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January 28, 2007

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The party of Jesus Christ will always forgive, as we have been forgiven. The party of Molech, not so much.

Speaking of which, did you see the latest Gallup poll out of Iowa? Edwards leading the pack and Hillary in FOURTH! So much for her as the frontrunner. That's too bad, because I wanted a shot a her.

Woo Hoo! Party of Molech, comin' at ya' baby!

OK, Charles: "party of Molech" gets you banned. If the rest of the HiveMind disagrees, just email.

Can I be Abbadon? I'd like to be first in line for the Apocalypse (after the aardvarks).

The party of Molech

It's "Moloch." And, yes, Hilzoy, I disagree with the banning. This was a rhetorical excess.

Didn't they sacrifice babies to good ol'Moloch?

I don't know, Gore might win the nomination if he ran this time (though maybe he didn't "fail").

I thought it was a joke. But, ah well.

I'm just scratching my head at the idea that the Republican party constantly forgives failure. In the realm of 'failure to advance the Party's goals with sufficient vigor,' quite the opposite is true.

Rhetoric divorced itself from reality a long time ago; Moe's post just seems to be a throwaway reiteration of Republican dogma. The "big tent" doesn't exist: it's just another way of saying they won't prevent anyone from voting Republican, even those they actively demonize.

And, yes, Hilzoy, I disagree with the banning.

I've reconsidered. Someone who deploys "Party of Molech [sic]" without actually knowing how to spell Moloch is immature enough to benefit from a time out. I concur with a one-day ban. (If we're talking about more, let's chat offline.)

"This was a rhetorical excess."

Wasn't it a comment by someone recently banned? Or else someone using another commenter's name (practically), hence bannable?

As I said to Von earlier when he merely threatened a banning, I believe it's preferable for bans to be implemented by the people closer in political beliefs to the bannee, so it would be better if Charlie could be banned by someone else, especially since he's apparently changing his name in order to avoid the Greasemonkey script being used by people attempting to keep his words from appearing on their computer screens (though I'm not using it).

And I doubt think there's going to be one Charlie comment you can point to as a reason for banning. You have to look at the larger pattern.

...especially since he's apparently changing his name in order to avoid the Greasemonkey script being used by people attempting to keep his words from appearing on their computer screens (though I'm not using it).

There's a fix for this available for those who are using the script. The only thing that I've seen Charlie post on this thread are "Who can argue with pie? Not me." and "I think that pie may be one of the best foods we have. No, wait, the best food we have."

Which I find delightfully pleasant.

Back to the subject at hand (well, sort of) it's been my observation that Moe will take any cheap shot he can at the Democrats, at least on matters of process. That, and bullying commenters who don't conform to Redstate's doctrine of political correctness, seems to be his preferred avocation of late. If the Democrats looked to be poised to give Kerry a second chance he'd be cracking wise about how stupid it is to support a proven loser. I guarantee it.

The pattern I see with rightwing commentators is that the things they say about the liberals are usually more true about them. Sure, no one wants Kerry to run, but it is the rightwing that is engaged in a circular firing squad right now: consider what Eric the Red said about all of the Republicans running for their nomination. Democrats supposedly can't manage the nation's money responsibly, Democrats are for big government, Democrats don't take responsiblity, Democrats are always blaming, Democrats are too partisan, Democrats are less moral and ethical ...all statements which are true if one is considering the behavior of the Republicans in Congress over the last decade. Whatever the current meme coming out of the rightwing may be, you can be pretty sure it's more true about their politicians, not ours. I don't know if it is a deliberate deception or just part of the effort to deal with cognitive dissonance involved in maintaining loyalty to a depraved and reactionary political movement.

There was an exchange between Von and Thomas on RedState the other day in which Thomas claimed that Moe was "scourged" from ObWi. I'm old and creaky, and my memory may be failing, but that wasn't how I remembered it going. I recall that Moe wasn't having fun posting here anymore, and was displeased with his short temper in some debates.

