Debate talk:Liberal beliefs

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And now over to the pundits for an early reaction to the poll[edit]

At first glance it looks like we're generally in agreement but, and here's the rub.

  • The agreement is far from 100% Apart from some of the 'Duh!' questions there's a range of opinions and a range of strength of opinions.
  • Where there are differences we agree to differ. Debate is seen as a way of educating and being educated, not of scoring points

In the end it's about mutual respect. Silver Sloth 13:42, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't get no respect -- RemBeau 23:50, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, Jeremy, from where I'm standing, after five or six votes, we appear to be quite homogeneous. There are some differences but only minor ones. SusanG  ContribsTalk 14:12, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
depends on what6 you mean by homogeneous (that gays are geniuses? sorry...grins) Cause i see very different shades on almost all of the issues ranging from "yeah, this is good but not as a law" to "damn straight make it a law". I just find it to be loaded assumptions from teh start. defining liberals by someone else's categories instead of our own.--Waiting for Godot 14:15, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
Well Brian, I'm opening a boutique there's certainly an early swing to the liberals, but let's wait until the Americans get home from work and see how it goes. Totnesmartin 14:18, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
Yes, the UK team seems to be well out in front at the moment.--Bobbing up 14:26, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
True, very true, Jeremy, Where's the booteek going to be? I'm thinking of a flower shop. The "transpondians" are likely to be a tad more to the right, I think. SusanG  ContribsTalk 14:29, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

There does appear to be a lot of agreement so far but I don't think it all fits in with Rem's stereotype. Jollyfish.gifGenghisYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 16:11, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

Future use of this article[edit]

This is all very interesting. But what are we going to do with it? I'm not sure what the purpose of it is. Since it began as part of a debate over Libertarians, are we going to make a list of Libertarian beliefs and ask Rembrandt.ryan to take our test? Suggestions on napkins below, please. DogP 18:00, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

Consider it done, because Human asked so nice. (It is done, partially.) I wonder if Laffer would approve? Somebody ask him to join us, i'd like to know his answers.
-- RemBeau 23:57, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I laff at your suggestion, but I have my napkin at the ready! ħumanUser talk:Human 18:20, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
Laffer napkin.jpg
PS, this really should be in the debate namespace, shouldn't it? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:20, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
Sure, why not? Goforit, i say. -- RemBeau 00:00, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, kinda should really. Love the napkin! DogP 18:26, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

Debate would be a better namespace, yes. Should have thought of that. Move it if you like. Totnesmartin 18:30, 6 August 2008 (EDT)

A better way of doing this[edit]

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. A better way of doing this would have been to:

  • Remove the ambiguity from the questions.
  • Try to make them international, or least make the US-specific ones clear.
  • Add issues which we think are relevant.
  • Encourage people to make comments but to also use Trent's slider bars at RationalWiki:Article of the Weak but change the text to "agree completely" and "disagree completely".
  • Change the title to RationalWiki user opinions, or something of that nature.
  • Remove the "In favour"/"Against" headings.

Mmmm... perhaps we could make it a permanent feature?--Bobbing up 03:43, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

