confusedTo prevent misunderstanding, I am responding to this comment.

scout says:

July 16, 2014 at 7:03 am

Tom, you should read my comments before your reply to them. Then we could have a conversation.

You didn’t vehemently disagree with one of my beliefs – you asked in your post whether we already had Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I replied no, because we haven’t addressed the issue since 1986, during which time the issues have changed. I don’t see insults there (other than my making fun of my own math-challenged means of doing sums) any more than I see vehement disagreement. Similarly, I don’t see my refusing to state the basis for my opinion. I gave the basis for the opinion.

Although I generally consider you to have an irrationally quick trigger finger on your scriptural use, if I wanted to adopt that fashion myself in response to your latest comment, I would say that I fully conformed to the author of the James admonition to let my “No” be No.

As for your inquiry as to why you cannot stand criticism (you and whomever else you perennial “we” happens to be), my thought is that perhaps it is because you (singular or plural, take your pick) sometimes see it when it isn’t there. Simpson-Mazzoli had its reasons and momentum in its day. But it’s long gone. We are on to new issues on our borders. To say that shouldn’t insult you or make you sensitive to criticism. It’s just an observation. (from here)

First note these pertinent details.

  1. What is carping? If you don’t know, click on the link. Since the term is not widely used, I probably should not have used it, but it fit the occasion.
  2. scout and novascout are one and the same. That is, there is one one “scout,” not two. Why  uses two pseudonyms I don’t know, but he has in the past said he does not know how fix it so the second pseudonym does not show up.
  3. When I said  was carping (here), I was referring his apparent anger as the result of THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORALITY AND THE LAW — PART 1. Unfortunately, when  responded to my observation — his carping — he made it sound as if I was referring solely to his previous comment (here) in DON’T WE ALREADY HAVE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM? As a matter of fact (easily observed),   had already started carping as  when he commented upon THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORALITY AND THE LAW — PART 1.

Seeds Of Confusion

When he first responded (here) to DON’T WE ALREADY HAVE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM?, was  still carping? I think it blatantly obvious, but I suppose a casual observer of this blog might think otherwise. Hence this post.

Do I have an irrationally quick trigger finger on scriptural use? Since  and  (scout’s second pseudonym) have commented on this blog numerous times, it has become apparent that  and I have very different points-of-view on how scripture should be applied. However, I try not to abuse scripture and bludgeon anyone with it. In the comment (here) that  complained about, I applied scripture to myself, not him. I merely suggested that I could and should find the patience to endure his carping. I did not use scripture demonstrate that he was carping. That observation did not require any reference to scripture.

Why did I quote scripture and apply it to myself? It is that “we” thing that apparently irks . Because “we” are all sinners, I speak of sinners in the plural. Because I too require Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for salvation, I am not any better than anyone else. So it is that when I quote scripture I usually quote it to remind myself (as much as anyone else) of what God’s wisdom dictates I should do.

No one can make another obedient to scripture. We each must willingly make that choice. Is that not why James spoke of the Bible as a mirror (James 1:22-25)? We must each seek to apply what we learn from the Bible to ourselves.

8 thoughts on “SOWING CONFUSION

  1. I must say that, as a Republican, I am an ardent fan of TR. I’d probably be a fan even if I weren’t a Republican. What’s not to like?

    I try to help you as best I can and, in that endeavour, I am working at more or less full capacity. I regret that you think I should be pitching in more. You are misinformed if you think I can do much more on that front. I also think you should not type-cast yourself and the other parts of your “we” as being about the “jealous equality of mediocrity.” That’s a somewhat damning self-criticism, Tom, couched in a lovely phrase. Take a chapter from TR and try to get beyond that.


  2. I agree that Scripture has a lot to offer, Rob. My life and my understanding of the world has certainly been enriched over the past twenty-five years by a disciplined study of the Bible. However, Scripture can also be abused and over-used. If it is applied broadly and non-contextually, one can place a strain on its intended meaning and cause a degradation of its value. My personal opinion (and it is only that), is that Tom’s frequent default into scripture often (but certainly not always) imposes that kind of strain. However, if Tom or anyone else finds meaning in Scripture that applies only to himself, I do not begrudge him the value of that application. However, this is where I get uncomfortable with his “we” habit and feel that first person singular would be less ambiguous, less confusing, and less prone to creating the impression that Tom is trying to speak for others.


    1. I am not an unabashed fan of President Theodore Roosevelt, but I do admire the fervor with which he went about his business. Hence this quote.

      It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (from

      If all we have to offer is criticism — nothing constructive — then what we are about is the jealous equality of mediocrity. You have the capacity to do better than that.


  3. I’ve always appreciated your use of Scripture in many of your posts and responses.

    Over the years I have come to appreciate the Bible as God’s inspired Word that will give insight into any personal, social or moral issue that we face in the world today. If we listened to the Word more and the thoughts of the worldly-wise less this world would be a far different place.


