Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kos Doubles Down

Daily Kos defends his comparison of American conservatives to the Taliban in a post that somehow manages to be both dumber and more offensive than his stupid book:

But look what I wrote, and what Serwer highlights—the American Taliban and Islamic jihadists share a litany of mores, values, and tactics. The only valid counterargument would be that they don’t share that litany of mores, values and tactics.

On the issue of homosexuality, there is undisputedly a shared hostility toward gays and lesbians. HOW they express that hostility is a function of our respective societies. In the Arab world, anti-gay sentiment is more freely expressed. In this country, the American Taliban is constrained by our legal and cultural norms (like the leader of the Montana tea party crowd found out).

But the core value remains—the belief that homosexuality is a perversion that shouldn’t be tolerated by society. It’s shared. Both sides have it. So to pretend the American Taliban doesn’t share that value, merely because they go to jail when they string up their Matthew Shepperd’s, is to wear blinders as to the true motivations and goals of our homegrown extremists. Right-wing reactionaries will always push to the limits created by their respective societies. We certainly know what our right-wing extremists will do when given the chance. We don’t even have to go that far back in our history to see it in action:

You know, I’ve been to a number of right-wing events and have yet to see anyone “stringing up their Matthew Shepperd’s”.  The use of that comparison is massively offensive because there was, in no way, a political aspect of Shepperd’s murder, which was condemned by everyone except the Westboro Baptist Church.  There was some debate about hate crime laws.  But there are valid reasons to oppose hate crime laws—that they are really thought crime laws—that have nothing to do with hating gays.

Moreover, Kos’s basic premise is faulty here.  His logic is that conservatives and the Taliban share “mores, values and tactics”.  First of all, as he himself acknowledges, they don’t share tactics.  He thinks this is only because our system of government holds them back; ignoring that the same system jailed and punished gays for centuries.  Apparently, if it weren’t for our laws, Newt Gingrich would be rampaging through Dupont Circle, burning gays at the stake. That’s a fairly dim view of human nature.  But not unexpected from someone who thinks the Republicans are also secret racists.

But the “mores and values” thing is a bigger problem.  His argument is that since conservatives think homosexuality is immoral and the Taliban thinks so, that makes them equivalent.  But that’s bullshit.  Many liberals share “mores and values” with ecoterrorists.  Does that make them equivalent?  Many share “mores and values” with various communist dictators who think they are doing everything that’s right for “the people”.  Does that make them equivalent?  Kos and the liberals have spent the last couple of months defending American Muslims and assuring us, on the Ground Zero Mosque question, that moderate Muslims do not share the Taliban’s values.  But moderate Muslims do share “mores and values” with the Taliban.  In fact, they draw their inspiration from the same book. Many moderate Muslims have traditional views of gender roles and prefer women to wear headscarves.  They do not eat pork or drink alcohol and they take a dim view of homosexuality.  Where they differ is in degree and on the subject of oppressing and terrorizing the non-Muslim world.

Religion is a well from which people can draw many things—extremism or moderation, oppression or tolerance, ignorance or wisdom.  Kos thinks that because the Taliban and the conservatives draw from similar wells, that makes them equal.  But that’s garbage.  The well isn’t the problem; the people drawing from it are.

It’s good for people to have strong moral views.  Where it becomes dangerous is when they want those moral views enforced by law.  And where it becomes really dangerous is when they want them enforced with the gun and the rope.  Kos wouldn’t dream of saying that moderate Muslims (or orthodox Jews or Mormons) are like the Taliban because some of their moral views overlap.  But it becomes acceptable when talking about conservative Christians.

Then there’s this:

The American Taliban also seeks to subvert democracy—not by cutting off fingers, but by caging and other voter suppression efforts. So what if the method is different? The end goal is the same—to subvert the democratic will of the people in order to impose their regressive mores on the rest of us.

