Would you have locked this old man up?

Those calling for the abolition of suspended sentences (or voting for it via the Liberals on Saturday), a question: would you send this 72 year old man to jail for this tragic accident?

[72 year old] Fawkner man Ari Kiratli killed a truck driver when he failed to slow down and jumped a stop sign at the corner of Epping and Craigieburn Road in Wollert, north of Melbourne, last year.

Kiratli’s wife suffered a serious brain injury in the crash.

The court heard the elderly driver was not speeding, but had been distracted by an argument with his wife when he drove through the intersection.

He received a wholly suspended jail sentence of two-and-a-half years – an option that would not have been available to the judge if suspended sentences were abolished.

Would you have locked this old man up? To what end?

PS ABC? You couldn’t find a picture of, if not Wollert, at least a road in Victoria?

The above image, for example, is of the actual intersection mentioned in the story, taken from Google Street View. Surely a better illustration than traffic in Queensland somewhere.

UPDATE: And Channel 7, you just reproduced the ABC’s irrelevant image? Really?

About these ads

77 responses to “Would you have locked this old man up?

  1. Well he sounds like a foreigner, so the crash was probably malicious and thus jail time would have been appropriate. He and his wife probably weren’t even arguing in English – and who knows what they were arguing about. A terrorist plot?

    Not accusing, mind you, just asking.

    I mean, if his name was Bruce Packer or Alan Smith then that would be a different story.

  2. Splatterbottom

    On the evidence available, yes. Five years.

    Sadly, there is a tendency not to treat negligent homicides seriously when they involve traffic accidents. The main considerations in this case should be retribution and to send a message to the community that negligent driving is a serious offence. The consequences of taking someone’s life because you are more interested in having an argument and couldn’t be bothered paying attention to your driving should not be trivial.

  3. Now I understand why you like Margaret Thatcher, SB. You have in common that delightful personality characteristic, to wit, the type of people who would never give your ball back.

  4. Splatterbottom

    It is actually opposites that attract, bloods.

    This thread illustrates perfectly the hubris of those who think that it is virtuous to allow their bleeding hearts to override principles of justice. They have no right to do so, and in doing so they subvert the common good. The outcome is that they get to feel warm and gooey inside, marveling with smug satisfaction at their own high-minded generosity of spirit, while understanding that the consequences will be shared with the rest of society and will be unlikely to actually come home to them.

  5. Look at you first post, SB.

    “The main considerations in this case should be retribution ….” An appalling basis for a justice system.

    “….taking someone’s life because you are more interested in having an argument and couldn’t be bothered paying attention ….” How many assumptions are built into that?

    This illustrates clearly the point that Jeremy has so often made here, that true justice is only served by a close attention to the particular facts of an individual case. Your harsh assumptions and sweeping generalisations are the polar opposite of that principle.

  6. This thread illustrates perfectly the hubris of those who think that it is virtuous to allow their bleeding hearts to override principles of justice. They have no right to do so, and in doing so they subvert the common good. The outcome is that they get to feel warm and gooey inside, marveling with smug satisfaction at their own high-minded generosity of spirit, while understanding that the consequences will be shared with the rest of society and will be unlikely to actually come home to them.

    Wow. That’s one black heart you’ve got there. I’m glad I’m not you.

    Maybe the judge had himself done something untoward on the road sometime through a momentary lapse of inattention and was thus able to relate. I daresay most of us have done, although you obviously haven’t, SB.

    Btw, if you think you’re in a position to accuse othersof being hubristic, smug and self-satisfied, SB, then you must have no idea how you come across to people.

    while understanding that the consequences will be shared with the rest of society and will be unlikely to actually come home to them

    In the present case, what consequences do you have in mind? You understand this guy’s now lost his licence and is virtually certain not to get it back when he re-applies after the (no doubt very long) period of suspension expires, don’t you?

    I’m also sure you don’t have a greater grasp of “the principles of justice” than judges, although that you would be so arrogant as to purport to do is unsurprising.

  7. SB is assuming that general deterrence would actually work in this sort of case. That if we are scared enough of terrible, terrible consequences (like the brain injury to his wife and the fact he killed someone aren’t enough) that we’ll NEVER MAKE MISTAKES.

    Because SB is perfect. All the time. He never makes a mistake. He is, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.

    He just needs the occasional locked up old person to keep him that way.

  8. momentary lapse of inattention

    or perhaps even a momentary lapse of attention…

  9. SB is assuming that general deterrence would actually work in this sort of case. That if we are scared enough of terrible, terrible consequences (like the brain injury to his wife and the fact he killed someone aren’t enough) that we’ll NEVER MAKE MISTAKES.

    Well, I know that every time I’ve had a brief lapse of attention on the roads, immediately beforehand I considered the piss-weak sentence I would get from our out-of-touch judiciary and figured there was just no need to concentrate the whole time while driving.

