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God and the Liberals (progressive liberal Pres nominee W J Bryan)

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 10:51 AM
Original message
God and the Liberals (progressive liberal Pres nominee W J Bryan)
God and the Liberals (progressive liberal Pres nominee W J Bryan)

Michael Kazin: God and the Liberals

<snip>Imagine the ideal democratic nominee for president. Hes twice won election in Nebraska, one of the reddest of states, and is just as popular across the South and Midwest. Hes a charismatic, energetic orator. Hes also a stalwart progressive who has taken tough stands against corporate crime, to aid labor organizers, and to raise taxes on the wealthy. His marriage is loving and cooperative, and his three children long to emulate their father. Although a war veteran, hes an eloquent advocate of peaceful solutions to international conflicts. Most significantly, hes a devout churchgoer and lay minister who preaches that every true Christian has a duty to transform a nation and world plagued by the arrogance of wealth and the pain of inequality.

<snip>That man is William Jennings Bryan, and hes been dead for 80 years. But progressives should encourage a resurgence of the social gospel he championed as they seek to regain power in what remains the most religious nation in the developed world.

<snip>Bryan was the first major-party politician to advocate what became the core of modern liberalism: expanding the powers of the federal government to serve the welfare of ordinary Americans. He preached that the national state should counter the power of banks and industrial corporations by legalizing strikes, subsidizing farmers, taxing the rich, banning private campaign spending, and outlawing the liquor trust. The power of the government to protect the people is as complete in time of peace as in time of war, Bryan declared in 1922. The only question to be decided is whether it is necessary to exercise that power.

<snip>Of course, Bryan did want the power of the state to extend into the moral realm. He believed that liquor companies robbed workers of their wages and corrupted family life. His famous (or infamous) opposition to evolutionary theory stemmed from a similar impulse. In 1925, Bryan joined the legal team prosecuting John Scopes because, like many Americans at the time who were not scientists, he equated Darwinism with social Darwinism, particularly with a belief in eugenics. He feared that the result of replacing belief in a merciful God with the doctrine of survival of the fittest would be a system under which a few supposedly superior intellects, self-appointed, would direct the mating and the movements of the mass of mankind. Bryan burned only to see religion heal the world. <snip>



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375411356/qid=1136986...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3449870/
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. Bryan was a great Democrat and a great man
It is a shame that the impression most modern day Americans have of him (if they have any) is the buffoonish parody of him in the movie "Inherit the Wind," a movie that flat-out lied about what occurred in the Scopes trial.

Bryan was a populist who stood up for the common farmers and working people. He was a also a great orator:

You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.
. . .
If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. Excerpts from
Bryan's Address to the National Democratic Convention, July 9, 1896






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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Very True :-)
:-)
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. Not MY Candidate!
He was a racist.

He helped to bring us Prohibition.

He placed religion over science.

Womens' rights? Nope.

"Liberals" who want to cave into the racists and the Fundies always invoke William Jennings Bryan.
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. "He was a racist."
Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 02:09 PM by Zebedeo
He was a racist.


I'm not sure what you are referring to, but lots of folks in Bryan's day and age had some ideas about the races that we would find repugnant.

The biology textbook at issue in the Scopes trial, which Scopes was convicted of using, was blatantly and unapologetically racist, and endorsed the forced sterilization of epileptics and the "feeble-minded." The book discussed the "five races of man," and stated: "the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America."

H.L. Mencken, the journalist whose newspaper funded the defense of Scopes, was an outrageous racist in his own right.

Here is a piece written by Alan Dershowitz discussing the Scopes trial:

<www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/dershowitz/Articles/trialsb... |Dershowitz piece>

Of course, Charles Darwin himself was an unrepentant racist. In fact, his theory of evolution rests in part on the disgusting proposition that black and brown people are inferior to whites, and closer to "gorillas," and that at some point the "civilized races" of man will "exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world." Darwin wrote:

'At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time, the anthropomorphous apes. . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla. ... It has often been said ... that man can resist with impunity the greatest diversities of climate and other changes; but this is true only of the civilized races. Man in his wild condition seems to be in this respect almost as susceptible as his nearest allies, the anthropoid apes, which have never yet survived long, when removed from their native country.'
Charles Darwin, (1896) The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex; The Works of Charles Darwin, D. Appleton and Company, New York (First edition by AMS Press, 1972), pp. 241-242.


Darwin's ideas led many "educated" whites of his day to unthinkably despicable conclusions about the races. In 1898, the Encyclopedia Brittanica had this to say about blacks:

'By the nearly unanimous consent of anthropologists this type occupies ... the lowest position in the evolutionary scale . . . the cranial sutures . . . close much earlier in the Negro than in other races. To this premature ossification of the skull, preventing all further development of the brain, many pathologists have attributed the inherent mental inferiority of the blacks, an inferiority which is even more marked than their physical differences . . . the development of the Negro and White proceeds on different lines . . . in the former the growth of the brain is . . . arrested by the premature closing of the cranial sutures ... The mental are at least as marked as the physical differences . . . No full blooded Negro has ever been distinguished as a man of science, a poet, or an artist . . .'
Encyclopaedia Britannica,1898,TheWernerCo.,NewYork,Vol. 17 pp.316-318.