Was there other stuff going on?

So, wait, what the heck are von's banning criteria? Inserting ellipses in a comment gets me a ban threat, but calling Democrats the party of the devil is rhetorical excess?

Von, "Moloch" or "Molech" are acceptable spellings.

In fact, if Wikipedia is correct, "Molech", in the context of this thread, is the more clever of the spellings --- "Moloch" meaning King (Democrats as King; I like it!), while "Molech", which is Hebrew, contains within its spelling the meaning "shameful thing."

I have no opinion on banning.

On Moe Lane: I thought his talents were much more effectively employed at Obsidian Wings. Cleverness in support of the monolithic mindmeld at Red State seems too easy. He should come back here and go at it.

Party of Moloch...

does that mean the Clintons can drop "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" as their theme song, and start using "Running with the Devil" ?

*rimshot*

mmmmm... succulent babies [in the voice of Olof]

Well, "Moloch", of course, is Hebrew, too.

Anyway, the name refers to Ba'al, and has its manifestation as a man with the head of a bull.

I think Woody Allen referred to someone in a long ago movie as having the body of a cockroach and the head of a social worker.

See, Charlie, humorous insults are not bannable material.

Hire some new writers.

I associate "Moloch" with the worship of money, but maybe I am confusing it with "mammon". One of the disadvantages of a Unitarian upbringing is that I can catch more references to the relgion of ancient Greece than the Bible.

Lily:

I made the same mistake. I was worshiping Moloch for years, only to find out way too late that it was Mammon I should have been sacrificing to. Besides, the costumes are better. Wearing a bull's head around at drunken orgies can get hot and itchy.

Dang it!

Now I worship Merlin, who lived life backwards so as to know these things ahead of time.

"If I have only one life to live, why couldn't someone tell me to buy Amgen at $.10 a share?"

In GOP Land, the only failure is the failure to remain ideologically true to the party line. Electoral failure can be blamed on the "voter fraud" and Dem dirty tricks, administrative failure can be blamed on underlings, personal/moral failure can be blamed on "youthful indiscretions" and alcoholism.

Was there other stuff going on?

Well, two things: 1) it wasn't just Moe's short temper, he got fed up with the political fighting spilling over into non-political threads and 2) he took a lot of heat over his position on Abu Ghraib and our treatment of prisoners in general. But anyone claiming he was "scourged" from here is engaging in revisionist history; until he reappeared at RedState in full-on "f*** the Democrats" mode, most people here were rather sad about him leaving.

If you haven't done so already, check out John Cole's "You Got to be Kidding Me, Chick" post on BalloonJuice. It's hilarious. Sorry, no link, I misplaced my written how-to instructions.

Molech (in the wikipedia entry) is associated with the sacrifice of children. Maybe in some circles the "party of Molech" refers to the Democratic Party's position on abortion.

In some other circles, the "party of Molech" might refer to the Republican Party's position on Iraq.

Here's the Cole link: Ya Gotta Be Kidding Me, Chuck

'But anyone claiming he was "scourged" from here'

I certainly don't recall a general scourging, but a scourger, yes.

Of course it was an extraordinarily difficult time for a multi-partisan site.

Of course it was an extraordinarily difficult time for a multi-partisan site.

Ain’t that the truth. I give a lot of credit to all the front-pagers here. It’s daunting enough to comment sometimes, I can’t imagine posting to the front page and then having to defend your post for several days in the comments. The fact that ObWi attempts to maintain some political diversity is what draws me here. I think that a lot of sites have tried that and failed. Politics and religion…

It's a rough world out there.

The really amazing thing about "party of Molech" is that it's the more defensible sentence of that post.

To me, the "disrupt meaningful conversation for its own sake" rule should not be as thrown by the wayside as it has been. But I recognize that that one's more subjective.

The fact that ObWi attempts to maintain some political diversity is what draws me here.