  10. No, actually SB would be fully prepared himself to make the supreme sacrifice and spend 5 years in the slammer if he ever got so involved in an argument that he accidentally killed somebody. Just to make sure the right message got sent to the bleeding heart community. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

  11. The main considerations in this case should be retribution and to send a message to the community that negligent driving is a serious offence.

    Did you mean to say ‘retribution’ SB?

  12. Splatterbottom

    Bloods I stated that my comment on the sentnece was on the basis of “the evidence available”. Your prattling on about other unknown details is disingenuous.

    Jeremy, your comment on deterrence is simplistic. The fact of a substantial sentence ensures some people at least will focus on the consequences of negligent driving. This is why advertising on this issue emphasises the criminal consequences of the conduct. The deterrent effect is quite likely to occur not in the moment of the collision, but long before.

    Buns, the ‘it could have happened to anyone’ sentiment is not an excuse here any more than it was in the case of Joel Monaghan. Ultimately people are liable for the consequences of their actions if they are to serve as a lesson to others. Then at least people may stop and think, and change their behaviour.

    “I’m glad I’m not you.”

    Ditto.

    Bloods: “No, actually SB would be fully prepared himself to make the supreme sacrifice and spend 5 years in the slammer if he ever got so involved in an argument that he accidentally killed somebody. “

    I enjoy discussion and wouldn’t harm anyone as a result of an argument. Usually if I say anything stupid and my interlocutor takes the point I have a good laugh, learn the lesson and not repeat the mistake. The purpose of arguing is to learn. It may also achieve the effect of setting somebody to rights, although I find leftists are usually impervious to changing their minds.

  13. Got any evidence that this type of extreme sentencing actually does reduce offending, SB? That general deterrence, in the case of accidents like this, actually works?

    I suspect not.

  14. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, retribution is an important component of justice. If society doesn’t feel that justice is being done they will be less likely to have confidence in the system of justice imposed by the state and take matters into their own hands.

  15. The courts should try to represent our most bloodthirsty, vengeful instincts, SB?

  16. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, it is not extreme, but obviously if it didn’t have that effect, the government wouldn’t waste its efforts advertising the penal consequences.

  17. Splatterbottom

    On the contrary, Jeremy, the court system should blunt bloodthirsty instincts by imposing realistic sentences, in line with community expectations. By not doing so they are encouraging people to take the law into their own hands, which will indeed have bloody consequences.

  18. What evidence is “available” to you, SB, that puts you (or Top-Level Ted) in a better position than the judge to decide on the appropriate sentence?

  19. Mondo, retribution is an important component of justice.

    Some people (such as myself) see these two concepts as fundamentally different. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that justice built on retribution/revenge is no justice at all.

    But I think this is a fundamental philosophical difference between our worldviews.

  20. Buns, the ‘it could have happened to anyone’ sentiment is not an excuse here any more than it was in the case of Joel Monaghan. Ultimately people are liable for the consequences of their actions if they are to serve as a lesson to others. Then at least people may stop and think, and change their behaviour.

    It’s just silly to suggest these things are the same. Monaghan made a conscious decision to do what he did. Losing concentration momentarily while driving is not something a person decides to do in advance. Which is precisely why tougher sentences won’t stop people from doing this in the future.

  21. On the contrary, Jeremy, the court system should blunt bloodthirsty instincts by imposing realistic sentences, in line with community expectations.

    How would you go about establishing this sentence wasn’t “realistic, in line with community expectations”? Present us with the sum total of your evidence that this particular sentence does not meet that standard.

  22. in line with community expectations

    And how are community expectations created and shaped? Maybe THAT is what we should be looking at – educating the community as to what is the right thing.

    I bet News Ltd won’t be putting their hand up to that THAT one on.

  23. Splatterbottom

    Bloods: “What evidence is “available” to you, SB, that puts you (or Top-Level Ted) in a better position than the judge to decide on the appropriate sentence?”

    Bloods, Jeremy asked a simple question, namely “Would you have locked this old man up?”. Since we don’t have all of the evidence the judge had before him at sentencing, we can only answer it on the evidence available. Hence my qualification.

    Buns: “Present us with the sum total of your evidence that this particular sentence does not meet that standard.”

    You’re a demanding little toss-pot aren’t you? I have given my opinion. I haven’t scoured the library for scientific studies on the point, but you are most welcome to do so if you wish.

    As to Monaghan, while I’m pretty sure that you would do that sort of thing consciously, the rest of us would only be in that situation if we were so paralytic that we were incapable of making conscious decisions.

    RM: “Maybe THAT is what we should be looking at – educating the community as to what is the right thing.

    This is a stone cold classic comment. It is the typical arrogant leftist answer to people who have different views to them: re-education.

  24. “This is a stone cold classic comment. It is the typical arrogant leftist answer to people who have different views to them: re-education.”

    That sort of paranoid bullshit cannot go unchallenged. What lies behind your comment is a complacent acceptance of the status quo, that whatever attitudes exist in the community must be accepted as immutable, and that none of us is entitled to make a judgement that some community attitudes are just plain fucked and need to be challenged with the utmost vigour.

