Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Petty Inconsistency

Since Marko claims this blog "exists to cyber-stalk David Aaronovich and Nick Cohen, and to a lesser extent other members of the Eustonite or ‘Decent’ left, and point out petty inconsistencies in their writings", I feel compelled to branch out a bit. Only a bit, mind. I haven't mentioned Oliver Kamm for at least a week.

Here's a petty inconsistency. What is it with the Decents and John McCain? David Aaronovitch told Times readers that neither Democratic candidate understands economics. (Matthew Yglesias, who follows US politics a lot more closely than our Dave, disagrees.) Oliver Kamm posted on McCain's merits. (He's really old, but not dead yet?) And, more bizarrely, on Obama and his pastor.

So far as I'm aware, Christopher Hitchens perceived earlier than anyone that Barack Obama might have problems owing to his religious affiliation with a rabble-rousing nutter




Via Mike Power. For some background, read Dennis Perrin. Dennis doesn't like liberals.

Another popular liberal tactic of late has been to equate Wright with the likes of John Hagee and Pat Robertson. Why won't the Democratic-hating media grill John McCain for his ties to outspoken religious cranks! they squeal, pale fists banging their laptops. I can't speak for the MSM, but the last time I looked, Wright denounces American terror and imperialism, while Hagee and Robertson excuse and defend the same. Indeed, for all of his theatrical flourishes, Wright attacks what is actually going on, while cataloguing what actually happened. Hagee and Robertson spin the violence and bigotry into something they consider beautiful and holy. On this front, American liberals are much closer to Hagee and Robertson's view of America than they are to Wright's, which explains much of their frenzied assaults on the man. When pushed, liberals sing the National Anthem faster and with more gusto than their reactionary cousins. Don't ever question their patriotism!


I liked "Wright attacks what is actually going on, while cataloguing what actually happened." No wonder Oliver and Hitchens have it in for him.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Simon said...

Nick is on form this morning, arguing that people who blame foreign policy for the July bombings, or agree with the "Israel Lobby" paper, are comparable with the Holocaust-denying academic Dr Nicholas Kollerstrom, who recently has his honorary research fellowship terminated by UCL.

5/04/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

If a bomb were to explode outside University College today, mainstream voices would fill the airwaves and say that responsibility for the carnage lay with the British, American or Israeli governments. Their arguments would be passionate and convincing, but I don't need to tell you every one of them would avoid mentioning the Islamist ideology that motivated Hasib Hussain and men like him.

A point shamelessly 'reused' from that Swedish article, and it's still complete bollocks. This didn't happen on the 7th Jult 2005 and it wouldn't happen tomorrow. People would mention foreign policy, but since the 7th July bombers explicitly mentioned Iraq in their martyrdom videos, suggesting that it had its part to play is not exactly wrong.

American academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argued to widespread acclaim that a conspiracy of powerful Jews decided to serve the interests of Israel by persuading America to invade Iraq in 2003.

the point of that paper was to explode the myth that the Israel lobby is an inherently Jewish lobby - and the paper did a good job. The Decents can't actually argue with its findings, which is why they're reduced to slurring it as 'the protocols'. Denying the existence of AIPAC and its influence over American foreign policy is exactly the kind of un-rigorous, ideologically-blinded thinking that the Decents are meant to hate.

Rather than seeking to restrict Kollerstrom's academic freedom, their successors would have done better to have agreed to preserve his body and place it next to Bentham's as a reminder to liberal intellectuals of the state they may come to if they abandon liberal principles.

oh dear, oh dear. that is sub-Harry's Place.

Incidentally i wonder how that libel action's going.

5/04/2008 07:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Haryythehorse said...

I hope Cohen isn't being paid for the crap he wrote today.

5/04/2008 10:43:00 AM  
OpenID hardindr said...

I think this post is very wrong regarding Rev. Wright (especially Perrin's take). Wright shares the same view of suffering as Robertson and Hagee (the view of the prophets from the Hebrew Bible, i.e. God punishes entire nations that sin and do wrong in his sight). He justs differs with them in what he considers the sin to be (I would concede that the sins Wright speaks about are real, while Hagee's and Robertson's are largely imaginary).

