Monday, April 26, 2010

It's All Right There

Glenn Greenwald, Ross Douthat, South Park

Glenn Greenwald rightfully skewers Ross Douthat's outrage at the censorship of the South Park caricatures of Mohammed, noting that Douthat's claim that Muslims get special deference is ludicrous. Go read that column for more.

But I noticed two things at the end of this column that Greenwald didn't address.  Here's Douthat:
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
He's speaking here of our supposed deference to Islam, but as a description of what conservatives like him have done to the Constitution in response to the so-called Muslim threat is much worse. Comedy Central pulled a few seconds out of a cartoon; conservatives have exploited the fear to justify invasion, mass killings, torture and an absolute shredding of the Bill of Rights.
Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy.
No, today's totalitarians are on the right wing, as usual, and they have taken full advantage. This isn't Weimar Germany, another famous right wing republic; it's the Neo-Con era, and for Muslims, the difference probably doesn't seem too great.
For that, we should be grateful. Because if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there’s enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down.
It's already been sent crashing. And his movement is the one that did it.

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