As for your comment about Bryan putting "religion above science," a 1923 (two years before the Scopes trial) study by a Princeton "scientist" had the following to say about science's role in determining what should be done about the Negroes:

'The essential point is that there are 10,000,000 Negroes here now and that the proportion of mulattos to a thousand blacks has increased with alarming rapidity since 1850. According to all evidence available, then, American intelligence is declining, and will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial admixture becomes more and more extensive. The decline of American intelligence will be more rapid than the decline of intelligence of European national groups, owing to the presence here of the Negro. These are the plain, if somewhat ugly, facts that our study shows The deterioration of the American intelligence is not inevitable, however, if public action can be aroused to prevent it. There is no reason why legal steps should not be taken which would insure a continuously progressive upward evolution. The steps that should be taken to preserve or increase our present intellectual capacity must of course be dictated by science and not by political expediency.
Brigham, Carl C. and Yerkes, Robert M., 1923. A Study of American Intelligence, Princeton University Press, Pninceton, p. 210.


Ultimately, these ideas led to Nazi eugenics and the Holocaust.

But, you say that William Jennings Bryan was "racist." Racist compared to whom?




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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Long before Darwin, however...
the BIBLE is what led most "educated" whites to unthinkably despicable conclusions about the races.

In Darwin's theory, many of these racists thought they found proof of the "truth" of the Bible. But no, thankfully, SCIENCE came through and proved them wrong.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. ? - Racist is a rather new idea - "outsider" and "loser of war" were
Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 02:28 PM by papau
common terms (the latter meaning slave was very common)

But post-middle-ages folks did indeed used anything and everything to justify having slaves - and skin color was hot - and in Europe justification via the bible was indeed claimed.

Science did nothing to end slavery - and should not have been expected to do anything. As a side note, Science has proved very little of the Bible "wrong" (not accepted by you does not necessarily equate to "wrong").

I had an interesting discussion today on these boards on right/wrong and truth and not true, and proof and a few other words - and the last post I recall was the other poster noting how slippery and undefined the "characteristics claimed/words used to describe" for each of these things.

I know you are coming from a place that makes putting down religion important to you, and I share with you your admiration of science. But the Bible did not cause to exist or cause to continue slavery - or even racist attitudes. Folks that need extra self-esteem find it being racist - as well as via other paths.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Sure, slavery was around long before your bible was.
But your own messiah had the chance to denounce it for all time, and did not. Instead, his compassion was reflected in making sure people knew not to beat their slaves TOO hard. At least harder than was justified.

And I know you are coming from a place that makes putting down atheists and freethinkers important to you. At least that's pretty clear from your posts. Unfortunately I do not share your admiration of religion.

Did science end slavery? Nope. Good thing I didn't make any such absurd claim. Makes me wonder why you brought up that strawman. But contrary to your statement, much of the bible HAS been shown to be wrong by science. Bushes don't burn without being consumed, and they certainly don't talk. Neither do snakes. No one can be turned into a pillar of salt. No one can be resurrected after being truly dead for 3 days. (Or even just 2 nights and a day.) The sun cannot stand still from the perspective of anyone on earth. The Israelites did not wander in the desert for 40 years.

And so on.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Miracles by definition are not proved "right" or "wrong" -and to say they
Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 03:13 PM by papau
did not happen is to say those that were there and said it happened were liars - and of course that is your option.

Afraid there is no other way to read your "But no, thankfully, SCIENCE came through and proved them wrong." comment since it was in the middle of a dump on the Bible and how the Bible was used to justify (and inferred help perpetuate) slavery - But I am glad to see we agreed to was an absurd claim.

As to the other thoughts you now express - "But your own messiah had the chance to denounce it for all time, and did not. Instead, his compassion was reflected in making sure people knew not to beat their slaves TOO hard. At least harder than was justified." sounds like you have not read the economic slavery thought of the last 200 years. But you are correct that Jesus said little about economic systems.

AS to "And I know you are coming from a place that makes putting down atheists and freethinkers important to you. At least that's pretty clear from your posts. Unfortunately I do not share your admiration of religion." - very true.

AS to your list of miracles that were just stories told by liars - again you are allowed to be in denial - and indeed the rule on this board is that we should tolerate each others difference of opinion.

But I am interested in how you found out the Israelites did not wander in the desert for 40 years.

And so on.

:toast:

:-)

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Bogus, papau.
You pretend to be respectful and "tolerate" difference of opinion, but you state that anyone who disagrees with you is "in denial."

I see right through you and your mock tolerance.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Once again, it is best that we agree to disagree.
But in your heart you know I am "right"! :-)

Tis fun to push each other's "hot buttons - eh? I thought you would respond to "in denial" :-)

till next time

:toast:

:-)
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Lovely parting shot.
Some day I hope you learn how to interact as an adult who treats others with respect, instead of engaging in juvenile battles to push "hot buttons."

