The first Earth Day in 1970 came to pass with a plethora of statements from the usual alarmist suspects (e.g., Paul Ehrlich, Dennis Hayes, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, et al) that, in hindsight, should make any sane person laugh out loud. The fact making these a lot less funny is that similarly outrageous statements are being made today by the likes of Al Gore & Co. A sampling of the 1970 stuff appears at the end of this commentary.
The fatal fault underlying much said by these disciples of Thomas Malthus is their apparent ignorance of history. Thus, they are oblivious to the wisdom in a metaphor coined, I think, by Sir Isaac Newton, circa 1675, while writing to another giant of science of his day, Robert Hooke: "If I have seen further (than you and Descartes) it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
The Malthusian conceit leading to such as 1972's The Limits to Growth is that human progress cannot continue beyond the present so behavior must now be strictly controlled to avoid the disasters conjured up in the Malthusians' vivid imaginations. One might put it, "We midgets cannot contribute to growth of the giant on whose shoulders we stand (all accumulated human knowledge), so we must retreat."
A contemporary example I like to cite is the story of natural gas supply today vis-à-vis 1978, when Congress enacted, and Pres. Carter signed, the National Energy Act. That act comprised the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act and four other acts. The fuel use act commanded a rapid switch to coal, considered necessary mostly on account of imminent depletion of natural gas availability to zero (as well as the need—surprise, surprise—to reduce oil imports!). We now have a glut of natural gas on account of drilling and fracturing techniques undreamt of by the 1978 crowd.
This Malthsian scarcity stuff is manna for the socialist one-world government types. "Sustainability" is their code word of choice. A fairly extensive discussion of that appears here on my website.
Colorado's flagship public university at Boulder, like hundreds of other institutions of purportedly higher learnng all over the country, is all in to "sustainability." But don't ask for a working definition. I have, and the Chancellor's office either cannot, or is afraid to, provide it.
1970 Earth Day Predictions
“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.” • Kenneth Watt, ecologist
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” • George Wald, Harvard Biologist
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” • Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“By… some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” • Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” • Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” • Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” • Life Magazine, January 1970
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” • Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” • Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” • Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
“Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” • Sen. Gaylord Nelson
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” • Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
(Centennial Fellow) I disagree with what you eat but I will defend to death your right to eat it. Okay, maybe I won’t take a bullet for your food preferences. Let’s hope the food police don’t make breaking their laws a capital crime.
It may come to that. NYC Mayor Bloomberg just announced that he plans to ban the sale of soft drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces at the city’s delis, fast-food restaurants, and sports arenas. Six years ago the mayor went after cooking oil—banning the use of trans fats in bakeries and restaurants. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a ban on foie gras, a type of goose liver pate, is about to go into effect in California.
For the record, I generally avoid soda and I never eat foie gras. In fact, I don’t eat fried foods, potato chips, donuts, cake, fast food or most sugary drinks because they don’t taste good to me. I consume loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats because I like them. I would eat them if they turned out to be toxic, fat producing, brain damaging garbage. As for foie gras, I’m not comfortable eating it or veal because I’m not comfortable with the farming methods used to produce the meat.
I’m one of those free range chicken owning, beekeeping, organic gardening girls who works out every chance she gets. I’m also a libertarian and am appalled by the idea of illegal food. The hand wringing over obesity craze has gone too far. You know—the patronizing speeches, the cable network specials, even the use of the word “epidemic” as if pie was an airborne pathogen. How is anyone’s weight anyone else’s business? How is this not about thin people jeering at fat people. Suddenly I’m back in a junior high locker room.
We should be free to eat what we want and be as active or inactive as we prefer to be. It’s your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness (and all things delicious) that’s at stake. First they came for the hotdogs but I didn’t eat hotdogs…then they came for my sprouts. Be alarmed.
Bloomberg justifies his soda size limit saying “We're not taking away anybody's right to do things. We're simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”
Forcing us? He’s right about one thing, only government has recourse to force. Your mom can give you the “Do you really need that second helping?” look but she can’t levy a fine against your family deli. She can’t shut down your restaurant for selling supersized soda, trans fat French fries, or foie gras du jour. Only government can make food illegal. In a free country, that’s just wrong.