These would be the mythical “voter suppression” efforts that Michael Moore has been harping on for years and that the Left has yet to present any real evidence in support of.  The only argument they can make is that bans on letting felons vote “subverts democracy”.  Because the one thing democracy needs is more criminals in control.  The argument that we have too many people in prison has some weight.  But again, we are a nation of laws.  People aren’t put in prison for no reason.  If you don’t like the drugs laws, change them.

And once again, we get the “tactics don’t matter” line that allows Kos to make this odious comparison.  But tactics are everything!  Tactics—which most people call “politics”—is how we resolve issues peacefully instead of violently.  Intentions and sub-conscious desire means nothing; process is everything.

(I do share one concern with Kos—the erosion of civil liberties during the War on Terror.  Once those go, they’re gone.  We should never trust government with our freedom.  But then again, Obama has been pursuing those violations with equal enthusiasm.  And it’s much easier to control and oppress people’s civil liberties when you also control their retirement, their education, their healthcare and their job.)

Then there’s this stretch:

But ultimately, the “direct comparison” argument is a straw man. The issue here is of clear shared values—hatred for gays, opposition to women equality, the creation of an ideological bubble to keep out facts and science, bizarre sex hangups, and a propensity to resort to violence.

I could just as easily say that the Left and violent Marxist guerrillas share the same values—hatred of wealth, opposition to economic liberty, worship of the state.  The creation of an ideological bubble?  Have you seen the composition of Obama’s cabinet?  Or been on a college campus lately?

For the “propensity to resort to violence”, he goes to the recent surge in firearms purchases and a spate of supposed “right wing” violence.  But the latter, as we have shown numerous times, is wildly exaggerated while the former has more to do with the fear that new gun controls laws will be imposed.  The Left Wing has been beating this violence drum ever since Obama was elected, even trying to cast the supposed murder of a census worker and the attack on the Discovery Channel as expressions of Right Wing hate.  They tried to make the “Oath Keepers” into a violent group, ignoring that the group was simply promising to refuse to enforce oppressive laws.  Where is this surge of Right Wing violence?  It exists only in the minds of such as Kos.  The Tea Party isn’t calling for a revolution.  They’re voting.  But, to the likes of Kos, every right wing vote is really an act of violence.

(As an aside, the liberals really need to get it through their heads that there really isn’t a conservative “movement” as such.  Last week, I linked up Jonathan Rauch’s article about how disorganized the Tea Party really is.  The Tea Party represents a broad spectrum of ideological views only vaguely unified by their opposition to big government.  Yes, there are some crazy Right Wing religious nuts in the movement.  But there are a lot more who aren’t in that wagon.  And the issue of gays has really not come up at all, except in passing.  Vast majorities of conservatives support a repeal of DADT—despite this week’s fiasco—and even the likes of Glenn Beck are moderating on the subject of gay marriage.

Conservatives are leery of societal change, in general, because we understand that maintaining a society is more important than “fixing it”.  We’re nervous about making big changes to a system that works, however imperfectly.  But we do come around—as we have on women’s rights, civil rights and a number of gay issues.  That the Republican leadership is still in anti-gay mode is yet another illustration of how out of touch they are with the electorate.  But then again, the Democractic leadership has almost identical positions on the issues.)

As I’ve said many times, attempts to probe the underlying psychology of politicians is stupid.  I’ve attacked the amateur psychologists who are trying to get into Obama’s head.  And I’ll attack the armchair Freudians who try to get into the GOP’s.  Who cares what they’re thinking?  Who knows that they think it all?  What matters is what the do.  Oppose that and leave the historical comparisons to pot-smoking poli-sci majors.

This is not a serious commentary on American politics.  This is simply a desperate attempt to smear a political opponent.  It is an attempt to terrorize and motivate the liberal base because their party is on the verge of a political catastrophe.  Kos really thought that he had changed the game—that the Nutroots had opened the door to a permanent liberal government.  Now that this isn’t happening, now that his beloved Democratic party is on the verge of getting swept out, he’s losing it.  He can’t believe that liberals are losing in the arena of ideas.  It has to be something—anything—besides the fundamental conservative nature of the American public.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/24/10 at 07:33 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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