Politeness to morons by mattsteinglass
August 12, 2010, 8:43 am
Filed under: Islam

Conor Friedersdorf has a post at his new digs at on the people who warn that Islamic radicalism poses a threat of imposing sharia law in the US. As is his generally admirable credo, he remains relentlessly polite throughout; the strongest language he uses is a sarcastic “Please.”

I’m of two minds on this. Friedersdorf is part of a phalanx of young conservativish writers (including Jim Manzi, Reihan Salam and others) who insist on courtesy in their opinion writing. In some cases such respectfulness gives your argument added weight. I’m concerned, however, that in some cases it fails to make it clear to the reader that the people you’re talking about are fracking idiots or shameless hucksters. This is certainly the case wrt to anyone invoking the threat of sharia law in the United States, and I don’t think I could stomach writing a post that pretended for even a moment to address such a prospect seriously. This particular piece by Friedersdorf, while on the money in terms of its content, comes off a bit simple; it goes too far towards acceptance of the terms in which its adversaries speak. I’m not really sure that in the long run our political discourse is well-served by treating jingoism and bigotry with respect.


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