(CCU Student) Americans have created a culture where we don’t like to be pushed around, where we value our ability to make decisions for ourselves. This ideal is reflected heavily in popular culture, where our most well-known characters are rugged individuals that forge their own path (i.e., John Wayne). But if this is the case, then why are we allowing such expansive legislation to pass in Congress such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Why do we sit back and watch as the government adds thousands of pages of regulations to the books that have a direct impact on every facet of our lives – from the very food we eat in restaurants to the type of light bulbs we have in our homes and businesses? And how in the world did we get to where we are today?Many people think of the New Deal as the first real push to expand the federal government. But in reality, the big push came much earlier than that. The true beginning of big government came with the triumph of progressivism from 1890-1920. The goal of every progressive was, as Bob Moffit of The Heritage Foundation said at a luncheon I attended, “Seek first the political kingdom, and all the rest will come to you.” Major initiatives of progressives were focused on civic reform – for example, implementation of an income tax, direct election of senators, Prohibition, and the expansion of suffrage – the 16th-19th Amendments. The way to achieve this reform was through the government. But progressivism instead sowed the seeds for its own contradiction: it valued a democratized society, yet ultimately, the major decisions on how everything was to be run would be made by unelected experts who applied social science to all situations. The people should be freer, except in those areas in life where they do not know enough to make informed decisions about. Once this philosophy becomes ingrained in the government, it slowly dissolves the ideal of a free society, one where everyone has the power to make their own choices about their own lives. Government becomes the major solution for everything.America has become infected by progressivism, though it is not as obvious as it was in the early twentieth century. Instead, it manifests itself in Congress. Congress is the only branch with the constitutional power to legislate. There are checks and balances, of course, but the Congress is the only branch that has the power to initiate, debate, amend, and repeal laws. With the growth of the administrative state, this power has been given to the “fourth branch,” the bureaucracy. Instead of passing clear, concise laws that specify actions and consequences, many laws now are vague and delegate the details of decision-making to agencies and unelected officials. Essentially, Congress has given up its very special legislative power to those who are held accountable to no one.Take Obamacare for example. The bill directs the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to act over 1500 times in 2700 pages. It creates 159 new agencies within the federal bureaucracy – although that number is essentially unofficial, as the bill also gives sweeping authoritative powers to the Secretary of DHHS to create more if “necessary.” This kind of arbitrary power is unprecedented, to speak nothing of the questionable constitutionality of such powers.
The American Revolution was fought for a reason. It was not fought over a three cent tax on tea; it was not fought due to any particular incident of quartering soldiers in private homes. The Revolution was fought against an arbitrary government, one whose power had far overreached its proper limits. The Revolution was won because American colonists believed in such limited government, and they founded the world’s first successful republic on such principles. The America of today has lost that ideal. We instead have allowed the government to sneak into our very private lives and regulate everything. The government of today looks nothing like what the Founders envisioned their beloved country to look like.Congress MUST wake up to their constitutional duty – and authority – to legislate. Too much power has gone out from them, and it will be a long road getting it back. But in order to have a more balanced, limited government, the power must go back to Congress. It’s not just a matter of reducing the size of government – there needs to be a change in how the government makes its decisions.
(CCU Faculty) In their recent New York Times op-ed, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,” Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens, former and current professors at Eastern Nazarene College, apologize to the Times’ readers for their Evangelical brethren. Their premise is that all thoughtful people believe in global warming and Darwinian evolution. Giberson and Stephens allege to Times readers that these Evangelicals:
• Reject science
• Are “textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance”
• Fit the definition of “simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism”
• Are not “intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking”
• But instead are “literalistic, overconfident and reactionary”
• Are in “denial” about cultural change, and have been
• “Scarred” by the secular onslaught
• Believe homosexuality is a “choice”
• Believe in “spanking children”
• Reject knowledge and are, thus, “an intellectual disaster”
• “Embrace discredited, ridiculous and even dangerous ideas”
This is considerable calumny in a 900-word op-ed. So, Drs. Giberson and Stephens, let me humbly offer the following:
• It’s possible for people to disagree with you without being idiots.
• Granted, the New York Times won’t have much use for us but we still might be right.
• Even though our Bible does not lead us to completely capitulate to the Liberal elite we might still be reading it correctly.
• I know we are your embarrassing crazy cousins and you hate to admit your relationship with us in polite company, but is it possible that we better reflect the God of the universe better than you do? Or, at least as well as you do?
• May I disagree with you without your trashing me in the elite media?
• Do you allow any of these bumpkins to teach at Eastern Nazarene? Probably not, but if you do have you run any of this by them? Or, your fellow Nazarene, James Dobson?
• Do I have to agree with the New York Times on economic policy in order to be considered a scientific thinker? Foreign policy? The handling of OWS protestors?
