Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wait, Wait, Let Me Guess! You're Frickin' Insane!

Matthew Yglesias:

Ahmadinejad is in most ways a classic right-winger, a demagogic nationalist and cultural conservative. In a manner somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Palin...

Lileks comments:

Perspective. Proportionality. But note how “cultural conservative” becomes conceptually elongated, so “right-wingers” who may, for example, not wish to redefine marriage become bunkmates with someone who denies the existence of homosexuals, and whose regime hangs them from lampposts. Well, we know the right-wingers here would, if they could, right? It’s only the possibility of bad PR that keeps Dick Cheney from setting his daughter on fire. As for demagogic nationalism, one suspects that Yglesias finds demagogy in anyone who talks about love of country and the great things America has done without landing with both feet on a big wet BUT, and then goes on read the syllabus from a Howard Zinn course.

I didn’t love America any less in the Clinton years than I did in the Bush years, or vice versa; I don’t conflate my opinions about transitory leaders with my opinion about the nation’s role in history and its exceptional, if occasionally improvised, conflicted, and compromised struggle to do the right thing. I mean, go back in history and find another one of us. (Note: small ethnically coherent Nordic states that can’t project power six feet over the border really don’t count.) But unqualified love of country unnerves some people, as though the lack of qualifications means you don’t recognize qualifying factors. Me, I think they’re obvious; we’re made of humans, after all, and every house we build has beams of crooked timber. But I don’t recall a lot of FDR speeches laying out a litany of American sins in order to bolster the case for why America should fight Hitler, despite all those troubling similarities. After all, we lynched Jews, too, ergo we must face our own demons as well as those abroad. And so on.

It’s interesting how he mentions Ahmadinejad’s demogogy, his “language of class resentment, painting his more pragmatic and reformist opponents as decadent elites out of touch with ordinary people,” and his populist use of oil revenues, and Sarah Palin comes to mind instead of Chavez - who, after all, called Ahamdi to tender a warm congrats. I swear, it’s the heels. They just make some men feel so small. In any case, when she gives a speech at the UN and later describes how she felt herself enveloped in a godly glow, give me a call.

Lileks also highlights another Deep Thinker:

People believe all sorts of strange things. I remember one of the first tweets from a famous tech columnist after the uprisings began in Iran: “shows what happens when you let George Bush teach the world about democracy.”

Well, yeah, you got that right. Nice try at an insult, Tech Doof.

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