Conservatives: The good news first. Ruins of Empires is not dedicated to Sally Hemings.
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“What accents of madness strike my ear? What blind and perverse delirium disorders the spirits of the nations ? Sacrilegious prayers rise not from the earth! and you, oh Heavens, reject their homicidal vows and impious thanks-giving! Deluded mortals! is it thus you revere the Divinity? Say then; how should he, whom you style your common father, receive the homage of his children murdering one another? Ye victors! with what eye should he view your hands reeking in the blood he hath created? And, what do you expect, oh vanquished, from useless groans ? Hath God the heart of a mortal, with passions ever changing? Is he, like you, agitated with vengeance or compassion. with wrath or repentance? What base conception of the most sublime of beings according to them, it would seem, that God whimsical and capricious, is angered or appeased as a man: that he loves and hates alternately; that he punishes or favors; that, weak or wicked, he broods over his hatred; that, contradictory or perfidious, he lays snares to entrap; that he punishes the evils he permits; that he foresees but hinders not crimes; that, like a corrupt judge, he is bribed by offerings; like an ignorant despot, he makes laws and revokes them; that, like a savage tyrant, he grants or resumes favors without reason, and can only be appeased by servility. Ah! now I know the lying spirit of man! Contemplating the picture," which he hath drawn of the Divinity: No, said I, it is not God who hath made man after the image of God; but man hath made God after the image of man; he hath given him his own mind, clothed him with his own propensities;; ascribed to him his own judgments. And when in this medley he finds the contradiction of his own principles, with hypocritical humility, he imputes weakness to his reason, and names the absurdities of his own mind the mysteries of God.
He hath said, God is immutable, yet he offers prayers to change him; he hath pronounced him incomprehensible, yet he interprets him without ceasing.
Imposters have arisen on the earth who have called themselves the confidants of God; and, erecting themselves into teachers of the people, have opened the ways of falsehood and iniquity; they have ascribed merit to practices indifferent or ridiculous; they have supposed a virtue in certain postures; in pronouncing certain words, articulating certain names; they have transformed into a crime the eating of certain meats, the drinking of certain liquors, on one day rather than another.
Ruins of Empires; Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney trans. by Thomas Jefferson and Joel Barlow
Ultimately it comes down to obedience: when they were children they were taught by their parents the tyrannical "religion" garbage used to control others -- by using it to control their children -- and that obedience to parents is a highest of virtues. So they now thoughtlessly conform to that they were taught; and perpetuate it, exactly as their parents did.
Are they "evil"? Perhaps not in intent, even though that is their consequence. Are they thoughtless -- stupid -- and pandering to the stupid? Yes. Why are they doing that? Because they were taught and have never challenged the notion that conformity is a virtue above all others.
Who was it said, "If you tell the truth, they will turn and destroy you"? That's all they are about: preaching and perpetuating their poison, and attacking the refuting truth every time it threatens to show them what they are. Thus their paradigm is simple: do as I say and not as I do; and if you violate that hypocrisy, or -- worse -- show me it is my hypocrisy --vengeance is mine.
They aren't exactly cowards; though they would be shown to be were there the slightest chance of their being exposed to themselves for what they are and are about.
And, no: they are not "conservatives," though they slap that label onto themselves; they are reactionaries, ever vigilant so as to suppress any threat of their being exposed for what they are to themselves.
Or if they are "conservatives," then "conservatism" is itself evil. But we already know that there are those who pride themselves on basing hteir identity on a meaningless label, and constantlly attacking anything that threatens to expose that hollowness for what it is: substitute for substance.
Ironic, isn't it? The huff-and-puff chip-on-the-shoulder "conservatives" are falsely -- and many of them know it -- accusing Kagan of being "hostile to the military". (Is there a law prohibiting "hostility to the military"? No. But there is an unwritten law against not conforming to the lockstep-bullies faction.) This is the quintessential definition of "hostility to the military":
Chickenhawks, such as Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney, and William Kristal, lying the country into war, to the detriment of the military, and especially to those on the front lines. All while themselves never "wearing the uniform".
Funny how the same thing happens on Amazon if one "negatively" critiques a sacred cow. The consensus among those who object to having their heroic sacred cows exposed as having clay feet is that that makes one a "Leftist".
Substantive critique = "Leftist". Labels slung at person who does substantive critique by: avowed or presumed "conservatives" or "Libertarians".
I've encountered the equivalent on Librarything: present comments and critiques informed by both experience and study in standard scholarly form -- cite to sources both supportive and relevant -- and one is accused of everything short of murder. And being accused of murder would no longer surprise.
The rule: either conform with consensus group-think by avoiding actual thought "outside the group-think box," or be vilified.
But I guess all Mark Twain did was "rant" based on the tiresome left-right oversimplification. So one shouldn't pretend, for example, that Chicken/War-Hawk Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney deserves criticism, when one's actual motive is to be an "extremist".