I'd like to see that as an alternative, then we could compare. Consider mine a rough draft -- i wasn't that careful -- it was taking too long.
-- RemBeau 00:06, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Sure, if we completely rewrite it. Remember, this was partly a self-described libertarians attempt to "understand us liberals", but also to skew the debate, I think, in much the same way that silly political compass thing is rigged to tell everyone "hey, you're a libertarian! whodathunkit?" Anyone who thinks the whole of politics is on two axes is hopelessly naive. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:17, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
You are a laugh riot -- skew the debate? I'm biased Libt and i don't doubt it shows. You are the only one that has no bias. And i still don't understand "you Liberals", but i'm working on it. Why don't you contribute, and perhaps un-skew my stuff with your comments. Are you "above" the fray, as it were?
If you are referring to the Nolan Test (compass thing was something else, wasn't it?), i'll eat that website if YOU score 100%. Honest answers now, don't forget.
-- RemBeau 00:20, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
The Nolan test is trivial and stupid. It is designed to make all takers say "oh, wow, I am a libertarian! I just did not know! How about six axes, or twelve, you child, you slow, ignorant, tool of a child? (oops, was I rude to an RW user? Dang.) ħumanUser talk:Human 00:41, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps you weren't able to understand Nolan's questions? You know, the problem might not be a flaw in the vehicle -- it is often the nut that holds the wheel.
I would have advised abortion to prevent you, but it's way too late now. I hate to see a kid without a brain grow up to be 12. (Ooops -- this should have gone under the heading: Abortion & contraception). My big concern is that your owner may pay $50,000 to have you cloned. That money would be better spent saving a polar bear.
-- RemBeau 09:22, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
I understood Nolan's questions, and they were rigged - they were basically the sort of issues that many people agree with Libts on. By the way, you still haven't told us where you learned that the government has spent ten times the GNP on New Orleans, so we can read up on it. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:27, 9 August 2008 (EDT)
I've found this entire: thing fascinating - correct me if i'm wrong, but I think this is the first place we can all say what we're for, rather than just against. It looks like the whole Debate namespace has got a little overlooked. Perhaps we could put up a set of weekly questions for everyone to chew on. Here's an example off the top of my head: Totnesmartin 05:15, 7 August 2008 (EDT) (see following section)
It all depends on how you ask the question. The "in favor of" list is probably a reflection of what the framer of the questions opposes and the "against" is probably what the writer supports. Frinstance - "Liberals are in favor of Banning prayer at football games", how about "Liberals do not favor compulsory prayer at football games"; by inserting the word "banning" the author establishes a negative connotation with the action. Jollyfish.gifGenghisYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 07:27, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
You say, // The "in favor of" list is probably a reflection of what the framer ... //.
Well, it works out to be something like that, i guess, but i can tell you EXACTLY the framer's thinking. Beliefs common to both Liberals and Libertarians were by and large avoided in the "In favor of" section, deemed comparatively uninteresting.
It's not that i don't believe wearing motorcycle helmets to be a good idea for instance, it is the way we look at the issue -- the difference is what interests me. My impression is that Liberals have no problem giving their views and prejudices the force of law -- this is in sharp contrast to Libt thinking.
Am i an idiot for not wanting more human actions being codified as offenses punishable by law? Many Liberals would reflexively nod "Yes" (concerning helmet laws, for example). Libts would be almost unanimously, reflexively on the side of "No".
I don't smoke, am not gay, don't do drugs ... but as i believe man is supposed to be free, i couldn't support legislation that would prohibit these behaviors. In general, i would say Liberals would agree with me on the issue of gays (which is why i didn't include that one in any of my lists), but smoking and drugs is a different kettle of fish. On those, i am interested in Liberal thinking.
(Okay, i do suck up Harvey Wallbangers, and arguably you could classify that as a drug.)
-- RemBeau 16:54, 9 August 2008 (EDT)
Good point, they need neutral language. "Penalising oil companies" and "Huge salaries" are arguably pushing a point as well. But frankly, evaluating what liberals think doesn't interest me that much. So I'd say it would be better to say: "I do not favour compulsory prayer at football games". and let people express their personal level of agreement or disagreement with the proposal. That would give as an RW point of view. I also doubt that we are all self identified liberals - using whatever the US definition may be. --Bobbing up 07:44, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
So how could we determine who among us are Liberals, self-indentified or otherwise? To me, relying on self-identity is one of the weakest dererminers, especially if not backed up by anything else. (Hitler claims to be a Christian in some of his speeches, therefore he is one, regardless of his contrary comments and actions across many years?)
Suppose i claimed to be a Liberal in spite of my answers to the poll, consistently non-Liberal, would you believe it? Of course not. What kind of an anthropologist would be fooled by someone that claims he is a tree-lover but completely clears his own property of them? It would be ridiculous to take him at his word. Do you disagree?
If i claim to be a Libertarian but to every issue that is brought up i proffer a statist solution, such as, drug users make our society less safe, let's have a war on drugs, or i'm a gay, so i want special laws to protect me. One or two issues, maybe, but when the majority of my views (and actions) are clearly NOT Libt, you would twig in no time, and have an excellent case that i'm not what i claim to be.
Here is an indicator of our biases. You believe "I do not favour compulsory prayer at football games" is a neutral way of saying, "I do not believe in banning prayer at football games". The responses to the way i posed that question in the poll would tend to divide us into two groups, which actually tells us something (which is why i couched it in those terms). Your question would tell us nothing -- we'd ALWAYS agree that there should never be compulsory prayer, anywhere -- NO Libertarian would disagree, be he Theist or Atheist.
My first question in this post, "how could we determine who among us are Liberals?" -- do you have an answer for it -- some kind of quick quiz?
-- RemBeau 18:19, 9 August 2008 (EDT)
But it looks as though we are just going to keep adding to "Liberal Beliefs". Sigh.--Bobbing up 11:40, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