The trouble with political diversity these days is that conservatives like Andrew Sullivan and John Cole are being defined as leftists by some because of their lack of ideological servitude to the current administration. Even if they were to post here, ObiWi would still be critiqued as a moonbat site.

The RedState discussion between Von and Thomas was quite illuminating, although I would have been infuriated were I Von.

rilkefan: That seems to be a gratuitously nasty post by Digby, for no reason I can see. Which part is Digby implying is either not true or exaggerated or taking issue with (or what)? That he is a combat vet? That he lost his leg? That he received that awful card? That he was spit at?

Writing that post at all was pretty damned sad if you ask me (I realize you did not).

OCS - it seems to me that either there is a high enough rate of unacceptable behaviour towards disabled vets that one guy got hit three separate times by it, or there's one guy out there getting outrageous baseless smears of war opponents into the papers. Either way it's pretty awful, and not indicative of a world where people on opposite sides of the issue are going to find it easy to have a civil conversation.

(Note that Digby has Occam on her side.)

There was an exchange between Von and Thomas on RedState the other day in which Thomas claimed that Moe was "scourged" from ObWi. I'm old and creaky, and my memory may be failing, but that wasn't how I remembered it going. I recall that Moe wasn't having fun posting here anymore, and was displeased with his short temper in some debates.

Was there other stuff going on?

To my knowledge nothing else was going on.

Thanks for the correction on Moloch/Molech. I had never seen it spelled Molech before, which still looks odd to my eyes.

Phil, it's not the use of elipses. It was the the fact that you strang together a comment from me to one poster with a comment from me to another, creating a false impression regarding the substance of both comments; when I asked you to take a look at it again, you didn't offer a defense but rather made the misleading statement that it was all part of one comment -- which was hardly the point.

Anyway, all you got was a warning. I consider the matter closed.

There was an exchange between Von and Thomas on RedState the other day in which Thomas claimed that Moe was "scourged" from ObWi.

Thomas belongs to the school of rhetorical thought in which it's perfectly appropriate to make whatever comment you wish, so long as you actually don't know that what you're saying is false. Its a bit frustrating -- and I don't think it's a very way to gain credibility as a blogger -- but I don't hold it against him. He has a role to play (as do we all).

Only Moe can say his reasons for leaving, but I'm aware of no scourging. Here's Moe's farewell post: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2004/10/im_done.html.

Ditto on Moe and scourging. Though, in all honesty, I always assumed that it was possible that he felt scourged and I didn't know.

Its a bit frustrating -- and I don't think it's a very way to gain credibility as a blogger -- but I don't hold it against him. He has a role to play (as do we all).

Whereas I cannot think of anything more destructive of reasonable and useful discourse. I'm actually rather flabbergasted that you think it's okay, von.

dpu: The trouble with political diversity these days is that conservatives like Andrew Sullivan and John Cole are being defined as leftists by some because of their lack of ideological servitude to the current administration.

Based on that I am a barking moonbat :) I don’t care much about abortion or gay marriage (I’d prefer to have the legislature decide these types of issues vs. the judiciary, even better, let states decide) and I think that the religious right has subverted what was once my party. On domestic issues, other than taxes, I am more closely aligned with your typical ObWi commenter than I am with the GOP. Big tent my ass.

rilkefan: I appreciate the clarification. Valid points.

OCSteve: One of the (few!) things about the debate about the Iraq war that I've found really heartening is that this time, pretty much everyone seems to be completely clear on the difference between supporting the war and supporting the troops. Not only that, people seem to be going out of their way to emphasize it. I suppose that sometimes that might be to avoid political consequences, but it's hard to see that being a compelling motivation for, say, bloggers and random citizens. Certainly in my case, I've tried to be clear about it, and the motivation was really that if I was going to be against the war, I didn't want that to be misconstrued by any troops who might encounter this blog in a way that was needlessly hurtful.

