In my own name only…

Why this building, there?

Leaving aside some melodrama – “insane,” “looming horror,” “surrender” – that question sums up the reaction to Cordoba House, a.k.a. “The Ground Zero Mosque,” a project of the the Cordoba Initiative (CI) that last week added the approval of Manhattan Community Board 1 to okays from New York City’s Mayor and Chief of Police. Left unstated is why it’s anybody else’s business, in the land of the free.  Why not put up an Islamic cultural center with worship area among the many buildings within a two-block radius of hallowed ground?  More important, what would denying permission for the project solely on emotional or ideological grounds say about us?

It would be a victory, in America, for the un-American doctrine of collective guilt.

Belief in collective guilt is not the same thing as bigotry, but they share assumptions and can lead to the same destination.  (Contrary to some reports, I did not call anyone a bigot in my post of last Wednesday.)  Consistently, and perhaps inescapably, calls to reject Cordoba House have rested on the assignment of responsibility to Muslims, in general, for the 9/11 attacks. You can call that Islamophobia, or you can call it a “natural” reaction – perhaps while also acknowledging that the naturalness of an emotional response may be an excuse for expressing it, but that it cannot be a justification for excluding anyone’s religion from the national community you believe yourself to be protecting.

The symbolic transference of responsibility, from those directly involved to a diverse world community, is often accomplished by sleight-of-hand, as facilitated by emotional distraction.

Alabama congressional candidate, Marine Corps veteran, and self-styled Tea Party activist Rick Barber begins the above statement (rough transcript here) with an indictment of “Islamic jihadists,” but immediately moves to the general level via the phrase “in the name of Islam.” This “in the name of” construction appears frequently in anti-Cordoba statements:  It’s a conventional usage that anyone might employ non-controversially, but acknowledging the obvious – a connection or association between Islam and 9/11, even the implication of some mainstream Islamic teachings – is different from establishing the responsibility and accountability of (all) Muslims.

Every victim of the attacks and for that matter every citizen of the United States and several other nations was also connected to the events, and there is one group of people who attribute responsibility to them and in fact had already done so beforehand:  The terrorists and their apologists.  Before 9/11, Bin Laden’s 1998 total war declaration embraced the idea when it quoted Islamic scripture, in the manner of a fatwa, to support attacks on Western civilians (including especially the Muslims held to aid and abet the West):  “[F]ight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.”  It should be noted that Bin Laden’s interpretation contradicts popular Islamic teachings on warfare.  We should also note the double presumption of collective responsibility – of all “pagans” for supposed injuries to Muslims, and of all Muslims, represented by Bin Laden et al, to attack:  One presumption follows from and implies the other, under the same doctrine.

For Americans, by contrast, the denial of collective guilt is fundamental.  It is basic to our policies in war, just as it is integral to the moral philosophy of American constitutionalism.  Unlike Nazis, Imperial Way Japanese, Stalinists, Taliban, or Al Qaeda, Americans insist on unalienable and equal freedoms for all:  No one can be pre-judged according to what he is suspected of thinking or believing, or because of where he comes from, or even because of what his government, co-religionists, or even fellow soldiers did “in the name” of some shared cause.  We therefore justify military operations by strict tactical necessity, struggle to safeguard civilians, and demand that others do the same.  The underlying philosophy also explains why we still argue among ourselves over actions undertaken “in our name” decades ago; why we continually review and refine our conduct; and why we can view our wars as wars of liberation, rather than as wars of conquest or punishment.  This philosophy also happens to be what we’re asking our Muslim allies around the world to buy into.

It has been the radical Islamists, the far left, and other enemies of American values who have sought instead to frame the “War on Terror” as a “War on Islam.” Conservatives like Barber seem happy to adopt their view.  In Barber’s video, following the initial statement on Islamic Jihad and a second invocation of the in-the-name-of construction, Barber says:  “Now Muslims want to build a Mosque just two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood.”  Instantly, the “enemy” has become not radical Islamists, but “Muslims.” Barber then asks, “When is the grand opening of this Ground Zero Mosque?”  His own answer:

September Eleventh, 2011. This is unacceptable.

Many listeners may inwardly respond, “Yes sir!” They and others may at the same time remain ignorant of the CI’s rationale.  For the CI, opening on September 11th emphasizes their central message that Muslims, rather than being co-responsible for 9/11, can stand diametrically opposed to Bin Ladenism.  The terrorists destroyed buildings, killed strangers, and preached the clash of civilizations.  The CI is constructing a building, welcoming strangers, and preaching interfaith cooperation and exchange.

