The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


Straw man man.htm


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 a
straw man was burned in the 'hut.'"

Webster 3rd New International.
Man of straw: "an imaginary argument of no substance advanced in order to be
easily confuted or an imaginary adversary advancing such an agrument. "Seems
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 a
perjured witness. (3) An unimportant person, object, or discussion: "Your
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 Tindale
1530.... One of the two goats that was chosen by Lot to be sent away into
the wilderness, the sins of the people having been symbolically laid upon
it, while the other was appointed to be sacrificed. 2. One who is blamed or
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 whole

"...In mythology, a furious mob mobilizes against scapegoats held
responsible for some huge crisis. The sacrifice of the guilty victim through
collective violence ends the crisis and founds a new order ordained by the
divine. Violence and scapegoating are always present in the mythological
definition of the divine itself. .... As the Greeks thought, the shock of
death of the victim brings about a catharsis that reconciles. It
extinguishes the appetite for violence. For the Greeks, the tragic death of
the hero enabled ordinary people to go back to their peaceful lives." FROM
New Perspectives Quarterly interview. Summer 2005. "Ratzinger Is Right."
René Girard

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




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