When I was a kid, I collected stamps.
I also collected baseball cards.
Well, I did, until a rather unfortunate incident that occurred at the end of one summer, upon my return home from sleep-away camp. My mother had thrown my entire collection in the trash. “WHAT!?” I shrieked in horror. “I HAD THE WHOLE FIRST SERIES, AND THE WHOLE SECOND SERIES, AND PART OF THE THIRD, AND A MICKEY MANTLE CARD IN MINT CONDITION, AND…” My mother was unimpressed, and, it seemed, she displayed not a shred of remorse. “The cards were collecting dust in your closet,” she informed me. And then she got to the heart of the matter. “Besides,” she said, “girls don’t collect baseball cards.”
Ah, the 50’s. Good times…
But, I digress…
Anyway, now I collect something entirely different.
I have become an avid collector of Liberal Moral Equivalences.
Libs, bless their hearts, will invariably say something ridiculous whenever they open their mouths. And, sometimes, their stupidity is framed as a “moral equivalence.”
My list is getting very long.
First, some definitions of terms, as “moral relativism” and “moral equivalence,” are, it seems, sometimes used interchangeably. But, while related, they are, in fact, different.
“Moral relativism” refers to the notion that, in our diverse, multicultural world, no one culture is better than another culture, so that no judgments can be made about a specific culture.
In the U.S.A., a day off may be spent having a picnic with family and friends, enjoying a barbecue, tossing a Frisbee, or maybe catching a ball game, while, in some Islamic countries, a day off might entail having the village gather to watch a woman being shoved waist-deep into a hole in the ground, while everyone throws boulders until she is stoned to death, all because she is suspected of having committed adultery.
See? Different strokes for different folks.
In The New Thought Police, Tammy wrote about the danger of such a world-view:
Multiculturalism is not about exotic restaurants and charming street fairs. It is a code word for moral relativism. Accepting the notion that all ideas and systems are equal precludes a willingness to think critically about what surrounds us. It is the cornerstone of our inability to come to judgments about events…. (p. 150)
Moral equivalence, on the other hand, is a deceptive device used by Liberals to “prove” their points by taking the focus away from the obvious evil, and focusing on what they perceive to be the more “immediate problem.”
Here is a moral equivalence specimen from my collection:
On May 10, 2004, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Ted Kennedy made the following statement:
“Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management.”
Translation: So, even though Saddam Hussein may have murdered hundreds of thousands of people through unspeakably gruesome tortures, a few rogue U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib forced some suspected Al Qaeda terrorists to wear underwear on their heads! Outrageous!
Anyway, I’m telling you all of this because last week, I bagged two new moral equivalences for my collection. On the same day!
via The Weekly Standard:
“Kerry Compares Turkish Flotilla Terrorists to Boston Victims“
During President Obama’s trip to Israel last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the “operational mistakes” that in May 2010 led to the deaths of nine Turks who attacked Israeli commandoes after they boarded the Turkish-sponsored Mavi Marmara to prevent it from violating the maritime blockade of Gaza….In Istanbul, Kerry compared the emotions surrounding the deaths of nine armed Turkish nationals attacking the armed forces of an American ally to Boston’s response to the bombings Monday that killed three, including an eight-year-old boy.
Mr. Kerry said he understood the anger and frustration of those Turks who lost friends and family in the raid….“We have just been through the week of Boston, and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence, when something that happens when you lose people that are near and dear to you,” he said. “It affects the community; it affects the country.
So, losing family members who arm themselves, try to break the maritime blockade of another country, and attack and try to kill the Israeli commandoes who board their vessel is the same as losing loved ones running in a marathon or watching on the sidelines? Um, ok…
Often, a Liberal moral equivalence is nothing more than a craven, vicious, gutless, morally-and-intellectually-bankrupt attempt to attack “the enemy,” i.e. Conservatives. And sometimes, like Kerry’s pronouncement, it’s just plain idiotic.
And sometimes the moral equivalences are just plain absurd.
Like this one:
via Washington Times:
“Gloria Steinem compares U.S. ‘reproductive freedom’ limits to Saudi Arabian subjugation of women”
Longtime feminist activist Gloria Steinem on Sunday compared some state-level efforts in the U.S. to limit “reproductive freedom” to the wide-ranging and intrusive controls on women in the male-dominated kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The subjugation of women in the slowly evolving traditional Islamic society is “different in degree but not in kind from the opposition we see in this country in state legislatures to reproductive freedom as a basic human right,” said Ms. Steinem in a discussion at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York…
Ms. Steinem, an early icon of the American feminist movement, made her comments in a post-screening discussion following the U.S. premiere of “Wadjda,” a pathbreaking Saudi film directed by Haifaa Al Mansour. The film is both the first Saudi feature directed by a woman and the first to be shot inside the kingdom….
“Wadjda” is the story of a spunky 10-year old Saudi girl (Waad Mohammed) who can’t help bumping against the tight restraints on female freedom in her rigidly sex-segregated Wahabbist society, where even the bicycle she yearns to race is feared as a threat to traditional feminine modesty.
