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Eugene Volokh

From dKosopedia

Eugene Volokh is a conservative blogger.

On August 11, 2005, he attacked a strawman of "Westerners who side with the "Iraqi resistance" against America and its allies." Ted Barlow of Crooked Timber responded on the same day:

Who, may I ask, are all the “Westerners who side with the ‘Iraqi resistance’ against America and its allies”? Generally speaking, the “Iraqi resistance” is killing our troops in the interest of a fundamentalist ideology that liberals find appalling. If our countrymen are actually taking their side as they try to kill coalition troops, that seems like a (conversational, if not legal) accusation of treason. Who are we talking about? Ward Churchill? George Galloway? Michael Moore, for comparing the insurgents to the Minutemen? Some Guy With A Sign Once? Could this vast conspiracy fit into a VW minibus?

Of course, James Taranto carelessly uses this sort of language all the time, and readers know damn well who he’s talking about. It’s not referring to a handful of psychopaths and extremists who hardly need refuting. It’s aimed at opponents of the war in Iraq, who aren’t anti-war, just on the other side. In the past few years, we’ve seen a constant, sickening effort on the part of supporters of the war in Iraq to conflate opposition the war with support for terrorists.

I’ve come to expect this sort of rhetoric from the mainstream conservative media and blogs. I don’t expect it from Eugene Volokh. He has earned the respect and readership of a wide swath of left-leaning readers for his intelligence, his fair-mindedness, and for his ability to express a right-wing viewpoint without displaying contempt for the other side. There are a million places that war opponents can go to get accused of siding against their country. It appears that there’s now one more.

With regard to the last paragraph, commenter "fmguru" replied:

“I don’t expect it from Eugene Volokh.”

Why not? Wasn’t he the one who posted a long article about the personal satisfaction he derived from the thought of his enemies being tortured?

I’m getting a little tired of reading these posts where liberals are let down by conservatives who they thought were reasonable and respectable and intellectually honest* (“Oh, Tacitus, how could you?”). It’s Year Five of the Second Bush Administration – anyone who hasn’t jumped off the Endless War for Empire bandwagon by now by definition isn’t reasonable or respectable. They’re all wingnuts underneath; some are just better at hiding it than others.

*and their converse, the usually-reliable wingnut who breaks formation for a moment to criticise torture or the Iraq quagmire or Bush’s anti-science policy, and so gathers fulsome praise from the liberal blogosphere before falling back into full attack-dog mode. See Andrew Sullivan or that “Baloon Juice” guy.

Meme: Condemning Epsilons

After some prodding, Volokh updated his post -- while still not naming any persons or organizations -- to also say:

The item is quite clearly a criticism of those Westerners who do endorse the Iraqi “resistance,” or at least explain its actions in ways that lessen or eliminate the killers’ culpability (poverty, supposed desire for “self-determination,” supposedly justifiable anger at various American, Israeli, or other Western sins). That’s the group the item identifies. It’s the group against which the item’s argument makes sense. The item doesn’t criticize any broader group of Iraq War opponents. Fortunately, the group being criticized is not a vast group. So? They’re still worth condemning.

Thus was born a new meme, explained by Sean Carroll as "condemnation of groups of people whom, although nobody is claiming that they are numerous or influential, we can nevertheless agree are worthy of our scorn." One of Volokh's commenters provided the first example:

I condemn Republicans who drink puppy blood with breakfast. Fortunately, this is not a vast group. So? They're still worth condemning

Belle Waring contributes this:

I points the fingerbone of scorn at those inhumanly cruel Republicans who drink puppy blood for breakfast. When I consider the sharp, tiny milk-teeth of those puppies, protruding from gums now white with blood loss, I am filled with a righteous and long-abiding anger. In fact, the mere thought of a pure-bred English Bulldog puppy, its throat slit with a dull buck knife, its precious life-blood draining into a glass pitcher soon to be enlivened with worchestershire sauce and Tabasco--the lot soon to be poured into a glass garnished with a pale green stalk of celery from the inner part of the bunch, in the manner of some third-season Dr. Who--well, my gorge rises. Just saying, is all. Also, I am totally kidding.

Brad DeLong joined the game with the following:

I for one, would like to also denounce adherents of the Republican Party who pretend to "adopt" kittens from animal shelters, and then kill them and dissect their little kittenish bodies with knives. I acknowledge that rather few Republicans are in this category, but I insist that these people are very bad.

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This page was last modified 03:07, 15 August 2005 by dKosopedia user Daniel. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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