Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

McAmerican McExceptionalism

In her attempt to smooth over her stupidity in comparing the prejudice against African-Americans to conservatives' supposed exclusion from academia and the media, Megan McArdle compares Obama's relationship to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church to Bush's relationship with evangelicals and Bob Jones University.

There is, as expected, a lot of discussion in the comments to my previous post about whether you can compare Jeremiah Wright to Bush's visit to Bob Jones university. In terms of saying "Which is worse", I'm not sure this is useful. Bush went somewhere reprehensible to campaign, once. Obama developed a close relationship with someone saying somewhat less reprehensible (but also, crazier) things, and apparently never called him out. Which is worse is bound to be about 100% correlated with your political persuasion. But I'm not interested in the moral equivalency; I'm interested in whether it is true that one party keeps its fringe at arm's length, while the other party embraces it. I think that for either party to say this requires some pretty energetic airbrushing of its own less salutary moments, and also, of course, a fairly hefty amount of bias as to what ideas you consider actually crazy, as opposed to merely a tad radical.

This are the "crazy" things that Rev. Wright has said that McArdle finds so objectionable:

Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change. And I'm through now. But let me leave you with one more thing. Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontius Pilate - the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from East to West. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonized Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British government failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God bless America? No, no, no. Not God bless America; God damn America! That's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!

And what did McArdle get out of this speech?

Similarly, a lot of white conservatives know one thing about Jeremiah Wright: he apparently at least occasionally goes off on lengthy rants about the united states, and white people. Since that's all they know, when they think of Obama as attending the church, they tend to think of him as embracing the rants against white people. But just as with Bob Jones, attending a hard core church is a way of embracing a community which mostly has nothing to do with ranting about white people, and the improbable accusations against the government. The black commenter who is angry that I brought it up understand this--but doesn't think of Bob Jones as also having a host of other values attached to it.

Since when was God an American? Why does God owe us allegiance over all other nations? Why should God bless our endeavors--our wars, our murders, our contracts on our own citizens, our oppression, our greed and vanity? McArdle thinks it's crazy to put God over country. To put helping the poor over capitalist success. To put peace over killing innocent people. To put morality over nationalism.

Yes, the hatred and disgust of Christian bigots is exactly like African-Americans' anger and grief over their abuse and exploitation.

Shame, McArdle. It's not just for poor unwed mothers, you know.


Anonymous said...

She's one of the greatest new writers that we have. She's honest, too. I like that.

Susan of Texas said...

She's also a great humanitarian and a fabulous cook.

zeppo said...

God is Jewish. Or, at least He used to be. Not sure what happened there....

Susan of Texas said...

I think the reasoning is that God became Jesus and if you believe Jesus is the son of God, you're a Christian. Therefore, God is a Christian because he believes in himself. Which is a good thing because if God were an atheist, He'd have to smote himself.

Kathy said...

A great honest writer? Phew!

Stupid and thinks she's brilliant. Ignorant and thinks she knows it all. Professional ass-kisser who thinks her breath is sweeter than honey. Salaried Apologist for evil who knows God is On Her Side. Snide towards victims of monstrous crimes who demand justice, she blatantly begs for pity over her own everyday mishaps.

Bob Hopeless said...

And, while Wright's tone might be a tad...intemperate..for some, is there anything in his "rant" that isn't substantially and factually true?

Batocchio said...

The point is that no, Democrats do not always run away from their lunatic fringe, unless they are forced to by bad publicity. Which are the same conditions under which the Republicans have cleaned house every time.

She takes pains to credit the GOP for ending the interracial dating ban at Bob Jones University, and also posits that Bush didn't know about it (his team certainly knew, even if Bush was/is a dumbass). In an earlier post, she claimed that the GOP drummed Trent Lott out because of his racism. If they were forced to do so, they don't deserve much credit. What Megan won't admit is that a large percentage of the conservative base is racist, the GOP panders to that, and only repudiates it when the PR gets really bad. It's not incidental to their party. What by Democrats is remotely equivalent?

Also, claiming that Bob Jones U. "has very strict rules for its students, 99.9% of which never had anything to do with race" is a poor argument, even for her. Well, then, that makes everything okay with their horrendously regressive, racist codes about interracial dating. Oh, and one of those other rules – women need to wear skirts or dresses, with the exception of some off-campus activities. That's in the Bible right next to the interracial marriage thing. Yeah, apart from their racism and sexism, they're just swell people. They're more tolerable (and more honest) than McMegan's crappy apologia for them, though.

Kathy said...

Wright is intemperate but correct. Quiet and meek isn't how things get done in this country. Ask our Founding Fathers: they were intemperate, all right.

Susan of Texas said...

Righteous anger can be a very good thing, and Wright is right about the foolishness and destructiveness of thinking God is an American.

Steve M. said...

I'm interested in whether it is true that one party keeps its fringe at arm's length, while the other party embraces it.

One party elects its fringe, that's all I know.