September 12, 2008

So I'm saying Palin is a dog?

Much hay is being made over Sarah Palin's disastrous answer to the Bush Doctrine question. Here's what most people missed. When Palin first attempts to figure out what Gibson could possibly mean by this obscure phrase, she asks if he means "his worldview."

In case you're wondering how she came up with that, it's Christianese. Sure, the word "worldview" isn't exclusively Christian. But American evangelicals use it constantly. A lot more than anyone else, except perhaps philosophy students. I heard it more during the year I spent researching my book than I had in my entire life. Christians hold worldview weekends, write worldview books, host worldview web sites, and run worldview workshops. In 2005, the creationist organization Answers in Genesis took note of the growing ubiquity of worldview-speak in Christian circles.

Rick Warren used this buzzword several times in his forum with McCain and Obama. He framed one set of questions with it this way: "Everybodyís got a world view, a Buddhist, a Baptist, a secularist, an atheist, everybodyís got a world view."

On its face, this is a benign sentiment that's hard to argue against. But in Christian circles it is almost always used to contrast a Biblical worldview with a selfish, immoral, or ignorant one. Here's Warren, speaking to a Christian audience, on six worldviews you're competing against: The one with the most toys wins, Iíve got to think of me first, Do what feels good, Whatever works for you, God doesnít exist, You are your own God.

Hardly as neutral as he made it sound at the candidates forum. The CreationWiki entry on worldview drives the point home further.

I'm not trying to argue that Palin meant to blow a dog whistle for the religious right by using code language. If anything, she heard a whistle that no one was blowing. Unable to process "Bush Doctrine" her mind, steeped in evangelical shibboleths, translated to "worldview."

What does this tell us? Probably not much, except that she really is a true believer, and not another Rovian cynic. David Kuo suggests that Palin sold out her faith yesterday by backpedaling on whether the war in Iraq is part of God's plan. I wouldn't put it that way. More likely, she got lucky in that Gibson chose a specific question that she could answer at least somewhat honestly. OK, it's probably bullshit that she was thinking of Lincoln when she said it, but I agree with Steven Waldman that her prayer about Iraq was "a totally appropriate desire for a Christian." The lie came a few seconds later when Palin said she would "never presume to know God's will or speak God's words." Because we know she thinks God wants an Alaska pipeline, a statement Waldman flagged as "far over the line." Also, readers of this site must have gotten a good laugh when Sarah Your Heavenly Father Palin said she would never presume to speak God's words. Maybe e-mail isn't technically "speaking."

By the way, according to this Christian test, my own worldview is "socialist." Of course, the other choices are "strong biblical," "moderate biblical," "secular humanist," and "Marxist." I probably would have gotten secular humanist, except I strongly agreed that "God had no beginning and has no end." Though not for the reasons they probably had in mind.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


I am quite relieved to find this little parlor game deems me a "Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Secular Humanist Worldview Thinker." If thinkin' Sarah Palin's an MK-Utra Stepford Hick is wrong I don't wanna be right.

This is interesting stuff, but it pales in comparison to what Palin's drawing a blank on "Bush Doctrine" really tells us.

Thanks for that terrific link, Vance. James Fallows is now going to make me sound almost intelligent for the better part of the weekend.

GIBSON: Do you believe in the Bush Doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

TEACHER: Bart, Do you know the Periodic Table?

BART: I know of the Periodic Table.

Your classification is: Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Secular Humanist Worldview Thinker

Your score is: -58 points of 168 possible,

What is the opposite of rapturing? I think that's about to happen to me

Your classification is: Communist/Marxist/Socialist/Secular Humanist Worldview Thinker

Your score is: -54 points of 168 possible, -32%

As soon as this weekend is over, the revolution starts!! Unless it rains.

gosh, Daniel, seven posts in a row about this damn election, I hope you're not freaking out. Don't you have anything to say about Ike, or, I don't know, some christian teen girl band?

The McCain-Palin candidacy is all about repeating the talking points and code words of the Party and the Christian right.

Why? Because that's all they got!

Daniel -- Can you get this worldview analysis on HuffPo?

Meanwhile, the new ABC interview, Palin reveals no new economic ideas, but does call Governor Palin "unacceptable" to VP Palin when it comes to earmarks. I wish the MSM would spell this discrepancy out more clearly.

IMO, the Obama campaign needs to hit back hard on this "sexism" bullshit. They can leave aside the "iffy" incidents like the rape joke and the cunt thing, which are sparsely sourced, but there's plenty in McCain's past and present - both interpersonally and legislatively that make the case that he's the last person to ever complain about sexism.

Then they need to drop this "no family attacks" nonsense and go after Todd, hard. Clinton, after all, was excoriated for Hillary's outspokenness and obvious ambition, and she wasn't under a subpoena for an abuse-of-power case. The subpoena in and of itself should make Todd fair game, but even more, the fact that Palin subscribes to an ideology that explicitly puts the husband as the final arbiter in decision-making means that his involvement in her administrations bears the closest possible scrutiny, as does his explicitly anti-American past - or should I say "past."

Most importantly, before the VP debates (so that Biden can explicitly laugh off this meme and then tear into Palin like a pitbull without lipstick), it needs to be established that the McCain campaign is calling "sexism" on everything without regard to whether a critique is actually sexist. And to some extent liberal bloggers have even been playint into this - in this column the ever-apopleptic Glenn Greenwald cedes the point that it would be inappropriate to ask if Palin should be campaigning tto get one of the most important jobs on the planet while raising a 4-month-old child. After all, no one would ask that of a male candidate. Well, just for starters, that might be because the male candidate wouldn't be breastfeeding his infant son and trying to work that into his schedule or else letting it slide.

There are basic differences between the sexes, and in the matter of a baby's first few months (as well, obviously, as the months prior) there's a quantum difference between the parents' optimal roles. Pointing that out is not sexism. And once again, even if it were, how does Palin square the You-Can-Have-It-All approach with the values she's supposedly upholding on behalf of the right wing? Could someone please ask that?

Just two quick addenda: I start off saying "the Obama campaign" when by the time I get to Todd, it would obviously be better if the 527s would do that work. But Obama would have to be ready to capitalize on it, and of course tacitly OK it, for that to happen.

And I think Arovosis is on the right track in pushing the rape kit thing, even if the Obama camp is wussing out on it. It's such a poignant illustration of how extreme this whole viewpoint - er, worldview - is.

I aced their fucking test by bullshiting my way through it. ("Yes I care what you scumbags think...Yes, I will kneel with you at the alter of intolerance...")

I just couldn't give them the satisfation of calling me evil names like "humanist" or "thinker."

Vance, please immediately seek employment as a Democratic strategist. You're absolutely right: Voters love it when you hit a girl. That's how Obama won New Hampshire!

John, yes, in all seriousness, that's exactly the kind of crutch that needs to be kicked out from under them.

The question "There is more than one path to God" also fluffs the scores of some evildoers.

Post a comment

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2