If you've come here specifically for the Carnival, good to see you! I hope you enjoy this edition's posts--and I encourage you to take a look-see at what else Framed has that might be of interest to you.
If you like what you see of the Carnival--or if you don't like it and want to make it better--there are two ways you can participate. First, the next Carnival of the Liberals will be hosted at Truth in Politics. If you're a blogger who craves a thoughtful (if occasionally raucous) readership, then start sending your very best stuff in for consideration. To do so, just fill out this form and send it in by Monday, April 10. Second, the carnival is always looking for new homes. If you'd like to host an upcoming Carnival on your blog, just head on over here and ask for a guy named Leo.
Now, on to the Carnival! The two themes that emerged from the many excellent submissions I received were freedom and strategy.
Freedom--of speech, of inquiry, of belief, and of sexual orientation--seemed to be on a lot of liberals' minds. This is encouraging; for too long, conservatives have tried to claim the idea of freedom as being theirs exclusively, and have often succeeded as framing liberals as "hating freedom." Sometimes we liberals, with our insistence that words matter and our sensitivity to discrimination and stereotype, have played into that frame. It's good to see liberal writers working hard to debunk it.
Alonzo Fyfe, the Atheist Ethicist, examines the idea of freedom of speech from a philosophical, rather than a legal, perspective. Through his analysis of Morse and the Juneau School Board v. Frederick, the "Bong Hits for Jesus" case, he illustrates the ethical underpinnings of the idea that the remedy for offensive or untruthful speech is more speech, not violence or censorship. As he says, "This is how free people live, and maintain their freedom, while also maintaining peace."
Over at Daylight Atheism, Ebonmuse is a little surprised by the tepid reaction of the religious right to the announcement by U.S. Congressman Pete Stark that he doesn't believe in god. Nevertheless, the response to Stark's declaration by the little-known Christian Seniors Association says much about the mindset of theocratically-inclined conservatives. These folks see persecution everywhere and display an intolerance bordering on hatred toward those who live by a more secular world view.
Religious freedom of a different kind is the subject of an essay in A Load of Bright on the controversy in the U.K. over whether church-affiliated adoption agencies should be permitted to discriminate against prospective adoptive parents who are homosexual. The church has argued that Catholics' freedom of conscience will be impinged upon by anti-discrimination laws that have been introduced by the British government. Tobe38 finds that gay parents' freedom to adopt is more compelling than the church's freedom to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.
Freedom of the academic variety is also being debated in Great Britain. In Westminster Wisdom, Gracchi consider whether groups such as the Hizb ul Tahir (a group that attempts to radicalize Muslim students at British universities) or the BNP (a right-wing British nationalist party opposed to racial integration) should be allowed to meet at British universities. The question turns on the question of what is properly the ethos of a university; Gracchi argue convincingly that "the only ethos that should lie behind University life should be the search for the truth." And truth cannot be pursued by shutting down offensive but lawful organizations.
Strategy--the question of what works for liberals--was on the minds of four Carnival contributors. These are encouraging times to be an American liberal. The Democrats are back in charge of Congress, the Bush administration is on the ropes, and a recent survey by the Pew organization shows that social and political attitudes are becoming more and more progressive. The coming days could be a time for liberals to once again carry America forward--but how?
At Queercents, a blog devoted to personal finance issues for the LGBT community ("We're here, we're queer, and we're not going shopping without coupons!") John argues that people who want to advance gay civil rights shouldn't give their money only to big-name national candidates. Electing gay-friendly U.S. Senators, Congressmen or Presidents won't do a thing to stop the odious trend of amending state constitutions to allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. A fraction of the money that the LGBT community has donated to someone like Barack Obama could make a much more meaningful difference in people's day-to-day lives if it were sent instead to good candidates for the state legislatures.
One strategy that has been embraced by environmental activists is that of enlisting celebrities to the cause. Over at The Voltage Gate, Jeremy Bruno considers whether that is such a good idea. Sure, the rich and famous bring glamor and publicity to issues that might otherwise be ignored--but when a celeb pulls up in a stretch SUV to attend a press conference denouncing global warming, an uncomfortable pot/kettle/black confluence may occur.
Paranoia is another strategy--or at least a habit of mind--that liberals would be wise to avoid. The Neural Gourmet comes to this conclusion after reviewing the matter of the "1984" parody ad attacking Hillary Clinton that was released on YouTube earlier this month. Conspiracy theories about who was and was not behind the ad were abundant. That kind of thinking is best left to the Bush administration and to the various wackos who believe that 9/11 was launched by a coven of disgruntled shoe salesmen, or something like that.
What's the best strategy for seeing liberalism grow and flourish? Grow and nurture more young liberals! Over at Daddy Dialectic, Christopher Pepper has tried to figure out what values he wants to pass along to his young son. The list he came up with has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with raising a boy up to be a caring, thoughtful and humanistic young man: or in other words, a liberal. Some of these principles should be applied by the Bush administration, particularly the ones about how to and how not to resolve conflicts.
Not all the submissions to this edition of the Carnival can be neatly categorized. That's not surprising; our side has never been much for the promulgation of the official message of the day.
What do U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Enron chief Kenneth Lay, and Hogan's Heroes character Sargent Schultz have in common? According to Leon Gettler of Sox First, all of them knew nothing--NOTHING!--about what was going on in their organizations. They're only take-charge hands-on administrators until the shit hits the fan, and then they whine about how they couldn't possibly have known what their subordinates were doing. That defense didn't work for Kenny Boy, of course; we'll soon see if Gonzales has any more luck with it.
Have you noticed that your friendly neighborhood scientist seems a bit tetchier than usual recently? It might have something to do with a website discovered by Greg Laden which offers creationist kids all kinds of factually wrong and logically incoherent answers posed by teachers who might have the temerity to ask their students questions that "attack" their Christian world view. Who wouldn't be peeved after hearing a 14 year old explain how Noah managed to get dinosaurs aboard the ark?
That's it for Carnival of the Liberals #35. Remember to check back in two weeks for the next Carnival at Truth in Politics.