I like Dennis Prager’s response to your column: “This Jew will take the evangelicals' values and the evangelicals' America over those of left-wing intellectuals' any day of the year.” (In fact, if it were not for Prager, I wouldn’t know you guys exist.)
One more thing. Please, the next time you write a screed like this please title it correctly: “The Evangelical Rejection of Leftist Orthodoxy.”
It is in times like these that I wish I were a great mind, well versed in psychological theory. But then again, I feel Freud himself would struggle to rationalize the behavior of most Occupy Wall Street members.
On a recent Saturday, eight CCU students went down to the State Capitol to volunteer for an event hosted by the Colorado Prayer Caucus. Heading into Denver, we discussed the possibility of a few “Occupy” protestors – when we arrived we discovered a much larger and louder crowd than expected.
Following are a few phrases that were held up on the signs of protestors at the Denver Civic Center Park, directly across from the Capitol.
“Eat the Rich!”
“The Order of the People”
“Bankers killed more lives than the terrorists could ever dream”
“Give me a job”
The tone of this movement is bizarre. I had heard of the Occupy Wall Street movement prior to my first hand experience of the Occupy Denver protestors, but I don’t think I had taken seriously how dysfunctional this movement is. The campaign can not offer one unified goal or plan that they are advocating, yet all members ban together so closely – those sporting peace and yin-yang signs mingle joyfully with those carrying violent words such as, “eat the rich!”
Equally odd is the fact that this extreme, rhetorically violent and vulgar movement is gaining support from established voices in politics. Obama has showed warm feelings to the movement, Nancy Pelosi has conveyed support and, of course, Yoko Ono is a huge fan of these unhappy dissenters.
As off-putting it is to think that the best response to hardship these people can think of is to demand their debts be paid and time filled with unwarranted employment, it is even stranger to think that they, in large part, accept the support of these people; Obama who receives huge donations from Wall St., Pelosi, who carries her $35 million of wealth from her success as an investment banker, and Ono with her $500 million and family of bankers.
The hypocrisy and irrationality that abounds at these gatherings is astounding, and the thought these occupiers are already being vindicated by celebrities, politicians and media is truly maddening. I only hope that those willing to embrace such a menacing movement will not be tethered to the abyss of falseness, envy and blame which seems to be their unifying force.
As conservatives, we feel that we are right. We feel as though the leftist agendas have been practiced to failure, exhaustion, and are not even viable solutions. However, many conservatives lack the ability to communicate with those of opposing viewpoints. I have been to countless conservative speaking-engagements, summits, think tanks, classes, et cetera, but these venues shed a “preach to the choir” ambience. What about those who are different, who vehemently disagree with conservative policies, and/or who label us evil, bigots, fear-mongers, callous, immoral, and barrages of other words? If conservatives’ pervasive trait of “realism” is to be tapped, we must realize these are the real people who need to be reached—and the way we communicate with them is crucial. Now, in the wake of a climacteric political race, conservatives need these skills more than ever. I write this not to accuse conservatives, because all of us are different in many ways, but merely bring some thoughts to attention that may help augment our platform.
First, know that tone and listening are two invaluable communication tools. I once had someone tell me, “You have two ears and one mouth. Do the math.” Listening twice as much as you speak and keeping your tone to an acceptable, “non-threatening”, and un-condescending volume is a great way to carry yourself throughout a dialogue with a Leftist. Just as the left seems to enjoy discerning faults in the world, they also will find fault in your communication if done improperly or “threateningly”.
Second, understand what differentiates Left from Right. Conservatives believe in less government whereas the left believes in more. This is simple but must always be consciously remembered.
Third, be ready for an isolated example. Leftists consistently highlight the unfortunate scenario of a small number. For example, people in favor of Obama-Care, socialization of healthcare, and/or other variances of healthcare entitlement programs often use the “cancer-ridden homeless man” story. Essentially, there is a homeless gentleman who is diagnosed with cancer and goes to emergency rooms (since he cannot be turned away) regularly for some sort of panacea because he cannot afford an oncologist (which is what he needs). Two things are routinely pulled from this story by the left: (1) thousands of dollars are being spent treating the wrong problem and (2) this is an atrocity no one should have to go through. The conservative generally responds in a manner viewed as callus and insensitive in the leftist’s eyes—therefore, how can we, as conservatives, avoid less of these unsuccessful conversations? The answer is simple: articulation, tone, and engagement.