    Community attitudes had to be challenged (what you call re-education) to get rid of slavery, racism, anti-Semitism, the White Australia Policy, Thatcherism, and God knows how many other evils. Vengeful notions about retributive “justice” are just another example. Returned Man makes a very valid point, that if attitudes on key social issues are left to be shaped by tabloid media, we are going down a very slippery slope indeed.

    Your cavalier dismissal of this as “leftist re-education” is just plain anti-intellectualism in yet another guise, and a complete abrogation of your responsibility as a citizen of a democracy.

  25. You’re a demanding little toss-pot aren’t you?

    Anger management problem? What is it with the Right and personal abuse? God forbid you should be politely requested to substantiate the positions you take in the course of a discussion. You asserted the court’s sentence wasn’t in line with “community expectations”. That’s a statement of fact, not opinion – one for which you apparently have no evidence.

  26. That sort of paranoid bullshit cannot go unchallenged.

    To be fair, he has been up front about the fact that he views all things through the prism of his life-long, obsessional hatred of lefties. He’s not normal.

  27. Splatterbottom

    Bloods: “What lies behind your comment is a complacent acceptance of the status quo, that whatever attitudes exist in the community must be accepted as immutable”

    Merely because I don’t reflexly attack the status quo the way the left seems to doesn’t mean that I think that the status quo is ‘immutable’, or that it ought to be. However, I do not share the deep-seated contempt of Western civilisation and its values that seems to beleaguer so many leftist intellectuals and their semi-sentient camp followers.

    ” if attitudes on key social issues are left to be shaped by tabloid media”

    Talk about assumptions being made! Perhaps the tabloid media serve mainly to give voice to the concerns of ordinary folk. Gramsci merely provided an explanation so that intellectuals wouldn’t feel bad that most people think they are full of it. It’s all really false consciousness.

    “Your cavalier dismissal of this as “leftist re-education” is just plain anti-intellectualism in yet another guise, and a complete abrogation of your responsibility as a citizen of a democracy.”

    “Conversation”, “discussion” or “argument” are all fine. There is much to gain from these types of discourse, particularly with people who hold different views. However, when “education” is the preferred mode for self-infatuated leftists to address people with different views, I see a slippery slope alright, but this one leads to the gulags and re-education camps implemented on a massive scale last century by the left.

    Buns: “You asserted the court’s sentence wasn’t in line with “community expectations”. “

    Of course I did no such thing, which makes your ridiculous demand even more pathetic.

    “What is it with the Right and personal abuse? “

    You are projecting somewhat when you attack me for engaging in personal abuse, old cock. You were the one who earlier in this thread said “That’s one black heart you’ve got there. I’m glad I’m not you.”, which seems much more like personal abuse than rational argument.

  28. Don’t fret so, SB. The bad old commos are not coming to get you. Most of them are old or dead now, or else they’ve found otehr outlets for their humanitarian impulses.

    As for the tabloid media “… [serving] mainly to give voice to the concerns of ordinary folk”, give me a fucking break. How fucking patronising you are.

    “Ordinary folk” wouldn’t give a toss what Gramsci said, and neither would I. There are many, many ordinary folk who regard the obsessions of the Murdoch media and commercial “current affairs” with empty celebrity, xenophobia, stereotyping and sensationalism of all kinds as an obscenity and a blight on civilised values.

    The ordinary folk I know and love would regard anyone who invoked Gramsci as a posturing poseur, but I suppose if your political and intellectual positions are lost in the ’60s, you don’t have too many alternatives, do you?

  29. Splatterbottom

    Bloods: “The bad old commos are not coming to get you. Most of them are old or dead now, or else they’ve found other outlets for their humanitarian impulses.”

    Many of them seem to be quite at home with the Greens. And their impulses were never humanitarian. In fact they were barely human. They managed to overlook the mass-killings, the gulags, the show-trials and the total absence of freedom which were the hallmarks of communism in the 20th century.

    ““Ordinary folk” wouldn’t give a toss what Gramsci said”

    I didn’t say they would. The doctrine of “false consciousness” is used to by the intellectually smug to avoid questioning their own ideas. Normal people just go on thinking for themselves without the crutch of an ideology. Leftists on the other hand need that doctrine to explain why so many people think they are idiots, and to justify their exalted role in ‘educating’ the rest of us.

    “and neither would I.”

    Yet by arguing that the tabloid media somehow controls the attitudes of people – you appear to be a slave to this defunct sociologist. As I said earlier, I don’t have a problem with more ideas being put up for discussion. The real issue is the need felt by leftists to ‘educate’ us, and the arrogance and totalitarian implications inherent in that attitude.

  30. “They managed to overlook the mass-killings..”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor

    “.. the gulags..”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_X-Ray_(Guantanamo)

    “..the show-trials..”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._intelligence_involvement_with_German_and_Japanese_war_criminals_after_World_War_II

    “..and the total absence of freedom”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law_and_Israeli_settlements

    Jees that sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    You are such a fucking hypocrite SB!

