Regarding Obama and the crusades, the check engine light comes on early in Dreher’s latest column at AmCon.
If you wait long enough, Ross Douthat will write what needs to be written, and do it better than you ever could.
Oy. As you might expect Ross Douthat thinks the Crusades got a bad rap. And he is right, in the limited sense that no complex system ever exists to do pure evil. Guess who instituted the first anti-tobacco campaign backed by solid public health epidemiology. Here’s a hint: he loved dogs. You can count on Douthat to side with reflexive manicheans who have a Rain Man episode at the faintest hint of moral complexity. These folks snap to offense much too fast to grasp that Obama was clearly speaking about the Crusades as understood by Muslims. He wants Christians to remember their history but he also wants to tell Muslims on the fence ‘I hear you, but…”, with the fundamental point being that anyone can behave that way but here in the civlized world choose not to (let’s keep the obvious rejoinder stashed away in a black site for now). As one would expect from a law professor Obama uses this construction quite often.
On the other hand I think Dreher grasps the point just fine. After giving Douthat his due (and more tongue than necessary) he pivots to a slightly different perspective – quoting Bill Moyers on southern lynchings, in an essay Moyers re-posted at Daily Kos – to make the exact opposite point from Douthat. This comment from Dreher seemed rather arch for a guy ostensibly agreeing with Douthat.
In the EJI report is a photo of a 1919 clipping from a Jackson, Miss., newspaper reporting on a planned lynching in Ellisville, one that the Mississippi governor absurdly claimed he was powerless to stop. The paper reported that the Rev. L.G. Gates, a Baptist pastor from Laurel, Miss., was headed to Ellisville “to entreat the mob to use discretion.”
Oh, for the days when leading Christian pastors entreated lynch mobs not to stop in the name of God, but instead, to use discretion.
I could probably persuade you that Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote that. It does not leave much wiggle room for people like Ross who want to quibble with Obama’s narrative. Not that I agree with everything he says, or his comment policies, but Dreher has a subtle mind. Certainly subtler by some margin than cardinal Douthat and AmCon lets him speak it without getting excommunicated.
One is given to understand that the column uses same argument structure that Obama used, likely to get through to Douthat and his fans without evoking the lizard brain defense reflex that Obama did. I hope it works, even if my cardiologist shoots me a worried glance any time someone writes “…as always Megan McArdle said it best…”, or similar.