Sinful Inequalities

by Henry on December 23, 2004

John DiIulio of ‘Mayberry Machiavellis’ fame has a short article on ‘Attacking “Sinful Inequalities”’ in the current issue of Perspectives on Politics.

Bible-believing Christians are supposed to heed the call to “be not afraid” of any worldly challenge. Whether you are a person of whatever faith or no faith, if you believe that inequality is a moral problem, and you are convinced that it is a real problem in America today, you should not be afraid to say so – and not be afraid to recommend whatever policies or programs you believe might make a real and lasting difference. In the post-1980 debate over inequality, at least as I have experienced it, it is liberals, not conservatives, who have normally lacked the courage of their true convictions, some for fear of being accused of favoring “big government” or having other thoughts out of season.

{ 40 comments }

1

Miller 12.23.04 at 8:36 pm

Hmmm, DiIluio lecturing people on standing up for their convictions. Imagine that. I demand he issue a retraction and apologize immediately.

2

a different chris 12.23.04 at 9:34 pm

I think that the part about liberals not expressing the courage of their convictions cannot be right. Kevin Drum – among others – has pointed out that liberalism really won the war of ideas.

Those convictions were put forward in such a successful manner they were not even questioned, only the means was debated. And here’s where we got conned.

Nobody nowadays questions that we should help other countries. But for the poverty of Mexico we got NAFTA.

Nobody nowadays questions that our children are entitled to a good education. Bush himself felt compelled to push NCLB. But we got fooled by the voucher movement – which nobody wants to implement, but its fantasy of cheap schooling prevents politicians from allocating the real coin we need.

Nowadays nobody questions that clean air is necessary, but we got “Cap and Trade.”

Inspired, half-hearted, or hideous, no matter what you think of NAFTA/Vouchers/Pollution Credits you can’t dismiss the fact that they only exist because liberal ideas were accepted by society.

3

Deb Frisch 12.24.04 at 12:26 am

it is liberals, not conservatives, who have normally lacked the courage of their true convictions, some for fear of being accused of favoring “big government” or having other thoughts out of season.

I have no idea what it means to have “thoughts out of season” but I am 100% in agreement that the left has been much less willing to act on its convictions than the right.

We have been bullied to believe that it is impolite, disrespectful, rude, intolerant, anti-multi-cultural, etc. to note that the tenets of the Judeo-Christian faith are empirical hypotheses that are almost certainly false.

Begging the question of whether there is a creator, god, supreme being, natural selector, etc. we can ask what this being is likely to look like, if it exists. Forget about quibbling about p(God exists). Let’s talk about the question of p(God’s a male humanlike entity who had a son named Jesus/God exists).

The Christian image of God is the trisection of three comically absurd empirical hypotheses:

1. God’s a male, humanlike entity

2. God never had sex, but God had a son named Jesus

3. God created the world in seven days a couple of thousand years ago

Every one of these hypotheses has a probability approaching zero.

p(Judaism) is also approximately zero. Same for p(Islam).

The abrahamic, guy-in-the-sky religions are infinitely less likely than native/eastern religions like Buddhism, paganism, pantheism, etc that posit the existence of a god that is beyond species and gender, that has always existed.

So yes, it is time for the scientifically literate left to stop pretending that Christianity is a harmless cultural institution.

The Christian theory of god and creation is at the bottom of the heap of plausibility – under Judaism, for sure (same kooky god – but no kooky son) and maybe Islam, I don’t know. It is WAY below buddhism and pantheism.

The scientifically literate left needs to grow a spine and stop coddling Christians in the name of tolerance.

Merry ephing Christmas.

4

alphacoward 12.24.04 at 12:36 am

Does simply removing the foundations of “redistribution of income” also remove the “class” divisions that exist in our Country?

My Blog!

5

dsquared 12.24.04 at 1:20 am

The abrahamic, guy-in-the-sky religions are infinitely less likely than native/eastern religions like Buddhism, paganism, pantheism, etc that posit the existence of a god that is beyond species and gender, that has always existed.

As a Bayesian, I’m not sure I agree with this; the existence of human beings who don’t have eight arms, elephant’s heads, etc ought to be counted as weak evidence that gods are similarly formed.

