian2

that is a good point homey, but I understood the term "swollen state" in a different way. I took it as a way to describe too many citizens as having an over inflated ego or runaway individualism or too much indifference. I thought the swollen state was a state of mind that leaves out compassion or empathy of fellow citizens. But I could see where you are coming from, perhaps we are both right, and there may be other viable opinions too. It is telling how in this age of social networks and social media people are lonelier than ever which seems to create more hostility and creates more divisiveness. Not enough talking to one another instead of talking at each other.

oldhomey

Well, you made me go back and look again, martian, and to tell you the truth, I am not sure what he meant by swollen state in the context in which he uses it.

martian2

Some like to bring up that we are having a culture war and it has to be won by "our" side or there will be dire consequences. Actually there is no "war" of culture going on. there may be discussions, disagreements or arguments on what is appropriate in culture, but a war, no not at all. Politicians and op ed writers like to stir the pot and try to conjure up the war talk but I do believe most people are civil and can disagree and still be friends. Lowry does bring up a good point when he says, "We need to realize that America suffers, not just from a swollen state, but from a toxic individualism, people detached from family, church and community, and thus from larger meaning." This toxic individualism he talks about is really at the root core of many of our problems as a society. When the value of one's 401k supersedes the value and well being of their fellow citizens then we are in great trouble. Being detached from community and the larger family brings on a selfishness that does much more harm than any good, no matter what country you live in. What we need is less vitriolic arguments where we fight to see who is right, instead of having discussions were we try to find out what is right.

DMoney

Can I count on my fellow citizens to support me when I reach retirement age, at a lifestyle of my choosing and comfort level? I have faith in the average middle-class American to take care of themselves and their families. Most of them don't need my care or worry about their well being. Those groups who DO need support, get plenty from me through charity.

martian2

Can you count on you fellow citizens to support you when you reach retirement age? Yes you can, that is if you vote for the right politicians, and you can live a comfortable life style too. Maybe not like the queen of England but comfortable. I wouldn't be so dismissive about your fellow citizens, we are all in this together.

DMoney

It's not my fellow citizens I'm worried about and distrust--its the federal government. People who claim to represent us despite being extremely wealthy, corrupt, power hungry. I do not trust them with my livelihood and never will.

martian2

you don't trust those politicians, so again you need to be vigilant on who you vote for. Those crooked politicians can't make a career of it if people would quit being sheep for their parties and vote for those with moral scruples and a commitment to the middle class. We need to get rid of gerry rigging and electoral college and citizens united ruling and let the working class have the majority voice it deserves.

Cassandra2

And yet the D-Bag will trust profit-motivated insurance company executives with his health. SMDH

DMoney

Sure I do, C-bag. I understand exactly what their motives are and exactly what benefit I will receive personally. Therefore, I can trust it.

martian2

man do you have a lot to learn D. Insurance companies are out to scr*w you over good to increase their profits. Wonder why your insurance rates keep going up, all insurance rates. they will do anything they can get away with to weasel out of their commitments, and they have the lawyers who know all the tricks. And they have certain politicians bought off so they won't interfere. Yea you keep trusting insurance companies.

DMoney

Never had a problem yet, despite having several children and recent surgery. Maybe it's because I take the time/energy/effort to read and understand the policy. I skrew--I don't get skrewed.

DMoney

I'm saying I'm at least as generous as the average American now, despite the fact that our plan says not to be, yet. When we reach our goals around December 2020 I'll be in a prime position to give back more generously.

oldhomey

Of all the worthless lip service, this ranks as among the most rank: "Those groups who DO need support, get plenty from me through charity." America's needy, poor families should fall silent and withdraw their grubby hands from seeking alms, D, now that you are here to take care of them with your largesse. The rest of us cold-hearted skinflints are SO grateful for you to have taken care of this so that we do not have to.

DMoney

I do more than my part. American's donated around $405 Billion in 2017. That includes huge corporations and organizations. Despite this, it only averages out to about $1,300 per American citizen. I donate about $500/year to various causes and organizations. Considering some companies donate hundreds of millions per year--I'd say I'm doing my part considering my $500 is almost half of what the average American donates.

oldhomey

Isn't this special? Now D is boasting that in his largesse he donates almost half of what the average American donates annually. What a humanitarian. What empathy. What generosity. What the heck is he boasting about?

martian2

WOW! 500 bucks a year! Let's see that is a little bit over 9 bucks a week. So about as much as two cups of coffee at starbucks, or one fast food meal, or about two pounds of hamburger. Well if you think that is generous, there is definitely something wrong with you. My guess you are probably an only child, or the youngest of a family. Those types never do learn how to share or develop empathy or actually care about anyone else but themselves. Let's hope your children grow up to be better citizens than their father.

