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Author Topic: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States  (Read 4050 times)

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Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2013, 04:53:45 PM »
I was careful to say that I was talking specifically about "movement" conservatism for precisely the reason that I don't regard it as representative of all conservatives. People with conservative ideas are not necessarily scam artists at all, of course, and there are plenty of them I can respect and agree with on plenty of issues.

I am dubious, however, that it's really possible to uncouple the economic from the social issues as easily as you would like. "Small government" as a meme, for instance, has a pretty specific history which is tied to cultural and class warfare, to the edifices of the movement and to the efforts of the GOP in the past several decades to concentrate wealth in the hands of its backers and to shore up a voting base that could be used for that purpose. It really can't be abstracted from that, because there's no real-world issue related to government that it usefully describes or addresses. The social engineering that the meme was invented (or adapted) to accomplish is the meat of the issue, and directly related to the incompatibility with reality that makes attempts to implement it as an abstract ideal even more disastrous than the original problems. (This of course is bad news for something like libertarianism, a single-villain ideology that bases itself around the idea of "government" being at best a necessary evil that should only be indulged in small doses, but well... if an idea doesn't work, it doesn't work.)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 04:54:54 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2013, 05:10:50 PM »
The fundamental problem in my eyes, is our two-party dominated political system - I hope that is something we can agree on.  I think George Washington was correct in saying that the rise of political parties that attempt to find areas of disagreement between ourselves, rather than a unified body of Americans that find areas of agreement, would be the downfall of the US.  With that being said, why can't rational-minded liberals and conservatives alike stand up for the things that we do agree on?  For example, better regulation of large-scale corporations and banks - and avoiding the revolving door situations that take Wall Street bank executives, and have them appointed in our government.  I would imagine that both liberals and conservatives alike dislike lobbyists, and having large-scale corporations having more say in government than the average folk.

Unlike how many people many characterize conservatives, I am not a greedy person, nor am I a heartless person.  I fully support equal rights for all, but because I am aware of the government's track-record for inefficiency, I am reluctant to easily permit increasing personal and business taxes (even if it is only for high-income earners), when I know how much is being wasted every single day.  I know that I am not the only one who feels this way, and my desire to keep government more locally-based, or at the very least, state-based, has absolutely nothing to do with history you are alluding to.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 05:13:07 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2013, 05:31:44 PM »
Oh, I completely concur that rational-minded conservatives and liberals can and should come together and work on the issues on which they agree; this is precisely what is happening and should be happening. And personally I do think the American two-party systems is a bit nuts -- and agree that Washington's warnings were prophetic -- although in all fairness I don't think anyone ever envisaged one of the two parties deciding deliberately to set out to break the system as part of some nutty calculus of short-term political advantage (if you had asked people twenty years ago, when I was coming out of high school, whether the GOP would ever get to that point, they would have laughed you out of the room or accused you of unfairly caricaturing the conservative movement).

However, I also think there are way too many sacred cows in American (and Canadian) political discourse, and that "small government" is certainly one of them. And I think it's long since time we talked about them honestly. I have no doubt you sincerely believe that "[your] desire to keep government more locally-based, or at the very least, state-based, has absolutely nothing to do with history you are alluding to," but since a core part of that history has involved playing on the fears of government's "inefficiency" in order to enable the far worse inefficiencies of unbridled private enterprise, and another part of that history has consisted of rigging the tax regime to favour high-income earners and a certain bracket of business as part of what amounts to class warfare against the middle and lower income brackets -- in part ensuring that they would have a disproportionate amount of wealth and lobbying clout, which is precisely what produced the situation of "having large-scale corporations having more say in government than the average folk" -- it may be that you're just mistaken about that. It just isn't avoidable that a lot of these things are related.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2013, 05:46:54 PM »
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people who trust the free-market, are okay with private business corruption and fraud.  I think this is another area where liberals and conservatives can effectively compromise - putting reasonable and sensible measures in place to avoid corporate loopholes, that at the same time, will not economically discourage small businesses from growing.  As far as the tax differences between high-income and low-income earners, I definitely see where you are coming from.  However, it is a complex issue, because at the end of the day, high-income earners often subsidize an increase in their taxes, by correspondingly gutting jobs lower down on the hierachy.  Of course, you'll always see the occasional CEO or two who is willing to accept that more of his personal taxes will be going to the government, and be okay with a lower income, but more often than not, these CEOs simply place the corresponding amount they lost in tax hikes, to increasing their options stocks, or something similar.