(I mean: when I do think that someone is doing something wrong, I will normally say so, but when I don't think someone is doing something wrong, and moreover that someone is making an enormous sacrifice on behalf of my government, and (even though I didn't ask for the war) on behalf of me, making it clear that I appreciate that and do not think ill of that person, regardless of my views about the war, seems like -- well, less than the least I could do.)

I am sure that somewhere there is a leftist who has done something awful to a soldier who has returned from Iraq. (I am also sure that somewhere there's someone on the right who has done so. Why? I assume that in any large group of people, there is at least one idiot.) But I hope that, in general, we have learned something.

He has a role to play (as do we all).

I read that more as "we are all God's creatures, even the incomprehensibly weird ones," Josh.

Certainly in my case, I've tried to be clear about it, and the motivation was really that if I was going to be against the war, I didn't want that to be misconstrued by any troops who might encounter this blog in a way that was needlessly hurtful.

Hilzoy – certainly for me, you have no explanations to make. You have done more to broaden my thinking than any other blogger, of any political bent. You alone caused me to leave behind my knee-jerk reaction to anything left of center. You are a star – believe it or not :)

(I am also sure that somewhere there's someone on the right who has done so)

and, just in case anyone needs an example: Fred Phelps.

Re the "scourging":

This post shows Moe taking a lot of heat for continuing to support Bush; this thread was an attempt at peace through poetry which veered back into politics (regrettably instigated by me, though I wasn't trying to be partisan), prompting his "I'm Done" post that hilzoy cites.

Anyway, the first of the two is probably the primary source for the sense of some on the right that Moe was driven off by lefties, though to my knowledge he never publicly blamed anyone.

OCSteve: Do you feel that your ass needs a big tent? Considered Weight Watchers? Sorry sorry sorry. :)

Bruce: I guess I asked for that :).

I could lose 20 pounds for sure. Weight Watchers – no way. I’m more of an Atkins guy (the 4 food groups are beef, pork, chicken and fish). Actually I just need to get my butt away from this computer for a couple hours a day.

I've had best results with Weight Watchers, but I'm a big believer in "try several things and see what works". I have a lot of respect for diverse biochemistries and annat.

This is all a digression, of course. The real question is whether Our Enemies are sabotaging our precious bodily sweeteners.

Whereas I cannot think of anything more destructive of reasonable and useful discourse. I'm actually rather flabbergasted that you think it's okay, von.

Ehh. I've seen worse when actual things are on the line (as they frequently are in litigation).

In any event, I'd rather my debating opponents adopt a foolish style: these sorts of tactics inevitably backfire.

The admission that things aren't actually on the line at Redstate is ... interesting.

This is all a digression, of course. The real question is whether Our Enemies are sabotaging our precious bodily sweeteners.

Hah. I’m feeling very metro-sexual just having this conversation. I need to go watch football now and have a beer and some wings :)

The admission that things aren't actually on the line at Redstate is ... interesting.

I don't speak for RedState, and have become quite disappointed in it. I had hoped that it would work to broaden the party, when, instead, it seems determined to make the Republican party a party of white Southerners. It's a shame.

Ehh. I've seen worse when actual things are on the line (as they frequently are in litigation).

Except that this is life, not litigation. The effects of the kind of behavior you accuse Thomas of are limited when you're talking about litigation, but they're rather more corrosive in broader discourse. (Have you read On Bullshit? This is exactly what Frankfurt's talking about.)

In any event, I'd rather my debating opponents adopt a foolish style: these sorts of tactics inevitably backfire.

TBH, that strikes me as wishful thinking more than anything else.

I don't speak for RedState

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you did, it is just that they seem to take themselves so seriously that your admission would be taken as tauntamount to trolling. Apologies for the crypticialousness

the 4 food groups are beef, pork, chicken and fish

I thought they were what you get in Irish coffee: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.

kenB:

Re the "scourging":

This post shows Moe taking a lot of heat for continuing to support Bush

Read through it -- pretty mild as "scourging" goes. Plus what is notable is Moe's attitude that he would not be persuaded about wrongdoing by the Bush administration unless he got what I would describe as an extraordinary level or proof.

