Monday, March 26, 2007

Moral Equivalence

Or, to hell with Europe. These are the twin themes of Suzanne Fields latest article.
Bruce Bawer makes this point in his book, "While Europe Slept: How Radicalism Is Destroying the West from Within." One of the most disgraceful developments of our time, he writes, "is that many Western intellectuals who pride themselves on being liberals have effectively aligned themselves with an outrageously illiberal movement that rejects equal rights for women, that believes gays and Jews should be executed, that supports the cold-blooded murder of one's own children in the name of honor." Young Europeans who wear Che Guevara T-shirts and Palestinian scarves, to identify with a "glamorous" revolution that exists only in their naive imaginations, are dangerously out of touch with the authentic peril in the world.
First of all a quick history lesson for Ms. Fields. Che Guevara was connected to the Cuban Communist revolution and has nothing to do with Islamic Terrorism. You might find such shirts distasteful, but mentioning them dilutes you argument (which is weak enough as it is).

As for those hated Palestinian scarves, they might be wearing them in sympathy for the Palestinian people who actually have it pretty tough these days, thanks to the actions of Israel, the United States and, yes, Palestinian Terrorist Organizations.

What's interesting about the moral equivalence argument is how corrosive it is to actual morality. Actual morality isn't dependent on comparing it to someone else's morality, either negatively or positively. Obviously it's questionable for us to condemn the United States as worse than Al-Qaeda. On the other hand it's also questionable and possibly more corrosive for us to pat ourselves on the back excessively for being better than Al-Qaeda. I would hope that we'd be better than a mass-murdering organization than that, but I wouldn't want us to congratulate ourselves too much for that accomplishment.

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