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October 10, 2008

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"Moral cretin" was too harsh, but I get irritated when falsely accused of whitewashing the murder of innocent people. I don't know enough about the details of what Ayers intended, but hypothetically, a person could be stupid enough to think that planting a bomb somewhere where he didn't think it would kill someone would be a good way to make a point and that wouldn't be intentional murder, just criminally stupid and immoral and deserving of a very long prison term. OTOH, if he did intend to kill people then the fact that McVeigh was a much more successful terrorist isn't a big moral distinction.

I don't know enough about the details of what Ayers intended

Don't you think you should look into those details before comparing him to a moral monster like McVeigh?

Where does OCSteve get the idea that Democrats are pie-ing people? The protesters who've snuck into recent events to disrupt them have been anti-war folks of the far left (Code Pink, who think Pelosi is a Tory) and the libertatian right (Adam Kokesh, a Ron Paul backer, at the RNC). Other protesters who used property violence were anarchists on the fringe of an antiglobalization movement that has little sway among Democrats. I'm willing to guess that pie-ing has been aimed at the right, but that speaks to demographics and the differing natures of the left and right fringes. It's not being done by people generally accepted as good Democrats, and it's not especially being praised by Democrats. In recent weeks, Republican state committeemen in three southern states have described Obama in terms that would make Sean Hannity blush, inciting who knows what emotion in their base. Meanwhile, this year any Democrat knows that the way to blow off steam is to knock on doors and register voters, not to risk arrest and embarrassment to your cause.

But you're the one who did that first, now-what. I said people of my stripe have to make sure we don't give encouragement to whackos like Ayers, just as people on the far right need to consider the effect of their words when there are people like Timothy McVeigh who might act on them. Then you got upset. Then I started comparing Ayers directly to McVeigh, pointing out without your prompting that I don't know what his intentions were.

This could go on all night. Fortunately, it won't.

No it won't go on all night because I understand that someone who refuses to acknowledge the difference between someone who kills people and someone who does not kill people is not ever going to be someone with whom I can have an honest conversation.

People who kill innocent people are different than people who do not kill innocent people. Can you admit that?

But point me to the episodes of actual violence or property destruction or stalking or pies or anything similar on the right.

Off the top of my head, the guy at the Republican national convention who kicked the crap out a women protestor when she was on the ground comes to mind.

Leaving electoral territory behind, a pissed off right wing wacko walked into a liberal church in TN recently and more or less shot folks at random, because they were liberals.

The lovely Ann Coulter has called, from the stage, for members of her audience to assault hecklers.

Vent if you need to, OC. God knows I do. But I really don't think you want to get into the "who's worse" argument on this one.

Thanks -

I said people of my stripe have to make sure we don't give encouragement to whackos like Ayers

I second this.

You don't have to defend or rehabilitate Ayers to make the point that any association between him and Obama is noise.

The Weathermen were terrorists. Ayers was in a leadership position in the Weathermen. During the time of his leadership, they bombed public buildings and property, and planned to bomb an officers' club at Fort Dix, with the intent of killing officers and their guests.

Apparently, he is no longer involved in anything like that, and appears to no longer advocate it.

That's all good, but the man was a domestic American terrorist in his youth. It is what it is.

Thanks -

Not to get too off-topic or anything, but it seems like we could have an off-the-cuff ObWi gathering in the People's Republic of You Know Where without anyone barely having to walk across the street.

Hey, I'm bridge and tunnel, but I can be in town in half an hour.

Just sayin'.

Thanks -

the man was a domestic American terrorist in his youth. It is what it is.

Do you see any difference between people who kill other people and people who do not kill other people?

Because you're coming off as something of a nihilist here.

"No it won't go on all night because I understand that someone who refuses to acknowledge the difference between someone who kills people and someone who does not kill people is not ever going to be someone with whom I can have an honest conversation."

I don't doubt you have difficulties having honest conversations.
We appear to differ on the reason for your difficulty. I would say it's a deep-seated desire not to back down when you've erected a strawman and the recipient of your criticism pointed out your mistake. So now we're engaged in one of those chestpounding primate displays that makes internet discussions such a joy to participate in. And so educational too.

"People who kill innocent people are different than people who do not kill innocent people. Can you admit that?"

See, this is the kind of sparkling interrogation technique that I go online for.
From the start it's clear that I have a problem with killing innocent people, but I made a distinction between criminally stupid negligence and intentional murder. I said I didn't who which category Ayers is in. If he intended to kill innocent people, then in my view he is not different in an important moral way from people who intend to kill innocent people and succeed. He's just not a very competent terrorist. If he didn't intend to kill innocent people, then he's not as bad as someone who does do it literally.

You have no idea how much your respect means to me, so I have gone to great lengths to point out what any normal person not involved in a chest-pounding primate display would have assumed from my previous posts. You know, the kind of person who finds bomb-planting a rather distasteful activity, whether or not it kills people or is intended to kill people or isn't, but might very well kill anyway, because, you know, that's what bombs often do. Most normal people don't really go in for detailed jesuitical reasoning about why some bomb-planters are much worse than others--we just employ this rule of thumb, which goes something like this--don't plant bombs. Please, please, please, now-what, tell me that I have your respect and that we can have these exchanges in the future. I would be so crushed not to have your respect.

What? No? I'll live.

"does it literally" was supposed to be "does it intentionally".

Hey, I'm bridge and tunnel, but I can be in town in half an hour.

Just sayin'.

Next time I'm in town, I'll float a proposal and see what we can cook up.


Forgot to preview....hope italics are gone now.

Preview lied this time. Now?

"Ayers was in a leadership position in the Weathermen. During the time of his leadership...."

The Weathermen were a collective; they didn't have "leaders."

If folks might want to read up about the Weathermen, one could do worse than starting with Kirkpatrick Sale's old classic, SDS. Or for a shorter (not short, shorter) read that's online, Ron Jacob's The Way The Wind Blew. But Sale would give you a lot more context in the ins and outs of PL, RYM, RYMII, and all the other fun factional acronymns and ideological feuds. There are plenty of other choices, as well, of course.

Do you see any difference between people who kill other people and people who do not kill other people?

Yes.

I also see the difference between people who work for their political and social goals by starting riots and blowing up buildings, and who participate actively in organizations that build nail bombs, and people who, you know, don't do any of those things.

Because you're coming off as something of a nihilist here.

Yeah, that's me. You've discovered my secret.

The Weathermen were a collective; they didn't have "leaders."

I'll settle for prominent, active, and committed member.

Thanks -

But point me to the episodes of actual violence or property destruction or stalking or pies or anything similar on the right. (Something this decade please.)

For today, see here (scroll down past the inflammatory CA GOP website for vandalism-with-racist-graffiti of an Obama display in Sacramento) and here (death threat with suspicious powder at a Philadelphia Obama campaign office).

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