Compare and contrast

by Henry on November 6, 2006

Glenn Reynolds on a speech by Chris Hedges in May 2003.

He recycles the looting lies, too. He sounds like a talk-radio caricature of a liberal, and he’s flat-out racist in his dismissal of Arab prospects for democratic self-government. “Iraq was a cesspool for the British. . . it will be a cesspool for us as well.” Yep. Racist.

An approvingly blurbed quote in November 2006 from one of Glenn’s anonymous email correspondents.

The ball is in the Iraqis’ court. We took away the obstacle to their freedom. If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world. The experiment had to be made.

Glenn himself goes on to argue:

On the other hand, it’s also true that if democracy can’t work in Iraq, then we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us. If a comparatively wealthy and secular Arab country can’t make it as a democratic republic, then what hope is there for places that are less wealthy, or less secular?

Is there any reasonable way to read this other than Glenn Reynolds denouncing Glenn Reynolds as a ‘flat-out racist’? Inquiring minds would like to know.

[edited slightly for punchiness]

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{ 48 comments }

1

Pooh 11.06.06 at 3:49 pm

Can I move that we no longer mention Mr. Reynolds except to explicitly mock?

2

Commenterlein 11.06.06 at 3:55 pm

Henry,

Glenn Reynolds is a hack, we all know that. He is also a second-rate scholar at a third-rate school working in one of the least intellectually rigorous fields you find in academia. There really is absolutely no reason whatsoever to read this guy.

3

Uncle Kvetch 11.06.06 at 4:01 pm

we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us

Howzabout you spare us the doggerel and just say it, Professor. Say “I think we should just kill them all.”

Enough of the weasel words, enough of the oblique hinting. Act like a grown-up for once and say what you mean: You think we should kill them all. They’ve failed to live up to your expectations for them, they make you feel uncomfortable and unsalfe, and as a prominent citizen of the most powerful military machine the world has ever known, you are granted the unique power to decide who lives and who dies. And you think the world would be a better place if we just killed them all.

So please, for the love of God: Just say it. At least we’ll know where we stand.

4

Steve LaBonne 11.06.06 at 4:03 pm

Does he contradict himself? Very well then he contradicts himself, (he is large, he contains multitudes.)

5

nate zuckerman 11.06.06 at 4:16 pm

I agree that it is a waste of your effort and space to keep posting stuff from Instapundit. Either you like the guy (why?) or you do not, but in any case there is not enopugh there to merit second-hand parsing of Glenn’s positions. In sum: deep down inside, he is shallow.

6

David Kane 11.06.06 at 4:20 pm

Henry,

This link-trolling would be a lot more compelling if you provided some context. Reynold’s linked to a speech by Hedges and referred to him as “flat-out racist in his dismissal of Arab prospects for democratic self-government.”

Do you agree or disagree with his assessment of Hedges? Once we establish that context, we can decide how things look from the perspective of 2006, for both Reynolds and you.

7

bi 11.06.06 at 4:24 pm

Davie Kane:

Why does it matter whether we agree or disagree? Whether we agree or disagree, Reynolds still contradicts himself! And he still wants to kill them all!

Next, please.

8

Palo 11.06.06 at 4:26 pm

That’s what you get when you pretend to be an honest intellectual when you are nothing more than a self-serving pundit. Maybe Iraq will be the cementery for hacks like Reynolds.

9

bi 11.06.06 at 4:30 pm

(Dollars to doughnuts David Kane will focus on the easy targets and pretend that all the reasonable objections to his own rantage don’t exist.)

10

John Emerson 11.06.06 at 4:55 pm

David Kane! David Kane! David Kane!

Where’s Slocum? Where’s Sebastian? Where’s Jet?

I need to have my memory refreshed and my batteries recharged.

11

peep 11.06.06 at 4:56 pm

Possible Glenn Reynolds reply — deciding in 2003 that Iraqis were incapable of democracy was racist because there was no good evidence for this belief. Deciding that Iraqis are incapable of democracy in 2006 is a perfectly reasonable conclusion after the events of the last 3 years when the United States overthrew their dictator and gave them every possible chance to succeed as a democracy, but they blew it.

12

Walt 11.06.06 at 4:57 pm

Watching David Kane judge someone harshly, like anyone here cares, is pretty funny.

13

eugene 11.06.06 at 5:21 pm

We’ve heard similar things from Ralph “Dude, Where’s my Civil War?,”. In March 2006, people that said that Iraq was descending into civil war were “irresponsible” and “staked their reputations on Iraq’s failure”.

However…fast forward to November 2 2006:

“[i]t appears that the cynics were right: Arab societies can’t support democracy as we know it.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Peters#Opinion_on_the_Iraq_war

14

John Quiggin 11.06.06 at 5:47 pm

“deciding in 2003 that Iraqis were incapable of democracy was racist because there was no good evidence for this belief.”

Kind of like premature anti-Fascism?

BTW, from the quoted statement, it appears the position actually stated was “Americans are incapable of bringing democracy to Iraq, just as the British were” which is something rather different from what Reynolds imputed to Hedges and now adopts as his own position.