DMoney

Fools. My contribution is half of what the average american would donate INCLUDING mass contributions (hundreds of millions) donated by corporations. Take out the huge amounts donated by wealthy individuals and corporations and I bet I'm in the 90th percentile. Use just a little smidgeon of logic.

martian2

well D you 608 post makes no sense. You take out the mass contributions from companies, well let us see the numbers. Raw DATA, thats what I want. I don't want the go google it yourself bs. Just the facts." Half of what the average American would donate including mass contributions", I still don't get it.

DMoney

Charitynavigator.org Consider that 27% of all donations are made by corporations. A further 35 billion donated through legacies. Of private donors, the highest percentage of money given is to churches. Take those out, and I'm doing my part. Are you?

oldhomey

We don't know who your charitable donations go to, D. I suspect a goodly portion of it goes to right-wing PACS and candidates, which are considered charitable contributions. The other day you said you are well on your way to being "upper middle-class". which begins approxiamately at the $180,000 a year income level. That must mean you already are in the six figure realm, so $500 a year in charitable giving is pretty small potatoes for somebody making that sort of money. I exceed your giving, and I am a retiree living on an annual income somewhat smaller than six figures.

martian2

My part D? I give much more than you. Take what you give and times it by at least 10. And I am retired. Now am I doing my part, well I don't know, maybe I should do more. I do volunteer work so I do give of my time too, not just my treasure. As far as what you give, which seems poultry, I am not going to say what you should give, that is up to you and your conscience, that is if you have one. You have a family with small kids to support, so what you give is none of my business. But I will say your bragging and saying you are doing your part is a bit over the top, actually way over the top. But I've come to expect that from you.

martian2

that "poultry" is a reference to chicken feed, meaning small or cheap.

oldhomey

Good save on your "poultry" comment, martian. Made me chuckle, and is so appropriate in the case of D's boast of his generosity.

DMoney

For the record I'm not close to 6 figures yet. My line of work does not result in incremental salary increases over tenure. I'm not looking to compare who's most generous. If you give a significant part of your income to charity--great for you! You are doing MORE than your part which is admirable. But statistically, I'm giving as much or more than anyone else in this country. The point being, I'm not forced to give anything yet I do (100% to non-religions or political organizations). That is what Jesus would do, and encourage. Not taxation or mandated welfare contributions.

oldhomey

Hmm. So you are not actually "well on your way" to upper middle class salaries, after all, D. Just what are we supposed to believe, then, when you make statements about yourself or anything else?

DMoney

Combined were getting close. I'll be sure to let you know when we're there, it'll give you another stereotype to work with.

oldhomey

Well make up your mind, D. Combined with your wife's income, you are saying now that you must be making well in excess of $100,000 a year. Nothing wrong with that. It is a wonderful thing that American families have a shot at that sort of income. It was more common before the Republican-led 2007-08 economic meltdown, but it is still possible, and you seem to be living proof of that. But it also should shame you and your wife that you are skinflints when it comes to charity.

martian2

just a quick one on your 7:01 response D. Jesus never said we shouldn't tax people or government should not have social welfare programs. Where in the world do you get that? He did say give to Ceasar what is Ceasars. widely accepted by theologians to mean it is right to pay your taxes to the government for what it needs to do, and don't forget to give to charity also. Where do you get your bizzare bible lessons from? Twisting the words of Jesus to justify your selfishness and hatred of the poor is heresy, and its widely know as false Christianity.

DMoney

When we reach where were trying to go, using the plan from Dave Ramsey, I can assure you we'll be donating 10% of our income to charity. We're not to that step yet. Highly suggest checking out his plan.

oldhomey

So what are you saying now, D? That you, indeed, are not very generous considering your good fortune and handsome income, but you will BE really, really generous when you make big pots of money? I imagine that is what most people fantasize over.

martian2

well that is nice to know D is taking care of the ones who need support. Perhaps you could post you number to let those needy ones know who to call and you can send them help directly. No need for any social welfare programs as long as you are willing to take care of all of it.

