|They need their straw man.... It doesn't matter who
it is: me, you, etc.... anyone, the arguments don't matter,
fundamentalists aren't about to pay any attention to ideas
or their own history of perfidy, deceit, and dishonor.
Those who are really doing the ignoring is obvious
to any fair-minded observer.... thoroughly documented
below. And when one chooses NOT to play the role
of their straw man, or simply go away, what do fundamentalists do?
FABRICATE ONE! Indeed, many, on
talk.religion.bahai as elsewhere....
The OED offers some illustrative quotations.
1594. "A scarre-crowe to make them afraide, as wee vse to deale with
children and with birdes by puppets and strawe-men."
1890. Frazer's Golden Bough provides an evocative quotation: "Some times
straw man was burned in the 'hut.'"
Webster 3rd New International.
Man of straw: "an imaginary argument of no substance advanced in order
easily confuted or an imaginary adversary advancing such an agrument.
to be looking for a man of straw to belabor."
American Heritage Dictionary.
"One set up as an opponent to be easily defeated or refuted."
The Random House Dictionary
Strawman (2) A person used by another to disguise his own activities, as
perjured witness. (3) An unimportant person, object, or discussion:
argument is a straw man intended to divert us from the real issues."
Or I should emphasize the "etc," really, i.e., the straw men
and women, who play the role, don it, fabricate it, versus
those of us who are shunned and slandered into it....
For perceptive observers, it's pretty obvious who's playing
the straw man around here.... Same tactics and techniques....
It may be true that the concept of straw man is related
somehow to that of the scapegoat. Frazer's Golden Bough,
and similarly sources, might be worthwhile for further
exploration of these themes of ostracism, shunning, etc....
OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY. Scapegoat. (Lev. xvi) 1. Invented by
1530.... One of the two goats that was chosen by Lot to be sent away
the wilderness, the sins of the people having been symbolically laid
it, while the other was appointed to be sacrificed. 2. One who is blamed
punished for the sins of others. 1867 Freeman, He has been made the
scapegoat for many of the sins both of other individuals and of the
"...In mythology, a furious mob mobilizes against scapegoats held
responsible for some huge crisis. The sacrifice of the guilty victim
collective violence ends the crisis and founds a new order ordained by
divine. Violence and scapegoating are always present in the mythological
definition of the divine itself. .... As the Greeks thought, the shock
death of the victim brings about a catharsis that reconciles. It
extinguishes the appetite for violence. For the Greeks, the tragic death
the hero enabled ordinary people to go back to their peaceful lives."
New Perspectives Quarterly interview. Summer 2005. "Ratzinger Is Right."
Regardless of whether or not there is an historical
connection between the straw man and scapegoat,
both resonate with the same timber of spiritual
violence and purgation, laying bare the desperation
behind the "community" that would resort to such