    You are always going on about how “evil” Greens and Leftists are, using the examples of Pol Pot or Stalin as “evidence”, yet you happily ignore the US kidnapping, torturing, funding terrorists and dictators etc.

    You happily “overlook mass killings and gulags” (providing it was socialists or Arabs being murdered) you ignore the US having provided logistic, financial and military support to Saddam, the Taliban, Pinochet and other assorted murderers.

    You are sweet with murder, terror and corruption if it supports your twisted idea of the greater good.

    Pull your head out of your well splattered arse SB, the Greens and social democrats are not Teh Commies that haunt your dreams.

  31. “Yet by arguing that the tabloid media somehow controls the attitudes of people – you appear to be a slave to this defunct sociologist.”

    First of all, I argued no such thing. I merely challenged your view that tabloid media simply acts as an innocent reflection of the concerns of ordinary folk, when it is in fact often a very malign influence. Conservatives often have trouble accepting that ordinary folk, like you and me, are vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by powerful interests, first because they don’t like to be seen to be talking down to ordinary folk even though their attitudes often reveal that they are (Gramsci for fuck’s sake!), and second because they often agree with those powerful interests.

    Secondly, I have never in my life taken seriously anything a sociologist said, let alone some obscure European one. Is it not just possible that I arrived at my opinion by thinking for myself? The fact that some part of it coincides with Gramsci’s is pure coincidence, let me assure you, as I have never in my life read a word of what he wrote. And anyway, what’s a Catholic doing lecturing others about thinking for themselves?

    Your view of people on the left is both rigidly stereotyped and extraordinarily old-fashioned. So there are a couple of ex-commos in the Greens who apologised for Stalin and what not. So what? For every one of them there’s a Fred Hollows or a Peter Cundall, and besides, I’m sure they no longer defend the positions they once held, even if they haven’t apologised personally to you.

    The real issue is not “the need felt by leftists to ‘educate’ us”; it is the need felt by conservatives to defend the status quo no matter how indefensible it is. Ironic when you think about your comments about the commos, isn’t it?

  32. Splatterbottom

    I think you might be a good fit with my splatterbottom, Dunnycan.

    Your tu quoque argument, apart from being illogical, really doesn’t add much. It is hysterically inaccurate both in attributing beliefs to me, and in its grossly disproportionate nature. Come back and talk to me when you find some evidence of Western democracies murdering 100 million people.

    Bloods: “First of all, I argued no such thing. “

    You actually said “attitudes on key social issues are left to be shaped by tabloid media” which is very much the same thing.

    As I noted above, I am no defender of the status quo. However, I do have a more measured approach to social change than your average revolutionary hothead.

    It was Keynes who said “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” In your case it is some defunct sociologist.

    “And anyway, what’s a Catholic doing lecturing others about thinking for themselves?”

    Thinking for myself is how I got to be a Catholic.

    “Your view of people on the left is both rigidly stereotyped and extraordinarily old-fashioned.”

    I often wonder why ostensibly intelligent people debase themselves by becoming leftists. Some just prefer what is not to what is. They dream of a better world and are vain enough to think they know how to achieve this, hence the need to ‘educate’ others. More cynical leftists are in it for the power it brings, and are prepared to become tyrants to enforce their vision on the rest of us.

    I am in favour of a more balanced approach, keeping the best of human achievements of the past and only making major changes where they are clearly warranted, such as the amendment of discriminatory marriage laws.

    Take for example the artist who painted a mural on his wall. Any number of leftists are queuing up to demand he take it down. Yet it seems to me quite hysterical to so lightly throw away our hard-won right to freedom of speech.

  33. “You actually said “attitudes on key social issues are left to be shaped by tabloid media” which is very much the same thing.”

    No it isn’t.

    “However, I do have a more measured approach to social change than your average revolutionary hothead.”

    Doesn’t everyone?

    “It was Keynes who said….”

    You probably hate his guts. Maggie did.

    “Thinking for myself is how I got to be a Catholic.”

    And then you gave up.

  34. “Thinking for myself is how I got to be a Catholic.”

    You’re serious? Thinking for yourself helped you believe in irrational nonsense? Are you sane?

  35. Nothing wrong with believing in irrational nonsense as long as it’s your own Rob, the problem here is that it’s someone else’s irrational nonsense, and to be a Catholic you HAVE to believe it or you’re out. How that can be reconciled with thinking for yourself is beyond me, but SB must have a much subtler mind than us ordinary folk.

  36. Come back and talk to me when you find some evidence of Western democracies murdering 100 million people.

    Because there’s no valid criticism of the foreign policy of Western governments until they’ve topped the worst atrocities of all time?

    Pretty much gets you out of everything, conveniently. “Yeah, that Iraq invasion was a disaster on a massive scale with hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and countless millions injured/displaced/etc… but how about that Chairman Mao? What a murderous bastard he was!”

  37. Splatterbottom

    RobJ, the projectionist: “Are you sane?”