15

abb1 11.06.06 at 5:59 pm

If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world.

That’s pretty much how I felt about the US elections in 2004.

16

Anderson 11.06.06 at 6:50 pm

That’s pretty much how I felt about the US elections in 2004.

Word.

17

MQ 11.06.06 at 6:57 pm

Glenn Reynolds is in the running for the biggest ass on the internet.

18

Steve LaBonne 11.06.06 at 7:22 pm

That’s pretty much how I felt about the US elections in 2004.

It took you that long to figure us out? ;)

19

Guest 11.06.06 at 7:29 pm

Comments #1, 2, & 5 are right on the money. Please no more about Glenn Reynolds. It’s just good brain cells after bad.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

20

KS 11.06.06 at 7:34 pm

“If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world.”

“That’s pretty much how I felt about the US elections in 2004.”

Bullseye.

21

roger 11.06.06 at 7:58 pm

I have this feeling that the instaborg is in disarray. The best denunciation of G. Reynolds at the moment was penned by his former ally at the Belgravia Dispatch site, here: http://www.belgraviadispatch.com
/2006/11/dear_decider.html. It is the best because the Belgravia Dispatch guy is honest – that is, as circumstances change in the world, he doesn’t pretend he was right to foresee these changes, or that the changes shouldn’t impinge upon the way he sees the world (a non-bubble view! – it is almost non-bloggerish), or that his support for positions that have ended in disaster is something he can sluff off. And you can tell he feels like he was played by spinners of the Reynolds type.

22

roy belmont 11.06.06 at 7:59 pm

“Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
Therefore, whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”
Luke 12:1-3

23

David 11.06.06 at 9:04 pm

Glenn’s views are evolving (intelligent design rules itself out, I’m afraid)

24

DonBoy 11.06.06 at 9:25 pm

Is there any reasonable way to read this other than 2003-Glenn denouncing 2006-Glenn as a ‘flat-out racist’?

What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.

25

soubzriquet 11.06.06 at 11:07 pm

4. Oh he contains multitudes alright; multitudes of comments, inane, vapid, or risible, but multitudes.

I’m pretty sure that isn’t what Whitman meant though.

26

Nathan 11.07.06 at 12:26 am

Remember when Instapundit used to be interesting? Now the question about Glenn Reynolds is whether he turned into the partisan he is now for the hits, or whether he drank the Kool-Aid.

Either way, I don’t see the point of reading his archives looking for intellectual consistency.

27

Down and Out in Sài Gòn 11.07.06 at 2:21 am

The sad thing is that I think Glenn Reynolds chose to become a hack, and now can’t unchoose to be one. Or as someone said on Roger’s link from #22:

Reynolds would think Stalin was breaking lots of eggs but would never really make an omelet.

In Iraq he still expects an omelet.

28

Mike Schiling 11.07.06 at 5:21 am

Kind of like premature anti-Fascism?

Exactly. Just as in this Jonah Goldberg nonsense: Anyone who opposed the Iraq war before he did is a liberal and a traitor.

29

bad Jim 11.07.06 at 6:15 am

I seem to recall that Max Sawicky ran a competition for the most offensive rightist blogpost, and that Reynolds won for a perhaps merely thoughtless bit of Arabic eliminationism.

Still, at what point does merely dreaming of genocide become a crime?

30

george hoffman 11.07.06 at 8:05 am

“Reynolds would think think Stalin was breaking lots of eggs but would never really make an omelet.”

“In Iraq he still expects an omelet.”

Good observation, down and out in saigon.
But Reynolds has never been an egg and no empathy for the eggs that become the omelet.
Having been an egg that barely avoided becoming part of an omelet during my tour of duty in Vietnam completely changed how I view the world. Chris Hedges gets it; Reynolds doesn’t.
Also when William F. Buckley penned his op-ed declaring the Iraq War a failure, he essentially blamed the Iraqis themselves for rejecting this wonderful gift, democracy through the barrel of a rifle. Buckley’s just a more highly refined racist.

31

Scott Martens 11.07.06 at 8:08 am

I suppose it’s technically not racist in the sense that Arabs run from nearly Aryan white to jet black – so if Arabs aren’t a race then hating them isn’t racism.

“Genocidal”, however, doesn’t have the same ambiguity in its definition. I don’t see any interpretation of “more rubble, less trouble” that doesn’t fit the legal definition of genocide. And, unlike racism, advocating genocide is a criminal offense is much of Europe.

32

Slocum 11.07.06 at 8:47 am

I don’t see any interpretation of “more rubble, less trouble” that doesn’t fit the legal definition of genocide.

I don’t know why I do this, but a Google of the rubble/trouble phrase seems to point to Victor Davis Hanson:

http://victordavishanson.pajamasmedia.com/2006/09/19/post.php

I would say the most probable interpretation is a return to the ‘just bomb some shit occasionally to keep them in line’ approach of, say, the Clinton administration as in:

http://www.salon.com/news/1998/09/23news.html

The photo at the top there shows just what a policy of ‘more rubble, less trouble’ looks like.

Understand, I not endorsing that idea nor ‘Instapundit’ as a foreign policy thinker, but Reynolds as a proponent of genocide? Please.