At least now you've made it clear to everyone how little you care about actual discussion.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-13-06 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. Of course they are.
Edited on Fri Jan-13-06 12:51 AM by greyl
There are scores of examples of crying or bleeding statues being shown to be non-miraculous fakes.

Are you saying that if someone believes a proven hoax is still a miracle, their self-delusion qualifies as the existence of a miracle?

edit: ...and how could I forget the terrible mining accident.

..."the wife of the governor of West Virginia appeared on the NBC-TV Today Show and reassured viewers that people in her state still believe in miracles, as her husband had stated before the fact of the miners' demise was reported. Ignoring the twelve deceased, she designated the survival of the thirteenth miner as evidence to prove that at least some miracle had occurred."
http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-01/010613fool.html

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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Glad we can agree on opposition to racism
Hey, that's TWO times we've agreed on something! Woo hoo!
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Yeah, that was a real longshot on a progressive board, eh? :) nt
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mcg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. Darwin's opinion of the Irish
"A most important obstacle in civilised countries to an increase in the number of men of a superior class has been strongly insisted on by Mr. Greg and Mr. Galton, namely, the fact that the very poor and reckless, who are often degraded by vice, almost invariably marry early, whilst the careful and frugal, who are generally otherwise virtuous, marry late in life, so that they may be able to support themselves and their children in comfort. . .Those who marry early produce within a given period not only a greater number of generations, but, as shewn by Dr. Duncan they produce many more children. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: 'The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits..."

From "Descent of Man": Chapter Five: On the Development of the Intellectual and Moral Faculties During Primeval and Civilised Times: Natural selection as affecting civilised nations.

http://www.thedarwinpapers.com/oldsite/number12/Darwinp...

The full title of "The Origin of Species":

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life


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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-13-06 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Yup
Everyone reading this thread should take a look at the link in your post.

The effort to draw a distinction between "Social Darwinism" and "Darwinism" is artificial and contrived. They are one and the same, and they rest on blatantly racist and Hitlerian assumptions.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
14. Not my candidate either. Kazin is a right wing tool.
Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 04:39 PM by greyl
How can that not be obvious?

Here's something else the guy said, for those that are ignorant of his POV :

"Who is this modern-day William Jennings Bryan whose economic stances The Wall Street Journal editorial page condemns as "leftist"?
The candidate is Patrick Buchanan.
" - Michael Kazin

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Political/Buchanan_po...
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I believe you're mistaken
Edited on Thu Jan-12-06 07:45 PM by salvorhardin
The author of that article is John Nichols of The Progressive. Michael Kazin is simply quoted on that page.
"Populism is a language and a style of organizing, not an ideology. It is left-wing or right-wing, tolerant or intolerant, and is used to build support among ordinary people against their elite opponents." -- Michael Kazin, author

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Political/Buchanan_po...


Michael Kazin is on the editorial board and writer for Dissent Magazine.
http://www.dissentmagazine.org

He is highly critical of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States and sees it as fatalistic and unhelpful.
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/wi04/k...

I haven't read Kazin's stuff widely enough to agree or disagree with you as to whether or not the guy is a right wing tool.

On edit: I think we can all agree though that WJ Bryan was a incredibly racist and bigoted individual.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. You are correct. :)
Thanks for the correction. It's nice have people around that point out bullshit, even when it's from one of "their own".

I crammed on Kazin before I posted that, and my impression after quickly scanning just under 10 articles of his, is that, in a veiled fashion, he's talking to the Left, not from it. He seems supportive of the Left adopting ideals of the moderate right - many times religion based. My quick scan didn't uncover any obviously Left-wing statements made by him. But I could be wrong about that, so enough about Kazin. :)
This is about the bigoted ideals of WJ Bryan.

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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-12-06 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I didn't think you were bullshitting
I found that quote to be as distasteful as you did, and I can see where you would get the impression that Kazin wrote that article from a quick scan of the page.

I found Kazin's critique of Zinn's People's History to be off the mark and to miss the point of People's History in general. It might have merit if someone expected to gain a complete and accurate picture of the history of a country by reading exactly one book. That seems laughable to me. More so, Zinn presents a history of the U.S. that has never been presented before. I agree with you that Kazin seems to be a moderate-right apologist.

So... back to bashing WJ Bryan and discussing the intellectual shortcomings of the OP's thesis.
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cmkramer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-13-06 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Excuse me
But wasn't it Darwin who thought black people were inferior to whites and would end up extinct?
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nemo137 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-22-06 02:31 AM
Response to Original message
22. Contextuality
Was Bryan right on on labor and trust? Absolutely. Was he a racist who favored a weakening of the Wall of Separation? Absolutely. Would either party run him in Nebraska this year? Of course not. Our society has changed, our concept of religion has changed, and the way we look at government has changed. We shouldn't look to politicians of another time as paragons to emulate. While some of what they said may still apply, or be better stated than we could do (I loved studying the Cross of Gold speech in SpeechComm class), they're not going to rise from the grave to run for office, and thank God for that.
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