Aug 12, 2010

When did America turn into a nation of victims?

"Where to start with this part-pathetic and part-sinister appeal to demagogy? To begin with, it borrows straight from the playbook of Muslim cultural blackmail. Claim that something is "offensive," and it is as if the assertion itself has automatically become an argument. You are even allowed to admit, as does Foxman, that the ground for taking offense is "irrational and bigoted." But, hey — why think when you can just feel? The supposed "feelings" of the 9/11 relatives have already deprived us all of the opportunity to see the real-time footage of the attacks—a huge concession to the general dulling of what ought to be a sober and continuous memory of genuine outrage. Now extra privileges have to be awarded to an instant opinion-poll majority" - Christopher Hitchens
I'm not sure how to classify the outrage over the Cordoba mosque. It's not quite stupidity, more a reflex inability, or refusal, to examine or second guess one's own first flash judgment, or see it in any but the most sanctified terms. It's a deification of the gut. You can stop any of these folks, ask them to slow down, and walk them through their argument as many times as you like — "Why do you find it offensive?" "Even though your offense rests on a calculated insult to the very moderate Muslims we most need on our side?" — and they still burp up the same response: I just don't like it. As if that gut feeling of hurt overrides everything — logic, law, the constitution of the country they love. I am amazed, too, by the disingenuousness of the news reporters — from CNN, MSNBC — who, in the interests of getting 'both sides of the issue', ask "Is it still too raw?" without realising even by asking that question they have already settled the matter, chosen sides, legitimised the idea that a mosque in, around or near ground zero might in anyway be offensive. My horror is not exclusively at religious freedoms being snuffed out — an abstract semi-detached concern, I'll admit — but because that is the way we will lose. Don't these people want to have Bin Laden's head on a stick? Their behaviour is geared to the exact opposite — clumsy, slapstick self-defeat. 'Sounding off in a satisfying way' has trumped 'winning' as the desired end.


  1. What Hitch doesn't mention is that the whole damn thing puts both of us in the awkward position of agreeing with the idiots, but for vastly different reasons. I suspect that, like myself, Hitch would be perfectly content not to see the construction of ANY new religious buildings anywhere in the States - with the proviso, mind, that other, secular multicultural centers filled the badly-needed role of peacemakers, and that equal numbers of lives saved would result.

    But, as he so rightly points out, to oppose the Cordoba House while liberally supporting other monotheisms is the worst kind of cultural idiocy.

    The question those asinine infotainment actors SHOULD be asking is "when did we become a nation of such frigging no-nothing, thin-skinned namsy-panies?!"

  2. The way I see it, though, we're NEVER going to win the moderate Muslims as long as we're invading and bombing the hell out of Muslim countries for no good reason. I agree that this idiocy does not help. But it would seem to me that the dispositive (is the right word? a word at all) factor would be the thousands of people we're constantly killing overseas.

    In other words, the O-Man is more to blame than the rednecks standing in the parking lots with the anti-mosque sins for potentially radicalizing moderate Muslims.

    It's amazing how far the pendulum has swung, though. I grew up in the High PC Era in the US. You know: the US in which 25% of female college students got raped before graduating. In which when my 70-year-old immigrant grandmother got beaten and robbed in Brooklyn before dawn coming home from cleaning offices in Manhattan, she deserved it cuz she was an oppressor with White race guilt, etc. etc.

    That was foul stuff, but now it's hard to imagine that that US ever existed. (Maybe it still exists on campuses or something, I don't know.) The slate has been wiped clean.

    The point is that the US seems to have a massive tendency NOT to find a reasonable mean. This is not intrinsic to humanity. I've long lived in a foreign country in which a sort of stupefied, stoical emotional equanimity has been the norm for the last thousand years or so.

    I fully expect that in no more than a couple of years, mainstream politicians in the US will seriously be talking about interring Muslims.