6

Deb Frisch 12.24.04 at 1:58 am

gee, dsquared. I’m bummed. I had pegged you as moderately fluent in Bayesianism – somewhere below me and above Quiggin. But now I see that you are way below Quiggin.

From a Bayesian perspective, the non-existence of human beings with eight arms, elephant’s heads is not diagnostic of whether god’s a guy OR god is beyond gender and species.

Similarly, the non-existence of zebras with purple stripes, kangaroos with six legs, koalas with human heads, etc. is not very diagnostic of either hypothesis in question.

Perhaps you could expand on the reason you think the non-existence of hypothetical animate entities helps us differentiate between:

a.god is male and humanlike

AND

b. god is at a level of abstraction that is beyond species and gender?

7

Matt McGrattan 12.24.04 at 3:29 am

[It's late, but for what it's worth...]

“native/eastern religions like Buddhism, paganism, pantheism, etc that posit the existence of a god that is beyond species and gender, that has always existed.”

Well, factually speaking, Buddhism doesn’t really posit a god at all and paganism, far from positing gods beyond species and gender, posits gods that are highly specific with respect to gender and species — it just posits more than one. Neither Buddhism nor paganism is the place to look if you are seeking a religion that posits a deity beyond species and gender.

8

bunny 12.24.04 at 5:30 am

I have to ask deb frisch, what exactly does the existance of god(s) have to do with the question at hand? The most reliably liberal voting blocs in the US are among the most religious (African Americans) and those who are often defined by their religon (Jews).

It’s simply moronic to try to define atheism as a liberal cause, but I’m sure Grover and Karl applaud the effort.

The liberal cause when it comes to religon is not allowing others to force their religons upon us. Yes, we believe it is “impolite, disrespectful, rude, intolerant” etc. to attack someone’s religon. We believe in letting people believe whatever moronic thing they want, as long as they don’t force it on us. Isn’t that the definition of liberality?

Besides, evangelical atheists are as annoying to us agnostics as evangelical christians are.

9

Mark 12.24.04 at 5:35 am

…the existence of human beings who don’t have eight arms, elephant’s heads, etc ought to be counted as weak evidence that gods are similarly formed.

Daniel, why? Homo sapiens is one species. Of the tens of billions of species that have lived over the past 4 billion years, more than 99% are gone; and what remain are as diverse as you could imagine. From infinitesimal, barely alive viruses to massive, hundred ton blue whales. Why would the non-existance of X type organisms be evidence in favor of a homo sapien-like god? Or evidence of anything, really? In fact, why must the non-existance of X-type organisms even be evidence against an X-type God?

There is much that is absurd in Deb’s post, but your objection doesn’t address them.

10

BigMacAttack 12.24.04 at 5:49 am

Deb Frisch,

Cue John Belushi’s debating intro -

The idea that dark skinned folks shouldn’t be slaves to white skinned folks is an absurd empirical hypotheses.

But I say who cares. I am all in favor of coddling people who believe that.

Yea. Yea. I understand. I am being silly. God’s sex is a factual issue and you are quite capable of determining the sex of an omniscience divine being.

11

Alison 12.24.04 at 9:43 am

bigmacattack (sarcastically) God’s sex is a factual issue, and you are quite capable of determining the sex of an omniscience divine being

Mark There is much that is absurd in deb’s post

Bunny evangelical atheists are annoying

Daniel – something too long to quote about hindu gods.

etc.

Hello? Deb said that it is unlikely that ‘god’ (ie ‘the’ transcendent being) is a male humanlike entity. That seems a pretty safe assertion to me. Safer than the assertion that god does or does not exist.

That god resembles an adult male human (and implicitly vice versa) is part of a powerful and conservative world view, and the difficulty of challenging even this manifestly shaky premise is an example of the diffidence of liberalism that the original post was about. So I don’t know why the response is so overwhelmingly hostile.

12

Deb Frisch 12.24.04 at 10:02 am

Alison: Deb said that it is unlikely that ‘god’ (ie ‘the’ transcendent being) is a male humanlike entity. That seems a pretty safe assertion to me. Safer than the assertion that god does or does not exist.

That god resembles an adult male human (and implicitly vice versa) is part of a powerful and conservative world view, and the difficulty of challenging even this manifestly shaky premise is an example of the diffidence of liberalism that the original post was about. So I don’t know why the response is so overwhelmingly hostile.