'pretty mild as "scourging" goes'

Note that it was in the context of perhaps a half-year of sometimes personal criticism. I don't think that's worth going into, though.

Plus what is notable is Moe's attitude that he would not be persuaded about wrongdoing by the Bush administration unless he got what I would describe as an extraordinary level or proof.

i'm reminded of O'Reilly's "if they don't find any WMDs, I'll never believe a word from the Bush Administration again".

some things are bigger than oaths.

I'm sorry that Moe doesn't post here any more. A rereading of "the scourging", incredibly mild as it is, reminded me of his best qualities. ObiWi lost a lot when he left, he truly was a conservative that I deeply admired when he posted here, even if everything he thought was completely wrong :-)

And he could do far better than RedState.

What dpu said.

My god this is foul.

rilkefan: sheesh.

And a bit below, Instapundit links to a post that wins my personal "jeez, THINK before you write that sentence!" award for tonight. It begins:

"Progressive liberals no more care about extending human rights than I do about scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush and soapy water.

FACT: Self-proclaimed “progressive” liberals have never once praised the efforts of the United States and its allies for liberating 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq from two murderous dictatorships that were poster children in their suppression of human rights. "

Never? Not once? Why, I alone have praised the US and its allies for liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban several times, and I'm just one self-proclaimed "progressive" liberal! I suppose that in his exhaustive survey of s-p "p" ls, Gay Patriot (who wrote this) somehow overlooked me -- I don't recall him asking me, or (now that I think about it) any of my s-p "p" l friends. Maybe he left other people out too. Maybe even a lot of them.

Maybe -- just maybe -- GP didn't bother to check how many s-p "p" ls actually praised the US for extending human rights to Afghanistan and (briefly) Iraq. Heaven only knows how many instances of praise he would have found if he had asked, oh, ten or twenty of us!

... this time, pretty much everyone seems to be completely clear on the difference between supporting the war and supporting the troops.
Are you referring only to the antiwar side, or does "pretty much everyone" exclude all the comments by various Freepers, Redstatists, other right-wing bloggers and commenters, radio talk show hosts, columnists, and other members of the prowar noise machine who've been more than happy to accuse war opponents of not supporting the troops?

KC: oh. right. -- Actually, I was thinking that no one who opposed the war seemed inclined to think that that somehow involved opposing the troops; I wasn't thinking so much of the opinions people attribute to others. But of course you're right; there is that. Although how much it's a confusion about what's involved in opposing the war and how much it's just a reflexive leftover from caricatures of the 60s, I don't know.

Sorry, guys, but I didn't mean to offend anyone above. I was simply answering the question posed above: "Surely there should be a middle ground in here?" I don't think there is middle ground on this -- either you are for us or against us.

That's great. Anyone have any pie?

yup. i made a yummy apple pie last night - Granny Smith and Cameos. it was hot pie action at the La Maison d'Cleek, last night.

"i made a yummy apple pie last night - Granny Smith and Cameos."

But did you bring enough to share with the entire class?

While you guys discuss pie, George Bush is busy saving your butts, whether you like it or not.

I had a nice lemon meringue last night.

You know, maybe I do hate America, because I actually prefer most other pies to apple. Blueberry, for example.

Plus I find baseball boring.

But Mom seems nice enough.

Baseball is boring.

I had some nice coconut creme pie last night. Mmmmm...pie.

Why do I like cherry pie, and don't like cherries, but don't like peach pie, although I love peaches?

Baseball is boring

hear hear!

But did you bring enough to share with the entire class?

sure. it's right here on my desk. come getcha a piece!

Baseball is gloriously boring. Like C-span.

