A random pet peeve of mine.
I hate it when people justify human behaviors by saying that animals do it. The implication being, well, if it’s in the animal kingdom, it must be in some sense “natural”. And it’s not that I disagree with the stand, it’s just that I violently disagree with this line of reasoning. Look at the animal kingdom, and some of the behaviors you’ll see are murder, necrophilia, cannibalism, coprophagia, and a host of other repulsive behaviors. I hardly think the animal kingdom is a model for what’s right and wrong.
I also dislike it when people argue, well, they do it in Europe, so why can’t we in America. Hello? Some of those places in Europe are the most depraved backwards places around. And why should America be looking to Europe as a model for anything? Where has it gotten them? Not that we always shouldn’t. It’s just that in matters of morality, that someone else does it says nothing about whether it’s good or bad.
While I’m at it, let me rant about that e-mail ranting against Bush and Iraq that went out on ficsalum. I’m sorry, but those people are idiots. Again, it’s not that I’m in favor of war with Iraq. Dunno where I stand on it – prolly against. But their line of reasoning and tactics totally angered me. Argh, I don’t know where to begin.
Let’s start with how they misrepresented the NY Times and the CNN article, subtly twisting it. The Times article said nothing negative at all about what the White House is doing. It simply stated that they’re pursuing a strategy to push a war with Iraq. Read the article. It’s in no way negative. And in no way positive either. It’s just a news report. The super biased e-mail twists things around, taking it for granted that “selling” something is wrong. So you read the article, which the e-mail tells you is all about the evilness of “selling” something, and you see it’s all about how they’re trying to sell something, and so you think, oh, this article from the Times must be against the White House. Hardly.
Geez, get some perspective. They’re trying to get international support for what they want to do. That’s what “selling” is. It’s not wrong, it’s prudent. It’s in fact why I think I’d be most against anything in regards to Iraq – nowadays international “consent” is an important thing, and they don’t now have it. Disagree with their position, fine, I’m with you. But being against them trying to build international support? As if that’s somehow wrong? I’m sorry, but I think that’s idiotic.
Then the CNN thing. Read the article. It says that some of the claims made in the speech were unsubstantiated. Which is not good. Far from it. But again, that e-mail twists things around. It says, subtly, that many of the claims are unsubstantiated. It reminds me of this twist Newsweek did with some surveys once that angered me. It was saying how “only” 51% of people surveyed preferred the way Bush was handling something (was it Iraq? Homeland safety? I remember the number, not the issue. Bad me.) to Congress. This was after some figure that said people who approve of Bush in general dropped to something in the 70s.
Argh, the spin. I wish I had the article here. But yeah, look at the figures. It was on some issue that made you think everyone in the world was against what Bush was doing. I’m thinking it was Iraq. The stats say, the majority of people support Bush. Most people still prefer him to Congress. And the article spins it like Bush has no support. But anyway.
That e-mail does something similar, substituting many for some, and going much further than the CNN article, saying that all his arguments are “old grievances and half-truths” thus casting doubt on everything he said. Which gets into another pet peeve of mine – acting as if an old argument is necessarily an invalid one. Someone annoyed me with this in regards to arguments I made about downloading music off the Net. Summarily dismissing them as being old and tired, and not addressing them at all. Yeah, that’s a reasonable debate. You know what? Sometimes an old argument is a valid one. And sometimes it’s not. But figuring out which it is takes addressing it, not dismissing it as “old”.
The worst thing by far was the comparison of this issue to Hitler in 1939. That was complete lunacy. Yes, they’re both seeking a casus belli. But the comparison ends there. Are you honestly saying that Bush is Hitler and Iraq is Poland? Are you out of your freaking mind? Do I even need to address this? I can’t, it’s so absurd. I want to but I’ll resist, because how to you argue with an absurd argument?
Actually, I’m quite certain the author of the e-mail thinks of Bush as Hitler. Their bias was completely clear – they hate Bush and above everything want to get rid of him. And whatever, I respect that. But that overwhelming bias preceeded and permeated everything written. One phrase the author wrote was telling. They didn’t know anyone who voted for Bush. Hmm, you think your experience and circle of friends might be a little limited? How about broadening your perspective a little bit? Because you’re clearly residing in a narrow little world.
I loved that line, how no one they knew voted for Bush, and yet there he was, mysteriously in power. Strange. And they wonder what an average American can really do. Could it be that there are people in this country that actually voted for Bush? Are they that blind to not see that? And could it be that there are actually people in this country, average Americans, that would support a war on Iraq? For intelligent reasons? Or are they too elitist, “as an intellectual/artistic/political community” to respect that? That would be the worst hypocrisy. On the one hand, saying that you can’t listen to the people, who don’t know better – they might support war. Then urging everyone to write their politicians to let them know that so many people are against war with Iraq.
I’m all for political activism and making your voice heard, and I totally support what they’re doing. Heck, I agree (mildly) with the stance they’re taking. I just hope they have the perspective to respect those who support war. And really, I just don’t like how they’re taking their stand. Inane arguments just annoy me – it makes me want to be against them, no matter what they’re saying.
Actually, if you want to know what I think, I almost always agree with Fareed Zakaria. I think I’ve mentioned him before. But yeah, he’s the International Editor, something like that, for Newsweek, and was previously managing editor of Foreign Affairs (starting when he was 28). Always intelligent, well informed, and unbiased. His view is also interesting because I think he’s Indian and born Muslim. But not sure. A couple of his recent columns are here and here. I guess he supports war with Iraq. But yeah, I agree with his bigger point, that international support is critical in any case.