Deb: Thanks, Alison, for understanding my point. I don’t know why the fellows have such a hard time with such a simple concept.

Matt: Neither Buddhism nor paganism is the place to look if you are seeking a religion that posits a deity beyond species and gender.

You might want to brush up on Buddhism 101. The Buddhist version of the source, transcendent being is most definitely beyond species and gender. It’s the kooky Judeo-Christians that pathologically created god in their own image.

13

Ded Fisch 12.24.04 at 10:22 am

The idea that any fact about God is “an empirical hypothesis” is evidence for how boneheaded Deb Frisch is. IF God exists, then any attribute she, he, or it has, she, he or it possesses necessarily…..

Yet another thread hijacked by this tiresome person.

14

abb1 12.24.04 at 10:26 am

I think that the part about liberals not expressing the courage of their convictions cannot be right. Kevin Drum – among others – has pointed out that liberalism really won the war of ideas.

I can’t disagree more. If this is a victory, how would a defeat look?

On the ‘class inequality’ front, here’s 1944 FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights. Compare this to the current state of affairs – who’s won the war of ideas?

On the ‘social libertarianism’ front it’s a disaster too. See this, for example: A poll in Spain found that almost 70% of Spaniards support gay marriage. Spain, for chrissake.

15

smirkinglurker 12.24.04 at 10:31 am

Hey ded fisch – are you making fun of deb or referring to your sexual capacity?

16

Tom Doyle 12.24.04 at 2:25 pm

Henry:

Is the text of DiIulio’s article accessible? I couldn’t get past the Table of Contents.

17

Henry 12.24.04 at 3:25 pm

Tom – you need to be a member of APSA to get in, unfortunately – http://www.apsanet.org – I trawled the web for a free version, and didn’t find anything.

18

Tom Doyle 12.24.04 at 3:46 pm

Abb1:

How about this?

U.S. President Harry Truman

Address in San Francisco at the Closing Session of the United Nations Conference June 26, 1945

The Charter of the United Nations which you have just signed is a solid structure upon which we can build a better world. History will honor you for it. Between the victory in Europe and the final victory in Japan, in this most destructive of all wars, you have won a victory against war itself.

It was the hope of such a Charter that helped sustain the courage of stricken peoples through the darkest days of the war. For it is a declaration of great faith by the nations of the earth–faith that war is not inevitable, faith that peace can be maintained.

If we had had this Charter a few years ago-and above all, the will to use it–millions now dead would be alive. If we should falter in the future in our will to use it, millions now living will surely die.
[...]
It has already been said by many that this is only a first step to a lasting peace. That is true. …The Constitution of my own country came from a Convention which–like this one–was made up off delegates with many different views. Like this Charter, our Constitution came from a free and sometimes bitter exchange of conflicting opinions. When it was adopted, no one regarded it as a perfect document. … This Charter, like our own Constitution, will be expanded and improved as time goes on… Changing world conditions will require readjustments–but they will be the readjustments of peace and not of war.
[...]
There were many who doubted that agreement could ever be reached by these fifty countries differing so much in race and religion, in language and culture. But these differences were all forgotten in one unshakable unity of determination–to find a way to end wars. Out of all the arguments and disputes, and different points of view, a way was found to agree.
[...]

The world must now use it!

If we fail to use it, we shall betray all those who have died in order that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it.

If we seek to use it selfishly–for the advantage of any one nation or any small group of nations–we shall be equally guilty of that betrayal.

The successful use of this instrument will require the united will and firm determination of the free peoples who have created it. The job will tax the moral strength and fibre of us all.

We all have to recognize-no matter how great our strength–that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please. No one nation, no regional group, can or should expect, any special privilege which harms any other nation. If any nation would keep security for itself, it must be ready and willing to share security with all. That is the price which each nation will have to pay for world peace. Unless we are all willing to pay that price, no organization for world peace can accomplish its purpose.

And what a reasonable price that is!

Out of this conflict have come powerful military nations, now fully trained and equipped for war. But they have no right to dominate the world. It is rather the duty of these powerful nations to assume the responsibility for leadership toward a world of peace. That is why we have here resolved that power and strength shall be used not to wage war, but to keep the world at peace, and free from the fear of war.

