How I Came to Believe in God, and Why I Shouldn’t Try to Be Steve Laffey
To a completely unrelated post, Theracapulas (who has commented under a variety of names over the past six months) explains the problem with Anchor Rising and the RIGOP:
As to why someone like you would say that you agree with a socialist like that URI professor is flat out perplexing. Dan Yorke didn’t say that only wealthy people should have children. He said only people who could afford children should have them. She then said that was riddiculous. She’s a socialist.
The point behind all this is that you’re simply not a fighter, and that’s why this blog is so uninspiring. Have you ever posted anything about how we need to move to a voucher system in rhode island? No, you’d rather dance around stupid points with Pat Crowley, and confuse everyone in the process. But that’s just one example.
You’re passive. That’s the problem with the RI. GOP, but it’s not just you. Gio Cicione is passive. Governor Carcieri is passive. And the members of the legislature besides Trillo, they’re downright laughable. State Senator Ed Bates anyone? lol
The party needs fighters like former Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey and Joe Trillo. We don’t needs people like you who dance around issues and go into way too much stupid detail as opposed to making clear, straight forward points.
Putting aside Thera’s odd definition of passivity — which somehow includes a man with my schedule, not to mention a businessman who ran for and won the governor’s seat and (albeit a little late) laid off hundreds of state workers — I guess the place to start, in my response, is with my conversion to Catholicism. Here’s the shortened version of that story:
About eight years ago, I began to feel that the atheism to which I’d stumbled during problematic teen years wasn’t adequate to make sense of the world as I was experiencing it. Yet, I’d accepted so many principles, and had learned to have emotional affinity for such a segment of society, that I felt awkward trying to believe in God. My approach to the first stages of conversion was twofold: I attacked the intellectual precepts that I now know to have been faulty by reading opposing argumentation, and I began noticing acceptance of God within the culture to which I’d acclimated. The latter strategy sounds (and is) a little silly, from a certain point of view, but having been a teenage rock/pop junky, for instance, finding religious references in Cat Stevens, Bach, Bob Dylan, and Beethoven and realizing that George Harrison wasn’t nuts to be the believing Beatle helped me to develop the emotional configuration of a man in whose culture believing in God is actually a possibility. Just so, conversion requires not only the appearance of intellectual necessity, but also emotional impetus and a spectrum of tiered affinity (from Dylan to Harrison and ultimately to explicitly Christian musicians).
The relevance is that Rhode Island needs to be converted to conservative ideas. As much emotional impetus as the threat of utter collapse may provide, and as much as conservative prescriptions may be obvious necessities, for the state to be saved, its culture and its people must change in ways that touch upon identity.
As it happens, I agree that Rhode Island needs fighters — people to slap the citizens awake and to kick the agents of somnambulism out of the room. That’s the central reason that I was so reluctant to support Steve Laffey’s bid to take his political career out of the state. But I’m not he; I tried on the taking-no-guff hat long ago and wound up miserable and hurtful. I won’t by any means be the last man in the room to throw a punch, but in some folks, belligerence isn’t a tool, but a beast. In some folks, it’s a comedian. I’m of the former sort, and I’ve learned that I’m more effective (and happier, to be sure) channeling my fight to other fronts of the war.
The Dan Yorke exchange that Theracapulas misconstrues is an example of the role that, it’s fair to say, Anchor Rising in general seeks to fill. Kathleen Gorman said, “You think only wealthy people should have children?” Dan Yorke said, “Yes! Now we’re getting somewhere! Only people who can afford it should do it.”
Now, we on the right understand (or assume) that Yorke isn’t condemning hardworking young families that make the gamble, with reasonable odds, that their professional efforts will pay off with sufficient rapidity to support a growing family. But those approaching the conversation from another direction — the significant number of Rhode Islanders whom we must convert — are susceptible to Gorman’s spin/delusion that such families are of a kind with those who procreate without a thought to raising their children and look to the government for indefinite assistance. Note that it was her spun version of Yorke’s position that she called “crazy,” not (as Thera respins it) Yorke’s toned down explanation.
“If all people waited until they had enough money to support their children,” asserted Gorman, “there would be no children in the world.” As a thirtysomething in my particular circumstances, I can’t do otherwise than agree with the statement, isolated of itself. I take it to be my role, therefore, to seek to explain why the statement, isolated of itself, does not require agreement with Gorman’s social program. In doing so, I’m also offering counsel to the fighters on my side as to how they might tweak their message for maximum persuasive effect.
How well somebody undertaking such a role actually performs it is always a legitimate area of critique, and I’ll cup my meager talents in my palms and plea that I can only do as well as I can do, while always striving to do better. If my writing confuses, I can only apologize and note that I’m merely a humble carpenter. If it’s the role itself, however, that you dislike, then I’ll suggest that perhaps you aren’t my audience. It would certainly be more entertaining for me to crash and burn, frothing with righteousness, but I doubt it would be more effective in the long run.
And if Theracapulas believes that he can create a more inspiring blog, I encourage him to start his own. Heck, I encourage him to come out of the shadows with a real name, begin submitting Engaged Citizen posts, and perhaps to become a contributor to Anchor Rising.
I’m not sure why Thera’s so sure that I’ve never advocated school vouchers; I’ve done so every time it’s remotely relevant to the point that I’m making. Of course, I’m more apt to describe what it is I’m actually advocating — parental school choice, as a matter of principle and practicality — than to plaster my posts with the “voucher” buzzword. The word “voucher” has already been raised as a net for ideological volleys, and at any rate, I’d like to leave open the possibility that a more feasible approach to school choice doesn’t involve a voucher system.