For Islamophobes, such arguments are not merely unmentionable, they are in effect incomprehensible.  They cannot even be heard, it seems.  Even the name “Cordoba” feeds their suspicions:  To Muslims, medieval Cordoba is generally a symbol of pride, considered a cosmopolitan high point of early Islamic civilization.  To the Islamophobes, it’s a symbol of conquest, the attempted subjugation of the West.  Thus, a failure to stand against Cordoba House, for Barber, means one thing above all:

There is a difference between tolerance and surrender. The word Islam literally means surrender and if we don’t start electing leaders that are able to recognize the enemy, call them by name and stand up against them, then surrendering is exactly what we are doing.

Ironically enough, even while Barber promises to name “the enemy,” he encourages, or perhaps relies on, confusion about his intended meaning.  He started with Islamic Jihad, but ends with the strong suggestion that “Islam” or “Muslims,” and surrender even worse because it’s Islamic, are the problems, and that any gesture beyond vague “tolerance” is “unacceptable.”

Barber’s blogger allies are much more direct.  Responding to the “super-mosque” “outrage,” Ace of Ace o’ Spades dances around the edge of declaring holy war, but finally loses control:

Someone truly interested in peace and moderation would not build a temple to the religion that killed 2,996, allowing jihdis [sic] to literally — literally — dance on the unmarked, uncollected remains of their victims.

HotAir Greenroom blogger MadisonConservative gets to collective responsibility more quickly – that is, immediately:  His anti-Cordoba piece refers in its title to “Islam” giving a “tremendous middle finger to America.”  While the “religion” that Ace refers to only kills, MadCon’s “Islam” is capable of both destroying buildings and of constructing them.

Though more polite than Ace, MadCon, and Barber, Rod Dreher works in much the same way:

Of course it is wrong to blame all Muslims for 9/11. But why on earth rub salt in the wounds of the 9/11 dead by allowing a mosque to go in just two blocks from where jihadists incinerated or crushed over 2,700 innocent victims, in service of their faith?

The rambling syntax and nonsensical metaphor (salt in the wounds of the dead) may be symptomatic:  In plain English, Dreher, said to have been a direct witness to the WTC collapse, is still angry with Muslims.  Since, however, expressing negative opinions about an entire religious group remains socially unacceptable, Dreher has to hedge.  He makes a concession on “all” Muslims, but in a way that leaves “most,” “practicing,” “authentic,” etc., in play.  After that odd bit about the dead and their wounds (time to let them rest?),  and after obvious but undeveloped analogies to Pearl Harbor and Auschwitz, Dreher the “Beliefnet” blogger ends up close to Ace the South Park conservative by way of the phrase “in service of their faith.” “Faith” stands as an odd word for a fanatic’s belief system – unless you’re asserting an essential commonality between the “jihadists” and the average believer; unless, contrary to your promise, you are indicting the whole religion.

If we had applied Dreher’s logic fully to World War II, as in his analogies, we would have had to extinguish the collective presence of Germany and Japan from all of the far flung scenes of their crimes – up to several 9/11’s a day, day after day, for years.  That would have required the effective extinction of Germany and Japan, an option that was considered, once upon a time, but rejected for numerous reasons – chiefly:  It’s not the way we do things.  Instead, we liberated Germany from the Nazis.  We liberated Japan from the Imperial Way.  We liberated the captive nations from Soviet Communism.

To survive with our values intact, and without having to go through a world war, our response to the radical Islamist challenge – to naive yet powerful Koranic fundamentalism propagated to vast numbers of Muslims – will also have to be a program of liberation.  A gaggle of amateur anti-imams gathered in the virtual house of anti-Islam, flaunting their adherence to the extremists’ interpretations of the same passages from the same sacred texts, are not an opposition to extreme Islamism:  They offer its mirror image, its complement, potentially its facilitation and its completion.  Such an approach might qualify as “rightwing” – in the narrow sense of culturally defensive – but it cannot qualify as conservative regarding this nation’s unique founding principles and mission.

It’s only when confronted with someone else’s statements or actions “in our name” that our silence or inaction turns into approval.  The Cordoba Initiative people have met their test of explicitly condemning the 9/11 hijackers, their sponsors, and their beliefs, and to stand in favor of pluralism and tolerance.  In America, the burden is on their opponents to prove, not just imply through  guilt by association, the CI’s bad faith – and to pass a parallel test of their own.