Finally, that is not the reason why large-scale corporations have more say in government.  The reality is that regardless of liberal or conservative economics, there will always be a wealthy class of individuals - and it is the system of lobbyists that is the real culprit.  Unless we crack down on the lobbying culture of government, the wealthy class will always be the ruling class.

Offline Lilias

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2013, 05:50:27 PM »
Always nice to be regulated by your bodily functions.  Wonder though if I refuse to have sex with someone, am I a murderer?  Because I didn't give that egg the proper chance to fertilize?  So for a window of time each month women will just hang "open for business" signs on their bodies?

Have a look at these - it's no secret I love these grannies' style! ;)

http://margaretandhelen.com/2013/06/25/women-in-texas-might-not-feel-it-now-but-glenn-hager-and-rick-perry-are-tyring-to-screwed-em/
http://margaretandhelen.com/2013/07/02/if-my-vagina-shot-bullets-could-i-conceal-it-from-rick-perry-and-john-kasich/

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2013, 06:04:57 PM »
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people who trust the free-market, are okay with private business corruption and fraud. 

Oh, I don't think there's any such misconception. [EDIT: Well, put it another way: there are probably some people who do have such a misconception. But it's not what I was talking about.] I'm sure that a great many people who voted for what they imagined to be measures that would, for instance, keep federal regulators from interfering with the magic of the free market -- one of the most common kinds of platforms that "small" and "local" government rhetoric was used to enable -- had not the least idea that they were enabling corruption and fraud. Which doesn't change the fact that they were doing so. (The people in the movement who were conning those voters with such rhetoric were another matter. They knew perfectly well what they were doing, just as they do today.) But as you say, there are measures against corruption that we can all agree on; there's nothing among the solutions you note that I would object to.

Quote
Finally, that is not the reason why large-scale corporations have more say in government.

It would seem to me to function as a vicious circle. The more wealth gets concentrated, the more pernicious the lobbying process becomes -- greased by politely re-framed forms of bribery -- and the more readily rules get bent, broken, or simply rewritten to favour the corporate class. This in turn allows them to concentrate yet more wealth, which in turn allows further erosion of the political system's independence, around and around.   
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 06:14:20 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2013, 06:27:27 PM »
It would seem to me to function as a vicious circle. The more wealth gets concentrated, the more pernicious the lobbying process becomes -- greased by politely re-framed forms of bribery -- and the more readily rules get bent, broken, or simply rewritten to favour the corporate class. This in turn allows them to concentrate yet more wealth, which in turn allows further erosion of the political system's independence, around and around.

I don't think anyone likes a concentration of wealth - I certainly don't.  But how does increasing the taxes on on the wealthiest people, and putting more money into the federal government, help the average person?  While both you and I would certainly hope that it goes to help the average person through benefits and subsidies (and if it truly did, I would support it), the reality is that the federal government just keeps increasing their spending.  I am opposed to all these wars, and I think the fact that much of these tax hikes are going to increasing the defense spending is outrageous.

By pulling more money out of the economy, the government is actually playing a counterproductive role in job-creation.  Even if a CEO is earning billions of dollars, his annual expenditures - whether in the stock market, or as a consumer - will still be flowing in the economy.  When government increases taxes, and essentially siphons money out of the economy, it reduces economic capacity.  This siphoned money cannot directly be used to create jobs outside of the economy (well, I suppose federal jobs)- and it's main role looking at the financial figures, is to fund wars.  Thus, my concern is that these tax increases are not addressing the root cause.

For example, I found this graphic online showing the US federal budget.  I think the inefficiencies of government are pretty self-explanatory.


Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2013, 06:36:22 PM »
Except that most families don't print their own money, or have the vast majority of their debt to members of that family.

Here's a more expanded view of that budget:

https://profiles.google.com/102837097678487480685/buzz/Lnder48VJm8

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2013, 06:45:27 PM »
The notion that money becomes somehow inert in the hands of the federal government but is out there circulating in the economy and creating jobs in the hands of multi-billionaire CEO's is a classic fallacy of trickle-down economics.

