Saturday, April 12, 2008

Michael Medved Hates Us For Our Freedoms

Right-wing idiot Michael Medved has written a column explaining why an atheist should never, ever be elected for high office in the United States, and includes among his reasons the idea that it would rankle Muslims. Over at Obsidian Wings, hilzoy notices something curious about this particular argument from Medved:

I was curious ... does Medved make this kind of argument in any context other than atheist Presidents? So I searched his website, which seems to contain his various columns ... I couldn't find a single column (or blog post, or anything) in which Medved made any such argument. Apparently, torturing Muslims, disappearing them into legal black holes, invading their countries without provocation, and little things like that do not provoke him to bemoan the fact that we are playing into people's worst stereotypes of us, or losing the battle of ideas. Only the thought of electing an atheist President does that. I wouldn't normally note the fact that someone didn't blog about something as evidence of much of anything, but for someone who purports to care about Muslims' ideas of us to mention Abu Ghraib only once, in passing, and Guantanamo not at all, seemed pretty striking.
To Medved's discredit, whether or not he has actually typed it out for public viewing, I suspect he actually does accept this argument across a wide range of cases in which Christianists and Islamists see eye to eye: the ickiness of homosexuals and uppity women, the immorality of mass entertainment, the prevalence of ideas that didn't originate among desert-dwelling primitives, etc.

To whatever extent religious fanatics hate us for our freedoms, it does not count as a good reason to limit those freedoms. Period. And this includes the possibility of electing a non-believing president some day in the future -- not that I count that as a particularly high priority, but I do insist on our right to it.

We do not have a right to torture or indefinitely detain enemy combatants without prospect of legal defense in a court of law. Doing so undermines our own professed values and exposes us as hypocrites, and thus gives our enemies a valid reason to hate and oppose us. That is not the foremost reason these violations should be stopped, but it surely counts.

There are, in other words, matters of principle at stake. We need to defend our values from all who seek to overthrow them -- from the faraway Muslims and the nearby Christians alike.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

You make a good point, but I just cant get past my resentment that a middling writer, c-level movie reviewer, and lumpen philosopher like Medved gets work and a living and a reputation as an intellectual for nothing more really than rants about what He Don't Like Very Much Which Is Somehow The Problem With Everything Around Here™.

Intellectually, he's a pygmy.

Dale said...

Geez, SJKP, what do you have against Pygmies to lower them with a comparison to Michael Medved?