John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,
John C. Wright
johncwright

Lynching is bad but Stoning is good?

Not long ago, when I made some offhanded remark about the superior courtesy of the generation of our grandparents—men actually did used to tip their hats to ladies, and thought and taught that stealing was wrong— a Leftist friend of mine made a reply that astonished me, and opened my eyes to the inner workings of the leftwing mind.

His response was scorn and bile.

To him, the only thing significant about our grandparents’ generation, the folks who worked their way out of the Depression and won the Second World War, was that some blacks were lynched in the South. Those atrocities formed his entire mental picture of all events of the first half of the Twentieth Century, and perhaps of all time preceding.

And because of that picture, no conversation could be had with him on any topic concerning the past. Nothing could be compared to the present day, either for better or worse, or even to point out customs and expectations that were merely different. It was both utterly parochial, and utterly devoid of any nuanced moral reasoning: merely a blanket condemnation of all and sundry.

His reasoning seemed to be that if men of the past prized courtesy, and yet they also lynched blacks, and therefore everything they prize must be bad, therefore courtesy is bad, Q.E.D.

I have heard that the film THE STONING OF SORAYA M is being denigrated and dismissed by some Leftwing critics for the opposite reason: that it is merely cheap moralizing to portray an atrocity of the Sharia law.

Film critic Christian Toto here compiles a list of the complaints. http://whatwouldtotowatch.com/2009/06/26/liberal-critics-stone-soraya/ He quotes from some of the less intelligent of the intelligentsia:

“It takes zero political courage to speak out against the obvious barbarism of public stonings or the oppressive patriarchy of sharia law, but the film whips out the megaphone anyway, eager to extrapolate the martyrdom of an innocent woman into a broader condemnation of the Muslim world.”

Note the paradox. The critic is criticizing the film on the grounds that no one will criticize the film.

” … the worst kind of exploitative Hollywood melodrama, presented under the virtuous guise of moral outrage.”

Note the irony. The critic is publicly morally outraged that someone would publicize a moral outrage.

I have not seen the film, and so I offer no opinion on the merits or demerits of the complaints, aside from the obvious self-contradictions. I have not seen the criticisms in context.

But if Toto’s comment is fair, I cannot help but wonder how these same film critics would react to a portrayal of a lynch mob in dressed bedsheets hanging a black man.

I speculate that their reaction would be the opposite of my friend’s mentioned above. Instead of the atrocity filling the mind and driving everything else out, what is portrayed in the film has no purchase in their imagination. Their other opinions and positions drive it out, leaving them with a vacuum. The only thing that can survive in the void is their indignation against the film makers.

Are atrocities only really deserving of condemnation if white Christian males perform them? Are the evils done by Semitic races immune from condemnation merely because the danger that Caucasians might harbor ill-will toward acts of barbarism?

Is everything in the mental vacuum called politically correct based on who does what to whom, and not on what is done, independent of who does it? I must compliment the efficiency, if not the justice, of this arrangement. It is certainly easier to discover whether someone is a Negro or a Gypsy or a Jew or an Unborn baby than it is to find out if he has violated some established and objective law.

It is a moral as well as a mental vacuum. A physical coward is someone afraid of being hurt. An intellectual coward is someone afraid of the conclusions honest thought might find. An intellectual coward loves to criticize his own, because, of course, such criticism (aside from gratifying the ego without cost or danger) provokes a neighboring enemy to mirth rather than to ire.

An intellectual coward will not tolerate to criticize an enemy, nor even to admit grounds for any criticism exist. If there is no truth, no reason, no logic in the universe, there is no grounds for any disputes with any living creature, and all can live in the peace of Utopia.

Cowardice and nihilism are symbiotic. The moral flaw encourages the philosophical error; the philosophical error justifies and protects the moral flaw. If nothing means anything, then my cowardice is not really in any absolute sense any worse than your bravery: and if your exposure of my cowardice is nothing more than a “narrative construction” the strong use to oppress the weak, the cowardice is not immoral, but exposing it is.

Perhaps a psychologist could explain why the victims of this flaw and this error spend so much effort and to announce and celebrate their mental and moral superiority to the rest of us.

Perhaps an acute observer of human nature could explain why the Left, which claims to be a the savior of the poor, defender of the oppressed, the white knight shielding and liberating women, not to mention the champion of religious enlightenment, includes partisans who, in case like this, decide to take a stand defending the brutal and unthinkably savage judicial murder of an impoverished and oppressed woman by under the color of the law of a religion well-known for its obscurantism, fanaticism, misogyny and brutality.

Do Muslim murderers now rank higher on the pecking order of political correctness than women? Than Muslim women? Than innocent Muslim women wrongly accused?

I cannot help but wonder how these same film critics would react to a portrayal of a village of Muslims half-burying a baby harp seal in the snow, and bruising, lacerating, and shattering the animal’s bones with one thrown stone at a time, until its blood was scattered hither and yon, and then they continued to stone it. The Left seems irate enough when butchers kill livestock, why do they invert their principles do oddly when barbarians butcher women?


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