Tuesday, September 29, 2009

G.O.P. "blurring lines"...

Steve Benen of "The Washington Monthly" draws attention to yet another illustration of the U.S. conservative movement's descent into radicalism.

It seems to me that that's the inevitable result of the entire "yeah, but your man did X" grade school relativism that's become all the rage on the right: it invariably involves the adoption of low bars as justification for action.

What Al Qaeda does justifies American treatment of detainees. Disqualified MoveOn ad contest submissions justify all sorts of "unhinged" behaviour from the conservative movement as a whole. Code Pink's antics become the playbook for the right's mainstream, egged on by FOX News. Massive talk-radio listening audiences consume fringe radical rhetoric wholesale and have no qualms about uncritically repeating it, regardless of the disconnect between it an reality. "Clash of cultures" eliminationism that might might at one point in time have been the sole purview of bin Laden and his confederates has become something that (in the name of "fairness and balance") must be represented and given equal consideration not because any merit it earns, but because it is "the other side".

Ceteris Paribus has become a widely accepted false assumption, and the basis of choice for too many political positions. I think that as long as electorates increasingly become comprised of people unwilling or unable to critically evaluate arguments, the rhetoric-over-substance approach will unfortunately continue to find populist appeal.


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