Wright also holds many views that I think reasonable people would find objectionable: he is an AIDS denialist, a racialist (he thinks black and white children learn differently based on their genetics), and he won't condemn Farrakhan for his antisemitic beliefs.

The Rev. Wright's sermons and recent statements are very damaging to Obama, and it is unfortunate that he lacked the political savvy and tact to plan to deal with them. I find it surprising that he did not have a plan to deal with such a forseeable event. As Bob Somerby writes, if you don't care about this, then you probably don't deserve to win an election.

5/05/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Wright shares the same view of suffering as Robertson and Hagee (the view of the prophets from the Hebrew Bible, i.e. God punishes entire nations that sin and do wrong in his sight).

I see no evidence for this in either Wright's sermons, or the general beliefs of his church. If you thought his 9/11 sermon was about that then you didn't understand it. The point he was making, shorn of religious imagery and delivery, was one many secularists would make. Yes its terrible, but what about the terrible things we have a nation have done. But even if you were right, so what? His point was that Americans should do something about the mote in their eye, rather than bomb the fuck out of Arabs. Is that so terrible? Or is everything that Christians say/write wrong?

He is an Aids denialist, and I think that's a problem. However he comes from a generation for which Tulsa is a powerful memory, and for that matter when the US government assassinated black leaders. Just because the US government wasn't out to get Black men this time, doesn't mean they weren't in the past. There's a context for this paranoia.

As I understand it he won't condemn Farrakhan as a man, but he condemns the anti-semitism. There's such a thing as solidarity.

I haven't heard the racist stuff and frankly I have my doubts. Do you have some evidence for this rather odd statement?

5/07/2008 12:10:00 PM  
OpenID hardindr said...

I see no evidence for this in either Wright's sermons, or the general beliefs of his church. If you thought his 9/11 sermon was about that then you didn't understand it.

Rev. Wright said that God damns America. Not the power elite/ruling class that runs it, not the federal government, not G.W. Bush, but America. He could have chosen different words, but he didn't. Did God damn the blacks, arabs and muslims that were in the World Trade Center?

Or is everything that Christians say/write wrong?

Many Christians have a differnt view of what causes suffering, as do different writers in the Christian Bible.

As I understand it he won't condemn Farrakhan as a man, but he condemns the anti-semitism. There's such a thing as solidarity.

Rev. Wright could have condemned Farrakhan's antisemitism at the National Press Club, where he had the largest forum he could get to express his opinion, but didn't. (Farrakhan isn't Nelson Mandela, either).

I haven't heard the racist stuff and frankly I have my doubts. Do you have some evidence for this rather odd statement?

I would reference Rev. Wright's comments at the NAACP event in Detroit, specifically what he says about "European and European-American children hav[ing] a left brained cognitive object oriented learning style."

I am not personally offended by what Rev. Wright said, or think that he is particularly important to this election. I don't understand why he would choose to try and re-insert himself into the campaign. Its obvious that Obama has tried to distance himself from Wright for some time (Wright was disinvited from the performing the invocation at Obama's presidential announcement last year), probably realizing that while Rev. Wright's views are not unusual in the black community, they are not "mainstream" in wider (i.e. white) American society. Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright will be difficult for him to navigate in the general election. He'd better have a plan for this, should he win the nomination.

5/07/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Oh for Pete's sake, Wright _as a pastor_ believes in invisible pink unicorns and all manner of crap.

Arthur Silber (one of the best 'undiscovered' bloggers) defends Wright.

Here are Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan debating Wright. Sullivan wins by a mile (Hitchens is courteous and coherent - two qualities which have vanished from his prose). Suggested by a comment on Obsidian Wings.

I'm with Cian here: I don't see why Obama should condemn Wright because of something Wright said about someone else. I don't think Obama should hire Wright as a political advisor, of course. Wright believes some crazy stuff. Pastors generally do.

Anyway, my point was that people like Oliver Kamm use Wright against Obama, but apply different criteria - or selective vision if you will - for McCain. Hagee also holds many beliefs that our putative "reasonable people" would find offensive. I admit that got a bit confused when I threw in Dennis Perrin - though he's correct to say that Wright uses facts and genuine grievances.

5/07/2008 07:13:00 PM  

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