An unequivocal denunciation

As if our side needed a Jonah Goldberg of its own:

America’s primary international enemy—Islamic radicalism—insists on government by theocracy, curtails civil liberties, embraces torture, represses women, wants to eradicate homosexuals from society, and insists on the use of force over diplomacy. Remind you of a certain American political party? In American Taliban, Markos Moulitsas pulls no punches as he compares how the Republican Party and Islamic radicals maintain similar worldviews and tactics.

This is (one of the multifarious reasons) why I dislike the array of web subcultures bound by a family resemblance called The Netroots. They have no rhetoric, and will never have any because they don’t much care to reconstruct how their opponents think. If they did, they would recognize the genuine qualitative differences between millenarian jihadism and the City on the Hill theoconservatism of the contemporary right–one doesn’t see Young Republicans shaving their chest hair to tape explosives under their shirt before walking onto a San Francisco marketplace; there are reasons for this. As Jonathan Chait wrote, the comparison is so broad and tenuous as to be considered intellectualy and morally “obscene” :

There are certainly tendencies on the American right that are less extreme versions of Talibanism — intolerance toward religious minorities, an insistence of shaping public policy according to religious dogma, hostility to science that contradicts religious texts — but the differences in degree are so vast that they are a difference in kind.The Taliban enforces totalitarian law through wanton torture and violence. Whatever you want to say about the GOP’s policies toward women and gays, it’s not this:

 Moreover, they would recognize skimming over these distinctions is tactical suicide, a means by which to alienate moderates and make enemies ignore you.

I consider myself to be of a different strand of left-of-center politics than Moulitsas and his Netroots allies. Their worldview is populist, idealistic if not radical, doctrinaire and fixated upon fixed principles. I am a technocrat, a realist tending towards pessimism, and a skeptic of creeds and given to pragmatic utilitarian calculation. But at the end of the day, Moulitsas and I vote for the same party, and advocate on behalf of the same. The manner in which Moulitsas does so, I think, paints our side in a bad light. In publishing this book under this title, he does its subjects more good than his allies.


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