True Believers

The biggest problem with true believers isn’t what tenets they hold to be sacred; it’s that they want to force those tenets and what goes with them on people who don’t share them.

For example, in the United States, if a true believer doesn’t want to have an abortion, no non-believer is going to force her to have one. But if a non-believer wants or needs a medically safe abortion of a non-viable fetus, the true believers pass laws that not only restrict her freedom, but endanger her life. Their action endangers the non-believer… and there’s no cost to the true believers.

True believers have opposed restrictions on corporate political statements and contributions because they outlawed certain corporate practices. This ignores the fact, as events have recently demonstrated, that unlimited corporate “freedom of speech” effectively restricts individual freedom of speech not only because money drowns out individual viewpoints, but also because only wealthy individuals can afford to dispute the corporate view and because no individual in the corporation can be held legally responsible for falsehoods, misstatements, or lies. So, effectively, the corporation gets preferred treatment under the law.

Same-sex marriage doesn’t harm true believers. There’s no requirement for them to marry someone of the same sex, and, in fact, same-sex marriage is more likely to benefit the true believers because it creates more stable bonds and less societal disruption. But true believers oppose it because it doesn’t fit their beliefs.

True believers cannot recognize or accept facts contrary to their own beliefs, which is why so many still believe that lying, thieving, hypocritical Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

The true believers are the ones causing disruption because they and their political allies are passing laws and overturning others that are against the wishes of the majority of the people. In effect, they’re imposing minority rule, while failing to acknowledge it, and in fact hypocritically claiming the opposite.

22 thoughts on “True Believers”

  1. Postagoras says:

    To me the saddest thing is that True Believers care deeply about doing the right thing. But their desire to have a simple solution makes them prey for hypocrites. True Believers aren’t into nuance, and they are easily motivated by apparent threats, and blanket responses.
    Abortion? Ban it.
    Drugs? Go to “war” and put users in prison.
    Crime? Give cops military hardware, put more people in prison. Capital punishment.
    Undocumented immigrants? Jail and deport them.
    More than half the country doesn’t agree with these blanket, all-or-nothing approaches. But the True Believers do, and they are reliable voters.
    They are manipulated by cynical candidates who get them afraid, and then have free reign to cut themselves and their cronies a massive slice of the pie.

    1. Tom says:

      “True Believers aren’t into nuance, and they are easily motivated by apparent threats, and blanket responses.”

      So I ‘thinks’ – action is necessary and definitive action is most likely to be successful. Thus our society’s real shakers and movers overt actions are usually not nuanced in their description of their intermediate goals but need to be nuanced to achieve their ultimate goal. People can easily choose to act on ‘black’ or ‘white’ but the percent that join falls precipitously when the options are joining ‘gray’ or ‘off-white’. If ‘true believers’ in Christ and God nuanced their actions via the Ten Commandments, Christianity and especially Evangelism would result in a much kinder religion.

      My second ‘thinks’ is that I cannot fathom why the ‘True Believer’ are not into nuance. Yes they believe because of their apprehensive ‘faith’, but theology is a complicated philosophy which requires an understanding of multiple nuances – does it not? So they have to be into nuances.

      1. Postagoras says:

        I listed many examples of the broad-brush, un-nuanced, blanket ideas of the True Believers. Feel free to comment on those.

        But, um, if you’re stretching your brain like a pretzel to make your point, feel free to not comment.

        1. Tom says:

          Your chosen examples certainly support an apparent lack of nuance by those who make such statements. I was trying to point out that such statements may not indicate un-nuanced minds. They may disbelieve nuances which may occasionally light up their minds. As AI stated … “True Believers are not necessarily religious either – they are fervent believers in their own personal reality.”

          1. Postagoras says:

            Maybe the True Believers have some nuanced beliefs, but is that really the issue?

            In the examples I enumerated, and many more, they support the simplest black-and-white approach. They don’t like policies that have any gray areas.

  2. Michael Creek says:

    Someone sent me a quote from a methodist pastor, David Barnhart. It goes like this
    “The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

  3. Mayhem says:

    A key aspect of this for all to consider – True Believers are not necessarily religious either – they are fervent believers in their own personal reality.
    And when that reality gets confronted with actual facts, they generally double down and double down, insisting that the facts are wrong. The scariest moment though is when the facts actually get through to them, they often flip completely – it becomes a very personal attack and they become rabid partisans against whatever thing they endorsed before.

