Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 1, 2005

British Police, Treatment of Suspects, and Double Standards (2)

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:26 pm

When the British police held a suspected terrorist to the floor and shot him dead, I speculated that perhaps this Middle-Eastern-looking suspected terrrorist who had in effect been summarily executed might not in fact have been an actual terrorist.

By now we all know that in fact he was not a terrorist, the “wires trailing from his jacket” were probably related to his job as an electrician, and that he was not an Arab or a Pakistani Muslim but in fact a Brazilian (presumably Christian).

Which is precisely why there are supposed to be investigations and trials before criminals are executed — you are supposed to make sure, at a minimum, that the person you are executing is actually a criminal!

I am utterly horrified by this. And, one of the things that makes me proud to be an American is that American police did not react this way after 9/11/01. A lot of “suspected terrorists” were arrested, some were tried and convicted, most were released, and none were summarily executed. (In fact, none were executed at all.) Even many of those captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq — captured in the act of armed attacks in defense of terrorist camps — were sent to Guantánamo rather than killed on sight — or beheaded on videotape like they would have done to our people.

I’m sure the terrorists view the fact that we imprison and feed them rather than behead them as a sign of our weakness, but it is really a sign of our (moral) strength.

Politics, Prejudice, and Hypocrisy

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:08 pm

I really have to resume blogging, since I have so many posts backed-up in my brain, but it’s hard to get back in the groove. I’m going to start by addressing some comments in the previous post, John Roberts and the “Politics of Personal Destruction”

Basically, the issue is this: The New York Times ran an article implying but not stating that Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. is gay. Some liberal bloggers picked up on this and condemned it, but other liberal bloggers praised it and even went a step futher, intimating that Judge John Roberts’ son was gay — before realizing that said son was only four years old and thus not gay or non-gay by any reasonable standard.

Commenters have had some interesting things to say, notably one commenter on the (liberal) Daily Kos who said, without citing any evidence, that “[E]xtreme conservatives seem to have a lot of homosexual children.” One wonders whether this is evidence for or against the theory that homsexuality is genetic. (Is “extreme conservatism” also genetic?)

And on this blog, our very own resident liberal Ollie wrote:

As far as double standards, here is why: the right wing doesn’t hesitate to use gay rights as a wedge issue to win elections. Were the right wing to fully embrase gay rights, then there would be no more issue made of it. But, it seems to us that the right wingers are a “do as we say, not as we do” type of group.

Now I’ve read that comment very carefully, several times, trying to figure out exactly what Ollie means to accuse conservatives of. And the best that I can come up with is, Ollie is accusing conservatives of not being as anti-gay as he thinks they are. I don’t really mean to single out Ollie here; I think he’s right when he says this is why so many liberals are applying a double standard here. (And Ollie, if you mean to be explaining other people’s arguments rather than asserting it yourself, then I apologize for attributing it to you.)

Basically, the logic seems to go like this:

  1. Liberals assume conservatives hate gays.
  2. Then liberals observe conservatives doing something inconsistent with hating gays (such as appointing them to public office, or not murdering or even disowning their gay children, etc.).
  3. Liberals then have to resolve this contradiction between their perceptions (prejudices?) about conservatives, and the actual behavior of conservatives, so they accuse conservatives of hypocritically betraying their gay-hatred — rather than admitting, or even entertaining the possibility, that conservatives don’t actually hate gays in the first place.

It should be clear from this that there is no way conservatives can win under this scheme. If they do something that’s anti-gay, they are accused of hating gays, and if they do something that’s not anti-gay, they are accused of hypocritically hiding their true hatred of gays. Either way, conservatives are branded as gay-haters, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

And what’s really ironic about all this is that the liberals doing this all claim to be pro-gay. But if they were really pro-gay, they would welcome any pro-gay actions of conservatives as a step towards national unanimity on this issue. But instead, they insist that whatever they do, conservatives are gay-haters — no matter how many pro-gay things they do. So, the folks who claim that they have no problem with gays end up being the ones accusing people of being gay as if it’s a crime.

Then they accuse the conservatives of using gay issues as “wedge issues”!

Amazing. I think the term psychologists use for this is “projection.” I think they are projecting their love of wedge issues, but who knows, maybe they’re projecting their latent gay-hatred…

(And by the way: Judge Roberts is not actually gay. The “evidence” for this claim is that he didn’t marry until age 41, his two children are adopted, and he wore plaid pants in the 1970s.)

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