    Bloods: “Nothing wrong with believing in irrational nonsense as long as it’s your own”

    That is very true, although I wouldn’t describe it as nonsense. We all should examine the life we lead and make the best decisions we can about how to go about it. At some level this always involves a leap of faith. People who think that all of their actions, decisions and choices are purely rational are the deluded ones.

  38. I often wonder why ostensibly intelligent people debase themselves by becoming leftists. Some just prefer what is not to what is. They dream of a better world and are vain enough to think they know how to achieve this, hence the need to ‘educate’ others.

    Says the Catholic. Irony alert.

    More cynical leftists are in it for the power it brings, and are prepared to become tyrants to enforce their vision on the rest of us.

    A lot of powerful leftists in the world tyrannically imposing their visions on us these days, aren’t there? I don’t tend to see a lot of them, but then I haven’t spent the last 30+ years seized with anti-leftist hatred and paranoia.

  39. SB, do you solemnly believe in the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven? Do you accept the authority of the pope on matters of faith and doctrine? Do you believe in transubstantiation? Do you believe there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church? Do you believe there is only one God, but one bit of him has a body and another bit is a ghost? Do you believe an ordained priest has the power to absolve you of your sins, and that only a man can do this? Because if you don’t, you’re not a Catholic, and if you do, you might need to explain how you arrived at these beliefs by thinking for yourself.

  40. Your silence is being noted in Rome SB.

  41. It’s a very fine line between “a leap of faith” and a preference for “what is not”, isn’t it? I suspect that, luckily for us, someone will come along and (presumably, with a straight face) attempt to split those hairs for us shortly.

  42. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “I don’t tend to see a lot of them, “

    Fortunately most of them have gone, although Castro, Mugabe and the Kim family are still here to remind us. And the communist party seems to have got some clue about markets, but still retains the tyrannical vestiges of its Communist past.

    Bloods, I mostly agree with that lot, although your exposition of the trinity leaves something to be desired. The male priest thing is open to change, but unlikely in the short term. Salvation outside the church is possible.

    A better formulation is:

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    Creator of Heaven and Earth
    And in Jesus Christ
    His only Son, Our Lord
    Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit
    Born of the Virgin Mary
    Suffered under Pontius Pilate
    Was crucified, died and was buried.
    On the third day, he rose again
    He ascended into Heaven
    and is seated at the right hand
    of God, the Father Almighty.
    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the Communion of Saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.

  43. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “It’s a very fine line between “a leap of faith” and a preference for “what is not”, isn’t it?

    Apples and oranges. The ‘preference for what is not’ is a comment on the desire for change at all costs that seems so common among leftists. The leap of faith was a reference to the purely personal decisions we make, which don’t necessarily lead to political action, but instead help us make decisions about our approach to our lives.

  44. Staggered by the hypocrisy inherent in, on the one hand, believing that normal people think for themselves and don’t need the crutch of an ideology and, on the other, believing every one of the principal tenets of the Catholic faith as invented by the church and relayed to followers of that faith. I’m assuming, of course, that you still consider yourself “normal”, despite having adopted Catholicism. Maybe you don’t, though. You wouldn’t be the only one.

  45. Splatterbottom

    Catholicism isn’t an ideology. It is a private belief system.

  46. Keep splitting those hairs, SB. The fact remains that what you deride in leftists – self-identification, adherence to a pre-determined set of beliefs first formulated by others – can also be said of Catholics like yourself.

  47. Splatterbottom

    Buns, you don’t seem to get that when it comes to political discussion I keep an open mind. I don’t regard it as proper to foist my private belief system on the public, and don’t use it as a basis for political discussion. There is the fundamental difference between that approach and the adoption of a particular political ideology.

  48. You are indeed splitting hairs, SB, Buns is right. Catholicism, like all belief systems, is a fallible human invention – that is, subject to error. It is at best a partial description of reality, an incomplete cosmology; at its worst, it is pure, demonic nonsense. Unlike most political ideologies, however, it lays claim to absolute truth, and requires absolute obedience from its adherents. In this regard it is most closely akin to 20th-century Marxism, and it is no surprise, nor is it a coincidence, that Marxism was so attractive to so many lapsed Catholics.

    You may protest that the Church is subject to change, that especially since Vatican II it has become more open to other ideas, more accepting of other faiths, less authoritarian. But at its core it remains as autocratic as ever. You say salvation is possible outside the Church, but the doctrine “outside the Church there is no salvation” remains a central dogma of the Church to this day, and has never been repudiated. They just keep redefining what “the Church” means, to the point where it becomes utterly meaningless, while still clinging to the dogma.

    You say you “mostly agree with that lot”. You are, in other words, a “pick-and-choose” Catholic. You reserve to yourself the right to decide what it means to be a Catholic, while the Church itself maintains that it has that right. Perhaps you believe you have the best of both worlds, but your position is founded on a fundamental contradiction. You pretend you can be a Catholic and still think for yourself, but your Church insists on its right to tell you what to believe.

    To illustrate my point, though surely no illustration is necessary, take the case of the parish priest of Westernport in Victoria who recently declared his support for women’s ordination. Immediately (after consulting with Rome to find out what he should think about it) the Archbishop of Melbourne demanded that he recant or resign. That is how the Church works.

