Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, December 12, 2005

My friend Andrew, a fellow student from my Harvard days, is blogging again, here. Shared ideology is not the basis of our friendship. Here's one post:

Op-ed by Richard Cohen, an ol' fave of mine from my gilded months in the District. Truth be told, I've read the column - or ones that sound an awful lot like it - a thousand times before. But hey, why the hell not? The Great American War Propaganda Machine has been in overdrive for the past couple of weeks and speaking truth to that is a column that writes itself. Some nice nuggets of rhetoric in there. Exempli Gratia: (1) "The Sunni insurgents have no designs on America. And to say, as Cheney did, that terrorists "believe that, by controlling an entire country, they will be able to . . . establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia" is to give credence to the fantasies of Islamic nut cases"...


First, contra Cohen, in 1924 a certain German populist nutcase named Adolf Hitler wrote a book called Mein Kampf. No one gave it any "credence" at the time. I don't write this because I'm an alarmist about radical Islamism. I'm not. But surely, to "give credence to the fantasies of nutcases," so as to nip in the bud attempts to realize them, is a good thing, right?

But second: Andrew, honestly! "The Great American War Propaganda Machine?" Give me a break! Bush and Cheney start defending their policies in speeches and it's a "propaganda machine?" Don't they have a right to make their case? Don't politicians have freedom of speech too? Or maybe Andrew is talking about the blogosphere and right-wing magazines? But doesn't freedom of speech mean the freedom to support the government's policy as well as to criticize it?

There's no Great War Propaganda Machine. There are politicians defending policies, and citizens who agree with them who write blogs and magazine articles. And there's plenty of people on the other side, including, arguably, most of the legacy media. That's just as it should be. Shame on Andrew for trying to delegitimize debate.

1 Comments:

  • http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=propaganda

    (shrug)

    By Anonymous Andrew, at 12:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home