Thursday, April 14, 2011

Classless Act

Victor Davis Hanson marvels at how anyone, let alone a president, can say one thing one day and the opposite thing the next with as much ease as does Mr. Obama. Speaking of yesterday's dressing down Mr. Obama gave to his political opposition in the GOP Hanson notes that:
The president gave the sort of scare speech he not long ago warned against, and blasted the income-tax rates he not long ago agreed were necessary — in a context in which he has just presented a budget with a $1.6 trillion deficit of the sort he now says is unsustainable, and has warned about recklessly voting against raising the debt ceiling in a fashion that he himself had once done, in a larger landscape in which he had once damned attacking Middle East countries in optional wars, Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, intercepts, wiretaps, Predators, and leaving troops in Iraq, and then embraced or expanded all that and more (this list is infinite and includes everything from drilling to campaign financing to earmarks).
Hanson offers five alternative explanations for Mr. Obama's detachment from his previous firmly-held positions and declarations. Any or all of the five may be true, but there are other possibilities as well, none of them pleasant to consider, implying as they do that the president has a tenuous acquaintance with the importance of truth, and a moral character sufficiently protean that it can adapt itself to every exigency.

Anyway, check it out at the link.

Meanwhile, the esteemed Charles Krauthammer declares that the President's speech was "a disgrace".

Krauthammer has a point in more ways than he articulates in the brief segment at the link. The President invited Paul Ryan, the architect of the GOP budget proposal, to attend the speech and sit in the front row. Then Mr. Obama pretty much imputed the basest of motives to Mr. Ryan in front of a national audience, accusing him (though not by name - at least he observed that decency) of, among other things, wanting to throw grandparents into the street and abandoning autistic children. This ugly display, as short on honesty as it was on class, besmirched both himself and the office Mr. Obama occupies.

Mika Brzezinski liked it, though, which is not surprising, even if her rationale is:
There's much more commentary on Mr. Obama's speech and the disconcerting direction in which he seems to be determined to take this country at National Review Online.

Morally Stunted

Dennis Prager over at National Review Online shares some thoughts on the media silence about the Muslim murders of United Nations workers in Afghanistan ostensibly motivated by the burning of the Koran by Pastor Terry Jones. Prager goes on to point out the absurdity of some of the liberal-left reaction to this crime, taking Time magazine's Joe Klein as a typical example:
Joe Klein, political commentator for Time magazine, morally equated Terry Jones and the Afghan murderers: “There should be no confusion about this: Jones’s act was as murderous as any suicide bomber’s.”

Anyone with common sense knows that there is no moral equivalence between destroying a book, no matter how holy, and destroying a human life. So how does one explain Joe Klein’s statement?

Klein is a leftist, and his comment embodies two aspects of the contemporary Left.

One is the Left’s hard time identifying and confronting real evil.

Instead of focusing on Islamism, the Left focuses on small evils like alleged pay gaps between men and women working at the same job, or on non-evils such as carbon-dioxide emissions. Or they engage in moral equivalence: The Muslim murderers are no worse than Terry Jones.

The other characteristic of the Left embodied in Klein’s statement is what George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” It is clear that Klein has contempt for Muslims. If Christians had slaughtered innocents because of Piss Christ, it would never have occurred to Klein to write “There should be no confusion about this: Serrano’s act was as murderous as any slaughtering Christian’s.”

With Islamism dominating major parts of the Muslim world, and leftism dominating much of the non-Muslim world, these are not the best of times.
The inability or unwillingness to hold everyone to the same moral standard is a trait of those who don't think seriously about moral justice. They use moral judgments as an ideological club with which to beat their opponents over the head but are not really interested in an equitable distribution of those judgments.

Anyone who draws an equivalence between what Terry Jones did and what those Afghan Muslims did is morally stunted. The same might be said of anyone who condemns Jones but is silent about "art" that desecrates that which Christians hold sacred.

Both of these kinds of people suffer, perhaps, from what might be called moral Stockholm syndrome. Fearful of their intimidators they supinely seek to ingratiate themselves into their good graces by rationalizing their behavior and despising that which their intimidators despise. It's as ugly as it is cowardly.