    I’ve seen this across many industries – the drinker who find out their favourite tipple is flavoured and sweetened, the foodie who finds what they like is contaminated, the people who finally realise that what happens only to poor people can also happen to them, and they don’t think of themselves as poor

  4. Al says:

    I think it is easy to just blame the true-believers over abortion and guy marriage and say they are wrong because they don’t want me to do what I want. I think the abortion will come down to when science says life begins. The point where there are two people in one body is when abortion should be considered murder. Gay Marriage does not bother me as long as you don’t make me say it’s a good thing. I just wonder if guy marriage is all about two people who love each. Then why a day or two later gays were heading down to the local true-believer’s place of worship and demanding true-believe priests marry them because the secular government says they have to? I also don’t understand why if gays need a day, then week, now a month to show us how happy they are being who they are. Are they not now demanding true-believers stop believing what they have for centuries so that a minority of the population can say what they do is normal? As a true-believer I am glad I live in country with federalism. If you have a strong opinion on the death penalty and think it is out dated you can choose to move to a state where you plus 50% of that’s state population also believe the same thing. Where I can live in a state where myself and 50% of its population want to have capital punishment. We are allowy to have opposing ideas and still live in the same country that allows freedom to do both. Roe v Wade was bad law. It is now going back to the states where the people can choose what they want. What about all the corporations who are saying they will pay for travel for their employees to get an abortion in another state. Is this not a corporation forcing their policies in a state that doesn’t share the corporation’s ideas on abortion? Let’s just all calm down and let the states decide like they were intended to under the constitution. Remember non-believers if you don’t like the law there is an amendment process to change what you don’t like. Unlike one party that uses the court to find something like abortion in the constitution that isn’t and want say the 2nd amendment doesn’t exist when it is there in very plain English. If you need an example of true-believers using the amendment process to change the constitution just look up the “Convention of States Project”.

    1. The problem is, first, that more than half the U.S. population thinks some form of abortion should be legal and, second, that anti-abortion laws force behavior on women who want or need one to stay alive. Allowing abortion doesn’t restrict the rights of those who are against abortion. They can choose not to have one. Third, people who say, “We here in this place want to restrict your freedom because that’s the way we always did it” are no different from slave-owners before the Civil War. Under some of the state laws, a woman who goes to another state to have an abortion can be tried for murder and anyone who helps her in that other state can be sued or prosecuted, even if abortion is legal in that state. That’s like the pre-Civil War Runaway Slave Act, except it’s now the Runaway Woman Act.

      1. R. Hamilton says:

        ALL US states all make exception to save the life of the woman; at least one of the strictest (Oklahoma) also has rape and incest exceptions.

        As far as I can discover, no state treats out-of-state abortion as murder, although Missouri has attempted (not passed) to have civil rather than criminal consequences for seeking out-of-state abortions.

        What you describe sounds closer to Atwood’s propaganda fiction than reality.

        What someone merely WANTS, they should have thought of before getting to where there might be consequences they didn’t want. Especially when there is definite consequence for what we can’t really call either a person or not a person at our present level of understanding, and also consequence for the neglected DNA donor, even if he cares enough to remain involved and shoulder what portion of the burden nature (which is NOT fair, and there is a point beyond which it is absurdity to treat that as something to be rectified) permits him to.

        (Even if it matters what the majority believes – why should if the argument is that more than one life is involved?, your statement is accurate only with the words “some form” – that is, you could probably get the majority to agree to something in the neighborhood of less than 24 weeks (current viability mark, I think, although tech will push that earlier over time) or even 15 weeks; the only thing that seems moderately controversial except to those who want abortion right up to delivery, is fetal heartbeat versions (about 6 to 7 weeks) or earlier.)

        How is that “true believer”? I don’t think it’s necessary to such a position to cite ANY religion.

        More likely it’s those that want NO limits that are “true believers”, although what they believe in is not so much freedom (which doesn’t exist separate from some related responsibility, right?) as getting their way.

        1. Ryan Jackson says:

          Slightly derailed point, but let me ask, Mr. the Right is the best way to go because they want true freedom…

          What do you make of the Supreme Court taking up Moore v. Harper and the idea that State legislatures can just decide federal election results regardless of what the vote actually shows?

          1. Damon says:

            Who is voting? Some states are attempting legislation to show id to vote, and the biden administration is suing them for it. Without id’s, how can we actually say who is voting. Talk about “true believers”

          2. Ryan Jackson says:

            That’s a side issue from what I asked. But sure.

            In theory I am not against the idea of verified ID. That said, unless the Government is going to provide said IDs free of charge, no.

            Because requiring something you have to go give up half a day and then spend money on to get is deliberately hindering the ability to vote.

            Also, the, I don’t know, 99,99999999ad infin% of valid voting vs the near non existent actual fraud means the entire topic is a distraction, not a real concern.

          3. Damon says:

            I wasn’t arguing against you, or with you, I just commented on the end statement you made regarding the idea vague “states get to decide federal election results regardless of what the vote actually shows”.

