Been a while.
But I'm back.
Don't have a lot to say today but here's something very important.
8 hours ago
there isn't much separation between the fundamentalist extremists on the far right in America, and the fundamentalist extremists in the Islamist movement worldwide. Both want to subjugate women under patriarchal authority, keep gays in the closet, elevate scriptural authority over secular law, and resolve problems foreign and domestic with harsh violence including the torture and killing of civilians. They are peas in a pod.Both Greenwald and Maher are wrong. This isn't about imperialism or about Islam. This is about fundamentalism, and the need to uproot it in favor of a more ecumenical, open-minded progressivism wherever it exists.
Fundamentalism of any nature causes extraordinary harm. Fundamentalists believe that the ends justify the means, and that their ideology cannot fail--only people can fail their ideology. Christian and Islamist fundamentalists alike attribute any ills befalling the world as a sign of inadequate obeisance to their God, and do whatever it takes to remake the world more in keeping with their scriptural dogma. Market fundamentalists elevate the "free market" as a divinely infallible authority, attributing even the most obvious market and corporate failures to intrusions of "big government", and offer up only more deregulation, tax cuts and the occasional military coup as a solution. Even Marxist fundamentalists exist, looking at the failures of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot not as refutations of their dogma, but as inadequate implementations of their ideology. The end result of all of these fundamentalist beliefs is mindless tragedy, violence and death.
The implication of a fundamentalist extremist in an act of violence should never be a cause for cheering by our political opponents. Rather, any such event should be a teaching moment for us to implicate extremists of all kinds, and to reinforce the universality of violence based on religious dogma.
Any attempt to provide context or justification for these acts of terror is also misguided. Certainly, the U.S. and the West in general have a spotty record in the Middle East. Anyone familiar with the names Mohammed Mossadegh or Charlie Wilson would admit to that upfront. But no act of American foreign policy in that region or any other begins to provide even significant context, much less justification, for premeditated acts of violence designed expressly to kill and terrorize a civilian population. As well might we cite Thomas Frank and the slow implosion of the American middle class as context or justification for the terrorist acts of killers like Scott Roeder or Timothy McVeigh. No one should make any excuse for these abominable creatures; similarly, no excuses should be made for the likes of Richard Reid or (allegedly) Faisal Shahzad.
Simply put, there is evil in this world that harbors no excuses for its actions: its name is fundamentalism. It's time for progressives to end the cycle of left-right tribalism over which fundamentalists are more dangerous or need more context. It's time to simply paint them with a single brush, and offer our alternative for a better, safer, more rational, more peaceful and more humane world.
Anytime a liberal points out that the wealthy are disproportionately benefiting from Bush’s tax policies, Republicans shout, “class warfare!”In her book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with his children watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.That is class warfare.
I like it. Life was probably pretty hard in 1358 for most people but when it got even harder, and just for the enjoyment of the wealthy, remedies could be found.Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.