Monday, August 28, 2006

Ethics, sort of

A review by David Byrne. The documentary "Jesus Camp" portrays what is essentialy a Christian version of a madras - one which teaches "that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an “army” to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie". That last one puzzles Mr Byrne. It doesn't puzzle me: they oppose the existence of global warming because their ideological enemies - the "godless Left" - support it. That's all the reason they need.

Anti-Iran protest misdirects LGBT struggle. This article has bounced around the hard left side of the web a bit since the anti-Iran protests on the one year anniversary of the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni. It weaves a, to my mind, frankly ludicrous conspiracy of neoconservative imperialists trying to misrepresent Asgari and Marhoni's deaths in order to scapegoat an Iran that, while not gay friendly, isn't as hostile as we poor, media-besotted fools have been misled into believing, with the goal being to prime the public for another forcible "regime change" in Iran. Skipping over most of my questions about the accuracy of this alleged scenario - and there are many - I find it especially disconcerting that the article goes so far as to not only condemn "neoconservative imperialism", but praise Iran's handling of gay rights, implying that it is actually better than the US in some ways.

The relationship between the two links is this: they each describe an ideological position - "global warming is a lie" in the Jesus Camp adherents and "Iran is better than the US on gay rights" from the hard left - that is arrived at solely from taking the opposite position to that taken by their ideological opponents. There appears to be no independent thought involved: "godless leftists" say global warming is a serious environmental concern, therefore it must be a lie they cooked up to oppose Christianity somehow; "neoconservative imperialists" say Iran persecutes gay people, therefore they must actually be okay on the issue.

The formulation of "x=bad, therefore NOT x=good" is seductively simple, broadly accepted and completely illogical. It justifies torture in Abu Ghraib by the Right: the prisoners are Evil Terrorists[tm], therefore any action taken against such evil must be good, or at least justifiable. It justifies siding with illiberal regimes in the Middle East by the Left: the Evil US opposes them, so they must actually be good, or at least not really all that bad.

I believe that everyone tries to do right, but are led to do wrong by accepting faulty reasoning that makes wrong appear right to them. I believe one such avenue that leads people to do wrong is the acceptance of the faulty reasoning that anything or anyone that opposes a perceived wrong must automatically be right.

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