I'd definitely favor a clearer, more neutral rewrite. This seems to have really taken off; it dominated the recent changes page yesterday. It might be a good idea to broaden some of the topics; for example, instead of talking about "PETA" and "dogfighting", we could talk about "cruelty toward animals". I'll work on a better formatted version this evening, if it isn't already done by then. Should we overhaul this page or make a new one? OneForLogic 12:06, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

I really think that we should make a new one, and that it shouldn't be "Liberal Beliefs" but our beliefs. Users of RationalWiki. The fact that the first set were created by someone who perhaps does not share our agenda taints it somewhat as well. There are lots of other things that could be here: abortion, capital punishment, various questions about religion, stem cells, birth control, cloning, etc. Each could well be worthy of a seperate debate as well, but I quite like this two line opinion format.--Bobbing up 12:17, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Should we make any attempt to port opinions already posted here to the new page or just let each user copy/paste their ideas themselves if they want? OneForLogic 12:46, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I don't know. Obviously if we change and clarify the questions/issues then people may want to make different points. So we could either:
  • Copy them across, leave the old page "as is" but invite people to update their opinions. or
  • Start a new page and invite people to comment all over again.
My inclination would be to copy over and invite people to update their comments as most people won't be that keen on writing the same thing all over again, - but updating/editing their comments would not be so onerous.
I also think that after each issue we should put a couple of lines of text explaining a bit more about it. Unless you're up on the issue some of the the headings are a bit confusing.--Bobbing up 12:58, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

I completely agree. I'd probably format it like this:

<Title of topic here>

<Some text explaining the topic here>

  • <People's thoughts in bullet points like before.><Sig>
  • <More thoughts><Other person's sig>

<Title of next topic>

<Etc.> We'll leave out the "Liberals SUPPORT" and "Liberals OPPOSE" headings. OneForLogic 17:48, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

I agree, except let us make each "topic" its own debate page. And the key is to make the "explanatory text" good and clear. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:44, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Seriously? That would be a lot of debates. I thought the point of this was to condense a lot of topics in one place. OneForLogic 22:08, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

And, btw, I've already created a new page, here. OneForLogic 22:10, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, I nominated that page for deletion, for lack of goat, etc. What's the matter with having clear, concise pages to discuss given issues? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:19, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
I like the way that we responded in one or two lines to the questions - let's limit responses to that. (We can also set up a big formal debate page for each one if we want to.) Having a one or two line response for each one on one page means that anybody can quickly get a feeling for what RW users stand for by having a look at one single page.--Bobbing up 02:46, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
I also think each user should put at the start in bold Yes/No/maybe to enable even quicker assessment.--DamoHi 02:51, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

If it makes you feel better, Human, I'd enjoy having a more drawn out discussion of some of these topics, particularly the economic topics like business related legislation and taxation in general, as it appears that I'm much more conservative in my economics than most of you are. I also think that the low effort, drive-by drop-a-few-lines and move on approach to discussing our positions was very interesting, if only because it helped me notice our differences on economic principles and such. I would not support condensing any debate all the way to "yes/no" format, as Damo suggests, partially because most of my positions, at least, cannot be simplified to a simple yes or no. Few things are that simple, no matter how cleverly phrased your "yes/no" questions are. OneForLogic 10:46, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

Nuclear power[edit]

  • should we build more nuclear power stations? Why?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • How would the waste be disposed of?
  • How would you deal with the security/environmental problems of moving waste from (eg) around the world?

That'd sharpen some minds. Totnesmartin 05:15, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Why not just create it? In fact, many of the points on the list could easily be converted into their own individual debate articles. Most people probably felt constrained to keep their comments brief on the "Liberal Beliefs" list. On the other hand, we might just want to have a trail run on Anthropogenic Global Warming before doing Nuclear Power - as people talking about Nuclear Power are likely to refer to AGW. As far as I can see AGW is obvious, but there seem to be a handful of other opinions.--Bobbing up 07:51, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Well Nuclear Power was just off the top of my head, to illustrate that there could a set of sub-questions on each topic. Totnesmartin 11:20, 7 August 2008 (EDT)


