Saturday, December 02, 2006

What passes for thinking on the left.

Dennis Preager (radio talk show host, speaker, author, columnist) has taken a rather brave position. By ‘brave’ I mean that, regardless of how reasoned as its thoughts and basis are presented (and precluding agreement), it will be misread and he tarred and feathered because the premise violates the sensibilities of those who seek to define our standards down.

Representative elect, Keith Ellison, a Muslim, has stated he will replace the traditional Bible with the Koran. Mr. Praeger’s position is as follows: when it comes to using a book upon taking the oath of office, the Bible should be used. Other tomes may be used in addition, but the Bible should not be wholly displaced.

A liberal Blog, Think Progress, has taken Mr. Praeger’s thesis and twisted it completely. Oh, let’s just say it…they made it up…they lied. It’s the sort of the thing I’ve seen, experienced and come to expect when the left address a conservative thought or argument.

Think Progress accuses Mr. Preager of 1) “…[comparing being sworn in with a Koran] to being sworn in with a copy of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’” and 2) the egregious error of thinking that religious books are used for the oath of office. Think Progress asserts that they are never used.

The first point simply amounts to libel. While Think Progress links to the Preager article, they apparently didn’t bother to read it:

“…imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?”

The point cannot be simply dismissed, unless it is to assert that there is no standard that must be adhered to on such a solemn occasion, which Think Progress doesn’t do. Mr. Preager’s supporting arguments should at least be the source of some applied thought on the issue:

“Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible…When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization.”

Yet for Think Progress and its liberal devotees, the response is not thoughtful opposition in-kind, but typically screeching in non-sequitorial condemnation. Destroying the messenger is to more highly favored on the left than dealing with the message.

This is not to say that there are no good countervailing arguments. They do exist, as Eugene Volokh shows at National Review On-line. But the left, mired in hatred of the right and an inability to discuss things in a civilized fashion, seems incapable of making them. Such a mindset cannot be counted on to contribute seriously to any debate on any topic. Should you doubt this, read the comments attached to both Mr. Preager’s and Think Progress’s columns.

As for the second assertion, Think Progress ignores the fact that there is a second ceremony which does make use of the Bible, and chastises Mr. Praeger for thiking that there is. Yet if there is no such ceremony, why is Mr. Ellison demanding a Koran replace the Bible? Mr. Preager asserts that every member of Congress who has availed himself of this second venue has done so using the Bible, and sometimes an additional tome. So far I’ve not read any contradiction to this assertion. As such, it cannot be denied that should Mr. Ellison use a non-Biblical text exclusively, it will be a first.

Is Mr. Preager wrong in his assessment? Quite possibly. Is the response of Think Progress and its leftward posse devoid of decency and thought? Most definitely.

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