    1. Thank you.

      I am one of those people who can look back upon too many years spent listening to the worldly-wise. So it is your words bring to mind this passage.

      Philippians 3:7-11New King James Version (NKJV)

      7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

      Thank you for your blog and for the instruction you provide.


  4. Tom- I don’t use two different handles. The “scout” versus “novascout” is, as I have explained previously, some artifact in your site that recognizes my ISP as either handle. I have never implied that the two identifiers were different people. Several years ago, I shortened Novascout to Scout, and your site, alone among the half dozen that I frequent, seems not to be able to sort that out. We’ve been through that before. If I could purge your site of that defect, I would. I am a person of very limited technical skills. I don’t think it is significant, because no one understands that these are two different commenters. That you are hovering over this leads me to believe that you are grasping at motes in the absence of logs or even twigs.

    The post to which your response refers is the one in which I commented on your question about Simpson-Mazzoli. It was a rational response in the context of your post. If you intended your response to be to another comment thread, you should have said so.

    I have never posted an angry comment on this site (as I write this, I realize an exception which I will acknowledge at the end of this paragraph). I find much of this faintly amusing and, if I did not, being a jolly fellow, I wouldn’t spend as much time here as I do. I am either amused or bemused. Think of me with a smiley face. The one exception that comes to mind was your recent post on the coming civil war. I thought that was truly irresponsible. I did take offense at that. I guess the last Civil War still resonates with me in a big way. As a Virginian, a Unionist, a federalist, and a conservative, I do not think one should speak lightly of civil war. Too much blood was spilled over Calhounism. We don’t need to spill more over neo-Calhounism. One of the problems of my being a history buff, no doubt.

    I do think you have a tendency to use first person plural terminology when you are referring to yourself. I find it confusing, grammatically odd, and more than a bit affected. Queen Victoria may have spoken like that (I don’t know whether she really did, but she is often portrayed that way), but it seems a bit out of place in modern parlance. When I mean “me” I say “I”. When you mean Tom, you apparently say “we”. The confusion comes from the possible interpretation that when you say “we”, you mean “you” (as in the sense of someone other than Tom). I have begun to suspect that there are more than one of you either in reality or inside your head, but, for my purposes, the problem is simply one of clarity. My suggestion is to speak for yourself and relinquish the impulse to speak for others. Drop the “we” stuff when you’re trying to say “I” and we (in the sense of Tom and Scout) probably will have a better chance of meaningful exchange of ideas. Thus your last sentence would more clearly read: “I must seek to apply what I learn from the Bible to myself.” Short, precise, clear.

    If the point of this post is to establish that I am “carping”, I suppose that is one way of looking at it. But the word used in that context has a somewhat pejorative tone.
    Another way of looking at it is that you are “carping” about public schools, the Obama Administration, immigration policy, the failure to drag religion through the public square, Constitutional protections, etc. etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseam. I view my comments here as a generous and patient offering of a different point of view that might help focus the discussion. Otherwise, people can just say all kinds of things without any counterpoint being exerted to bring the discussion into some relationship to the real world.

    Besides, I always thought “carping” to be a targetted form of fishing. If you catch one, clean the carp, remove the mud channel, put it on a green pine board, slather it in butter, and roast it on an open fire until the edges of the board turn black. Let it cool for 15 minutes, remove the fish from the board, throw away the fish, and eat the board.


    1. Tom- I don’t use two different handles.

      You certainlu do. You lack the understanding and technical ability to control this, but you are indeed posting under two handles.

      The “scout” versus “novascout” is, as I have explained previously, some artifact in your site that recognizes my ISP as either handle.

      It is not. It is cookies on your own system. And it is not your “ISP” being recognized; it would be the IP associated with you, not your service provider. However, this lack of understanding is not a sin; many folks are not technical to the extent involved here. We can help you resolve this; you should first clear out cookies associated with this site. And second, stop blaming Citizen Tom’s site for this problem; it is standard WordPress. Not everyone who views this blog has enough background to recognize that the two handles you use, however inadvertently, are the same person.

      As to your progressive views and opposition to Citizen Tom’s religion-influenced Constitutional conservatism, and my non-religious Constitutional conservatism … your opposition is well-established. Your attempts at humor and continuous snide commentary about Citizen Tom have little impact upon this.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


      1. Thanks for the technical advice, Keith. I am quite helpless in that regard. If you want to stop by and help clear it up. I am more or less a 19th century type. I still use a fountain pen.

        I guess the point I was trying to address, however, is Tom’s implication (perhaps it’s not really there) that I am somehow posing as two different people. I am not. This is the only site where my transition to Scout from NoVA Scout is not uniformly recognized. Let’s just stipulate that it’s always me.


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