The other day D-Squared called Steven Den Beste a nasty name for daring to mourn the people killed on September 11th. Den Beste, you see, lives in San Diego, and he didn’t know any of the New Yorkers who died, so mourning, in his case, is “grave-robbing.” Now this raises a nice question. Just what sort of relation will do? Apparently family, friends, and professional colleagues all qualify. (In another post D2 magnanimously lets Ann Coulter, who had a friend who died in one of the planes, off the hook.) Interestingly, mourning fellow members of humanity is OK too, as long as they aren’t fellow Americans; at least I haven’t seen D2 complain about “grave-robbing” when lefties shed crocodile tears over the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that American sanctions are supposed to have killed.

So it’s not a matter of proximity, and it’s not a matter of choice either, since we choose our colleagues only incidentally and our families not at all. It seems, in fact, that only countrymen are out of bounds, and only patriotism is objectionable. Moral high-mindedness, or reflexive anti-Americanism? You make the call.

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 2, 2003 @ 2:43 PM | Blogs,Politics

7 Responses to “Group Theory”

  1. 1 1. Jim

    I think it’s a third thing: mental illness, a cynical dementia in which one believes all actions to be motivated by lust for political power. Call the disease "marxism".


  2. 2 2. Aaron Haspel

    Ordinarily I would agree, except that D-Squared knows far too much economics to be a Marxist. I think he’s just nasty and ill-tempered.


  3. 3 3. Eddie Thomas

    He had some earlier posts that were somewhat more gracious, although the whole project of summarizing Den Beste into farce supports your idea of him being ill-tempered. He also seems both smarter and otherwise reasonable to make sense of this descent.

    I don’t hang on Den Beste’s every word, and often skim the longer entries, but I also learn from him regularly and realize how much harder he works on this than I do. Moreover, although he gets cranky, Den Beste is generally good-spirited in his approach. He doesn’t deserve D Squared’s crap.


  4. 4 4. Tallan

    Yes Denbeste does his homework and clearly works hard to do a good job. Frankly, I am amazed at his volumunious writtings for one man and his knowledge.

    I do object a little to his wanting to punish some countries, we will always need friends in the world.


  5. 5 5. Bashir Gemayel

    I do object a little to his wanting to punish some countries, we will always need friends in the world.

    Friends stand behind us in our time of need. Those who won’t aren’t real friends. One only need observe the difference between the English and the French.


  6. 6 6. not really

    The other day D-Squared called Steven Den Beste a nasty name for daring to mourn the people killed on September 11th.

    No he didn’t. He pointed out that it was hypocritical to use mourning as a justification for war with a country that had precisely nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, and furthermore to be waving the shroud only a day after joking about how he could abide the nuking of Berkeley.

    at least I haven’t seen D2 complain about "grave-robbing" when lefties shed crocodile tears over the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that American sanctions are supposed to have killed.

    Well, that’s because they’re not advocating policies that would lead to direct responsibility in the death of hundreds more children. There’s something of a difference, if you care to think about it.

    So, it wasn’t a question of the right to mourn per se, but the appropriation of grief for ideological expediency in the pursuit of war with Iraq. Den Beste still can’t make the distinction — nor can those here who obviously derived their soundbites from his misleading summary — which is why his bellicose shroud-waving remains highly suspect. As for ‘mental illness’… you’re looking in the wrong direction.


  7. 7 7. Aaron Haspel

    One might gather from reading this comment that poor put-upon D-Squared never called Den Beste any names at all. The term, for those who may have missed the original posts, was "grave-robbing cunt."

    That’s not all he wrote either: "We know from a few days ago that his actual (as opposed to sanctimonious and/or hypocritical) emotional involvement in the psychological scars of that tragedy is so little that he’s happy making jokes about nuclear attack on towns where his political opponents live." In other words, Den Beste, according to D-Squared, isn’t really mourning at all. He is lying for political ends. Charming, not to mention unsupported by any evidence.

    D-Squared, however, wrote nothing about Iraq’s involvement in September 11th in his original post, or subsequently, for the excellent reason that it’s irrelevant. Den Beste’s argument has always been that the Arab world is united in its hatred for Western culture in general and us in particular, and that September 11th is a prelude unless we clean them out. If you take this view, which of course is arguable, then it’s perfectly reasonable to regard the deaths on September 11th and the war on Iraq as related. D-Squared understood that even if you don’t.

    Your plaint about the Children is an infallible sign of dishonesty. If we go to war with Iraq the Iraqis, children included, will be far better off, just as in Afghanistan. Nobody serious disputes that. (It’s a bad reason to go to war, but that’s another question.)

    As for the nuking Berkeley joke, please. It’s fine for your political allies to call their opponents "cunts" in all seriousness, but not fine for your opponents to joke about nuking your allies?

    Finally, I accused no one of being mentally ill. On the contrary, I quarreled with one of my commentators who did. If you don’t care for the diagnosis I suggest you take it up with him, since he stands behind his remarks with an email address, a website, and his real name.


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