38 comments on “In my own name only…

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  1. The photo was cropped from a Google satellite image map. I’ve learned not trust Google directions. Twoont surprise me if the labels were off, too. For instance WTC and GZ labels appear over places that don’t look like GZ to me.

  2. For the CI, opening on September 11th emphasizes their central message that Muslims, rather than being co-responsible for 9/11, can stand diametrically opposed to Bin Ladenism. The terrorists destroyed buildings, killed strangers, and preached the clash of civilizations. The CI is constructing a building, welcoming strangers, and preaching interfaith cooperation and exchange.

    I may go up for the opening and hand out some bibles to the entering crowds in the interests of interfaith exchange. I’ll also be interested in hearing the preaching and reading a translation of any parts that are delivered in Arabic. I’m sure there will be strong and unequivocal condemnation of Bin Ladenism.

  3. What becomes clear is that much of the advisory board, from what I RecBrowed, is the Helen Caldicott types like Joan Campbell who were
    woefully deficient in cogniscience, since El Sapo Grande, thinks ‘clueless’ has been overused, in regards to all our enemies

  4. @ Sully:
    Yes, let’s shock the conscience of the world by seeing whether the Cordoba people tolerate voluntarist nutjobs passing out Bibles at their front door.

    You’ve make it clear in your comments that you consider freedom of speech and worship a “suicide pact.” Are you sure that America hasn’t already died for you?

    @ tachyon:
    Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Interfaith Dialogue party?

    If “the Helen Caldicott types” opened a bookstore and held meetings across the street from Ground Zero, what would you recommend? That we burn the place down? Is there any town in America that can withstand the scourge of Joan Campbellism, not to mention the scourge of organizations whose boards include people like Joan Campbell?

  5. It suggest they are not the most discerning folk, now there is a difference, the original Cordoba Mosque replaced a Catholic Church
    whereas this only replaces a store, that was damaged on 9/11. What would it take to make you reconsider the practicality of this enterprise

  6. @ Sully:
    Sully, you’re talking about NYC. You come and hand out bibles and I’ll join you. They’ll be more people calmly accepting the bibles and dumping them in trash cans than anything else.

  7. @ CK MacLeod:

    Are you sure that America hasn’t already died for you?

    A very good question, deserving of an answer. I’m not sure America has already died; but I’m close to sure it has a terminal disease.

  8. @ Fourcheese casady:

    For the chance to meet you I may well decide to buy some bibles and brave the crowd. One of us can carry a sign. My first draft of its content is: “Leftist Jews and Conservative Post Christian Agnostics for Interfaith Dialogue”

    You are free, of course, to suggest revisions.

  9. tachyon wrote:

    What would it take to make you reconsider the practicality of this enterprise

    A clear and present danger – not guilt by association – or whatever it was that made you decide to junk the Bill of Rights.

  10. Sully wrote:

    @ CK MacLeod:
    Are you sure that America hasn’t already died for you?

    A very good question, deserving of an answer. I’m not sure America has already died; but I’m close to sure it has a terminal disease.

    You seem to have identified Americanism itself as the terminal disease. On Memorial Day, it’s quite fitting so say: much better to die of it than to live with the known cures.

  11. Here’s a clearer satellite image with map, btw (from the BBC article that I added as a link for “explicitly condemning”):

  12. @ CK MacLeod:

    The disease is Tolerance as our state religion. As has been known to occur in all religions, our particular sect has progressed to suicidal extremism.

  13. And, now that I’ve googled unsuccessfully for the answer. . . what the heck is the derivation, meaning, significance of “fourcheese casady”?

  14. Sully wrote:

    The disease is Tolerance as our state religion.

    Tolerance is indeed definitional for America. Of course, we’ve contradicted the moral value, mightily and to our shame, over the course of 200+ years as a nation, 400 as an outpost of Western civilization. Extinguish the commitment to tolerance – integral to the larger concept of equal protection and freedom – and you extinguish the American idea. John Adams once stated that the belief the British were going to establish religious conformity was as important a spur to revolution as any other factor.

    You’re of course, quite “naturally,” free to disbelieve in the American idea, but to paraphrase Ayad Alawi from a few years back, if anyone tries to impose intolerance here, we’ll fight him house to house – or, as the case may be, building by building.

  15. @ CK MacLeod:

    Tolerance does not extend to yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater, prescribing magic mushrooms as a vision aid or handing poisonous vipers to children as a test of faith; and it should not extend to immigration with the avowed purpose of imposing intolerance.

