The Activist Left’s Poor and Paltry Rhetorical Toolbox, ISIS edition.

This exchange really does say a lot:

…not least because it illustrates the primary problem with moral relativism: that is, that moral relativism does not have a goram clue about how to handle capital-E Evil. Oh, Good it can deal with all the time, mostly by ignoring/liberal-explaining it away; but pretending that Evil does not in fact exist does nothing from keeping Evil from doing, well, evil. Rationalizing this problem away can lead to some rather startling mental contortions.

Hence the aforementioned exchange. Eli Lake is perfectly correct to call Islamic State* (IS) ‘barbarians,’ because that’s what they are; savages who do not conform to the usages of basic civilization, and who thus are not and should not be subject to civilization’s protection. That there are elements of the Left who wish to categorize what Eli said as ‘goofy’ should surprise no one. Because if what Eli said isn’t ‘goofy,’ merely accurate, then the implication is that possibly somebody should go out and shoot some barbarians until those barbarians are no longer murdering, ritually sacrificing, raping, and generally abusing people on a regular, organized basis.

But that’s me making a moral judgement on another group.  Of course, I am more than happy to do that, because the moral judgement in question is the Islamic State death cult is Evil and I am not.  What should prove interesting is seeing who among us cannot abandon moral relativism for even this case. Because it’s an extreme stretch right now to not call IS evil.  What do they have to do to be granted that title, anyway?  Engage in actual cannibalism?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: As a somewhat related matter… I suspect that Barack Obama would probably not quite understand why a Republican would be able to get away with calling IS ‘un-Islamic,’ while he’s getting grief over it.  It’s really simple, though: it’s all a question about what actions the rhetoric is being recruited in service for.  Barack Obama could call IS ‘chipped beef on toast’ if that rhetoric was punctuated with regular reports of IS cult circles succumbing to acute kinetic energy poisoning.  As it stands, we just have to assume that he’s looking for an excuse not to shoot the barbarians.

Put another way: you shouldn’t call these guys ‘death cultists’ because doing so will make the rest of the Muslim world love you. You do it because that’s just your way of saying Hey! These guys? KILL THESE GUYS.

*Or ISIS. Or ISIL. You know the drill.

21 thoughts on “The Activist Left’s Poor and Paltry Rhetorical Toolbox, ISIS edition.”

  1. I remember a president calling an Empire evil and the moral relativists having fits over that ‘simpleton’ saying that. That the so-called simpleton was correct and being refreshingly honest and clear in his speaking was only grudgingly accepted and years later.

  2. This came up elsewhere .. there, I wrote:
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    A person who is willing to use violence to enforce a religious belief system is not operating “for the good”.
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    A person who is *un*willing to use violence to enforce a system of social convention is *not* operating “for the good”.
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    Yes, I am making a moral equivalency argument.
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    Mew

    1. There is not a clear dividing line between a religious belief system, and a system of social convention.
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      I spent a bit of time in a Buddhist country, and it was simply amazing how different the social conventions were, because they were based on Buddhist precepts.

      1. I’m slightly jealous, I would like to travel more.
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        I will note that the *origin* of the social convention is not significant, it’s the *violent violation* of convention that matters.
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        Mew

        1. Don’t be. 😉 Okinawa is not a wonderful place, the USMC is an unpleasant employer, the weather’s miserable, and the locals hate you.
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          But it was eye-opening to get the briefing where it was explained that the concept of karma meant that there was no such thing as an innocent victim, and that the local civilian legal system reflected that.
          One of the examples was that if someone ran a red light and plowed into you, you were partially at fault. Because your karma brought you to that place, at that time.

          1. Yes.
            Also terribly efficient. There’s a reason Japan solves over 90% of their criminal cases.
            And yes, it invokes bitter laughter when some ignorant lefty invokes their justice system in an attempt to denigrate ours.
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            Unlike the self-proclaimed Buddhists supporting the slutwalks and decrying victim blaming. That was just hilarious.

          2. There are things I like about the Japanese system.
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            Of course, I also like what I’ve heard of Malaysian drug laws, for other countries. Sadly, as the American form of government is more important to me than treating recreational drug users here justly.
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            I think the world is better off for us having a system that limits my control over things, and that I don’t care how the rest is governed enough to want to interfere.
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            Though, in fairness, wouldn’t Shinto have also had some influence in Okinawa? Shinto isn’t exactly milk and honey either.

          3. Oki has been conquered ad oppressed by the Japanese, the Chinese, and IIRC, even the Koreans. But none of them made a major impact on the religion of the island. Okinawa is Buddhist, with some surviving elements of ancestor-worship that predate the arrival of Buddhism. (Which I realize sounds a lot like Shinto, but it’s pretty distinct in form and practice. The “turtle” tombs of Okinawa do resemble some of the ancient sites on one of Japan’s islands, though, so part of Japan and Okinawa may have shared religious practice at some time in the undocumented past, and experienced parallel development after the arrival of Buddhism.)

  3. I’m pretty sure I saw reports of cannibalism coming out of Syria last year.
    Also, enslavers and rapers of innocents.

    1. Some of that is standard “otherization agitprop”, though. Lying about the opposition is standard operating procedure, in most parts of the world.
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      Mew

      1. The person in question was bragging about killing and eating Assad’s men Acat, if it’s otherization it was his own doing.

        1. So they had a Jeffry Dahmer. That doesn’t mean they’re all sitting down to dine on Assad’s dead.
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          Don’t confuse holding the media to a reasonable standard of honesty with giving ISI? a pass, eh?
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          Mew

  4. Obama saying that we have understand Muslim grievances is battle space prep…he’s going to sanction/legalize Sharia courts…neighborhoods/boroughs will quickly become no-go zones, ergo colonies.

    1. And that will affect state governments enforcing their laws how? He isn’t an emperor after all.

      And sharia courts? Well, people are able to use alternative dispute resolution and not go through the civil courts for a civil claim. I doubt very much that sharia is going to be the law of the land any time soon.*

      *Dude – feminists and gays. I won’t use the phrase “hissy-fit” but you get the idea what would happen. and you would know it – oh how well you would know it.

  5. I do not speak any Greek, and am neither Doric nor Ionian. I am a Barbarian, in the original sense.
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    I expect that few in ISIS avoid that category either.
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    In this case, I tend to closely adhere to the answer to one important question. What Would the Romans Do?
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    Remember how much effort the Romans put into exterminating the Druids? Human sacrifice, if you ignore funerary duels, was made illegal in Rome. It was central to Druidism, making it impossible for Rome to co-opt the faith.
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    Certain customs of the Romans are abhorrent to me. I am opposed to slavery. I can not support sparing people for sale as slaves. I can only support sparing children, below military age, to be raised as Christians.
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    The Spanish were correct to destroy the Aztecs.
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    The blood of the ancestral miles flows in me, carrying the word necate.
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    It is not in the interest of the United States of America that these remain alive.

    1. Koranic law recognizes crucification as a just punishment, yes? For waging war against Allah and his messinger. Surah 5:33. The leading school of Islamic theology, Al Azar in Cairo, called for this punishment on ISIS on September 15, 2014. Who am I to argue with the experts. If we did this with any we capture, after suitable ruling by our Islamic experts from Cairo, maybe the recruiting of death cultists would die down (bad pun).

  6. Our president fails at philosophy 101. It is perfectly acceptable to judge another culture from a morally neutral position. When the actions of a cultural group prove harmful to the society at large it’s okay to outright denounce those actions. And no one does need to legitimize the criticism by weighing it out against bad stuff that other cultures have done too.

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