Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Credibility of Our Civilization

Here's Mark Steyn on de-nuking Iran:

The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it’s postponed. The lesson of the Danish cartoons is the clearest reminder that what is at stake here is the credibility of our civilization.
Granted, Steyn has a cruel tendency to overwork the hamster that turns the little wheel in his head. But the idea that the Danish cartoon controversy was some epochal turning-point in world affairs - and is now central to the question of whether, or how, to deal with Iran - is as giddy and desperate a proposition as I've ever seen advanced by this bizarre man.

Steyn goes on to warn that our time will be defined by whether or not we "denuclearize" Iran by attacking it pre-emptively. This is yet another example of how vital false dichotomies are to the Right's rhetorical strategies. It's also a good example of how the chain of causality magically ends the moment a bloodthirsty hysteric like Steyn gets his heart's desire.

The notion that our era might be defined not by "de-nuking" Iran, but by some gruesome and perfectly predictable consequence of George W. Bush's ostensible attempt to do so, would never occur to Steyn in a million years. Where sane people imagine a discredited, unpopular, bankrupt, and incompetent administration attacking a third country while botching the occupation of two others, Steyn imagines boundless fields of glory. A scenario in which BushCo makes things much, much worse - either through incompetence or malevolence - is simply not possible, for no other reason than that Steyn doesn't have the brains or honesty to imagine it happening (even as it is happening in Iraq).

While wallowing in his usual election-forfeiting incivility, Thersites notes a similarly unhinged obsession with cartoons within the hallowed precincts of Chez Maglalang. This "controversary" is so daft and inconsequential that I can only assume it was her way of preparing her squadron of flying monkeys for more important work.

UPDATE: Welcome, Pharyngula readers! Please ignore the cobwebs, and the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. I've been a rather slovenly housekeeper of late...


Eli said...

"De-nuking"? What a cute euphemism for "nuking back to the Stone Age"...

Anonymous said...

Hooray, Phila, you're back!


Phila said...

Thanks, CKR. Thought I was done last week, but a bunch more stuff fell in my lap. It's always the way!