Sorry, guys, but I didn't mean to offend anyone above. I was simply answering the question posed above: "Surely there should be a middle ground in here?" I don't think there is middle ground on this -- either you are for us or against us.

In what sense? My point -- to the extent it's fleshed out at all -- is that the Republicans have tolerated incompetence from this Administration on an staggering number of things. It's not having the wrong goals -- though there has been some of that -- it's the utter failure to execute on those goals. The President's heart may very well be in the right place, but it does none of us any good if he doesn't get his brain there too.

"Actually, I was thinking that no one who opposed the war seemed inclined to think that that somehow involved opposing the troops"

I have been thinking on this for at least several days. There are political strategies involving demoralization and alientaion of the troops to the point of desertions,insubordination,indiscipline, etc.
The object is to, like, end the war and save lives...not win "Sweetest Protest Person in the Whole Widest World"

If spitting on a troop saved a thousand lives, heck if spitting on one soldier caused him to say "TThe hell with America, I am going to Canada" and saved one life...Naw that would be wrong.

Best he goes to Baghdad without his feelings hurt, huh.

Why do I like cherry pie, and don't like cherries, but don't like peach pie, although I love peaches?

Because pie is so good. *celebrates pie*

Jes,

That explains the cherry part, but not the peach part.

Why do I like cherry pie, and don't like cherries, but don't like peach pie, although I love peaches?

Probably has something to do with the flavor of the fruit.

Peaches, when baked, slide down the throad wonderfully, but have lost some of the snap - the high tones - in their flavor.

Cherries, when baked, also slide down the throat wonderfully, but if anything taste even more "cherry-ish" after baking, with even more high-tone snap.

That's my theory, anyway.

Whole Foods put out free samples of its pies, little dixie cups with chunks of pie in 'em. I tried a bit of cherry pie... then I grabbed a poor bakery counterperson by the front of the apron and demanded to know where the cherry pies for sale were. Lordy, that was Most Excellent Pie!

That explains the cherry part, but not the peach part.

Ah. I'd overlooked that, because I've never had peach pie, and am not really sure it exists except as a concept - like brown sugar pie that's surely the same kind of American joke as deep-fried Mars bars are a Scottish joke. Deep-fried Mars bars, however, are not pie, and I wouldn't want this thread to go off topic.

Caseyl's theory seems an excellent one. Mmmm... cherry pie.

Anybody here ever tried molteberries (aka cloudberries)? Damned difficult to get outside Northern Scandinavia. Good raw, in yoghurt or cream. And not too sweet! I always bring as much back from vacation in Norway as possible.

Behold,
A ram caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son. . . .
........
Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.
.......
He'd seen men shoot their hands, on night patrol,
Their people never knew. Yet they were vile.
"Death sooner than dishonour, that's the style!"
So Father said.
....
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
...
Yes yes we must honor and encourage the soldiers;that will end the war. We must be sure Andy has the courage and confidence to ride point into Sadr City, and so he doesn't hesitate when Riverbend sticks her head out the window.

And lay the flowers on the grave, with the young boy beside us watching and learning: Oh, what a grand thing it is to die for one's country!

I've never had peach pie, and am not really sure it exists except as a concept

it's fairly popular down here in the southeast US. it can be good.

for me though, apple pie is the standard fruit pie. all others are just things people throw together when they find themselves without 5 large, fresh, apples.

over dinner, a few weeks ago, a friend told us of an unusual pie her mother once made: grapefruit. that's right: grapefruit segments baked in a pie crust. she said it was as awful as it sounds.

but, and not to get off topic, it wasn't the worst thing she'd ever made; once she made "chicken skin casserole" - potatoes, cheese, flour, some kind of cream soup, and chicken skin.

I want me some caffeinated donuts, thank you.

