Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On "the fetishisation of “balance"

Some time ago there was a brief discussion between Bob from Brockley , The New Centrist and myself (unintentionally) about "old and new " Left neighbourhoods.

Both Bob and New used to be faithful Leftists until recent years when they began to feel a certain... distanciation from the mother ship. Have they changed their basic beliefs in democracy, justice and universal human rights? I know of many others who travelled the same road, but I wonder if this metaphorical cliche even applies. Who has done the travelling and who has remained true to the principle of humanism and reason?

I'm not sure. Here is how Martin Amis describes a similar denouement in his own place in the world:

In the summer of 2006 I came back to live in the UK
after two-and-a-half years in South America. I maintain that I had not become
more of a fascist in the interim – at the feet of a Galtieri, say, or at the
knee of a Pinochet. But in politics it is surprisingly easy
to move from side to side while staying in the same place; and the middle
ground, I discovered, was not where it used to be.
The extent of the
shift became dramatically clear to me on live television, when I appeared on
Question Time(the BBC’s interactive discussion show) and was asked about our
progress in what was now being called the Long War.

The answer I gave was, I thought, almost tediously
centrist. I said that the West should have spent the past five years in the
construction of a democratic and pluralistic model in Afghanistan, while in the
meantime merely containing Iraq. In Afghanistan we have already seen, not the
“genocide” eagerly predicted by Noam Chomsky and others, but “genogenesis” (in
Paul Berman’s coinage) – a burgeoning census. Since 2001, the population has
risen by 25 per cent. Meanwhile, too, needless to say, the coalition should have
been tearing up the earth of Waziristan in its hunt for the remnants of

At this point I started looking from face to face
in the audience, and what I saw were the gapes and frowns, not of disagreement,
but of disbelief. Then a young woman spoke up, in a voice near-tearful with
passionate self-righteousness, saying that it was the Americans who had armed
the Islamists in Afghanistan, and that therefore the US, in its response to
September 11, “should be dropping bombs on themselves”! I had time to imagine
the F16s yowling in over Chicago, and the USS Abraham Lincoln pumping shells the
size of Volkswagens into downtown Miami – in bold atonement for the World Trade
Center, for the Pentagon, for United 93, United 175, American 11, and American
77. But then my thoughts were scattered by the sound of unanimous applause. We
are drowsily accustomed, by now, to the fetishisation of “balance”, the
groundrule of “moral equivalence” in all conflicts between West and East, the
100-per-cent and 360-degree inability to pass judgment on any ethnicity other
than our own (except in the case of Israel).
And yet the handclappers of
Question Time had moved beyond the old formula of pious paralysis. This was not
equivalence; this was hemispherical abjection. Accordingly, given the choice
between George Bush and Osama bin Laden, the liberal relativist, it seems, is
obliged to plump for the Saudi
, thus becoming the appeaser of an armed doctrine
with the following tenets: it is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian,
inquisitional, imperialist, and genocidal.

(Via: Mick Hartley)

Here is a timely example of this new type of rhetorical fallacy, the fetishisation of “balance”:

Video: Christiane Amanpour prefers Jewish Warriors to Muslim Warriors by over 4:1

CAMERA Video: Double Standard in CNN's "God's Warriors" Series
CAMERA's article comparing CNN's "God's Jewish Warriors" and "God's Muslim Warriors" programs points out that, even though the number of Jewish religious extremists is miniscule relative to Islamist extremists, Christiane Amanpour repeats the phrase "God's Jewish Warriors" 22 times in the segment about Jews, but links "Muslim" and "Warriors" only five times in the segment about Muslims. CAMERA's article asks: "Why does she utter the words "Jewish warrior" more than five times more often than "Muslim warrior" when violent Muslims have inflicted thousands of times more death and destruction in the world than violent Jews have?"

The following video shows this disturbing discrepancy with clips from the CNN documentary. Check back later for additional video revealing the bias and distortions in CNN's series...

Don't miss the illustrative short video at the link.

(Hat Tip: Solomonia)


At 11:40 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush and the US brought this on themselves.


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