    I think you have a real dilemma here, and you can’t escape it with glib one-liners. Either you believe in thinking for yourself in all things, or you believe in submitting your intellectual and spiritual autonomy to a human, temporal authority. You can’t be a free thinker in political matters, and a slavish devotee in religious matters. Similarly, you can’t espouse reason and rationality in all things psychological (as you did in another recent discussion where you claimed cognitive-behavioural therapy was the only school of psychology that made sense), while simultaneously maintaining that “People who think that all of their actions, decisions and choices are purely rational are the deluded ones”.

  49. Splatterbottom

    Bloods: “Unlike most political ideologies, however, it lays claim to absolute truth, and requires absolute obedience from its adherents.

    Catholicism isn’t a political ideology. It is a personal belief system. When you say ‘absolute obedience’ do you mean in every little detail of our lives, in which case you are surely wrong. Catholicism certainly has core beliefs which are fundamental to it, but it does not micromanange its adherents’ lives.

    it is no surprise, nor is it a coincidence, that Marxism was so attractive to so many lapsed Catholics.

    I’m not sure that is true. Marx was a lapsed Jew. Lenin was a lapsed Russian Orthodox. The Marxist disease was widespread and seems to have attracted people from many backgrouonds.

    You say salvation is possible outside the Church, but the doctrine “outside the Church there is no salvation” remains a central dogma of the Church to this day, and has never been repudiated. They just keep redefining what “the Church” means, to the point where it becomes utterly meaningless, while still clinging to the dogma.

    So are you saying the Church adopts a strictly literalist interpretation of this doctrine? It seems that even you recognise that it is not as blunt as you first phrased it.

    You reserve to yourself the right to decide what it means to be a Catholic, while the Church itself maintains that it has that right.

    I reserve the right to be me! I can’t be anything else. In my case I find that living my life as a Catholic is much better than any alternative.

    As to dissenting clergy, the Church has an interest in ensuring a coherent message is put out by those it empowers to preach on its behalf.

    Either you believe in thinking for yourself in all things,

    I most definitely do. I refer to those modern prophets The Levellers – “There is only one way of life and that’s your own, your own, your own”. It is a crime against your own humanity not to use your free will to make conscientious decisions as to how to live your life.

    or you believe in submitting your intellectual and spiritual autonomy to a human, temporal authority.

    That is the worst possible thing you could do. It is impossible to act in good conscience if you act contrary to what you believe to be true. Of course this requires thought and consideration, not a mere spur of the moment decision.

    you can’t espouse reason and rationality in all things psychological (as you did in another recent discussion where you claimed cognitive-behavioural therapy was the only school of psychology that made sense), while simultaneously maintaining that “People who think that all of their actions, decisions and choices are purely rational are the deluded ones”.

    But both of those statements are true! We have the ability to make rational choices, but most of the choices we make are driven by instinct, appetite and emotion. The point is that we have the ability to make rational decisions in spite of our instincts.

  50. All very fascinating. But the point remains. You are highly critical of leftists for their supposed closed-mindedness and rigid adherence to a set of beliefs. At the same time, you are a follower of the Catholic religion. As a true Catholic, there are certain core beliefs that one must hold. You’re told what those beliefs are, and by entering the faith you confirm that you accept those beliefs. You can’t be a Catholic unless you accept and believe the various things that Catholics believe, which you were taught by some already in the faith. Now, however you spin it, that is the complete antithesis of “thinking for yourself”.

    It is obvious hypocrisy for you to criticise leftists for failing to think for themselves, while at the same time living as a Catholic. The premise of religion is adherence to shared beliefs. You did not invent the key tenets of the Catholic faith by thinking for yourself. You were told what they are and that being Catholic requires your acceptance of them. No room for independent thought. You either believe the things you’re told to believe or you’re not Catholic.

  51. Splatterbottom

    Buns, my point is that in political discussion one should have an open mind on each issue that arises. My objection is to ideologues who always find themselves on one side of the fence. This is quite a different matter to the question of the existence and properties of god.

    “You can’t be a Catholic unless you accept and believe the various things that Catholics believe, which you were taught by some already in the faith. Now, however you spin it, that is the complete antithesis of “thinking for yourself”.”

    I understand calculus not because I discovered it myself, but because students of Liebniz and Newton taught it to me. However part of that process involved thought on my part as to whether what I was being taught made sense. After due consideration I concluded it did.

  52. So, SB, by a process of independent thought, you just happened to arrive at the same conclusions as the Catholic Church. That is sophistry. Comparing this to calculus is either to misunderstand the fundamental difference between the two, or to assert (as you did once before, to howls of ridicule) that Catholicism is entirely logical and rational. You really do want to have it both ways, don’t you?

  53. Splatterbottom

    Bloods, I looked at the available options and decided that the Catholic church made the most sense to me.