On child sacrifice - the Phoenicians engaged in it, as did a number of other groups. The idea that child sacrifice is obviously evil seems to me a little sketchy. If you concede that there is a god who is propitiated by sacrifices, and the greater the sacrifice the greater its effectiveness, the obvious thing to do in a crisis is to sacrifice the things most precious to you - your children. The Phenicians were perfectly rational about this - the children sacrificed weren't slaves. They were the children of the upper classes, precisely those considered most precious to the community.

People who believe in propitiation through sacrifice but draw the line at children are hypocrites, though usually they are sufficiently self-aware to disguise their hypocracy in theological mumbo-jumbo.

"the obvious thing to do in a crisis is to sacrifice the things most precious to you"

Not a problem, dude. We deck the kids in flowers and finest linen, sing beautiful songs, drink good wine and feed them sweetmeats. We smile and laugh as if it were a party.

We mustn't scare the children, and always make sure they know how very precious they are, how appreciated, the most mostest precious things in the world as we toss them into the flames, wipe the tears and get back to business.

People who believe in propitiation through sacrifice ...

are also known as Christians.


People who believe in propitiation through sacrifice ...

are also known as Christians.

As pointed out in Stranger in a Strange land we're also ritualistic cannibals, so that's cool too.

In my mind I hear Judy Collins singing it, but of course it's a Leonard Cohen song.

I kept trying to figure out what "propitiation through sacrifice" referred to in a Christian context - guess that's Christ's crucifixion, kind of a one-time-only deal, so I wonder about the applicability.

rilkefan - the Christian propitiation sacrifice is the ultimate. It's one thing to sacrifice a child, but sacrificing God himself? - that's commitment.

"...propitiation through sacrifice" referred to in a Christian context - guess that's Christ's crucifixion, kind of a one-time-only deal"

Well, the theory was already quite sophisticated when the Gospelers got a hold on it, and been further complicated by 2000 years of explication. So never mind.

But in practice some kinds of "propitiation thru sacrifice" have been continued:including monks praying for departed souls, monks being paid to pray;bloody pogroms and crusades, flagellants and fasts as responses to the plague years. These aren't quite classic human sacrifices, but certainly are't completely symbolic, either. "Dusseldorf has plague so let's kill the Jews" can be interpreted in several ways.

In a animist(?) context of "bad thing happened -- must spill blood" 9/11 and Iraq make an interesting study. Iraq making little sense as either an offensive or defensive war can make sense as a blood sacrifice in response to a barely comprehensible event.

"He died for Democracy" or "He died for America" are easily as abstract and magical as anything Aztecs or Cartaginians did.

Don't forget Abraham and Issac. Note the 'ok, do it now, whoops, stop, I was just checking to see if you would'. The evolutionary step of here was to transfer sacrifice from external to internal context, so that if you were willing to give everything up, regardless of whether you did it or not, you were a good egg.

"the Christian propitiation sacrifice is the ultimate. It's one thing to sacrifice a child, but sacrificing God himself? - that's commitment."

This is what I don't get about xianity - God has a bad 8 hours (whether harder than a difficult labor or dying of cancer I couldn't guess) but then he's fine. If (a la Borges) He ended up in Hell forever - now that would be a sacrifice.

I don't see how the Isaac thing makes sense post-Jesus - "least among you" and so forth.

Von, since I've disagreed with you in so many posts lately, I wanted to note my complete agreement about competence and incompetence, and how they complicate "for us or against us" thinking.

lj, click the link above :-)

Whoops, sorry, I just skipped over that. Thanks ral.

There are some theologians (sorry, can't give links on that) that think that Abraham actually failed the Isaac test and should have said "no" from the start.
There is also discussion whether the Phoenicians/Carthagenians actually sacrificed children that were alive. All sources on that are not actually unbiased.
On the other hand the last proven human sacrifice in Rome was after the defeat at Cannae, the last alleged in Carthage several decades earlier. The Romans buried some slaves alive together with a Vestal Virgin that lost her job qualification.

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