Monday, July 18, 2005

Gloss on the Santorum post in light of the latest post, and dividers, not uniters

In a post below I criticize Rick Santorum's attributing of the Catholic Church's abuse epidemic to liberalism. I don't think Santorum is being biased or conservative: I just think he's wrong. For him to be right, he would need to be able to show that liberal beliefs are strongly correlated with child abuse. I think this is completely not the case: I don't think "liberals" are any more likely to molest children than conservatives are. And even IF a correlation was found, it would have to be shown that liberalism was causing the molestation, and it was not a third thing (factor X) causing both the liberal beliefs and the abusive behavior. Santorum and his aides would really have to do their homework on this one.

Let's be clear: Santorum equates liberalism, relativism, homosexuality and tolerance; these 4 concepts are bound up in his mind, and as he is one of the most powerful men in America, he is unlikely to unhitch them from each other and attempt nuance in his statements. That's fine. But he's still incorrect, and the burden of proof on this statement is enormous, as any sociologist would tell you.

In fact, this is in the same vein as Karl Rove's statement that conservatives saw the "savagery" of 9/11 and prepared for war, while liberals saw the savagery of 9/11 and offered therapy. I don't really care what Rove says to his troops: it's irrelevant whether he believes it or not, because it wasn't designed to be tested. It's equivalent to statements uttered at high-school pep fests. I want to point out that it's a gross generalization, and clearly false; nearly the whole country supported (and supports) the war in Afghanistan, a clearer battle against terror than Iraq.

Another statement that falls into this category is Richard Durbin's mini-diatribe equating Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib with the gulags or the concentration camps. Not only is Durbin wrong, but he's contradicting himself; he coasted along with everything the administration did, and for him to raise his voice against our troops and the (almost exclusively) brave and hard-working guards at this point in the game is pathetic--at least Republican politicians are consistent.

BUSH: I'm going to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be fun. There are going to be problems across the board; it's going to be rough on insurgents, terrorists and the prisoners we take. In fact, I'm going to get really flaky on intelligence, and also try to get the country to believe that Iraq, al-Qaeda, terrorist, and Saddam Hussein are interchangeable terms.
DEMOCRATS: Fine by us.
BUSH (stunned): Really?
DEMOCRATS: Absolutely. Go for it.

*two years later*

DEMOCRATS: Wait, so one of our guards KICKED a prisoner?
BUSH: Well, yes, I mean, what did you expect?
DEMOCRATS: Not kicking! We're upset. Very upset.

Our role as bloggers should be to question ruthlessly every statement and action by those in power, be they Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, on a case-by-case basis.

2 Comments:

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

Nice work on this post and the preceding one. I can't really "wordify" my agreement so I'll steal this quote from a book jacket. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read... also highly persuasive."

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger StandingOutInTheCold said...

I don't think that Santorum or Rove meant liberals in general. I'm not necessarily saying that either is right, I just think that you may be misinterpreting what they meant. Then again, maybe I am.

I think that Santorum meant cultural liberalism, rather than political. Maybe they're the same thing in his mind -- I don't know. But I think its ridiculous to say that political liberalism made priests more likely to abuse children. Its much easier to make the case that a general lack of universal morals in our culture (typically attributed to cultural liberalism) led to the loss of the priests' moral bearings. I still don't know that you can make a clear argument here, but at least it makes more sense. Santorum is a smart guy and usually doesn't say patently stupid things. But, we all have our moments and maybe this is one of them for him.

With Rove I think he was talking about the liberals in Washington, not the rest of the country. The people were all behind the president, but the politicians weren't at first -- not until the saw that the people will. Many Al Gore/MoveOn.Org/John Kerry/Michael Moore types were pushing for 'peacful' response. If you don't believe me you can check in Hugh Hewitt's backlogs from when Rove made the statement -- he has the quotes. Or go to the websites for those organizations and you may be able to find their initial reactions still. So, Rove's statement has at least some factual basis, although he probably should have specified that he was not attacking the American people who consider themselves 'liberal'.

 

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