Jay Manifold thinks folks who find conservative Christians’ alliance with repressive Islamic regimes repugnant need to calm down.
I suppose he’d have to include me in that category, although I would stipulate that I am perfectly calm, if slightly disgusted.
Jay responds to those who have raised an eyebrow at the alliance as follows:
A group led by Mormons and including evangelicals and conservative Catholics, all allying themselves with conservative Muslims, at first glance seems like either 1) cats and dogs living together or 2) some kind of evil octopus (long post; skip to the 4th paragraph from the end if you want). It is neither… when Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says, “We look at them as allies, not necessarily as friends,” he is making perfect sense, however unpleasant some of us might regard the goals of such an alliance.
The NYTimes and Adrienne Germaine (and Abe Foxman) should calm down. And so should Glenn when he says things like: “Perhaps the ‘Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute’ should focus its attentions a bit closer to home.” If they’re serious about pursuing their goals, they’ll focus their attentions anywhere they have to. The sooner the rest of us appreciate that, the faster the American atmosphere of peaceful ideological discord will spread.
Jay seems to be making the classic error of a man who has created a map of the land, and therefore assumes that his map describes everything that there is to know about the territory. He provides a nice explanation based on set theory, pointing out that the effectiveness of intersecting sets such as these “will depend on their ability to: assume nothing; identify any intersection of their interests; evaluate whether the relevant conditional probability is high enough to make mutual efforts worthwhile; and proceed accordingly.”
Well, yes. Sure. But the point that Glenn and myself and others were making wasn’t that it didn’t make sense from a purely self-interested viewpoint for the Christian groups to make this kind of alliance. The point was that it was morally questionable for them to do so due to the highly repugnant nature of the other ‘set’. It might well be the most pragmatic course in the world for these groups to accomplish their goals; I don’t think anyone is arguing that. But these groups have a habit of positioning themselves as paragons of virtue and morality. Last time I checked, morality quite often involved doing the right thing, as opposed to the expedient thing. So it’s a bit odd for these allegedly moral groups to be making such a — dare I say it? — deal with the Devil.
Not to mention the odd contradiction inherent in, as a central point in a post extoling the virtues of peaceful ideological discord, telling people to “calm down” for the crime of, well, peacefully stating their ideological discord. We weren’t threatening to pipe-bomb their houses or anything, honest…