By their own example the strong nations of the world should lead the way to international justice. That principle of justice is the foundation stone of this Charter.

19

Deb 12.24.04 at 4:52 pm

brainded: The idea that any fact about God is “an empirical hypothesis” is evidence for how boneheaded Deb Frisch is. IF God exists, then any attribute she, he, or it has, she, he or it possesses necessarily…..

I hate to be to the one to break it to you, but the statement:

Jesus Christ was the son of God

is an empirical claim about the world. It is either true or false. We can assign a probability to it.

Similarly, the statement:

God created the earth in 7 days

is an empirical claim. We can never know with 100% certainly what happened when life on earth began. We can assign probabilities to different hypotheses about how long it took, WHEN it happened (billions vs. thousands of years ago), etc.

We can assign probabilities to hypotheses like:

God is like a human
God is like a man
God is like a penguin
God is like a woman
God is neither male nor female
God is neither human nor penguin nor saguaro
etc.

I know p(you will understand this post) is approximately zero, dedfisch. But it’s interesting to elaborate on how sceintific reasoning can be applied to religious hypotheses.

20

Walt Pohl 12.24.04 at 5:32 pm

Alison: The response to Deb’s post is hostile because she’s trolling. (Also, dsquared’s post was a joke.)

21

abb1 12.24.04 at 5:38 pm

How about this?

Yes, Tom, this too, although in this case, arguably, what we have is a win for a pathogenic offshoot of liberalism.

22

abb1 12.24.04 at 6:30 pm

Alison:
That god resembles an adult male human (and implicitly vice versa) is part of a powerful and conservative world view, and the difficulty of challenging even this manifestly shaky premise is an example of the diffidence of liberalism that the original post was about.

Deb:
But it’s interesting to elaborate on how sceintific reasoning can be applied to religious hypotheses.

Here’s sceintific reasoning for you: Blaise Pascal, one of smartest scientists ever, mathematically proved that messing with gods is not a good idea – better safe than sorry. The server/software running this blog is pretty shaky already and you, girls, keep playing with fire. I’m really pessimistic now, yes I am.

23

Deb 12.24.04 at 9:06 pm

Walt to Alison: The response to Deb’s post is hostile because she’s trolling. (Also, dsquared’s post was a joke.)

Translation: Alison, Deb’s a bad girl. She’s an icky troll. She doesn’t have a sense of humor and so she didn’t understand that d-squared was intentionally joking when he invoked the reverend bayes.

Alison, we like good girls like you at Crooked Timber. Don’t you want to be on the big team and not with that yucky, icky troll?

Walt, if I gave a rat’s arse about what arses like you thought of me, I’d be bummed right now.

abb1: Here’s sceintific reasoning for you: Blaise Pascal, one of smartest scientists ever, mathematically proved that messing with gods is not a good idea – better safe than sorry.

Deb: Aye, mate. I’m with you that Monsieur Pascal possessed one of the greatest human minds that the world has ever seen. I couldn’t agree more that he endorsed a version of the precautionary principle. But I wouldn’t say the gist was that “messing with gods is not a good idea.”

It is more like: We don’t know if one day, we’ll meet our maker. One cannot know for sure until one is dead when it is too late to figure out what the maker wanted us to do and to do it. Pascal says if you do the math, you’ll choose to believe in god.

Pascal assumed that the only two options were “Christian God” and “no God.” I think that if he had lived after Darwin, he would not have succumbed to this false dichotomy. Although I’m not 100% sure Darwin would have trumped Jesus, I choose to act as if Pascal would agree that his wager is vastly improved by replacing “Christian God” vs. “no God” with “supreme/transcendent being” vs. “no supreme/transcendent being.”

Pascal thought his wager was an argument for why it’s rational to believe in the christian god but it’s really an argument for why it’s rational to believe in a god/transcendent being. The question of which image of god is most sensible is a separate issue.

[Blaise: In the unlikely event that I have ephed up big time, could you ask the big guy to go easy on me?]

24

Tom Doyle 12.24.04 at 9:43 pm

abb1 wrote:

“…in this case, arguably, what we have is a win for a pathogenic offshoot of liberalism”

Interesting metaphor.