If no one objects I'd like to pursue the debate on smoking bans. Here in the UK - and in other parts of Europe - it's quite a big issue at the moment. The public health vs individual liberties are quite interesting. Silver Sloth 07:59, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

OK - create the debate page. Or would it be a good idea to discuss the format of the question here first?--Bobbing up 08:05, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Up and running, well, up and wheezing. Is someone with better wiki skilz wants to improve it please feel free. Silver Sloth 08:15, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I must admit admit that I would have said something like: "To what extent - if any - should the right of smokers to smoke be curtailed for public health reasons?" which would have been more open than the one you have created.--Bobbing up 08:29, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
If we do this, perhaps we should sandbox the questions page before going live?--Bobbing up 13:00, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Bob that the "intro" to any item should be more detailed, and perhaps include links to "examples" in various countries so we can all learn if we aren't familiar with the issue. Not to slag on Rem, he got a cool thing going, and I'm sure if he had had the time and inclination (and realized how far it would go) he would have written more detail on his original list. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:51, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Red numbers where my name should be[edit]

Me llamo RemBeau. Has the system gone a bit haywire?

-- Rem

You are Rem? That's strange. Your user page still exists: User:Rembrandt.ryan. If it was OK before we'll have to wait until some expert comes along.--Bobbing up 09:11, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
You are logged in, aren't you?--Bobbing up 09:12, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I must be -- i haven't purposely done any cracking. I set it up so that when i boot up, i'm logged in. Also, the "Minor Edit" box has disappeared. I suspect this is the work of Linda Blair's infiltrator.
-- Rem
When you look at very top right do you see your name, "my talk" "my preferences" etc?--Bobbing up 09:35, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Abortion & contraception[edit]

My own view and priorities on this would be:

  1. Sex education for children before they reach puberty
  2. Free access to contraception and morning-after pill
  3. Abortion to be legal and quick

Large numbers of abortions are a sign of failure. Abortion should not be the key issue, sex education and contraception should be key. In a well-educated and free society abortion should largely be unneccessary. It should not be a routine form of contraception. However, having decided that it is to be performed then the process should be speedy to minimise any stress. Jollyfish.gifGenghisYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 11:42, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

It would be nice if we didn't have a government (in Britain) that didn't cower in fear at fuckwit tabloids screeching that "sex education" means "telling children to have sex". Totnesmartin 11:56, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Obviously you don't understand that if we keep the kiddies in total ignorance about their pink bits (aside from the fact that they're EVIL), the idea of 'having sex' will never occur to them. --Gulik 19:22, 10 August 2008 (EDT)

what is the purpose of this page?[edit]

What is going on here? --CPAdmin1 14:56, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

It started at User talk:Rembrandt.ryan - he was curious about what "liberals" think about some issues, and started off a discussion that got moved here. The original list of issues is on his user page. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:59, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Hmm... as a conservative, am I allowed to post on this page? --CPAdmin1 15:00, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, that's one of the problems. If you look at "A better way of doing things" above. You'll see that I'm suggesting that we should have RW opinions rather than "Liberal opinions".--Bobbing up 15:03, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
As a liberal, I'd say yes :D why on earth shouldn't you express your opinion? Totnesmartin 15:07, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
If the purpose of the page is to measure the opinions of liberals, than my participation would be counterproductive. (I guess you could count me as a negative vote or something.) --CPAdmin1 15:09, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Measure is a little bit on the optimistic side, but i do expect a pattern to emerge. It was designed specifically with Liberals in mind (from a Libt perspective), and if many non-Liberals weighed in, that would make it tougher to analyze, given i'd have to filter out the non-Liberals. No offense, i hope. I have been invited to join in, and probably will, altho even that will confuse the issue.
-- Rem the Razor (you know, like Occam's razor) 7 AUG 2008
How about creating subheaders in each section for "non liberals" to have a voice but be easy to filter out for Rizmo's analysis? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:45, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

That was the point of creating the new, more neutral home for this discussion. It doesn't have as many topics yet, but adding new ones was also part of the point.OneForLogic

Oh, gee well, I nommed that for deletion. Let's ackle one topic at a time i one page of their own? And take some time to set up the exact wording before we discuss? ħumanUser talk:Human 03:21, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Oh, and CPAdmin1, you're most definitely welcome to post on either this or the new page. We're interested in understanding conservatives' opinions, too. OneForLogic 22:14, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I guess I like this page because I am tired of reading (when I bother to do so) and being told by conservatives what it is that liberals believe in. They seem to miss the point so often. Carptrash 14:35, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

It turns out Barkus WAS willin'[edit]

For your annoyance, i have added a section (on the Debate page) titled A Libertarian responds to (F) thru (L), which should hold some of you for awhile. I did this only after it was requesred by a big fan of mine.

