Archive for June 2nd, 2009

Deep Stupid

June 2, 2009

Today in Deep Stupid, we bring you Jared Taylor.

Taylor is a friend of Marcus Epstein, the anti-immigration organizer and speechwriter who works for Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan and was convicted in 2007 for an incident in which, staggering drunk down a DC street and happening upon a black woman, he pronounced her a nigger and “karate chopped” her in the head.  (Bear in mind that this guy still works for both Tancredo and Buchanan.)

Anyway, friend Taylor says:

I hope he can live it down.  I would have thought Dick Morris would never live down his $150 an hour hooker. I would never have thought Bill Clinton would live down what happened between him and Monica Lewinsky. In the end, those people were welcomed back into the fold. It’s just that liberals tend to be very unforgiving about things of this kind.

He’s being a supportive friend to Epstein, who sounds like he could use one, but there are two glaring problems with his logic.  Let’s take the quick one first.

Dick Morris is a conservative.  He has always been a conservative, even when he worked for Clinton.  If he’s been “welcomed back into the fold,” it’s not because liberals, being much more forgiving of sexual sins than of racism, forgave him; it’s because conservatives, for whatever reason, forgave him.  Fox News is the fold he’s been welcomed into, not Mother Jones.

Now for the longer one: false equivalence, Will Robinson!

So liberals are more forgiving of sexual misconduct than of racism in political figures — don’t you think that’s frigging appropriate?  These two wrongs are not equal.  If a political figure hires prostitutes or has an affair with an intern, that has little, if any, effect on that person as policymaker or -advocate.  It is a private, discrete act (though it may not be discreet).  If a political figure is a racist, however, that has a strong and systemic effect on that person as policymaker or -advocate.  It is a continuous mindset that drives a host of actions.  A racist will vote day after day based on his racism, because it poisons his perception of the issues themselves, of reality itself; a cad is rarely, if ever, going to vote based on his sex-having.

Maybe it’s the case that liberals should be less forgiving of sexual misconduct in politics than they currently are.  That’s at least a respectable point and worth discussing.  But the idea that liberals or anybody else should be less forgiving of sexual misconduct than of racism in politics, or even should treat them as equivalent evils, that’s loony.

If one cannot see that, one lacks even the most rudimentary moral reasoning skills.  Thus, today’s winner.

Still Listenin’ to the Commanders in the Field

June 2, 2009

Gen. David Petraeus: formerly regarded by conservatives as so holy they wrote his name as only “PTRS,” now thrown under the bus by conservatives.

I believe the prophet Isaiah said it best when he said, “Hey, you.  You idol-worshipin’ sons-uh-guns over yonder.  Yeah, you.  I don’t get you people.  You take a log and cut it in half.  One half you carve into an idol, the other half you throw on the fire.  A man can’t tell if you’re burning your gods or worshiping your firewood.  What up with that, dawg?”  (NB: translated with a certain panache, for effect, from the original Latin.)

via Sullivan

Religious Terrorism and the Future of the World

June 2, 2009

How’s that for a title?

Lots of talk these days about Israel/Palestine and anti-abortion violence.  And Islamic terrorism, of course.  All these things share a common root: religion.*  Not just religion, but the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions.

Israel is balking at American pressure to stop allowing their illegal settlements on Palestinian territory to grow.  If there’s ever to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, those settlements will not only have to stop growing, they’ll have to be abandoned.  Many of the people who live in those settlements, however, are ultra-Orthodox fundamentalists who believe it is their Yahweh-given right and duty to reclaim all of Palestine for the chosen people.  They will fight, kill, and die to stay in their illegal settlements, and if it leads to an all-out war in the Middle East, so much the better.  If somehow an Israeli government rounded them all up and relocated them back inside Israel, my sense is that they would launch a campaign of domestic violence against that government.  (Much of the funding for it would come from Americans, of course, just as much of the funding for the IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland came from Americans; if the Brits had adopted what would become Bush’s for-us-or-against-us stance on terrorism, they would have sent special ops forces into Boston and New York.)

Right-wing fundamentalist Christians in this country also have a history of God-inspired domestic violence.  The 1990s saw a lot of it.  We’ve just seen a relapse that may or may not turn into a renewal; it’s too soon to tell.  Many of the same people also share the ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews’ belief that God wants all of Palestine in the hands of the chosen people, and are zealous to throw the violence of the American military behind their Jewish counterparts.

Meanwhile, it goes without saying that Allah-inspired violence by ultra-fundamentalist Muslims is a widespread problem.  We’re now facing the real possibility (though, as I understand it, it’s still unlikely) that they’ll overthrow Pakistan — a relatively wealthy, relatively well-organized state that possesses nuclear weapons.

One of the patterns of history is that in times of rapid change, you see a concomitant rise in religiosity and, frequently, religious violence.

It’s starting to feel to me like we’re headed for a repeat of the 16th century.**  And that would be bad, mmmkay?

Update (6/2/09, 5:30 pm): Matt Yglesias posts a chart that shows how demographics are making the Israeli problem worse: Arabs and the aforementioned ultra-Orthodox Jews (haredim) are rapidly becoming the two largest segments of Israel’s population.  Not exactly a recipe for peace and harmony, that.

[* The exception is the Palestinians.  Their violence against Israel has little to do with religion, as far as I can tell, and much to do with land and state.]

[** This is my second post about the future in 2 days.  Maybe Newt Gingrich will start quoting me.]