I dare you to make less sense


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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10 Responses

  1. Lev says:

    Yes, another example of right-wing projection. How many times are we told that torturing terror suspects is okay because they’re so very evil? Dennis Prager’s Townhall column last week was a masterpiece of this form.Report

  2. Kevin Carson says:

    “Moral relativism” is a big favorite among the neocons. So is “moral equivalence.” What they seem to have trouble remembering is that the two alleged sins are direct opposites.

    “A (Partial) Neoconservative Lexicon”Report

  3. Kyle R. Cupp says:

    The term “moral relativism” seems to be used a lot these days to mean “moral thinking that differs from my own.” Strange that some defenders of objective truth would use words so arbitrarily.Report

  4. This may speak to a point I made on a Mark Thompson post. While I am not arguing that torture is okay, I do find it hard to draw a line in the sand that says torture is wrong, but blowing up a terrorist with a precision-guided bomb is okay. In a sense the Geneva Convention is one big wink and a nod that is based on a sort of moral relativism as well.

    The President, for example, has already made the declaration that in his administration we will, “…kill Osama Bin Laden.” So we’ve already passed judgement and the army has shoot-on-sight orders. If they were to capture him and shove toothpicks under his fingernails for a couple of days then shoot him in the back of the head, then we’ve crossed some kind of line.

    I would argue that using the word morality when describing war is always going to be a lesson in contradictions.Report

  5. The post to which Kevin links should be quoted in any comments thread that references the terms “moral relativism,” “moral equivalence,” “moral clarity,” and several other terms. Quoting the “moral clarity” entry will win any thread ever created – it made me spit out my coffee (actually orange juice this morning).Report

  6. Will says:

    Kevin Carson –

    That post is a real gem.

    Mike at the Big Stick –

    I think this entry addresses a lot of your points about the moral distinction between warfare and torture:


  7. Moff says:

    Poor Orwell. Guy devoted his life to producing some of the clearest English prose ever produced, and his eponymous adjective is commonly used as shorthand to describe obfuscating jargon.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    If only those backwards thinking savages could have true moral teaching brought to them somehow. Thank goodness that the light of truth gives us a great… erm… commission, if you will, to make sure that all the peoples of the world are brought under the umbrella of our universal morality.

    I’ve no doubt that, once we are done, they will thank us.

    Hell, we’ll probably be greeted with flowers!Report

  9. E.D. Kain says:

    Double plus ungood.Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    Less snarkily, I think that the person is making a chilling, though fairly common, assumption.

    “In a choice between Us and ‘Them’, I’m going to choose Us every time. We are Right. They are Wrong. Our excesses ought to be excused. Their excesses are reasons that we fight in the first place.”

    This attitude isn’t non-sensical. It makes as much sense as any tribalistic attitude. If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t have survived millennia.

    And, to be honest, the attitude “look at those immoral people over there! Their morals don’t even make sense!” reminds me more of tribalism than, say, something more modern.Report