-- RemBeau 23:32, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Maybe a Conservative (CPAdmin1?) would like to use this format? (Maybe the question mark doesn't fit here -- or maybe the lilt at the end could be heard.)

-- RemBeau 23:37, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Epic phail. Pleeze to respond in line, feel free to make subsections (Libertarian view), etc. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:25, 8 August 2008 (EDT)


  • "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". To me, that perfectly sums up the ACLU - I dislike some of the causes they've supported, but their overarching aim is to protect what is, to me, the most important Constitutional freedoms. Zmidponk 17:42, 6 August 2008 (EDT)
Um, not to get cynical here, but that statement is about the opposite of what the ACLU stands for. If you disagree with them, they fight to the death to silence you. --CPAdmin1 14:59, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
Only if their perception is that your disagreement takes the form of advocating discrimination against a person/group in an unconstitutional manner, or some other form of denying their Constitutional rights. Zmidponk 17:41, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
And how do public displays of the 10 commandments violate other people's rights? Or mentioning intelligent design in a classroom? --CPAdmin1 11:37, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Because they imply public endorsement of religion. If you want to put the Ten Commandments on your own private property, or teach intelligent design in a private school that endorses it, you have that right. But a secular government does not, or it wouldn't be secular. EVDebs 11:49, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
You still didn't say whose rights it violates, or what rights it violates. While some people may claim otherwise, this is not a secular government. There is nothing wrong with public of endorsement of religion. <Ducks> It doesn't violate the establishment clause. <Ducks again> --CPAdmin1 12:44, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
It violates the rights of the non-religious and those who do not agree with the religious sentiment expressed, as it is, however, quietly, a message of intimidation and forced conformity. And yes, the US is a secular government. Much was written about it by the people who hammered out the policy, and recognition of a Christian heritage within the Constitution has been rejected on several occasions. EVDebs 12:51, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
What right?? The right to not be offended at someone else's religion? No such right exists. A display of the 10 commandments is not forcing you to do anything, or believe anything. I did not say that the US is a Christian Government. I said it is not a secular government. --CPAdmin1 13:00, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
The ACLU perceive it as someone else'e religion being forced upon you, and, especially if it is on a goverment-owened space or building, the government is arguably endorsing it by not ordering it removed. Zmidponk 13:20, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
If that is someone else's religion being forced on you than I am Barack Obama. Is it someone else's sexuality being forced on me any time I hear about Gay marriage being legalized? --CPAdmin1 13:24, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
It is as much a matter of forcing gay sexuality on straights as straight marriage is on gays, no more, no less. It's only uncomfortable to people because gay sexuality is not something the general populace is exposed to on a daily basis; the difference is that conservatives try to hide behind religion to justify it, whereas liberals who are bothered by it chalk it up to just not being gay and therefore not being their thing. EVDebs 13:43, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
How does it not violate the establishment clause? tmtoulouse frustrate 13:20, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Congress (that is the government.) shall make no law. (legislation) respecting an establishment (key word. Government cannot set up (establish) one religion as the state religion. (see: Church of England.) That is the purpose of the amendment. ) of religion. while we're at it. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (that is what the ACLU is doing.) --CPAdmin1 13:30, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
And Congress delegates its authority to the rest of the nation, a point which was in some doubt until the 14th Amendment clarified it for posterity. In any case, the point has been solidified in common law by endless decisions in favor of secularism. EVDebs 13:43, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
I am not arguing that point. That is what I meant when I put (the Government) after the word congress. The point is that there is no restriction outside of A) legislation, and B) an established religion. --CPAdmin1 14:14, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
The thing is, the government CAN'T show any favoritism. Once we start letting people post the Ten Commandments on government property, they are obligated to also allow people to put up a quote from the Koran, the Wiccan Rede, a few quotes from the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, some Torah verses, lines from the Norse Eddas and the writings of the High Priestess of Pallas Athena, a few pages from the Book of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.... It's just too much trouble, so they're better off just keeping ALL religious kitsch off of government grounds.
And to pre-empt what I suspect your next reply will be, do you really want the government to be in the business of deciding which religions are 'real' and which aren't? --Gulik 19:20, 10 August 2008 (EDT)