First of all, having the wealth concentrated in the hands of the ultra-rich is not an effective way of creating jobs. Plutocratic economies are Third World economies (my old buddy Mark Rosenfelder explains this in detail here), and luxury classes do not share their wealth or function as a lucrative job market for everyone else.

Secondly, as is noted at that above link, America built its most legendary era of prosperity -- the post-WWII boom -- precisely on taxation of the wealthy and transference of those gains to service for the middle and lower income brackets. This, what is called the mixed economy, is a proven model for success. That is a matter of fact, not opinion, and is backed up over and over again by the numbers.

Thirdly, I agree with you that far too many resources are siphoned into defense spending in the States (notwithstanding that the military does create jobs, it also imposes massive costs that can't be sustained at those levels in the long term). However, I think it's a bit disingenuous to pretend that this is all it goes to, and until you've managed to shift the American public consensus behind militarism (another one of those sacred cows that could use killing), then even when it does come to military spending, asking the rich to pay their fair share of those costs also seems logical. Especially as it's they who often make profits from overseas adventures.

Offline CaughtByMoonlightTopic starter

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2013, 06:56:27 PM »
Well. I feel as though I have a created a thoughtful, well-spoken, intelligent and respectful monster!

To Valthazar: I have conflated Republicans and conservatives in this thread because by and large I don't see other flavors of conservatives creating/embracing the melding together of Dominionist Christian views with the idea that said ideas are what's "right" for America. I understand that there are other types of conservatives, and for those who don't to get up my vagina, into my religious practice, or whatever, I have deep respect. There should be more thoughtful and rational conservatives like them. Then we can disagree about actual issues. :D

I will say, however, that I disagree that a thriving middle class in America is uppermost in the minds of any flavor of conservative. Or perhaps better for me to say I've never come across a conservative who was also pro-Labor. It is a fundamental truth of economics that a middle class is an artificial construct. The Labor movement in America is what enabled pro-Labor legislators to help create our middle class. All of things that create a thriving middle class are enshrined in living wages and quality-of-life benefits that came out of labor laws and so on. (As an aside, I work with the most anti-Union person I've ever met. She find unionism to be in a class with spitting on churches or something. And every time she leaves on Friday for her weekend, I say aloud in the air "Thank a union member for the 40 hour workweek!" I am terrible person.  :o  )

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2013, 07:10:29 PM »
I think to both Cyrano Johnson and CaughtByMoonlight, I would say that I agree in principle to most of what you are saying.  The post-WWII boom as result of government influence (GI Bill, for example), and unions definitely help the average American.  But the concern that I have, and what most people who think like me have, is the poor implementation/corruption of these programs.  I do not know the efficiency of government during the WWII era, but I imagine that large-scale private banks and business/government were not colluding with each other to the extent that they are today.  I am very skeptical of where our tax money is going, and Bernanke (fed reserve chairman) even had to testify in congress for an apparent "loss" of money for unattributable reasons.  For example, the WSJ reported on a "covert" bailout of European banks through American tax payer money. 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204464404577118682763082876.html

My concern with unions has more to do with corruption by union leaders, than their underlying principles.

Edit
:  Just realized that the link above might not work, here's another one of the same topic:
http://www.salon.com/2012/06/23/bernanke_bails_out_europe/
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 07:21:05 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2013, 12:53:47 AM »
Here is on my take of 'Right Sized' vs 'Small' government

Right Sized...
-We'd have a food inspection service that works. No yearly massive recalls of food due to biological contaiminaion.
-It would be nice to have enough Osha/Safety inspectors to reduce the incidents of oil/gas/toxic material spills. Finding a problem BEFORE it gets out of hand and out of control would save TONS of money. No rebuilding, cleanup, buying lobbyists to get you out of trouble.
-A regulated banking industry woudln't have lost TONS of value in the housing market. The mortgage crisis woudln't have balloned as much.


'Small Government'
-Takes out vital inspections that could prevented/reduced a lot of our current problems. (Food inspectors, safety inspectors)
-Reduced the ability of law enforcement to be effective in some areas. You got damn little in some factors.
-Elimiantion of regulations of the banks, industry have done WHAT to reduce costs? Nothing that I can see.

I'm sorry.. I'm more of a 'Right size' vs 'Smaller' governemnt. There are areas where there are waste/unneeded overlap.. but there are areas where we are criminally deficient in coverage.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2013, 01:13:24 AM »
*nods*  There are certain areas where it needs to be smaller, and that would probably result in an over-all smaller government than we have now - but it would be a far cry from what someone called 'small enough to drown in a bathtub.'