As the Washington Times notes:
In Saudi Arabia, a conservative Muslim monarchy, women may not presently vote or drive, nor may they travel, work, marry, divorce or check into a public hospital without male permission.
So, there you have it: maybe Saudi Arabia has all these restrictions on women, but those horrible anti-Roe v. Wade nutjobs are also restrictive!
By the way, speaking of bikes, someone really needs to tell Ms. Steinem that she is as relevant today as a fish is to a bicycle.
Shifra, thanks for pointing out *yet again* the left’s attempt to twist and pervert common sense. Normal people don’t think the way they do, so they (with the help of the MSM) attempt to brainwash us into thinking we are no better, or different than any other culture group. They coin a phrase like moral relativism, or moral equivalence and then try to indoctrinate us into believing we’re just like everyone else. Remember when Obama said we’re an exceptional country in the same way Spain is exceptional and Germany is exceptional and some other stupid thing like that?
Well, we are different. And yes (as this post points out), there is real evil in this world. These liberals who promote the agenda that says America is the problem with the world are pawns for those who want to harm us most.
The good news is, as a TAM, we are constantly being told how the left operates and the nature of what they’re doing. So, when you know what to look for, it’s easy to point out when you see it. Stupidity runs rampant among the liberal thought police.
Shifra, this was quite timely. I’ve been reflecting on asking “Are we a culture of LIFE, or have we become a culture of DEATH?” It seems the world is gravitating to being a culture of death. In reading what the prophet JEREMIAH said in chapter 1 verse 5, I think we should take heed. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” G-d gave us prophets because He loves us. As a culture, I pray we do not
grieve the heart of G-d. Thank you Shifra for your thought provoking post!
Speaking of Saudi Arabia and bicycles — was following links and doing research on the Pat_S post which follows this Shifra post and came across this
The Saudi Arabian movie Wadjda has won several awards. “The film, about a young Saudi girl who hatches a plan so she can ride a bicycle in her conservative country”.. read more here ☞ http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/28/179017766/the-challenges-of-making-a-film-in-saudi-Arabia … and apparently there are no movie theaters in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam is the backdrop for most every aspect of the film. Females are not allowed to ride bikes or drive and they cannot travel abroad without the permission of their male guardians, usually a father, brother or husband.
The absence of theaters means Saudis have not been able to see this movie, unless they view it abroad. Most Saudis will have to wait until it becomes available on DVD or is shown on a satellite channel they get at home.”
Speaking of a girl riding her bicycle in conservative country; TVNewser reports some of Conan O’Briens jokes at the WHCD. http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cable-news-networks-fodder-for-obama-obrien-at-white-house-correspondents-dinner_b177311
“…O’Brien also took aim at CNN and Fox News in his speech. “Speaking of dinner, tonight’s entrees were halibut and filet mignon. Or as John King reported it, lasagna and cous-cous,” he said. “If the President laughs, everyone laughs. And if the Fox News table laughs, a little girl just fell off her bike.”…”
More TVNewser; I didn’t know this, Glenn Beck comment about TV. http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/glenn-beck-cable-news-offices-a-pit-of-despair_b177286
“Most of what we do on television was developed by Desi Arnaz” in the 1950s, he said. “There’s no reason we still do it that way, except that it works. It drives me out of my mind that they are still using what’s called the Desi shoot, three cameras on the floor.”
Love the Right & Wrong road sign photo for this post.
Tammy provides the pics for posts. I think she has a secret stash of amazing ones. Probably hidden somewhere in The Shack. 🙂
Another great post Shifra 😉
Excellent Shifra…I have always been frustrated by the “moral” equivalence coming out of the left. Islamofacist radicals have murderered thousands and maimed tens of thousands worldwide since 9/11 and if I bring this fact up during a “blog argument”, the lefties immediately pull out the Atlanta Olympic bombing as equivalent. Or they like to go way back a 1000 years and bring up the Crusades…how stupid is that. Not only is the fact that it is a 1000 years ago, at the max, 5000 people died as a direct result of the Crusades over a period of nearly 300 years. Islamic radicals have murdered 10 times that in a dozen years. Not to mention.. Hitler, to the left, is an example of a “Christian”..he was known as an Occultist. Tim McVeigh is brought up by the loony left as a “Christian” ..he was an avowed atheist…and he had help from Islamic radicals. Go figure…..
norm1111: Yes! Excellent point!
Here’s another “gem” —-
PBS’s Tavis Smiley: Far More Christian Terrorists Than Muslim Ones, Tea Party Comparable to Jihad
Shame on Tavis Smiley for such a repulsively stupid comment!
Thanks Shifra. Libs do become tedious in their predictable stupidity.
