Friday, February 17, 2006

Alec Baldwin and Other Haters

The Hollywood lefties are surpassing their customary standards for lunacy in the Cheney hunting episode. Take Alec Baldwin for example. Mr. Baldwin is the compassionate liberal who once announced on the Conan O'Brien show that:

"If we were living in another country, what we, all of us together, would go down to Washington and stone (Republican Congressman) Henry Hyde to death, stone him to death, stone him to death!" said Baldwin. "Then we would go to their house and we'd kill the family, kill the children."

Now this sweet man has this to say about Dick Cheney:

"Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately. Who ever thought Harry Whittington would be the answer to America's prayers. Finally, someone who might get that lying, thieving Cheney into a courtroom to answer some direct questions."

Imagine that. The same fellow who called for the murder of one of the most gentle men in American public life, Henry Hyde, and the slaughter of Hyde's wife and children is calling Dick Cheney a terrorist. Not only is Baldwin a morally ugly man and a hypocrite, he's also not very bright. After all, isn't terrorizing one's enemies abroad what one is supposed to do when one is at war?

Andrew Sullivan noted recently that although he gets mean, hateful e-mail from both left and right, the stuff he gets from the left is much more vicious than what he receives from the other side. He writes:

....I've experienced vitriol from both sides in my time. I will say this: the hate and viciousness directed toward me from the left in the 1990s for daring to be a gay man who was not a liberal does indeed exceed the hate and viciousness of the right for a small-c conservative who has become alarmed by the excesses and errors of the Bush administration. No right-wing group has picketed a book-signing with posters depicting my face behind the cross-hairs of a gun, as the gay left did. No one on the right has gone nuclear on my private life, as the gay left did. No one on the right has threatened to find me in P-town and split my skull open, or called me the anti-Christ, as some on the gay left have. Yes, I get homophobic hate mail from the right all the time; and many conservative blogs have blackballed or slimed or smeared me in various ways. But that's, sadly, what you get for being provocative and opinionated on the web. Bottom line: Hugh Hewitt is not as hateful as Eric Alterman, as any reader can see for themselves.

Haters are ugly people. One need only to have watched the astonishing performance of Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's Scarborough Country in October of 2004, when O'Donnell went into a name-calling frenzy at John O'Neill of the Swift-Vets, to see that these people are teetering on the brink of insanity and the slightest nudge often pushes them right over.

They're not the sort of individuals who can be trusted with the kitchen cutlery much less the levers of power in our government.

Parallel Tragedies

At First Things' blog Richard Neuhaus notes that Gene Robinson, the man who left his wife to join his male lover and who created a stir when he was ordained a Bishop in the Anglican Church, has checked himself into alcohol rehab. Neuhaus writes:

Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, has been in alcohol rehab since February 1. There is this in his letter to his diocese:

"Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol."

"Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism-which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether."

One has the greatest empathy for people afflicted with alcoholism, but the logic is intriguing. It is not a matter of will or discipline but a disease of his particular body over which he has no control.

One might imagine a person severely afflicted with same-sex desires writing something like this: "I thought of it as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop having sex altogether and live a chaste life."

The self-exculpating dismissal of will and discipline as irrelevant to disordered desires is always a morally dubious step. Bishop Robinson will now be a recovering alcoholic. Good. If only he were also a recovering gay.

There may be a genetic predisposition to being gay, as some believe, just as there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. But just as we don't accept the alcohol addiction as normal there's no reason why homosexuality should be accepted as normal. Both conditions, in different ways, ravage body and soul and wreck lives. This is not to say that everyone who is gay devastates his life through his behavior, of course, but it is to say that the chances of ruin are far greater if one is homosexual, all other things being equal, than if one is not. And this, like the ruined lives of so many good people by alcoholism, is a terrible waste and an awful tragedy.

Burning Down Their Livelihood

The Muslims, many of whom are dirt poor, are doing their best to ensure that they stay that way by torching the businesses of the only employers in town.

This isn't about depictions of Muhammed. What, after all, do the United States and KFC have to do with Danish cartoonists? This is how people react when they sense, if only inchoately, that there is no plausible argument that they can make to defend either their behavior or their beliefs. It's what people do when they lack the wit to say or do anything constructive. In their frustration and impotence they simply wax furious and break things. If there's one thing that the Muslim mob has proven itself adept at it's breaking things and killing people. It's what they do best and they're quick to hone their skills whenever they get the chance.

An Italian Reform Minister, Roberto Calderoli, has decided he's had enough of Muslim demands that the rest of the world adopt their religious views:

Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, told Ansa news agency on Tuesday that the West had to stand up against Islamist extremists and offered to hand out T-shirts to anyone who wanted them. "I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will start wearing them today," Ansa quoted Calderoli as saying.

He said the T-shirts were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists. "We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Calderoli said.

We look forward to the inevitable Muslim reprisals. Perhaps they'll start wearing T-shirts in Islamabad with pictures of the Pope wearing a missile nose-cone as a miter. Oh, wouldn't that shut up the West. Wouldn't that incense the infidels. Outraged Catholics would be flooding the streets of Rome burning down mosques and embassies, beating up Arabs and shouting pithy slogans like "Death to all Muslims," and things like that. The savage rioting would no doubt persist for days. Or at least until naptime.