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2013, 09:24:56 AM »
*nods*  There are certain areas where it needs to be smaller, and that would probably result in an over-all smaller government than we have now - but it would be a far cry from what someone called 'small enough to drown in a bathtub.'

That would be Grover Norquist, who has pretty much held the GOP reps and Senators hostage with that insane pledge to not EVER increase taxes.  Most of the time I think of the man as a loon but it depresses me just how much POWER he holds over the party. If you don't sign his friggin pledge it is (most often) the kiss of death to your career

Offline CaughtByMoonlightTopic starter

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2013, 10:56:11 AM »
Grover Norquist, yes, and Lee Atwater, the inventor of the notion of "a permanent Republican majority". Notice the tantrums thrown whenever the electorate decides which party ought to be in the majority. Egads. It actually shows what contempt some of these folks have for the electorate, and who they actually consider to be their constituency. Lee Atwater is deceased, but as the Bard said, "The evil men do lives on..." (or some version of that; I admit to being newly awake here and not too Bard-conscious).

Oh and Happy Independence Day!
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 10:57:25 AM by CaughtByMoonlight »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #40 on: July 04, 2013, 11:08:57 AM »
Lee Atwater is deceased, but as the Bard said, "The evil men do lives on..." (or some version of that; I admit to being newly awake here and not too Bard-conscious).

Oh and Happy Independence Day!

'The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones'

Marc Antony, from Julius Caesar.  Although that particular speech  (I come to bury Caesar not to praise him) was used specifically to inflame the Roman people against the Senators involved in the assassination.

/litgeeking

Sorry, one of my favorite soliloquies, even above Hamlet's.

Offline CaughtByMoonlightTopic starter

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2013, 12:21:26 PM »
Thank you. Like I say, I have no business quoting anyone (even myself) when I'm newly awake.

Further, please feel free to litgeek around me anytime. Wordsluts and litgeeks are cousins of a sort.  ;D
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 01:24:40 PM by CaughtByMoonlight »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2013, 12:35:27 PM »
At one point in my past, I had a friend that I could have entire conversations with composed of nothing but literary references.  Yes, like the Star Trek episode.  ;D

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #43 on: July 04, 2013, 01:14:52 PM »
But the concern that I have, and what most people who think like me have, is the poor implementation/corruption of these programs.

Nobody would disagree that any human institution is susceptible to corruption: it's true of governments and churches, certainly very true of corporations (which are set up to incentivize corruption), also true of banks and of unions.

However. When it comes to government programs, I'm wary of claims about their "poor implementation/corruption," to be frank. Myth-making about the supposed Soviet-esque levels of corruption of the public sector has been a conservative pastime since time immemorial, and is by now drowned in so much bullshit that a lot of work is going to be needed to separate the good claims from the bad. Where genuine corruption exists, the "small government" proponent has the added challenge of having to explain why the solution should be to eliminate the program (which is usually what "small government" is code for) instead of just fixing it.

Obviously there are genuine examples of waste and corruption, however, that should be eliminated; it's just that they mostly occur among defense contractors and associated business -- the outrageous corruption that characterized the "rebuilding of Iraq" is a perfect example -- whom far too few conservatives or liberals for that matter are actually willing to target.  Which mostly means that talk about "poor implementation of government programs" boils down to endlessly trying to figure out how to trim yet more nonexistent "fat" off the American (or Canadian) welfare state. And that side-effect of the "small government" meme needs to stop.

The same goes for unions. Your average union is not Hoffa Senior's Teamsters and I'm pretty sick of the fiction that they can fairly and honestly be discussed in this way, particularly when far, far, far more damaging and powerful actors have vastly surpassed any union actor in the corruption sweepstakes.

As far as banks go, the world's governments have been left trying to prop up a ghost of the old financial order in the wake of the 2008 collapse. I think you're right to be suspicious of the use of taxpayer dollars for that purpose, but that has nothing to do with the "size" of government. It has to do with whether government should be bailing out the criminals who created the financial crisis instead of jailing them, forbidding them to trade on a market ever again and putting stronger regulations in place to boost real confidence in the financial system. There isn't an easy answer to this kind of question -- I understand, even if I disagree with, the political calculus that has led to the EU and US' current efforts to muddle through -- but one thing I feel pretty confident about is that there is no solution to be found in doubling down on the "small government" meme that created the irresponsible and deregulated financial sector that crashed the economy.

