}

Change the Conversation

It’s time we changed the conversation, like Bret Stephens does in this great clip. (HT: Elie Klein.) While I am proud to be part of such a complex tribe, sometimes our messages are so diverse, and so multifaceted, that it is hard to garner support on a broad scale. Stephens does a good job of bucking this trend.

He puts forth something simple I think folks of all stripes and streams can get behind: Let us begin to hold EVERYBODY –West, Middle East, Israel, Islam – up to the same standards. It’s time everybody was held accountable, and held themselves responsible, for human rights in their own countries.

I have been trying for years (unsuccessfully) to wrap my mind around the notion that the people who proclaim to care the most about liberty / tolerance / moderation / peacefulness when it comes to the West are those most likely to accept third world and Islamic extremist brutality and warmongering, as if to shrug and say, “Well, gosh, you know….that’s just their way, those crazy folks.”

This pervasive condescending thesis – that behavior we would never accept in ourselves is OK for another kind of people – is, as Stephens points out, completely ludicrous. If all people are created equal, why do we demand responsibility from some and not from others?

But this question, like so many others, is taken as a lack of empathy, as conservatism, instead of what it really is: truly egalitarian thinking.

7 Comments

  1. AlexK

    6/24/2010 at 7:38 am

    “I have been trying for years (unsuccessfully) to wrap my mind around the notion that the people who proclaim to care the most about liberty / tolerance / moderation / peacefulness when it comes to the West are those most likely to accept third world and Islamic extremist brutality and warmongering, as if to shrug and say, “Well, gosh, you know.. that’s just their way, those crazy folks.””

    And here you sum up the duality and hypocrisy of modern, Western big “L” Liberalism. At the same time as they make excuses for our enemies and rationale for why we are evil, they attack small “c” conservatism as contrary to “liberty / tolerance / moderation / peacefulness” which is of course, a lie and a joke.

    “Let us begin to hold EVERYBODY … up to the same standards.” – That IS one of the fundamental concepts of conservative and why most people outgrow liberalism after they leave college, get jobs, and become productive members of society. It’s why I made that journey.

  2. montana urban legend

    6/24/2010 at 4:00 pm

    “A powerful Christian case for Israel…”? You mean, like the ingathering of all the Jews to facilitate their massacre in the apocalyptic battle that portends Christ’s return?

    That’s a great case to make for Israel, innit?

  3. montana urban legend

    6/24/2010 at 4:18 pm

    It’s actually a rather silly case. But the modern liberal believes in improving the worst lot first, and hence they focus (albeit vaguely) on the Arabs. They root for the underdog, and conflate physical/military inferiority – especially when pitted in a nationalistic battle with others – with moral superiority. That’s just what liberals do.

    In rooting for the underdog, comparative liberalisms between two or more parties doesn’t matter. The lack of power matters. But in a way, they have a point. (And perhaps this is incidental). If Israel is already the (intrinsically?) more liberal party, why does it need defending? There is a difference between defending the rights of those perceived to be without them (a core tenet of the liberal view) and preferring to defend the rights of those who are merely more liberal (which has nothing to do with liberalism. If anything, a defense of one’s “own”, whether ethnically, culturally, ideologically or otherwise, is moreso a conservative tendency).

    Sorry Sarah. I like your writing, but the case you try to advance is fucked – at least when viewed through the traditional, binary ideological construct.

  4. montana urban legend

    6/24/2010 at 4:29 pm

    OT, but when I go to the Flickr sidebar why do I always wonder how many girls are there frolicking around Israel who just can’t wait to be photographed doing whatever by ck?

    When I was at the Dead Sea and my eyes got a bit salty I was led out (or carried, depending on which version I happen to recall) by three French girls I was travelling with to the showers. One looked like a very young Elizabeth Hurley. It was kind of fun.

  5. AlexK

    6/25/2010 at 9:32 am

    Sounds like you make a great gay boyfriend MUL.

  6. Ben-David

    6/25/2010 at 9:42 am

    Political correctness replaces moral judgment based on merit/behavior with a static system of “official” victim groups, and “official” oppressors.

    Once you get on the A list of chic victim groups – you are NEVER held responsible for anything you yourself do. In the most repulsive version of this – your victim is blamed for “oppressing” you, thus causing you to attack them.

    That is the dynamic here. There’s a lot of moralizing – but no real moral judgment. It’s all about showing you know who’s on the A list and who’s on the B list, and dispensing pity or scorn accordingly.

  7. montana urban legend

    6/25/2010 at 5:38 pm

    Sounds like you make a great gay boyfriend MUL.

    I wouldn’t know. Did you learn about such things from your own gay boyfriend, Alex?

    Hey – I wouldn’t hold it against you. If you make your gay boyfriend happy or if he makes you happy, that’s fine with me.

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