Ten Commandments[edit]

The general location for Ten Commandments displays typically centers around courthouses. As can be seen from the analysis on our Ten Commandments page, the Ten Commandments have very little to do with the laws of the United States. From this aspect, I don't really see a good reason for why they should be displayed. All of this sidesteps the issues of establishment of religion and/or religion being force upon someone (both of which I agree with). --Edgerunner76Tah-daaaaaaah! 13:58, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

I'm also curious about CPAdmin1's reasons for wanting the Ten Commandments publicly displayed. What makes a public display any better than a private one (which no one is saying you can't have)? From my perspective, why should I pay (whatever super-small amount of my taxes that goes towards it) for a display that I feel (and legal precedent shows) violates the Constitution? --Edgerunner76Tah-daaaaaaah! 13:58, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
For my part, I've heard a very good case made for displaying them on public property as long as they're within an overall legal context. By themselves, no. But as examples of ancient law, they certainly qualify, along with the code of Hammurabi, the Twelve Tables, etc. That's a pretty monumental concept though, light years removed from simplistic evangelism like Roy's Rock and similar displays. EVDebs 14:04, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
I am not arguing that we should go and put a display of the 10 commandments on every courthouse or any other such thing. I am saying that if someone want's to have a display (Roy's Rock) they have that right, and it does not violate the constitution. Oh, and the Constitution is the law of the land, court precedent can and sometimes should (Dred Scott anyone?) be overturned. --CPAdmin1 14:17, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
The people who make the decision as to whether or not "Roy's Rock" violates the Constitution, decided that it did. So, how is "Roy's Rock" not a violation? I don't believe I conveyed my meaning with the word "precedent". EVDebs put it better. Outside of an overall "historical legal context", displays of the Ten Commandments have been found to violate the Establishment clause many times. That is what I mean by precedent. --Edgerunner76Tah-daaaaaaah! 14:54, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Just because it was "found" to violate the establishment clause does not mean that it does. Try explaining how it violates it without going into any court decisions. --CPAdmin1 15:09, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
That's like trying to ask someone to explain the Big Bang without inflationary theory, or to explain evolution without resorting to fossil evidence; it can be done, but there's little point in doing so. The court decisions, having the force of law under a common law system, are the primary sources for explaining this; they have synthesized both Constitutional law and prior precedent, as well as the intent of the framers so far as it can be determined, and the opinions thus generated are how the body of separation law has been established and interpreted. I could go back to Jefferson, or the Treaty of Tripoli, or Thomas Paine, but the facts are in the court decisions. EVDebs 16:43, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
The constitution takes precedence over court decisions. If the court decisions violate the constitution then they are not valid. What I want you to do is explain based on the constitution why 10 commandments displays are unconstitutional. --CPAdmin1 16:46, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Actually, court decisions (well, higher courts, anyway) essentially are the constitution, along with the document itself and its amendments. That is part of the courts' constitutional mandate - to interpret the constitution. ħumanUser talk:Human 17:23, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
To back up what Human said, you may want to check out Dan Evans' Tax Protester FAQ, which deals with the question of court opinions at some length. The law is what the courts say it is, and it takes a good case for a major miscarriage of justice to get it to change. That's how common law works. The courts can be wrong, but they have to have it proven to them to a pretty high degree of certainty. EVDebs 19:30, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Actually, the constitution is the constitution. The constitution does not change with court decisions. There is a proscribed method of changing the constitution. the amendment process. If that does not happen, the constitution does not change. The courts were intended to be the weakest branch of the government, not the strongest. The court system today has massively overstepped it's boundaries. --CPAdmin1 19:43, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Indeed. You've really gotta watch those damn activist judges, don't you? --Kels 19:56, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
An interesting article, but not the best measure of activism. If a law is truly against the constitution, it is not "activist" to strike it down. If a justice cites foreign law when he can't find anything in the constitution or american law to back up his decision, that is truly activist. --CPAdmin1 20:33, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Overstepped? You'd better tell that to the Chief Justice... Marshall, that is, not Roberts. This is how our court system has always operated. I reiterate -- common law. Legislature makes the laws, executive enforces them, but judicial decides what the law actually is. That in and of itself is well over two hundred years of precedent under the current Constitution alone, to say nothing of prior precedent. Even the UK is finally getting around to formalizing their own Supreme Court in the next year or two. EVDebs 23:27, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
"The courts were intended to be the weakest branch of the government" - says who? You? I always thought the elegant checks and balances we are supposed to admire created three equal branches. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:48, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Typical Liberal blather. It's obvious to all RIGHT-thinking people that the President is the ultimate authority on ALL things, with the other two branches just there to rubber-stamp His decisions fnord. --Gulik 19:20, 10 August 2008 (EDT)


