Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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14 January 2011

All God's Creatures

On a less intense note, C. Van Carter demonstrates once again that he is the finest nature-writer in the blogosphere.

What Can the Right Say?

While the President's words at the Tucson memorial rally were welcome, as they certainly seem to have defused - for now, at least - the unbridled anger on the left, there is nevertheless a discernible degree of disingenuousness in his message*. For nothing the President said contradicted the prevailing understanding that civility is defined for the left by how the message is delivered, but for the right it is the message itself. In other words, entire arguments on the right are out of bounds, but on the left only violent language can be uncivil.

For example, could a conservative make the following argument regarding immigration?
Immigration from Mexico and Central America should be discouraged as the track record of Americans with ancestry from these countries is typically sub-par. Mexican-Americans have low rates of high-school graduation; have incomes significantly below average; have higher crime rates; have very high rates of illegitimacy; and have poor measures of civic responsibility (e.g., low voting rates, high rates of gang membership).
No, I don't believe any conservative could make that argument in any kind of mainstream forum - only in unaffiliated blogs could such an argument be made, despite its dispassionate tone and reliance on published facts.

On the other hand, could a liberal make this kind of argument?
Opposition to immigration is rooted in xenophobia. Immigration opponents are motivated by nothing more than hatred - hatred for anyone who threatens their imaginary Leave-it-to-Beaver world. But that world is a fantasy, and these racists will eventually find themselves fossils in a changing world that will have no patience for their demented, hateful intolerance.
Yes, I think they could - and have quite often, and this kind of argument is perfectly acceptable in mainstream venues, despite it's completely fact-less content and its vituperative tone.

And so this is the quandry the right finds itself in - it cannot communicate its message to voters since the message itself is verboten. And so it must rely on proxy arguments that don't necessarily make a lot of sense. For example, proclaiming loudly and forcefully to be against illegal-immigration, but all for legal immigration. But when the left counters with "Then why not just declare them legal - problem solved" - the conservative is left sputtering about rule-of-law. His real argument - that the Hispanic population is simply too large and we can't afford as a nation to allow it to continue to grow rapidly - must be muted, as making this argument will lead to his banishment from public discourse. Why? Because any venue that hosts this argument will be immediately subject not just to a withering public flogging, but to boycott by sponsors and anyone associated with the host.

* How do I know Mr. Obama is being disingenuous? Here's his review of Murray and Herrnstein's The Bell Curve. Despite the authors' dispassionate and masterful review of the known facts on intelligence, Obama relegated the book to "dubious science" of the kind long advocated by "racial supremacists", meant to appeal to a "white America [] ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism" and "in an ugly mood" who "resent any advantages, realor perceived, that minorities may enjoy."

Similarly, his Attorney General accused white Americans of being a "nation of cowards" for refusing to discuss race. But he wasn't calling for any kind of open dialog - one of his pre-conditions is that the discussion be "nuanced" - i.e., full of obfuscation and misdirection.

Similarly, in his attempt to be civil in his latest column "A Tale of Two Moralities," Paul Krugman states that "the real challenge we face is not how to resolve our differences — something that won’t happen any time soon — but how to keep the expression of those differences within bounds." He then goes on to frame the yawning gulf between right-and-left as an unbridgeable dispute over tax policy! Taxation is about the only topic on which the right gets to argue with some passion - perhaps because everyone hates paying taxes. Republicans are routinely lambasted as the "party of greed" as a result, but again who isn't greedy? Unfortunately, that results in the Republican party being essentially focused with near single-mindedness on cutting taxes, since that's about the only issue they can really promote with gusto.

Back to the Real World

I wonder how Daisy Hernandez, the young writer who breathed a sigh of relief that the Tucson shooter wasn't a Latino, reacted to this story? Ah, but it's just some local crime - who gives a shit, really?

13 January 2011

Moving Right Along...

Now that the NYT has received its marching orders from The One to avoid politicizing the tragedy in Tucson, it can now settle into its more regular routine and assign the blame where it clearly belongs: Pima Community College.

From the Asinine to the Ridiculous

I haven't heard or read Obama's speech where he apparently pleaded for some calm. But NPR last night featured a commentary that was the absolute topper on the post-Pima commentary hysteria. It featured a young Latina woman discussing how relieved she was when she saw that the assailant's name was not Latino, but that he was a "gringo," as she politely puts it.
Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week — they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported, and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people...I felt some small relief in knowing that at least this shooting wouldn't be used as a reason for yet another backlash against immigrants, or at least that’s what I'm hoping. In this political climate, it's hard to tell.
So there you have it - even in an alternative world where the shooter was not a young white resident of Arizona, but a Hispanic, the right would still be guilty in this tragedy.