What Callie says above about "right-sizing" sounds right to me. Except I wouldn't even call it "right-sizing;" it's more a matter of "it's not size that matters, it's how you use it."

Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #44 on: July 04, 2013, 01:18:18 PM »
it's more a matter of "it's not size that matters, it's how you use it."

*snickers*  I like this too.

Offline CaughtByMoonlightTopic starter

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2013, 01:33:37 PM »
At one point in my past, I had a friend that I could have entire conversations with composed of nothing but literary references.  Yes, like the Star Trek episode.  ;D

Clearly, I need to review my Trek episodes. :D


More clearly still is the need to remove the idea that "corporations are people" from the public sphere. We've wandered slightly away from the original concept of this thread, which bothers me not at all. The interconnections between things are very important, because seeing how things move around and affect one another is important.

Lately, though, I'm getting that sort of "tin foil hat" feeling that arises when I look at some connections: someone decides that funding schools and education is not the business of government. People get stupider and more distracted; less able to perform critical thinking. Campaigns become discussions of "side-issues" like gay marriage and religion, rather than the fact that total financial collapse has happened because of the hubris of corporations, and the greed of nearly everyone... Et voila. This is oversimplified (possibly even overchimplified) but you get the drift.

What do you think?


Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2013, 02:02:30 PM »
Clearly, I need to review my Trek episodes. :D



Quote
Lately, though, I'm getting that sort of "tin foil hat" feeling that arises when I look at some connections

As far as actual "movement" conservatism goes, those connections are hardly coincidence. They're usually a consequence of the drive to set society up to service the movement's backers (hence the hostility to public education stems partly from a preference for charter schools, where the offspring of the wealthy needn't rub shoulders with the hoi polloi) and the related drive to shore up a voting base that will gullibly turn out to support that agenda (hence the hostility to public education stems also from a fondness for home-schooling, a sector heavily dominated by the movementarian right which assures that large percentages of children can be brought up by movement-loyal families on material tilted toward movement propaganda, and without the distraction of contact with children from outside those circles).

Basically there is almost no policy plank of the conservative movement as such that does not serve one of those two goals or both of them simultaneously. No tinfoil hat required; it's an open political strategy.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 02:04:39 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #47 on: July 04, 2013, 02:18:31 PM »
Clearly, I need to review my Trek episodes. :D

This one.

There are also 'home-schoolers' who are frustrated by the 'dumbing down' of public education.  I'm not precisely a home-schooler, (I have neither the organizational skills nor the desire to have the little Oni at home 24-7), but she has learned more at my knee than in the so-called 'Honors classes' at her current middle school.  Unlike the isolationist home-schoolers, though, I believe quite firmly in letting her get out and interact with children 'outside my circles' (although she has an understandable preference for kids that actually get Dr. Who and Star Wars references. ;D )

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #48 on: July 04, 2013, 02:20:34 PM »
A bit off the thread.. but I've already said that I think that the government needs to do something along the lines of what they did to ATT back in the 80s.. break them up.

Offline CaughtByMoonlightTopic starter

Re: Dominionism, Christianity and the United States
« Reply #49 on: July 04, 2013, 02:26:19 PM »
This one.

There are also 'home-schoolers' who are frustrated by the 'dumbing down' of public education.  I'm not precisely a home-schooler, (I have neither the organizational skills nor the desire to have the little Oni at home 24-7), but she has learned more at my knee than in the so-called 'Honors classes' at her current middle school.  Unlike the isolationist home-schoolers, though, I believe quite firmly in letting her get out and interact with children 'outside my circles' (although she has an understandable preference for kids that actually get Dr. Who and Star Wars references. ;D )

Ahhh, thanks for the clarification... I'm of the first "generation" of Trek fans, so I was wracking my mind for that. Unsuccessfully, as it turns out.

This is the kind of thing that, I suspect, turns out to be a product of having a fairly decent education, no matter where you get it. The idea that you can be curious about anything and find out what will slake your curiosity if you have the right support. Even if you have to become an autodidact, to some extent (as I did). I fear that we are losing a lot of talent because that fire and drive, and even curiosity itself, are being murdered. *sigh*