            I’ll be interested in everyone’s views once the pendulum swings back to the right, in regards to actual voting integrity.

    2. KTL says:

      Do you also truly believe that your state should accept federal subsidies and tax exemptions and infrastructuire dollars? If you are living in one of the red states that favors antiabortion laws (and many other laws that tell others what to do), you are more than likely in a state that TAKES much more from the federal government than is collected in taxes from your state by the federal government.

      Perhaps you should give that extra money back on principle.

  5. Jeff says:

    Wonder what Eric Hoffer would say about this today? I think he’s the one who coined the term “True Believer,” or at least he published a book by the title back in the 1950s. One of his characteristics, if I remember correctly, is that the “true believer” is always on the extreme–they would be more likely to go from being a devoted communist to a devoted capitalist, and not to some in-between position. Somehow, I don’t see this working that way with the abortion crowd, but I have seen some folks make such a jump on the gay marriage issue.

  6. Phineas says:

    I think you’re being a bit disingenuous here, since people you label as ‘true believers’ aren’t the only ones who don’t follow a live-and-let-live approach. Pro-abortion folks have no respect for the prolife views of medical professionals and instead say that anyone who works as an Ob-Gyn or a pharmacist must be willing to assist in ending the life of unborn children regardless of their personal beliefs. Similarly, gay rights advocates have no respect for the personal beliefs of that Colorado baker, who was willing to sell a pre-made wedding cake to anyone, but who did not want to use his artistic talents to create a cake that promoted or celebrated something he felt was immoral.

    1. They are exceptions to every law and generalization. That doesn’t mean the laws are generally unjust or that the generalization doesn’t apply to most people. Misquoting slightly a movie line — people and their actions are their principles. Sometimes, one principle rates higher than another in people’s lives and minds.

    2. Ryan Jackson says:

      You’re not taking into account context and the fact that enough inequality and forced power dynamics require force in the exact opposite way just to gain traction.

      There’s a reason it’s perfectly fine to see someone like Idris Elba cast as a traditionally Caucasian character, but not fine to cast Justin Chatwin as an Asian character. In a vacuum the best actor can play the part no problem, but in reality movie casting has been so deliberately white washed for so long that it kind of has to hold that imbalance just to start giving non Caucasian actors a reasonable chance at opportunity and success.

      Mr. Modesitt even points this out in some of his books. Anna Marshal has to veer almost into outright Tyranny and bring down vast and excessive destruction just to start nudging things slowly in the right direction. Fall of Angels and the books following it show the steps needed to start pushing gender equality in a Patriarchal dominated world.

      Is Ryba a good person? Arguably. Is she WAY over the top in terms of fairness when she set up a feminine dominant military state? In a vacuum she is, because we can see that things work better if you let people work on equal levels. But in the world she found herself in, what she did is almost just reasonable.

  7. Sigil says:

    “I think the abortion will come down to when science says life begins.”

    Science is incapable of saying what you wantmy friend, and won’t. You are overlaying culture, your beliefs and the travesty that is the English language to try and create a truism. Doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.

  8. Ryan Jackson says:

    Not to mention the question is essentially answered through context.

    If a person goes into a coma and is completely braindead they are not considered alive anymore. So to be alive we need actual higher brain functionality, not just a functioning heart and organs.

    Higher brain power in a fetus doesn’t happen until we get past the 24 week mark. So if a “pro lifer” wants to trust Science they should be fine with abortion until at least 24 weeks.

    But there’s more to the argument these pro lifers never want to delve into. The idea that you HAVE to sacrifice yourself for someone else is so anathema to the concept of personal liberty I genuinely don’t understand people being okay with it. They won’t let you take organs from a dead person without consent, but by golly a woman better just suck it up if they’re pregnant, it’s such a bizarre stance.

    Of course if we REALLY want to start pushing buttons, let’s bring Trans rights into it. If we want to argue that life begins at conception, or even at Week 6 with a heartbeat. Male gender doesn’t develop until Week 7-9. So by their logic are all men transgender? Is anyone who transitions MtF actually just de-transitioning?

    Ultimately none of this really matters, in a world of true personal liberty no one should have a right to demand of another’s bodily autonomy and these decisions should only be between a person with a uterus and their doctor.

    1. Mayhem says:

      If you really want to bring tricky theological questions into it, what about the idea that Jesus being a virgin birth means he will have had only XX chromosomes, so unless he had some sort of SRY mutation, he would have been genetically female 😉

      I go by the Jewish argument, which is that the life of the mother is sacrosanct above all, and life doesn’t begin until birth. Until that time the fetus is considered part of the mother and assumes any and all rights that she has. This also simplifies everything when it comes to miscarriages – they are simply medical emergencies, not the legal and ethical minefield that the pro-life movement wants to make them.

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