    The issue Buns raised was whether learning by having things explained to you by others is antithetical to thinking for yourself. The example I gave demonstrates that it is not.

  54. Yeah, but you still want to believe that you can simultaneously think for yourself while supporting an organisation that tells you what to think, and you’re determined not to admit it.

  55. So it can’t be compared with political matters, because it is a personal belief system. But it can be compared with calculus? What a joke. Embarrassed for you, SB.

    Buns, my point is that in political discussion one should have an open mind on each issue that arises. My objection is to ideologues who always find themselves on one side of the fence. This is quite a different matter to the question of the existence and properties of god.

    By definition, being a Catholic entails having a closed mind on the issues of “the existence and properties of god”, though. Kind of my point, yeah? Once more: you insist that you are superior to leftists because you have an open mind on political issues, while at the same you are a member of the Catholic faith which entails having a closed mind as to those key aspects of the faith. Hypocrisy.

  56. Well said, Buns. It’s cognitive dissonance.

  57. “Bloods, I looked at the available options …”

    There is another option you seem not to have considered: work it out for yourself.

  58. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “you are superior to leftists because you have an open mind on political issues”

    That is the point isn’t it? What you believe privately about god the universe and everything is just that, private belief. Political debate is a public conversation with an entirely different goal, being the arrangement of society in such a way as to produce peace and prosperity and to maximise individual liberty so that people can pursue happiness according to their own lights. In that public conversation you need to provide reasons above and beyond your private belief system (be it leftism or Catholicism or anything else). In fact arguing on the basis of a private belief system is wrong, since that will limit your thoughts and cause you to rely on irrelevant considerations. When it comes to political debate it is preferable to enter into it with an open mind and without any ideological bias.

    Bloods: “There is another option you seem not to have considered: work it out for yourself.”

    You may be capable of deriving from scratch the sum total of accumulated human knowledge by yourself, but most of the rest of us actually learn from others.

  59. “You may be capable of deriving from scratch the sum total of accumulated human knowledge by yourself, but most of the rest of us actually learn from others.”

    Cheap shot, SB. You still haven’t addressed the basic contradiction, and it’s clear you have no intention of doing so. Open-mindedness should apply just as much to religious questions as it can to politics, and you haven’t explained satisfactorily why it is appropriate to one but not to the other.

    You’re just dancing around the central issue. I suspect that’s become such a habit you don’t even know you’re doing it, so it’s a bit much for us to expect it to change now.

  60. When it comes to political debate it is preferable to enter into it with an open mind and without any ideological bias.

    I would’ve thought it was good to approach all things with an open mind. I don’t see why religion gets a free pass. You still haven’t even attempted to explain why it should.

  61. “I don’t see why religion gets a free pass. You still haven’t even attempted to explain why it should.”

    Because!

    “RobJ, the projectionist: “Are you sane?”

    SB, FACT of the matter is, I don’t believe in irrational fairy tales, you on the other hand……. ;)

  62. “What you believe privately about god the universe and everything is just that, private belief.”

    So, all the stuff you’ve learned from Jesus, the good stuff (the lefty stuff,) you just disregard in life.

  63. Splatterbottom

    When we are all having our say in political discussion, it means little to bring anything other than an open mind to the table, and arguments based on ideology are quite rightly derided, which is why leftist arguments are often so funnypants.

    When someone tells me that their religion is special and free speech needs to be abridged so that peoples’ feelings won’t be hurt, they should be told to get fucked. Now, as it happens, I don’t like Christianity being mocked, but I am not so selfish as to insist on my feelings not being hurt because that would be an unreasonable limitation on the freedom of others and because free speech is indispensable to a free society.

    If you support limitations on free speech because of your religious beliefs or because you are a lefty whose heart bleeds for ‘little brown people’, you need to be laughed out of town.

    Now, the public sphere is completely different to the private sphere. If I choose to live my own life according to my religious beliefs without encroaching on the rights of others, then that should be the end of the matter, and it should be of no concern to anyone else, unlike say when a leftist proposes that society be organised in a way that suits their ideology.

    And yes, RobJ I am glad that leftists have learned something from Christianity.

  64. “a lefty whose heart bleeds for ‘little brown people’, you need to be laughed out of town.”

    Typical (so-called) Christian, devoid of compassion, I’ve said it before SB, Jesus would regard me more highly than you, after all you are a selfish, hypocritical cunt. :)

    Jesus didn’t like capitalist pricks…. like you.

    “Now, the public sphere is completely different to the private sphere.”

    Translation – “Here’s how I rationalise my hypocritical, selfish stances, I hope everyone is too stupid to see right through me”

    “If I choose to live my own life according to my religious beliefs without encroaching on the rights of others”

    You’d be pissing off your own god and reaffirming your hypocrisy (which knows no bounds), Jesus wants the word spread, to save more souls, why don’t you become a missionary? That is what Jesus would want.

    “it means little to bring anything other than an open mind to the table”

    You don’t have an open mind, you’re a Catholic who believes in fairy tales, how is that open minded?