OK, this page is becoming boring. Although there are indeed subtle differences of opinion amongst us - barring CPAdmin1, who is obviously of the opposite persuasion - I'm not learning anything, and CPAdmin1's positions are similarly fixed, obviously. Instead of watching this disappear up its own fundament as we descend into yet ANOTHER bickering war over issues we've already clobbered to death with our socks on CP, wouldn't it be MUCH more interesting if we used this article to see where we can agree on things. Already, it's evident Tim has no dispute with the average liberal over dogfighting, ethanol production, and humanitarian intervention, and probably would meet us in the middle on public funding of energy research, unions, nuclear power, preemptive war, prizefighting. Is it worth trying to explore new ground and set up some sections (or perhaps another debate page?) where we can all sit around and figure out common ground? Might be an interesting experiment, and at least it would be better than where I can see this one going since Tim's submissions. DogP 15:02, 8 August 2008 (EDT)


If every user answers the 40 questions, a couple of users answering at the same time will clutter all the Recent changes page. And I have to scroll very much to find my beloved WIGO and WIGO Talk pages. Thus I protest, and suggest to divide the page not by question, but by user. So if you want to answer, start a section with your username and answer all questions in sequence - and in one single edit. (Editor at) CP:no intelligence allowed 17:47, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

It's a bit late for that... also, using your watchlist kills the clutter, since it only shows the most recent edit. Might help? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:00, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't use the watchlist. Mine was just a rambling. I have never seen so much activity in RW for just an ordinary topic: I mean, it's not Lenski or the famous Night or the creationist movie or TK. (Editor at) CP:no intelligence allowed 18:27, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, this is the first page to ask everyone's opinion on a range of topics, and, er, we are. Meanwhile, choose "debate" from the namespace options box at the top of Recent Changes, and tick "invert selection". you'll miss the most recent edit, but checking the page every now and then should help you keep up. BTW, my watchlist is a huge kvetch of edits to that one page. I prefer the thing they've done on Wikipedia - any chance of seeing that here? Totnesmartin 18:39, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Well, things were pretty busy when we were doing the Behe rebuttal piece, everyone was all over it. But, no, not as busy as this. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:01, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
Personally I almost never look at WIGO (OK, I did for while when Lensiki was hot) so in my opinion if we debate something other than CP it's all to the good. Whenever I see recent changes filled with a whole list of CP stuff I usually just groan and go elsewhere.--Bobbing up 17:06, 9 August 2008 (EDT)
My sentiments, exactly -- i'm glad i'm not the only one that feels that way. I don't get the fascination with CP. Maybe because i've never even visited there ... i don't want to catch the RW virus.
-- RemBeau 08:26, 20 August 2008 (EDT)
" also, using your watchlist kills the clutter, since it only shows the most recent edit." (Human above) if you use the "enhanced recent changes" in preferences it declutters Recent changes - takes a little getting used to but is (IMHO) an improvement on the full screen of the plain Rc. SusanG  ContribsTalk 08:35, 20 August 2008 (EDT)


This debate must be the most disjointed page on RW (talk pages aside) I can't track anything on it - could someone sort it out please (I can't 'cause I can't make it out) SusanG  ContribsTalk 13:42, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Thinking about it, that's probably symptomatic of Libertarianism) SusanG  ContribsTalk
It's those pesky Libertarians again, eh?
I think the disjointedness stems from there being both a Debate AND a Talk page, with most folks posting on the Debate page. I guess folks decide on whim, and i probably don't have the hang of it yet.
-- RemBeau 08:33, 20 August 2008 (EDT)


This debate is getting dangerously large (as in, tough on the software, etc.). I suggest taking many of the later sections and splitting them off into their own debate, with appropriate topics. Or, ideally, our friend Rimbow will start some essays, where he explains what he thinks about certain issues, and we can discuss his awesome points on the talk page. PS, did you know that libertarians ended the draft in the US? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:36, 22 August 2008 (EDT)