Thomas Lock’s “Second Treatise on Government” suggests that no civilization will ever be perfect as a result of the fall of man—sin. Sin corrupts all humanity. Therefore, if two humans cannot exist in a perfect Utopian society, how can 320 million? Bring something like this to the Leftist’s attention using tone and calmness and ask, “What do you think about this?” Leftists will generally respond uniquely, since, let us be honest and genuine, every person has a slightly different worldview, another detail that must be kept in mind.
All differences accounted for leftists will generally not find it moral to allow the “atrocity”. Maybe then suggest what NGO’s can do for these people and why pry at why this has to be the government. From here, use discernment and follow similar principles. Not using leading questions only, per se, but helping the leftist see how many of these Utopian dreams are merely unfeasible and that conservatism seeks to implement what works best as nothing will ever be “perfect”.
Fourth, strive to instill a sense of trust of humanity as opposed to the government. For absolute power corrupts absolutely. Always keep an understanding that leftists are going to consistently be compassionate, Band-Aids to the broken, and speaker forthe unspoken-for. Leftists may have a stronger desire to be humanistic, humanitarian, and philanthropic than many conservatives. Although this is not true in most cases, it helps going into a dialogue with a leftist assuming that is their perception; helping the Left understand that conservatives consistently fund non-profits but merely prefer the right to choose where their money goes if the next step. Leftists routinely argue that “corporate greed” will prevent money from being distributed and that humanity’s proclivity to sin inhibits our giving, hence why the government is needed. Here, I suggest the theories of expectancy and dependency. For example, a teacher wrote into the O’Reilly Factor saying (paraphrased), “I had a student today respond to what he wants to be when he grows up with, ‘live on welfare and get free healthcare’”. Unfortunately, the “hard-worker” who receives entitlements becomes lost amidst those who treat it as free-money, entitlement, and eventual dependency. Perhaps continue this conservative-leftist dialogue by catechizing a leading question such as, “Obviously this is not right, yes? What would work better?”
Last, as a conservative, you already feel as though self-responsibility is becoming a disappearing attribute of the common man and is being juxtaposed with a nurtured sense of entitlement and being “owed something”. Face it! We are owed NOTHING except life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness. Entitlement comes with an innate sense of “owed”, and entitlements breed dependency more often than not. The government of the United States of America was not established with the mission statement of granting happiness to all.
Fellow conservatives, when you return to your lives, embark with a sense of understanding toward the Left. Understand they want to help, fix, provide, and save but many their ideas are simply unrealistic. Telling them they are unfeasible is impractical and ineffective—as is throwing accusatory statements or putting them on the defensive. When Pilate accused Jesus, Jesus did not respond with the ferocity of the common-Roman-man’s perception of Him. I rest my case in that it is not what you say, it is how you articulate, engage, word, and say it.
(Centennial Fellow) David Mamet, a novelist, screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has come out of the closet as a conservative, and in his milieu of Hollywood's unrelenting liberalism, this is so astonishing a development that both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Magazine have interviewed him on the revelation.
My thanks go to both newspapers. To Mamet, I'd like to say it was amusing to read your thoughts, not least when you talked in the Journal about liberals always finding something "bad, bad, bad" -- trans-fats, maybe, or global warming or hydrogenated vegetable oil -- and then making their nonnegotiable demand: "And something must be done!"
They mean it must be done by the government, federal, state or local, though the federal coercers are preferable to them because they can have at everyone of us and are oh, so much smarter than you and me, not least of all the bureaucrats who are always jamming up the traffic in Washington and something else in the nation.
These supposed giants among Lilliputians are jamming up normal lives with abnormal infringements, and they are getting so thorough at it that we may each eventually have a federal guardian following us, instructing us, fining us, sometimes arresting us if need be. Before that happens, we have the likes of Michelle Obama telling restaurants they must start serving smaller portions to her fellow Americans.
Funny, but I always thought that matter was between customers and the restaurant, not some distant third party, and while I get it that the First Lady is dreadfully concerned about people like me getting obese, my scales and I have achieved a mutually appreciative relationship, thank you. If I ever do want to eat like a horse, I still want Michelle Obama to stay out of it, though I am pretty much a doggie-bag kind of guy. What does she want as her legacy -- an end of doggie bags as a source of tomorrow's lunch?
Maybe, you say, this White House occupant is non-governmental, but if she did not have the political heft of a husband who is president, you think the National Restaurant Association would have met with her advisers? I doubt that group would meet with my wife's advisers, even if she had advisers, or that she could get the attention of some in Congress and several federal agencies.