    “Now, as it happens, I don’t like Christianity being mocked”

    Why not, I bet you mock conspiracy theorists (I do) but at least what they fantasise about is within the realms of of possibility, the shit in the Bible on the other hand (the flood? Noah’s Ark…. utter nonsense)….

    “If you support limitations on free speec”:

    I don’t, Religious people can preach what they like and I can tell them what I think.

    “And yes, RobJ I am glad that leftists have learned something from Christianity.”

    Unlike the hypocritical hate preachers on the right. ;)

  65. Now, the public sphere is completely different to the private sphere. If I choose to live my own life according to my religious beliefs without encroaching on the rights of others, then that should be the end of the matter, and it should be of no concern to anyone else

    I disagree strongly. If you believe a bunch of what is patently insane religious bullshit in your private life, it calls into question your credibility generally, as well it should.

  66. Splatterbottom

    RobJ: “That is what Jesus would want.”

    A healthy degree of scepticism is warranted when it comes to dealing with those who purport to discern the will of god. It is wise to reject out of hand to interpretations made by the vacuous and ignorant, such as your good self.

    Bans: “I disagree strongly. If you believe a bunch of what is patently insane religious bullshit in your private life, it calls into question your credibility generally, as well it should.”

    This is where we differ. I am of the view that irrationality has its place in what people choose to believe, and that the most deluded are those who don’t even recognise this. People are entitled to their own beliefs, but when they choose to debate in the public sphere, their personal beliefs are irrelevant, and should not be used to justify positions taken.

    For example if believe that church law (or sharia law for that matter) should be imposed on society, I should be mocked and sent packing. On the other hand reasoned argument about the appropriateness of particular laws should be encouraged.

  67. I am of the view that irrationality has its place in what people choose to believe, and that the most deluded are those who don’t even recognise this.

    The fact that some of our actions and beliefs may not be entirely rational does not of itself justify belief in things that are inherently nonsensical. This is a complete non sequitur: not all of our actions and beliefs are rational, ergo Scientology is not a crock of shit? Sorry, but it doesn’t follow. There is no reason why one should get a free pass to take leave of one’s capacity for critical thinking just because the issue at hand is religion.

    People are entitled to their own beliefs, but when they choose to debate in the public sphere, their personal beliefs are irrelevant, and should not be used to justify positions taken.

    Of course, I’ve not argued the contrary.

  68. “A healthy degree of scepticism is warranted when it comes to dealing with those who purport to discern the will of god.

    LOL – You’re the believer not me, I’m just reminding you what you’re supposed to believe if you are indeed a worshipper of Jesus.

  69. Splatterbottom

    Buns: My view is that chrisitianity is as reasonable a choice as atheism.

    RobJ: “I’m just reminding you what you’re supposed to believe if you are indeed a worshipper of Jesus.”

    That is my point – you don’t have a clue.

  70. My view is that chrisitianity is as reasonable a choice as atheism.

    Naturally. You are obliged to believe that. But in the absence of any tangible evidence of God, it demonstrably isn’t “as reasonable a choice”. By definition, Christianity requires at least a suspension of reason; there’s no other way to come to a belief that God exists.

  71. He might be defining “atheism” as “belief that God does not exist” rather than “not believing that God exists”. There’s no more evidence for the former than there is for the opposite contention.

    The latter is the only position that requires no leap of faith.

  72. As bloods05 (at least I think it was him) put it at PP, atheism is a belief in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  73. Splatterbottom

    Correct Jeremy.

  74. He might be defining “atheism” as “belief that God does not exist” rather than “not believing that God exists”.

    That semantic argument has always bothered me, and has been usefully debunked by Dawkins and his flying teacup analogy. Identifying a meaningful distinction between those two positions is certainly possible at an intellectual level (as you have proved) but even to engage in that rationalisation gives the “believing anything = religion” nonsense far more credibility than it deserves.

    I believe that ghosts are imaginary, I believe that Elvis is actually dead, I believe that Monkey Magic was not a historically accurate television program. Even though I can’t know for sure that any of those beliefs are correct there is no legitimate way to paint them asfaith-based or religious.

  75. Yeah, good point. You don’t require “faith” just to reason that something is unlikely.

  76. Identifying a meaningful distinction between those two positions is certainly possible at an intellectual level (as you have proved) but even to engage in that rationalisation gives the “believing anything = religion” nonsense far more credibility than it deserves.

    Well, you can see how people who believe in a supreme deity for which there is no evidence might be desperate to draw some analogy with a “belief” that no god exists. But given there’s no evidence of god, the two are hardly comparable in terms of probability. There’s negligible “faith” required in believing in the non-existence of something for which there’s no evidence.

    But in any case, I’ve always understood atheism to be constituted by not believing in the existence of god. No faith/belief involved there.

  77. Splatterbottom

    If you are not sure that god does not exist then you are probably agnostic.

    It is like detecting an unknown object out near Jupiter. An agnostic might say they don’t know what it is. An atheist will tell you it is nothing at all.

    If you see a whole universe out there, then you might think it had a creator.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s