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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Is this the finest of liberal thinking?

Hugh Hewitt links to the following quote by Jonathan Rauch in the Atlantic.

“On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.”

The question for Vox Blogoli, Vol. 2 No. 1: What does it say about the author, the Atlantic, and the left's understanding of Christian culture in America in 2005? Here are my thoughts.

I dare say almost all Americans support racial equality, that people should not be treated differently or judged differently because of the color of their skin. We may disagree about whether set-aside programs and public race-specific scholarships are appropriate, given the history of race relations, and we disagree about how much racism still inhabits our world. However, very, very few people will argue that someone with black, brown, purple, or gold skin should be kept out of Harvard because of their skin color.

Many of the greatest civil rights leaders were black, and preached equality and tolerance. They didn't preach hatred for people with different skin colors.

Now, do you remember the Los Angeles riots of 1992? In that riot, some black rioters targeted the businesses owned by people of Korean heritage for robbery and arson. If you think these rioters were representative of black feelings on race relations, then you, too, could write for The Atlantic.

You see, just like in my example, Mr. Rauch is making two errors: illustrating a large group (religious conservatives/pro-equality blacks) by way of the most extreme example (abortion clinic bombers/Korean bashers), and using this example (abortion clinic bombings/Korean bashing) despite the fact that it is in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the underlying principle. Even if the rioter says he's in favor of equal rights, his actions shows he's in opposition to those principles. Even if the abortion clinic bomber identifies himself as a religious conservative, he's not acting in a manner consistent with Christian faith.

Here's some general information: religious conservatives, who make up a sizable portion of the Republican party, oppose bombing abortion clinics and agree that those who do so should be convicted in a court of law and punished appropriately. No matter how strong their feelings on abortion, they are more likely to try to get you to understand and share their opinions with reasoned debate, and propose small restrictions (such as on the dilation and extraction procedure, and abortions for minors without parental or judicial consent). They hope one day everyone will agree that abortion is wrong. But they're not going to attempt to convince you with a glass jar filled with gasoline and a lit cloth.

And although I am no fan of the positions advocated by most environmentalists, I hardly think the Unabomber is representative of that group. Perhaps Mr. Rauch thinks he is.

The parties don't need to engage "fierce activists," at least the ones prone to illegal activities. There are places for them: fringe parties, discussion forums, and, what the heck, blogs, too. They can organize splashy and graphic protests and attract the attention of the media. But when they cross the line from dissenters to criminals, they belong in one place: prison.


At 12:17 AM, Blogger gecko said...

Bravo! (gecko wipes hint of tear from left eye with sleeve.)


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