At the Cranky Conservative I coined a term: “smugnorant.” As I wrote:
[Stephen] Colbert and his former partner in crime at Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, represent some of the very worst aspects of our culture. They are the heroes of people whom I would designate as smugnorant – the noxious combination of smug and ignorant. They’re the types of people who will take to social media to decry those illiterate yokels in the hinterlands while displaying a keen lack of any depth of understanding of who their “opponents” are or what drives them as well as a deeply flawed (if that) grasp of American history. For years these two have taken to the airwaves to peddle a brand of humor based on ironic detachment and one-line snark meant to demonstrate the utter foolishness of the other side. They are the forerunners of generation meme, who think one-line slogans slapped onto funny pictures are genius insights that can shut down any argument. It’s the bumper sticker mentality given a new face in the information age.
I’ve been fortunate to come across a blog post that has plenty of smugnorance in both the main post and the comments. It comes from the Friendly Atheist over at Patheos – yes, I know you will be shocked that there could be any smugnorance over at Patheos (apologies to David Griffey, who is a rare voice of reason over there). The blogger Hemant Mehta wrote of an “illegal” Ten Commandments display the state of Arkansas is about to place on the grounds of the capitol. I’ll just gloss over Mehta’s seeming inability to distinguish the concepts of illegality and unconstitutionality to highlight this comment:
After all, the government is forbidden from promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing.
This is the kind of sentence that almost literally gives me a headache because there’s just so much to unpack. I suppose he is referring to the establishment clause of the first amendment to the constitution, which does not mention anything resembling a ban on “promoting” a religion (not to mention that Christianity in and of itself is not a religion, but a group of religions, often with conflicting creeds). The erection of a monument does not establish any state religion. It does not signify material aid to any religion, which is generally what concerned the framers of the amendment as well as similar documents such as the Virginia statute for religious liberty. But I’ll again gloss over this constitutional conundrum to focus on this:
promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing
So a monument to the Ten Commandments, or as Jewish people might refer to it, the Aseret ha-Dibrot, first written down in the Torah in the book of Exodus, which otherwise commemorates the Hebrew people’s flight from Egypt, surely only promotes Christianity. There just ain’t no other religious group who might be interested in this monument? There’s just no other religion that holds this set of commands in esteem? I mean I’m racking my brain, but there’s just got to be some other group or religion being, ahem, promoted here.
Now to be fair the post itself primarily evidences only one-half of the smugnorant combo. Have no fear though, we’re talking about Patheos, and thus there are always the comments. And we dive right into the very first comment, one which received no less than 13 upvotes:
Does it include the Commandment about not worshiping graven images?
Is it protected from irony chariots?
Does it explain why so many of the Commandments would be unconstitutional if made into laws in America?
Will they include the examples of bearing false witness that will be necessary to approve the idol of the words of the Gods?
There must be nothing quite like the pride someone like “Rogue Medic” feels when he/she/it/cis/cer slaps out an irrefutable jumble of logic like this one which completely eviscerates the other side’s point of view. Well, only if you disregard the fact that nobody is worshiping a graven image in this scenario, the “irony chariots” comment is just word vomit, the idea that commandments would be unconstitutional is a non sequitur if we’re being generous. and the stuff about bearing false witness is just logically incoherent. Other than that, it’s the sort of stuff Edmund Burke, John Locke, FA Hayak and countless other philosophers throughout history can only dreamed to have written.
Or how about this true monument to detached irony written by truth warrior ORAXX:
I would be astonished if they [conservative Christians] ever read any part of the Constitution other than the Second Amendment. They certainly don’t understand that document in any kind of a historical perspective. The commandments, probably, because they can be read in less than a minute, and that is more in keeping with their attention spans.
Yes, that’s right, there’s nothing like dissing the cumulative intelligence of an entirely diffeent group of people while commenting on a post that confuses “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and doesn’t seem to grasp that people other than Christians might be appreciative of a Ten Commandments display. Hooray for hipster irony, just not in the way the poster intended.
I’ll spare you further brain damage by posting more comments, including the long thread about gun owners and how totally stoooooopid they all are. You can read them for yourself, if you’re so inclined. There is absolutely nothing in the comments that betrays even a hint of understanding of what conservatives and/or Christians truly believe, or truly grapples with the constitutional issues of a Ten Commandments display on state capitol grounds. But we have an awful lot of smug jokes about how dumb the other side is. Yep, those yokels in hill country are just bubble-dwelling idiots with no comprehension of history, the constitution, the true words of the Bible, and logic. Yep, it’s those “others” who are just plain ignorant.