    And, your efforts to equate suicidal tolerance with “Americanism” do not survive the test of logic.

  16. Sully wrote:
    terminal disease.

    Bankruptcy is the Terminal disease,and you know it. The Cold War combined with the Great Society,paid for with borrowed money, is what bankrupted us. The detour from the Cold War into the Mesopotamian Wars combined with ever increasing Social Costs all on borrowed money have continued the Bankruptcy process without respite.

  17. @ Sully:
    The “fire” test – in re clear and present danger, also suicide pact – was already mentioned. No one is advocating the suicide pact – some inhumanly absolute interpretation of freedom. But the test for violating the presumption must be very stringent.

    The argument you’re making, on the other hand, tracks the once very popular condemnation of Catholics and more generally of immigration from un-democratic lands. We got over that one. One result is that, in addition to undermining the fear of “Popery” among non-Catholics, freedom of conscience has also undermined the authority of the Pope among Catholics themselves. We have helped to transform what it means to be a Catholic – turning the Catholic church into a much better world citizen in the same way that we have encouraged Catholics (and Mormons, and Baptists, and Jews, and Muslims) to be better American citizens. We can and must, and I believe will, do the same thing to Islam – whether Bin Laden and the rest like it or not.

    We have allowed ourselves to be shocked out of our moral presumptions and self-confidence by Mohammed Atta and those like him – the extremists who were able to lead a double life, pretend to be in and of the West while secretly remaining more fundamentally beholden to their hatred of the West. It betrays a lack of self-confidence much more dangerous than anything anyone else can do – much more dangerous than 9/11 or 100 9/11s – that we fear the suicide bomber, who dies with his irreconcilable contradictions, more than we trust the thousands of his co-religionists who reconcile them in their real and continuing lives.

  18. @ Sully:

    Attempts to assign guilt to person when you can’t show any guilt ain’t all that much in accord with the rules of logic either, old boy.

    Tolerance does extend to refraining from clubbing into silence theatergoers because you think that someone, ten years before and in another theater, yelled.

  19. @ CK MacLeod:

    “We” Americanized (were Americanized) and reformed those disparate groups in part by the liberal application of all sorts of discriminatory sanctions that encouraged the surrender of “unamerican” belief systems and the great desire to assimilate. Despite all of those sanctions “we” have never assimilated groups like the Amish, who fortunately don’t have an urgent desire to kill or convert the rest of us.

    I find it interesting that you mention the Mormons, one of whose core beliefs (plural marriage) was outright banned as part of the deal that permitted them to retain their religion.

    I would have no problem with importing and making citizens of Muslims who are willing to publicly swear a solemn oath denouncing Sharia, Jihad and all other supremacist tenets of the religion if I were able to believe we would actually strip citizenship of those who revert.

  20. @ Fourcheese casady:

    If guys are turning up on neighborhood sidewalks with two bloody holes behind their ears it’s a good idea to be very attentive to the fat guys in the wifebeater T shirts who hang around at the coffee shop on the corner. Which brings me to another point about assimilation of groups with very different traditions and belief systems. The Mafia would most likely still be active and perhaps more powerful if its members had enjoyed the sort of “tolerance” and “rights” CK is asserting existed in America in former days when “we” were more demanding of assimilation.

  21. @ Sully:
    Tolerance and rights certainly “existed in America in former days.” As I pointed out on my own, we also contradicted our values. We may have gone too far or may have become too lazy regarding the encouragement of assimilation.

    I have no idea what would have happened to the Mafia under different circumstances, as nothing happens in isolation, but to my understanding most of the success against the Mafia occurred during a highly and increasingly progressive, post-Miranda approach to law enforcement.

    I don’t know that anyone’s capable of determining whether assimilation occurred mainly as a result of positive incentives – the economic and social benefits of integrating with mainstream society – or negative ones of the sort you mention. I tend to think that the former were overwhelmingly more significant over time, and that the latter may have slowed the process rather than helped it along.