Something else in the news lately -- the misuse of Title IX to say that if college women do not want to enter sports in the same numbers as men students, that's too bad for the men at those schools. It's got to be equal. Some schools, in order to accommodate the more eager fellows, have lied about the number of women participating, and The New York Times, which broke the story, is in an editorial snit, saying this may be illegal.
The law was instead written to deny federal funding to schools that didn't afford women desired opportunities in sports because too much of the available resources were being spent on the men. Most schools had already begun altering old practices because our culture was changing., and the law’s goal was not meant to be close to strict sameness in numbers until the bureaucrats began throwing their weight around.
Interpreted their way -- cut off heads to make everyone the same height -- it's a bad law that breeds disobedience, and while I do not intend to go on the record in favor of lying, I can promise you that I have talked to business operators who have told me there is a sure way to go broke. Heed all the stupid regulations.
I'd like to cite more examples, but I would need something like 450,000 pages to be exhaustive, because, as Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute has observed, that's the probable size of the 2012 U.S. Code when published. Obviously, some of these laws are needed, but as Tucker notes, this is "as elaborate and detailed as any set of laws that have ever governed any society in the history of the world."
As Mamet said, liberals keep finding things that are bad, bad, bad, and as I would add, our lawmakers keep making them worse, worse, worse.
(Centennial Fellow) Give at least this much credit to the liberals "progressives" (LPs) in the Democratic Party: they don't let little things like losing 63 seats in Congress discourage them.
For LPs, a Robin Hood tax policy – one that extracts higher taxes from the successful and industrious and spends it on expensive social welfare programs for the slothful and underachieving – is an article of faith that cannot be compromised.
(No one in the political mainstream disputes the need for a "safety net" to help those who are disabled and truly in need, but for LPs, turning the safety net into a hammock is political strategy, not an economic one. If more people depend on government, then more people will vote for the party of dependency.)
Showing for the first time a Clintonesque inclination to put his desire for re-election ahead of his desire to transform America into just another declining economy run aground by bloated social welfare programs, President Obama recently agreed to forestall for two years a return to Clinton-era tax rates. The LPs came completely unhinged.
OK, even more completely unhinged.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, the goofiest man in America with a microphone, sanctimoniously blathered to his infinitesimal audience of economic illiterates that the erstwhile messiah is not simply wrong but "g**-d***** wrong."
Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said, Obama "has shown a complete refusal to fight Republicans throughout his presidency . . . and millions of his former supporters are now growing disappointed and infuriated by this refusal to fight."
Refusal to fight? Perhaps Obama doesn't fight well or doesn't fight smart, but from the perspective of anyone to the right of Howard Dean, Obama certainly doesn't appear to pull many punches.
He ignored public opinion to ram ObamaCare down our throats. Before the election, he told Hispanic voters, in unpresidential fashion, to "punish their enemies" (read: vote against Republicans). Even after reaching agreement to extend the current tax rates, he referred to Republicans in Congress as "hostage-takers."
Now the LP faction that propelled him into office muses about a primary challenge in 2012. This is all just so much talk. Democrats will oust the first black President about the same time the Nobel Committee honors Sarah Palin.
Obama, they say, is "demobilizing the troops and demoralizing the public" – still ignoring that "the public" isn't whacko liberal – because he's finally recognized that he'd better knock off the bigger government, higher taxing, more intrusive, debt-exploding poppycock if he has any desire to salvage a second term.
It's hard to say who is more devastated: the Left, by Obama's compromise with political reality, or Obama, by the realization that even he can't sell the Left's socialist agenda to mainstream Americans.
For the Left, class warfare is a rare battle worth fighting. The evil rich – job creators, entrepreneurs, investors – must be punished by higher tax rates that take money away from job creation and innovation and give it instead to government bureaucrats.
So many liberal progressives make a career working for government or for nonprofits that rely on government, they fail to grasp that the middle class cannot prosper without someone creating middle class jobs – not on yet another extension of unemployment benefits.
They ignorantly seem to believe that the evil rich stash their cash under a mattress. Any other investment – whether in a bank account, the stock market or back into their business – generates more jobs and, hence, more tax revenue.
If growing government truly bolstered the economy, then our economic engines would be roaring after the trillion-dollar stimulus enacted by Obama and the Democrats in February 2009. Instead, job creation is stagnant as employers cautiously weigh impending tax increases, direct and indirect costs of ObamaCare, and uncertain implications of the Federal Reserve's Monopoly money policy.