33

Uncle Kvetch 11.07.06 at 8:54 am

Oh, “please” yourself, Slocum. Reynolds thinks the problem with our “liberation” of Iraq is that we didn’t kill enough Iraqis in the process. Period. If you think somebody here is misinterpreting his words, please point out how.

And your attempt to somehow shift this to a discussion of Clinton’s bombing of an aspirin factory is frankly moronic. How many hundreds of thousands of innocent people died in that attack?

34

Flens 11.07.06 at 9:37 am

Um, “hack”? “Racist?”

we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us.

Try genocidal fascist war crime advocate.

35

John Emerson 11.07.06 at 9:52 am

Slocum! Slocum! Slocum!

Where’s Jet? Where’s Sebastian? I need my fix!

36

Walt 11.07.06 at 11:02 am

If you summon them, John, the only way to get rid of them is to get them to say their name three times backwards, which is hard to do unless it appears in a Republican blast fax.

37

dmm 11.07.06 at 11:35 am

For some time now, part of Dubya’s stump speech has been that “some” don’t think that Ay-rabs are ready for democracy, but nobody has ever been able to figure out who these “some” are. Now it turns out that he was talking about Instapundit!

I wonder how Glenn Reynolds feels about having the President talk smack about him like that? (“Please sir, may I have another?” most likely.)

38

Lee A. Arnold 11.07.06 at 11:53 am

In addition to the other intellectual shortcomings, notice that we have moved into a world where “more rubble, less trouble” will not work as a long-term strategy, anyway. This is emotionalism, charading as thought.

39

TS 11.07.06 at 12:21 pm

Oh, Henry. Keep this up, and you’ll never be taken seriously as a scholar of the blogosphere!

40

JONATHAN 11.07.06 at 12:53 pm

Shorter Glenn Reynolds: Kill them all; God will recognize his own.

41

bryan 11.07.06 at 1:47 pm

Obviously 2003 Glenn is totally consistent in hating 2006 Glenn, no way 2003 Glenn would ever accept a defeatist liberal like 2006 Glenn.

42

nick s 11.07.06 at 4:27 pm

Remember when Instapundit used to be interesting?

No. I also don’t remember the days when nymphs and shepherds disported in splendour, though lots of people have written about those times.

The ‘exterminate all the brutes’ stage of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders is notable, though.

43

Joel 11.07.06 at 7:17 pm

Reynolds is basically a passive/aggressive version of The Corner. The only reason I read him these days is to keep up with the latest obsessions of right wing bloggers. Easier than scrolling around and reading the latest from Captain Ed, Malkin, the Corner, etc.

44

BruceR 11.08.06 at 1:07 am

Slocum, you’ve got to read “more rubble, less trouble” in context with the “Wretchard’s Three Conjectures” that the jingosphere is praising at the moment.

The shorter version of the Conjectures is that the threat of a massive WMD attack on the United States is increasing so rapidly (some compare it to a Fibonacci sequence) that an automatic resort to massive force against any Muslim or other pariah state, safely before they can develop a nuclear capability will be ever-increasingly required. “Keeping them in line” is assumed to no longer be sufficient, so the current line is that the rubble of future years will have to be much more extensive than the rubble of Clinton’s day to achieve the same protective effect for Americans. We’re no longer talking about precision strikes: this is essentially a Unilaterally Assured Destruction policy that is being promulgated among rightist bloggers now.

When Reynolds is using the catchphrase, he’s effectively referring his fans to that line of argument without the potential pitfall of stating it explicitly for his more casual readers. If he’s not being deliberately genocidal (which I also somewhat doubt), he’s certainly being a wilfully sloppy thinker and reckless public voice, whose sotto voce mouthing of an extremist slogan will be taken in many quarters as approval.

45

brooksfoe 11.08.06 at 12:16 pm

I think you’re all being too harsh on Glenn. In 2003 there wasn’t yet any objective evidence of Iraqis’ innate inferiority and unsuitability for democratic self-rule. But now, having been offered the luscious fruits of American democracy and laissez-faire capitalism on a silver platter, and having handed said platter back to us with our heads on it, they can be objectively described as sub-human beasts fit only for liquefaction via white phosphorus. Glenn’s no racist; he’s just a crazed, bloodthirsty would-be mass murderer.

46

aaron 11.08.06 at 1:49 pm

Crooked Timber is losing it’s value as a academic blog.

Despite all it’s biases and flaws, in the past it atleast provided interesting and relevant perspectives and good information. It has not done so for much of the past several months. I hope to see it regain some of it’s objectivity. (You might want to ditch Henry and Quiggin.)

47

Steve LaBonne 11.08.06 at 4:43 pm

Crooked Timber is losing it’s value as a academic blog.

Quoted for punctuation and grammar. Priceless, given the content.

48

zedaker 11.08.06 at 10:48 pm

“Does he contradict himself? Very well then he contradicts himself, (he is large, he contains multitudes.)

Posted by Steve LaBonne · November 6th, 2006 at 4:03 pm”

So does a paranoid schizoprenic. ;)

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