Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Captain Obvious Strikes again - in the War for your Mind this time

I normally don't get hysterical watching the news but Rep. Peter King (Republican representing Long Island) was quoted saying the most remarkable thing...

Following the attempted bombing of the Delta airlines flight into Detroit there has been a lot of chatter about the need to profile Muslims. He is clear to point out that the majority of Muslims are good people and then spews this line:

"One hundred percent of the Islamic terrorists are Muslims"

Really? You mean there is a link between Islam and Muslims? Whoever thinks that Members of Congress are elected because of their superior intellect are sadly mistaken.

Honestly, I almost spit my coffee out I was laughing so hard.

(You can watch the clip that include King's remarks here. His Captain Obvious statement comes in at the 1:25 mark.)

Side note: I liked it when the former CIA analyst took on profiling by saying: "Look, I think when people make an argument for racial profiling they’re either lazy, they’re either arrogant, or frankly they’re racist."

As we move into the War on your Mind section of the post, please take a moment to watch this clip where talking heads are talking about profiling.

Perhaps there can be an intelligent conversation about profiling... Right? Do we need to pull a 78 year old Mexican grandmother out of line to question her? Even if we wanted to engage in the debate listen again as to how the question was framed....

"Are the political correctness police putting our safety at risk?"

(at the 3:00 mark just before the break)
(and then again at the 3:15 mark just after returning from the break)

"Is political correctness jeopardizing our security in the sky?"

(Sidebar: Note the use of fear. It's like those teasers for the 11:00 news. "Can the common household cleaners you have in your home right now, KILL YOUR CHILDREN? Tune in at 11 to find out". Seriously - if there is something serious enough to kill my children you should tell us now.)

OK - back to the War for your Mind. What's happening here?

Any real debate on the merits of profiling need to happen within a different context. Is it feasible to pull out all Muslims? First off, how do you tell if someone is a Muslim? You can't. Ideology isn't seen. But let's put this aside and put down the fear mongering.

Is this 'Political Correctness' that is preventing us from doing this? No. Are there 'Political Correctness police'? No.

In our great nation we have laws that govern our land and protect people from unreasonable search and seizure (it's in the Constitution, look it up). So it is our Constitution and our laws that say we can't stop and search someone without a reasonable cause. Not political correctness.

But when the argument is framed as political correctness, people think that it's just silly, naive liberals who want to create a 'magical Utopia'. Right? The reason that the terrorist was almost able to kill all those people is simply because of some 'political correctness'. That is, we were somehow afraid of offending his (or others) sensibilities so he was let on the plane.

Within the American culture it is widely held that the political correct movement has come from the Left. So this links the Left with preventing America from protecting itself. And why? As we see here, it's framed again in terms of political correctness - of 'offending someone':

When Professor Fair (of Peace Studies) says "
One-third of the world's population is Muslim. Trying to treat every single Muslim as a terrorist is simply untenable, it's fearmongering" she presents a cogent argument suggesting that trying to lump billions of people into a group for extra screening isn't a practical or realistic solution.

Gallagher responds: "
Who are you afraid of offending Christine? Al Qaeda? " (5:15 mark).

So again, this isn't about coming up with realistic solutions to these problems, it's about framing a political group as being 'weak' when it comes to defending America. And why do we say they are weak? Because they are afraid to 'offend' people. Gallagher's remark pulls the debate to the extreme. Can we realistically profile that many people? (a reasonable question) answered with : 'of course, the only thing that is stopping us is that YOU ARE AFRAID OF OFFENDING Al QAEDA'.

I'd say it's a bizare leap of logic, but the logic behind it isn't resting in the merits of the debate, it rests in how the debate is perceived.

Several times you hear Professor Fair state "I'm not opposed to profiling", but that is flatly ignored. Why? Because having someone from the Left say that there could be reasonable profiling, but it's complicated, doesn't fit with the image that they are trying to produce.

In the
War on your Mind, this conversation is trying to convince you that because the Left doesn't buy into simplistic, unrealistic solutions, they are weak. From the way the question was asked, there was no real debate.

What if the moderator asked, "Is our Constitution up to the task of protecting us or should we cut back on the Rights it affords to us?" You think the conversation would play out differently?

There is a War for your Mind.

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