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Hullabaloo


Saturday, October 20, 2007

 
And Speaking Of Paul Krugman

by tristero

Here's one of those miniscule examples that nicely illustrates the deep focus and dishonesty of rightwing discourse. Iain Murray, of the "Competitive Enterprise Institute" wrote a letter to the Times (I've added the relevant links):
In his Oct. 15 column, Paul Krugman calls me a victim of “Gore derangement syndrome” for pointing out on National Review Online the similarity between Al Gore and Osama bin Laden’s stances on climate change, which any impartial observer will admit are pretty similar (I quoted Osama directly and at length in the post).

I suggest that Mr. Krugman is suffering from “Gore blindness syndrome” in his failure to recognize a tongue-in-cheek comparison. I hope for his blood pressure’s sake that he never watches “The Daily Show.”

That Mr. Krugman should go further and suggest that I believe that Mr. Gore is a friend of the terrorists is, however, inexcusable. That conclusion is completely unsupported by anything I wrote, and I strongly reject the insinuation.
Of course! How outrageous for Krugman to insinuate that Murray was saying Gore was a friend of terrorists? It's ridiculous, merely because Murray wrote that Gore should share his Nobel Prize with that "well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden: "
who implicitly endorsed Gore's stance - and that of the Nobel committee - in his September rant from the cave.
Why would anyone think that Murray was associating Gore with bin Laden for any other reason but pure, clean, joking around?

We come across this a lot, we liberals. For example, as you probably know, James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA (and a Nobel winner), recently made a lot of racist remarks that caused him to be suspended from administrative duties at the lab in which he worked; also a lecture he was to give in England was summarily cancelled just a few days before he was supposed to fly over and deliver it. What you, thankfully, missed was close to 1000 comments at Pharyngula (here's a link to over three hundred of them) as we argued with some commenters who were complaining that Watson was being "censored" because he was telling The Truth. But it got personal as one John Smith, among others, made some remarks the rest of us were certain were racist. He, on the other hand, was quite insistent he wasn't:
Fetch some racist quotes of mine. You can't. You're a slimily dishonest fundamentalist, no better than a religious nut.
You see, the problem is that we didn't pay enough attention to the "hedging" in his posts:
I don't need data to suggest that MAYBE Africans are less genetically intelligent.
And indeed, that is true. You don't need data to say maybe something is true. Like maybe there really is a UFO behind the Hale Bopp comet. Am I saying I believe there is one? Of course not! I'm just open to the possibility is all, and that's no reason for you to think I"m completely deranged. I'm just not a fundamentalist.

In fact later, John Smith slipped up:
When I was talking about "dark-skinned" people, I was referring to those who are conventionally considered "black". I don't think this group of people have convincingly shown themselves to be as genetically intelligent as the rest of the human race.
Yes, Mr. Smith can continue to argue that he is simply being "open-minded." After all, he did write "I don't think...have convincingly..." rather than emphatically asserting that "this group of people" are not "as genetically intelligent as the rest of the human race." But let's get real. He's not even kidding his deeply racist self.

Now, attentive readers might ask themselves, "Hold on, wait a minute! What does John Smith's defense of his racism have to do with Iain Murray's complaint, you know, that Krugman unfairly accused Murray of saying Gore was bin Laden's BFF? "

To which I can only respond, "Nothing whatsoever, dear reader."

But then, you might think a little harder and ask, "Are you trying to say that Iain Murray has all the intellectual honesty of a two-bit racist piece of trash?"

Answer: "Why would you think I was trying to say that? Because I merely talked about Murray and a racist in the same blog post? Amazing what leaps of logic people make!"