In the same speech, Truman said:

“All Fascism did not die with Mussolini. Hitler is finished–but the seeds spread by his disordered mind have firm root in too many fanatical brains.

“It is easier to remove tyrants and destroy concentration camps than it is to kill the ideas which gave them birth and strength. Victory on the battlefield was essential, but it was not enough. For a good peace, a lasting peace, the decent peoples of the earth must remain determined to strike down the evil spirit which has hung over the world for the last decade.

“The forces of reaction and tyranny all over the world will try to keep the United Nations from
remaining united. Even while the military machine of the Axis was being destroyed in Europe-even
down to its very end–they still tried to divide us.

“They failed. But they will try again.”

FWIW

25

Walt Pohl 12.24.04 at 10:10 pm

Actually, Deb, I’m pretty sure you’re an adolescent boy, ’cause no other group has such a pathological need for attention.

26

Henry 12.24.04 at 11:39 pm

Deb – you’re on a warning. I don’t enjoy it when you jump into a thread on a completely different subject and start trying to stir the shit. I’m sorry that I defended you earlier from people accusing you of being a troll, because you’re acting like one – yelling out to cause offense and get attention. The level of conversation nosedives when you make a comment – you’ve got your own blog to post on, and I don’t appreciate what you’re doing here. If you keep on doing this, I’m going to start deleting your comments systematically from my posts. If it makes you feel happier and , you can call it censorship, or whatever you want – I can’t say that I care especially. Either shove off or stop acting like a ten year old.

27

Deb 12.25.04 at 12:53 am

Wow Henry – guys make nasty posts making fun of my name, etc. and you don’t jump in. Now you’re threatening to delete my posts.

Thanks for adding to the growing pile of evidence of how pathetic the blokes at CT are.

Good luck trying to silence someone in a forum that allows anonymous posts.

Gonna delete this one, Hank?

28

bellatrys 12.25.04 at 1:07 am

Yo, deb, study up on your ancient history before you stick your feet in your mouth again. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back all you like, dislocate your arm in congratulating yourself on being so much smarter than we theists – but at least get your facts straight.

It’s the kooky Judeo-Christians that pathologically created god in their own image.

Unless there have been serious revolutions in the field of history, Babylon, the Indus valley, the Cyclades, and Egypt all predate Judaism, to say nothing of Christianity. Unless again there have been serious revisions in folklore and comparative mythology that I’ve somehow missed, *all* those cultures were given to anthopomorphic depictions of the Divine, often (tho’ not always) with an explicitly ithyphallic tenor.

–To the point that one of the earliest known Big Name Greek Philosophers, Xenophanes (not to be confused with the student of another Big Name Philosopher, Xenophon) wrote, “But mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are, and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form,” and again, “Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds,” and even more explicitly, “The Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair.”

(He also took a dim view of the glorification of athletes over mental achievement, proving himself to be ahead of more than one curve by several millennia, since we are not there yet by any means.)

So if you’re going to flyte, get your facts straight, or be prepared to face a threefold return!

29

bellatrys 12.25.04 at 1:13 am

And what’s with the threadjacking, deb? Not getting enough traffic on your blog?

Hey, here’s a good blog with an interesting post (lots in fact) entitled “This atheist celebrates the birth of Jesus.”

And it happens to be by an obscure *female* blogger whom I’m going to add to my regular reads – link via a dKos comment. (See, deb, *this* is how it’s done in civilized society. I don’t pretend to be terribly, terribly civilized myself, but I *do* know that you *don’t* threadjack and insult people wildly on a blog you’re a virtual stranger at, and then act like you’re the victim when people respond hotly. At least if you’re not a total thug.)

30

Deb 12.25.04 at 1:16 am

Dear bellatrys,

The point is that the buddhist conception of the supreme being is infinitely more plausible, probable and sensible than the judeo-christian-muslim one.

The hypothesis that the supreme being is a human male is sexist, speciesist and stupid.

What’s an ithy phallic?

31

Deb 12.25.04 at 1:21 am

Yks blltrys – m thrdjckr ND trll ND thg. m n bd blggr. thnk v rspndd mldl t th stpd, sxst bllsht v xprncd n crkd tmbr. Srr f y thnk v vr-rctd t bng ttckd b th byz@CT.