As Ronald Reagan said, "The problem with our liberal friends . . . is that they know so much that isn't so." Fortunately, the rest of us still have a vote.
Centennial Institute Fellow Mark Hillman served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
Markos Moulitsas, influential founder of the Daily Kos leftist website, takes moral equivalency to new and sickening depths in his new book, American Taliban: How Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists to the Radical Right.
According to a synopsis of the book that he wrote for the Huffington Post, Markos has decided that conservatives are not significantly different from the murderous gangsters who terrorize Afghanistan. Following are some of his elaborations on that equivalence, with clarifying questions I'd like to ask him:
Theocracy: Opposition to the Ground Zero mosque is apparently equivalent to a nation that has 48,000 mosques and zero churches. But Markos, New York City alone has a hundred mosques and the United States has 2,000 of them for its small Muslim minority. But you can’t tell the difference between 2,000 and zero? You need to work on Obama’s new debt commission.
Violence: Conservatives use violent rhetoric, wear intimidating T-shirts, and oppose illegal immigration. That’s equivalent to an American Muslim who guns down thirteen of his colleagues at Fort Hood? Without mentioning the ten Western missionaries systematically executed by the real Taliban for helping impoverished Afghanis with eye care? Without mentioning the tens of thousands around the world who have been murdered by the real Taliban? Here’s an experiment you can run, Markos, to test your thesis: For your next book, instead of trashing your right-wing countrymen, trash Islam. Run pictures lampooning the prophet. Cite sneeringly from the Koran. See if you notice any subsequent differences in the behavior of Jihadists and the American right who are supposedly just like them.
Sex and Women: Conservative Christians favor sexual chastity and oppose gay rights. The real Taliban share those views and add to them “arranged marriages, spousal abuse, subjugation of women by force, denial of education to females, and female genital mutilation.” (Source) See any difference here, Markos?
Truth: People who believe in Intelligent Design and deny Global Warming are as oppressive as the real Taliban who teach nothing but the Koran in tens of thousands of madrasas. Of course, the people who control higher education in America and deny access to those who disagree with them are Markos and his buddies.
As usual, the Left is far more guilty of the sins it finds in others. Markos is no exception. He can write this screed because he lives in a Western, Christian culture. If we were really like the Taliban Markos would have been a pile of warm ashes a long time ago. As it is, we grant him his right to speak because he has inalienable rights endowed by his Creator. And as a member of the American Taliban I will fight for his right to be wrong.
('76 Contributor) Next time you read a news story about racism at Tea Parties from some dishonest source like the NYT's Bob Herbert, bear in mind this Crash the Tea Party website. Here are some people openly recruiting infiltrators to pose as Tea Partiers and behave in ways intended to reflect badly on the Tea Parties, so as to damage the public perception of the movement. Since the claims that Herbert made have failed to be corroborated in the multiple videos of the events in question, that pre-established narrative must now be bolstered by whatever means necessary. Of course, there almost certainly are some racists and other disagreeable people at many Tea Parties (which of course has NEVER been the case at a union rally or an anti-globalism rally or some other such leftist thing)--there are bound to be some unsavory individuals at the margins of ANY gathering of substantial size for whatever cause--but the organized effort to smear the entire movement based on some individuals' unrepresentative behavior is truly disgraceful. It's McCarthyism. It's difficult for me to understand how anybody could, in good conscience, attack people whose central message is that the founding principles of American government should be adhered to. No matter how awkward or embarrassing somebody's effort to stand up and proclaim that message, how can you not be ashamed to do anything other than applaud him for it? And the idea that it's a generally awkward or embarrassing movement is just propaganda, from what I've seen--certainly some of the individual efforts have been awkward, but so what? I've met very admirable and impressive folks involved with the movement. What is wrong with people who are trying to marginalize ideas like limited, responsive government, government of, by, and for the people? That such efforts are widespread in THIS country really sickens me. Then again, maybe there's something even more insidious going on than an infiltration agitprop effort by Tea Party opponents. Maybe it's one layer deeper--this recruitment effort is organized by the Tea Party itself, to create the impression that its opponents are unscrupulous enough to resort to such infiltration tactics. Or maybe it's even deeper than that: Maybe the Tea Party opponents want to create the impression that the Tea Party would resort to creating a false recruiting effort attributed to Tea Party opponents. Or maybe it's an even deeper layer of insidiousness than that... [Or maybe someone needs to call the fantasy conspiracy helpline for counseling - Editor]