Friday, December 13, 2002

Hrm.. that little bit about Glenn and Hesiod I mentioned earlier (in the "objectively pro-" post) appears to stem from this letter from Hesiod to Glenn. It's interesting stuff:

If you do EXACTLY what Osama wants, then you're "objectively pro Osama Bin Laden."


I don't believe you're pro-Osama, of course. pushing an unnecessary war against Iraq [see how my perspective colors my interpretation of your arguments], and letting Al Qaeda cause problems everywhere else in the world [including Afghanistan, by the way] then you are only "helping the terra-ists."

Surely, it's unintentional. doesn't have to be intentional to be "objectively" pro-Al Qaeda, right?

That was your point, I believe. Except you accused those who were against a pretextual war with Iraq of being "objectively" Pro-Saddam [even if that wasn't their intent].

The whole argument is offensive, and silly at the same time.
On the whole "offensive and silly" part Hesiod is undoubtedly true, and I'm amazed that Glenn was desperate and tendentious enough to actually try it; it's a half-assed, nasty, deceptive, Stalinist way of getting people to do what you want. What's reeeal interesting, though, is Hesiod's contention about "doing what Osama" wants.

What does Osama want? He wants a clash of civilizations, because he thinks that Islam will win.

How does he plan to get it? Several ways: by bringing Muslims onside by showing his strength and resolve and by scaring the West into declaring war on Islam first. There's a third way, though, a blend of the two: the more the west seems to be at war with Islam, the more likely it is that Muslims will decide that they're in imminent danger and respond. They might not even be "objectively pro-Osama"; it might (and probably would be) simply because they were afraid that they were going to be targets and wanted to preserve themselves before they end up forcibly converted, imprisoned, or even killed. (Keep in mind it doesn't matter whether or not the West is going to do that or not; the point is the perception, and the fear.)

So what does Osama really want? He wants LGF. Specifically, he wants xenophobic, anti-Islamic rhetoric designed to give westerners the impression that all Muslims are bloodthirsty sub-human zealots, so that those who are not become afraid. He wants people to say that the religion is anti-modernity, anti-science, and anti-reason, so that all those Muslims who are all three will become afraid. He wants people to say that "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to christianity" so that those who live in those countries and are devout enough to consider forcible conversion forcible damnation to become afraid. He wants the United States to invade Iraq on the flimsiest of excuses, so that they'll know that the rule of international law is meaningless and therefore everything is fair game. He wants all of them to become afraid, and decide that before the west gets them, they'll get the west.

Glenn, whenever you link to someone who says any of these, according to your own logic, you are "objectively pro-Osama". No if, ands, or buts about it. You are aiding his cause, building his war, and comitting virtual treason.

Unless, of course, your logic is wrong.

Thankfully, it is.

Edit: Hesiod also links to Eugene Volokh and Ted Barlow on the subject of "objectivity".

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