People might want to add Evan Sayet’s book, “The Kindergarden of Eden” (deliberate misspelling) to their reading list. Just from what I’ve heard in this interview, it explains a lot re. this subject:
To sum up, he says the basic liberal disease is indiscriminateness. It is not just a condition, but a moral imperative to them. Their chosen belief is that the attempt to think rationally is fraught with mishaps in judgment. To them it leads to discriminating thoughts, which leads to social inequality, war, and poverty. Their answer is to “regurgitate the apple of knowledge” and to promote ignorance, not only in knowledge, but in morality and ethics. In their utopia nothing is different from anything else. If there is inequality and difference, that is sufficient evidence of injustice, and the necessary action is to equalize down to some mean, to eliminate that difference. They are ashamed of difference and inequality, not only between individuals, but between cultures and countries. Their method of achieving this is to bring down the successful, and to elevate the unsuccessful, to bring down the moral, and to elevate the immoral. Their ultimate goal is what Bill Whittle calls societal “heat death,” where everything is the same, nothing is “warmer” than anything else, and nobody believes in anything. Their reasoning? If nobody believes in anything, then it will end disagreements, which will end conflicts, and thereby war and poverty.
Liberals don’t explain this explicitly. You can see them playing out this goal, however, with the tactics they use, their charges of “white privilege” (ie. “acting white”), “racism,” and their denigration of any rational thought, their denigration of our national heritage, their promotion of cultural and moral equivalence, and their promotion of human-caused global warming (“the rich world’s oppression of poor nations”).
A great book I also want to mention, which I have been reading, and which Sayet refers to, is “The Closing of the American Mind,” by Allan Bloom. I cannot recommend this book enough. Not only does Bloom attempt to identify in depth the disease, and where it came from, but he calls the reader back to the “founding philosophers” of Enlightenment thinking, which were a basis for the founding of our country, and to understanding what being an educated citizen really means. The latter is important, because even as we conservatives try to recapture what makes this country great, I think we need to admit to ourselves that we have some gaps in our understanding of what that means, because this disease has done its work on us, too, through the education we received in our schooling, and possibly that which our parents received. Bloom said that it had been at work in the schools since the 1930s, before many of us were born. He gives a means for reacquiring that by referring to great authors who are worth reading.
It is completely an opinion piece–Bloom calls it an “essay,” so it should be taken as such–but its value is in its depth. He delves into history and particularly political philosophy (which is where he had his Ph.D). Another aspect I found deeply rewarding is his book is it’s practically a survey of the classics. If you did not have a classical education (which I did not), you will get a summary of one, giving you a taste of what it’s like, just by reading his book.
It will nevertheless provide you an education into what ails our country right now, even though it was written in 1987. He made some predictions about people’s developing attitudes and their consequences, which IMO have come true. It’s been an enriching experience, and if he were still alive today I’d write him a thank you note. He did a public service.
I know this post was on moral equivalence and relativism, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to know here.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments (and to all the TAMS who commented). Yes, absolutely, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as you put it so well. I actually was thinking about a “part deux” to the post. I am familiar with Bloom’s book but never heard of Sayet. I will check it out.
Over the past few years Bloom’s book came up in discussions I read/watched. It seemed like something I could not ignore (glad I didn’t!). I discovered Sayet through a little research I did on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” He gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation in 2007 called, “Understanding How Modern Liberals Think.” They show a clip of it at the link I included above. You can watch his full speech here:
Unlike Bloom, he is much more partisan, pegging liberals for all of this. Bloom basically does as well, but he explains it in much more depth that gets beyond our typical understanding of the label.
It turns out Sayet was a writer for Bill Maher for a while, but apparently left his employment after some point. You’ll notice if you watch him he cracks jokes every once in a while. He’s got that funny bone. 🙂 What impressed me is he’s not just a comedian. He seems well educated, to have a moral sensibility, and he has a keen mind. A key moment for him seems to have been 9/11/01. He talks about that experience in his Heritage speech.
He comes at it from an interesting perspective, because he says “modern liberals,” as he calls them, are not evil people when you get to know them, and they’re not stupid in terms of what they’re capable of, but their actions promote things that are evil and stupid, and they do it intentionally for the reasons he explained.
Sayet basically says that “modern liberals,” as he calls them, are well-intentioned, but are horribly misguided. Ayn Rand was not so charitable, but she came at it from a different perspective. I think hers lacks some clarity. She said they had abandoned their minds, but she talks about them “not living, but getting away with living,” always cutting corners. It takes some smarts to do that, just not in a constructive direction. They had redirected their minds to a different purpose.
She said they were incapable of thinking for themselves, always looking to others to fill their emptiness. They tell you you’re incapable of thinking for yourself as well, because they need you, and want you dependent on them. They became slaves to their feelings, because they had abandoned their ability to think. They seek to enslave others “to fill the zero of their soul.” Their true aim is death, though they will never admit this to you or to themselves.
She had an interesting insight that dovetails with what Sayet says. She said that they do not go after your money and property to own it for their own gain. They just want you to lose it. They do not want you to live. They want you to die. Destruction is their only aim, because they hate existence. I think there is some truth to that as well. Tammy could attest to that, with her insights re. malignant narcissists.
I remember Bloom alluded to some sort of formative emotional root to all this, that it wasn’t just the schools that had caused what he was seeing, though they were a major contributor to it. He said there was something that happened in their home lives growing up that caused it as well, but he didn’t get any more specific than that.