God vs. Government 

Part I

Normally, I prefer not to smorgasbord the Internet for information. If you want to trust anything you learn on the Internet, that's your business. But as far as I'm concerned, way too much of it is little more than a snazzy upgrade of the old Ma Bell party line, on which every know-it-all in the neighborhood could talk at once.

With that said, I admit to sauntering some Internet just the other day. There was something in the other Boise paper—which I won't name for reasons I'll explain later, but to give you a hint, it's the one that's laying employees off, as opposed to the Boise Weekly, which has lately been hiring—that intrigued me. I can't even guess why anyone, let alone what passes for the area's premier newspaper, would be repeating anything Bryan Fischer says, but indeed they were. They do often, in fact, in that patronizing little corner of the editorial page they call "Other Voices."

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against other voices—unless, of course, those other voices are 1) boring, 2) stupid, 3) a lazy rehash of slop the voicer mopped up off the Internet or, 4) all of the above. The trouble with the "Other Voices" section of the Stat ... er, that newspaper in town that isn't BW ... is that the same eight or 10 other voices keep showing up in it. From the right, that includes Adam Graham, Dennis Mansfield, Dave Frazier, and Bryan Fischer. (I could name the usual suspects from the left, too, but I'd rather not. Sooner or later, I'm going to be sitting across the dinner table from one or all of them at some Democratic function, and I see no advantage to spoiling the evening in advance.)

This time, the "other voice" from Bryan Fischer was his understanding of the fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals. As excerpted in The Statesm ... er, that daily newspaper in Boise that changes ownership like Christie Brinkley changes husbands ... Fischer said, "A conservative worldview believes that a culture's strength lies in its willingness to acknowledge God as the source of our civil rights and our liberties.

"A liberal world view, on the other hand, looks to government as the solution for virtually everything. Government replaces God as our ultimate resource, and citizens are taught to look first to government rather than God, themselves, or their families for help."

I left out some of what the other newspaper said Bryan Fischer said. Out of the three paragraphs they printed, I only passed on two. One thing all newspapers have in common, be they down-sizing papers or up-sizing papers, is how many words they can cram into a given space. So I'm trying to reserve myself a column inch or two for later on by not quoting the other paper's entire quote of Bryan Fischer.

Yet I couldn't help but wonder, since I know the Sta ... er, that other paper ... has to be as concerned as I am with word limits, what they left out of the original source. And that's when I went Internet scooting, to find out where that other paper got their "other voice" from.

More to the point, I needed to know if Fischer can possibly be as simple-minded as the other paper made him sound when the quote they pulled is put in the context of his complete statement.

Short answer: yes.

I didn't slink the Internet long before I found Fischer's entire blog post on this subject of how to tell a conservative from a liberal, which was no surprise. As you know, Bryan Fischer is a huge, huge presence in Idaho's stable of unavoidable people, having lost his position a few years ago as the Idaho Legislature's official prayer invoker, then having lost the battle with the city to keep the Ten Commandments monument in Julia Davis Park, then having run the Idaho Values Alliance so far into the ground he was begging for handouts not six months ago, and then most recently, having lost the decision as to whether he and his widdle buddy Brandi Swindell should pay the court costs for their big Ten Commandments adventure. Nor is it a surprise the Stat ... er, the other paper ... considers him somebody to quote. Often, the bigger a loser you are, the more attention you get.

But is this not what the blog-o-rama part of the Internet excels at—giving people with no tangible talents other than their mouths a platform from which to spout and spew? Fischer's particular spewing platform is the Idaho Values Alliance Web site. In fact, from what I can gather, the IVA web site is about all there is left of the IVA anymore. And it was from this source that the Sta ... er, the newspaper on which RC Willey relies so heavily for ad distribution ... lifted Fischer's voice—three paragraphs of it from the original 13.

Which isn't to say they left out anything that would add any noticeable heft to Fischer's feather-weight manifesto. In his full statement, Fischer just expands on the notion that conservatives have God at the center of their sensibilities, while it is the liberal attitude that a government can do much more for its citizenry than regulate interstate trade and start wars. If Mr. Fischer realizes he is mixing abstract apples and organizational oranges in his argument, it doesn't show. But then, we mustn't expect logical consistency from anyone who would equate morality with the politics of George Bush, Karl Rove and Larry Craig.

Nevertheless, an argument might be lightweight and feeble-minded, and still carry a veneer of truth. I am certain that what Fischer puts forth as an axiomatic description of the differing worldviews is what many conservatives believe, and therefore merits further examination. After all, what we're dealing with here—if Fischer is right—is the most basic and irreducible definitions of the yin and the yang of all political thought.

But alas, I have done a piss poor job of controlling my own word limit on this column, and will have to delay that further examination until next week. And who could have ever imagined that anything Bryan Fischer said would get a Part I and a Part II out of moi?

Incidentally, Fischer begins his post by referencing an article in BW (BW, News, "Platform Diving," July 9, 2008) that dealt with the different considerations Idaho's Republicans and Democrats constructed into their party platforms. So this whole little circle began on these pages in the first place—a detail the St ... that other paper ... failed to include. This is why I will no longer write their name in public. I intend to show that we can ignore them every bit as thoroughly as they can ignore us.

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