    In order to become a citizen, someone must swear an Oath of Allegiance with the following provisions:

    1 allegiance to the United States Constitution,
    2 renunciation of allegiance to any foreign country to which the immigrant has had previous allegiances to
    3 defense of the Constitution against enemies “foreign and domestic”
    4 promise to serve in the United States Armed Forces when required by law (either combat or non-combat)
    5 promise to perform civilian duties of “national importance” when required by law

    #1 and #3 especially make the renunciation of “Sharia, Jihad and all other supremacist tenets of the religion” redundant in all practical respects. However, #1 and #3 additionally obligate the citizen to protect everyone’s freedom to believe whatever he or she happens to believe about Sharia, Jihad, the genetic inheritance of intelligence, kissing on the first date, life on Mars, or the Boston Celtics. What you’re asking for would amount to swearing to uphold the Constitution by swearing to defy it.

    That doesn’t preclude us from denying citizenship or entry to anyone whom we reasonably believe presents a threat. On principle, I don’t have anything against more detailed or stringent oaths from new citizens (or even from mere guests/visa recipients). Of course, there is also nothing to prevent a committed Jihadist from swearing exactly the oath you ask for. It would just be taqqiya. So it might be a good way of deterring and singling out large numbers of un-problematic people, making ourselves look xenophobic and paranoid, while doing nothing about the real problem.

  22. @ CK MacLeod:

    I’m aware of the oath of allegiance, and of its meaninglessness in this age of tolerance to the point of suicide, which is why I specified that I would have to believe there would be real intention to enforce an oath, and why I specified that it would have to be explicit re the beliefs that make Islam more a conquering political ideology than a religion in practice.

    And I noticed that you didn’t comment on the mormon assimilation.

    Seriously, you just cannot compare our society’s ability to assimilate newcomers today to its ability back in the days when the very thought of public schools teaching in foreign languages (other than as a fast bridge to english in the most enlightened environs) would have been considered preposterous. Same thing relative to the attitude that prevailed which more or less required Kennedy to renounce allegiance to the Pope as a condition of his run for the presidency.

    A lot was wrong with the country before we became terrified of requiring assimilation; but requiring assimilation was not a wrong. Willingness to assimilate should be a hard requirement of immigration. And virtually any sign of unwillingness to assimilate on important matters should be grounds for revocation of a green card and deportation.

  23. Sully wrote:

    And I noticed that you didn’t comment on the mormon assimilation.

    Don’t have any problem with it and don’t see why it’s relevant. Polygamy is easier to spot than secret beliefs about polygamy. Eventually, the prevention and denunciation of the act leads to the wasting away of the belief. Usually. Same for Islamist terror.

    I believe that in many respects we assimilate immigrants much better today, more quickly and efficiently, than we used to. Today, we have them in our schools and fail to teach them English very well. 100 or so years ago, we just didn’t have them in schools at all. 100 years ago, the vast majority were true aliens to American culture. Nowadays, a much larger percentage have been pre-assimilated culturally in various ways – most have been absorbing American popular culture since they were children. Most already speak some English. You might not have gotten very far in large parts of the new cities of the late 19th Century speaking English – assuming you could stand the stench.

    Many of the harsh anti-immigrant measures were a delayed reaction to non-assimilation. Non-assimilation also frequently meant that big city political machines (and also rural political machines dealing with recently freed slaves) could broker votes and secure patronage. I don’t think anyone’s shown that “No Irish Allowed” signs were a big help integrating the Irish into society, or that anti-Catholic prejudice was a big help integrating other Catholic immigrants. It was sheer numbers, sheer advantage, sheer acclimation, sheer time.

  24. CK, I used to agree with you on this–I got absolutely pilloried for commenting in support of “it’s their property, they can do what they want” on one of the Pajamas Media articles–but the PJ Media folks have been uncovering a lot of evidence that Rauf really is an Islamist fundamentalist, and Cordoba House isn’t going to be a home of moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue. As your co-blogger at Hot Air notes, Cordoba House is a name that inherently acts as a symbol of conquest.

    It’s not about collective guilt, it’s about specific, individual guilt–specifically Rauf’s.

    Now, I still don’t think there’s much we can do in law about this; the government shouldn’t take their property, and we can’t forbid them from building a church. But we can, exercising our own rights, protest outside the Mosque on a weekly basis, hand out Bibles in front of it, or (my personal favorite choice) open up a bacon dog stand outside of it. After all, I live a few blocks away from the planned mosque site, and we could use a bacon dog stand down here. And the Muslims who use and run Cordoba House can demonstrate whether they’re willing to apply the same American tolerance that they demand of the rest of us.

  25. @ Brian:
    All of the stuff on Rauf that I’ve seen has been lame character assassination and guilt by association. Something new since Chesler’s and Shoebat’s hit jobs?