32

Matt McGrattan 12.26.04 at 1:21 am

Deb:

The whole point is that Buddhists, far from having a conception of the supreme being that is “is infinitely more plausible, probable and sensible than the judeo-christian-muslim one”, don’t have any positive conception of a supreme being at all!

To keep asserting otherwise is to display a lamentable ignorance of even the rudiments of what Buddhism, at least in its original Theravada form, professes.

[I'm leaving out various wacky Mahayana/Vajrayana bodhisatvas and quasi-deitic demi-gods which have a pretty wierd ontological status - a lot of Tibetan Buddhists that I've read seem to treat these 'instrumentally' rather than as metaphysically real in the sense that the Judeo-Christian deity is said to be real...]

33

Deb 12.26.04 at 2:03 pm

I’m talking about the concept of the tao – the yin/yang, etc. The source of everything.

It’s not a supreme being in the Judeo-Christian sense – an entity that interferes in human affairs, has children, keeps a ledger of good and bad deeds, etc.

It’s a supreme being in the sense of the source of existence.

It’s more like “May the force be with you” than “God bless you.”

34

wilted pole 12.26.04 at 2:07 pm

Wow! Hanky panky deleted the vowels from Deb’s post.

I guess he showed her.

35

Matt McGrattan 12.26.04 at 5:25 pm

“I’m talking about the concept of the tao – the yin/yang, etc. The source of everything.

It’s not a supreme being in the Judeo-Christian sense – an entity that interferes in human affairs, has children, keeps a ledger of good and bad deeds, etc.

It’s a supreme being in the sense of the source of existence.

It’s more like “May the force be with you” than “God bless you.” “

You’re just making this crap up aren’t you?

So now you’re busy conflating Taoism (you know, ‘the tao’ and all that ‘ying-yang’ malarkey) with Buddhism (you know, the Five Noble Truths, the Eight-fold path, all that completely different stuff).

Taoism is Chinese, whereas Buddhism originates in Northern India, and Lau Tzu the author of the Tao Te Ching was a near contemporary of the Buddha but, er, living many thousands of miles away in a completely different culture.

You’re mixing up two completely different cultural and religious systems.

I assume you a) know this and are just being deliberately provocative or b) are arrogant enough to continue prattling on about something about which you clearly know sod all….

[New Year resolution: must not feed the troll...]

36

Matt McGrattan 12.26.04 at 5:27 pm

gah, I meant “Four Noble Truths”…

37

Henry 12.26.04 at 7:19 pm

Deb/wilted pole

Using sockpuppets is a bit pathetic. I’m barring you from commenting on my posts – I’m probably not going to try too hard to root out your pseudonyms, so I’m sure that you can sneak in if you want to – but if they’re up to the standards of your recent comments, they’ll probably be deleted anyway for irrelevance or offensiveness or both.

38

Tom Doyle 12.27.04 at 12:35 am

“ ‘Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands, and could paint with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen, and make their bodies in the image of their several kinds,’ and even more explicitly…”

God is neither human nor penguin nor saguaro etc.

“… various wacky Mahayana/Vajrayana bodhisatvas and quasi-deitic demi-gods which have a pretty wierd ontological status – a lot of Tibetan Buddhists that I’ve read seem to treat these ‘instrumentally’ rather than as metaphysically real in the sense that the Judeo-Christian deity is said to be real…”

“Yks blltrys – m thrdjckr ND trll ND thg. m n bd blggr. thnk v rspndd mldl t th stpd, sxst bllsht v xprncd n crkd tmbr. Srr f y thnk v vr-rctd t bng ttckd b th byz@CT.”

This must be what they call “Speaking in Tongues.”

39

Tom Doyle 12.27.04 at 7:44 pm

Henry:

What do you make of the vexatious visitor? The “troll” characterization is starting to look excessively optimistic.

You may be wanting an exorcism. If so, I recommend the Catholics, by reputation.

40

Henry 12.27.04 at 11:04 pm

Actually as trolls go, she’s by no means the worst that we’ve had. There was an anti-semitic lunatic who plagued us for weeks, continually posting comments that had to be deleted (he gave up eventually). This is minor stuff in comparison (if anyone is reading this comment, and is mystified, there are a bunch of comments by a persistent troll that have been deleted from this post).

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