whatever you can come up with
James Poulos is indicting:
Thought: above all, solidarity with the Iranian opposition has been *inspired* (not justified) by their *fashion*.
Thought: we secretly feel it more possible to be a fundamentalist Muslim and cool (taking ‘cool’ SRSLY) than to be a cool fundst Christian.
I support the Iranian protesters despite my many and serious ideological disagreements with them because I believe they have more genuine respect for democracy and the liberal tradition than the alternative, and because I believe the election results were fraudulent. I have no illusions about the gulf between the rioters’ beliefs and mine. I don’t give a shit about fashion.
Now, James has thought up a plausible illegitimate reason for people to demonstrate solidarity with these protesters; I imagine there are people just like that. But it really is imagination when I think so, and so with James. Indeed, there are lots of plausible reasons to imagine any particular beliefs, stated or felt, to be motivated by illegitimate impulses. I could imagine that James’s refusal to show solidarity with the protesters (or at least his discomfort in the same) is the product of apathy or fear of the other. I think, applied generally and not specifically, that’s a plausible reason for anyone to not be proclaiming solidarity. With James, I just don’t think that it’s true. Just like I don’t think the fashionista impulse is overly important in widespread support for Iranian reformers.
It’s tricky business, but I find that to be a recurring (though tacit) thread in James’s work: plausible illegitimate motives imagined, so illegitimate motives proved.
Update: Please read and consider James’s response.