PhysicsIsFun

No you can not expect your fellow citizens to support you in "lifestyle of my choosing and comfort level", but you can expect to be provided with a Social Security check every month and healthcare under Medicare. That is unless our government finds a way to mess that up. I currently receive Social Security and Medicare benefits after 40+ years of work. It is only part of my income as I also have a state pension and my own savings. My wife also has Social Security income, Medicare, a private pension, and savings. We live (for now) a pretty financially secure life. I don't take that for granted and am glad the federal and state governments have set up these plans. I was also frugal and saved a substantial amount through tax deferral towards my retirement. Charity will never be enough to support people in need. Most people save very little towards retirement and without Social Security and Medicare they would be indigent in their old age. That was the case before these programs. That is why they were established. Our legislators need to take a serious look at maintenance of government programs, solving problems instead of fighting over other things.

DMoney

You and Oldhomey are terrible.. You need to take replies to comments in context with the original poster's questions and points. "When the value of one's 401k supersedes the value and well being of their fellow citizens then we are in great trouble. " - Martian Now read my response.

DMoney

Please take 5 minutes and go to Google and search "future of social security". You will find--even on liberal sites--it's in big trouble. You might not be affected, but if I'm fortunate enough to reach older age I most certainly will be. And the only way to save a disaster is to completely change the rules. Go read it and then think about it from a Millenial's point of view.

martian2

oh D, yes there are problems with SS and medicare. But that doesn't mean we throw in the towel and start over. We are a better country than that. There are ways to fix those programs and we have discussed them many times before. Its because we have politicians who don't have the political will or moral fortitude to do the right thing. You should get so worried about what you find in google. Lifting the income ceiling on SS taxable income would be an easy fix , one that you could enjoy in your retirement years. Having a congress and president that drives the deficit up to a trillion dollars a year isn't going to help anyone. Be careful who you vote for, don't be so stuck on conservatism or republicanism, you and most of the country can't afford it.

martian2

"you shouldn't get so worried over what you find on google"

oldhomey

D, what is terrible is when somebody makes misinformed statements and uses bad reasoning based on that misinformation. You can call Physics and me terrible, but you have to be able to defend the information you are using. If you can't, it means it is bad information, which is terrible if you form your opinions on the basis of bad information. And that is what you do. Constantly. Terrible.

PhysicsIsFun

Yeah I am so terrible. The fact that I and my wife worked hard all of our life so that we could have a comfortable retirement, We both put ourselves through college and graduate school. We sacrificed so that we could have a good career that added to the public good: teacher and physician. We scrimped and saved so that we could raise our children and help them get good educations. I recognize that SS and Medicare have problems, and you can be assured that the Republican Party will do nothing to fix them. Just look at our state. We have crumbling roads. We need more money to fix them. Governor Evers and the rational universe propose a gas tax increase. The Republicans say no. They want to increase fees, which is a dumb idea on many levels. We have in this country a political party which cares more about power and ideology than in solving problems. They maintain power by gaming the system with gerrymandering, voter suppression, Russian meddling , and outright corruption. Until that is fixed we are stuck in this bad situation. Like you I hate government when it does not represent the people. That's what we've got now. So quit voting for Republicans. They are the problem.

martian2

touche physics, touche!

DMoney

This has nothing to do with the substance of the actual comment. Argue with that all you want. It's irrelevant. I'm referring only to your apparent inability to connect a response with an original statement. You and Phyics almost always fail to do this. I will not blame this on age, as you are both clearly very sharp. I blame it on lack of effort, or, intentional misdirection.

DMoney

Phyics--you just did it AGAIN, on an actual comment about my very complaint! It's incredible. You took my point and did absolutely nothing to relate it to the original comment. Your life story is not terrible--simply referring to your terrible track record of connecting a response to the original topic.

oldhomey

Brilliant, physics. Thank you.

martian2

there goes D again, changing the end line. No way is he going to admit anything wrong in his thinking. Just keeps changing the argument to suit his perspective. Don't admit your right wing arguments are totally off. Just keep changing the rules.

DMoney

[offtopic]

martian2

[lol]

capedcrusader

Your 2:57 and 11;06am posts deserve a blue ribbon! And DMoney doesn't have much of a response of course.

DMoney

Caped, you are merely trolling here.

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