Monday, July 10, 2006
(9:43 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Follow-up on Liberal InquisitionYou know what's really offensive about David Brooks' comparison of the Connecticut primary to the Inquisition? The Bush torture policy sounds a lot more like the Inquisition than does a primary where an incumbent unexpectedly has to face a challenger. Let's break it down based on some key aspects of the Inquisition:
Does the practice in question target people based on their religious beliefs, particularly those that are presumed to heavily overlap with their ethnicity?The list could go on here. These kinds of "inoculating" comparisons -- i.e., "stealing" an analogy that actually applies better to one's own side, so that when the obvious analogy is made, one's opponents seem to be simply turning it around -- are a very important part of conservative rhetoric. Attentive readers might note that Brooks pulls off multiple inoculations in this particular column -- for instance, it is insinuated that progressive bloggers are like Nazis because they oppose a policy of aggressive war.Bush torture policy: YESDoes the practice in question use torture in order to produce spurious confessions, which are then acted upon?
Connecticut Democratic primary: NOBush torture policy: YES
Connecticut Democratic primary: NO
The left needs to learn how to do this more. (The left, not liberals -- liberals are too nice and fair-minded to do such things.) The problem, of course, is that the right has almost always gotten to people first -- and the right has already positioned itself as rebellion against some repellant orthodoxy, which further complicates matters.