    But we can, exercising our own rights, protest outside the Mosque on a weekly basis, hand out Bibles in front of it, or (my personal favorite choice) open up a bacon dog stand outside of it.

    I’m going to be a little short with you here, because my stomach is already three times turned by some of the things that perfectly non-bigoted freedom-loving upstanding conservatives have been saying as soon as they get a chance. Don’t post things like that if you’re going try to tell someone later that your motivations are pure, and have nothing to do with a bigoted aversion to Islam.

    That kind of thing would look just great for us in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan!

  26. @ CK MacLeod:

    Whoa, hold up a moment CK. Why, exactly, can we not have a bacon dog cart on the public property outside this mosque? We have every kind of movement demonstrating on a weekly basis down here–unions, communists, occasionally even a Tea Party. We have food carts all over the place in this area. Can we not sell a perfectly legal food on the sidewalk, for fear of offending Muslims?

    You can’t build your case on Rauf’s right to use his property in a way that most Lower Manhattanites find offensive, and then attack the right of everyone else to offend Rauf (and yes, I would support the right of anyone to sell bacon dogs outside a synagogue, or to desecrate communion wafers outside a church).

    I wouldn’t feel the need to test the tolerance of the average Muslim. But Rauf, with his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and with the symbolism of Cordoba House, needs to be tested. And if the supposedly good folks at Cordoba House can’t put up with pork products being sold on public property near them, then that’s the answer to whether they’re willing to follow American law instead of Sharia.

  27. @ Brian:
    Why don’t just admit what you were doing? Specifically proposing a bacon dog stand because you imagine that it would be amusingly offensive to Muslims. Your way of getting back at “them.” You had no other reason to propose it. Since Rauf has had a storefront center 10 blocks from the proposed location, I think he and his people are probably pretty used to the sights and smells of New York.

  28. @ CK MacLeod:

    Why does it matter what my motives are? You keep emphasizing that it doesn’t matter what Rauf’s motives are, and you’re right. What matters is our right to speak freely, practice our religion, and yes, offend people. I don’t see you, for example, saying that the Palestine loonies can’t protest in Times Square because it offends people (it sure as hell offended me).

    You can’t have it both ways–if it’s OK for Rauf to open this Mosque, which will offend an awful lot of people, it’s OK for us to offend Rauf.

  29. @ Brian:

    There wouldn’t be a problem with selling bacon, hawking bibles, and wearing mini-skirts and wonderbras outside the place, Brian, if that’s what you’re into.
    This is NYC we’re tawking about.

    And if you find something substantially sullying about Rauf, I’ll be surprised. I know a pretty fair journalist who spent a couple of weeks checking him out.
    Anything really negative would be well-buried.

  30. So now you admit that your intention is to offend. Congratulations, I guess we’re making progress of a sort.

    I’m against expressions of religious bigotry regardless of the supposed justification. I almost hope that some volunteers do something just like you suggest, just to expose the opposition for what I guess it’s turning out to have been all along.

  31. @ forecastle casady:
    You think the truth and a fair and judicious accounting of it matter to the people who are agitating against this project?

    By the way, I’m still hurt that you called me long-winded.

  32. @ CK MacLeod:(well, I’ll be blowed!!!)

    If you mean do I think does the truth matter to the people writing the posts, maybe not.
    But I think that the people writing comments outnumber the posters and are quite concerned with what they think is truth.

    (who’s Mitch Berg?)

  33. @ forecastle casady:
    Mitch Berg? Conservative dude. I believe he’s from Minnesota, somewhat focused on state politics, and close to Ed Morrissey. I’ve criticized him in the past before, for similar blanket judgments of the sort he was just making in the HA GR.

    I think the truth matters equally to the authors and commenters, but that many speak in ideological shorthand and don’t always seem to be aware that that’s what they’re doing. They are imprecise in their language, and seemingly unaware of how far off the shell can land given a seemingly small initial aiming error. They don’t seem to mind, or know to mind, if it explodes in civilian areas or even within their own lines.

    There’s also a very “conservative” attitude toward discussion in general. Many seem actually to believe that the site would be better if everyone was singing out of the identical hymn book, with time out for personal flame wars, and a few “trolls” for comic relief. I hardly ever get a piece promoted to the front page without some worthy getting all huffy about “what’s this piece doing on the front page!”

    Oh well, I could go on, as regards the attack on Rauf, for instance, since that was the starting off point. But you might accuse me of being long-winded. I’ll assume you read only the first and last paragraph of this comment anyway.

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