Laughter, Hamlet's Ghost, and the Insanity of Our Present Age
Ghost: "Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold."
--Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1
By Barry Rubin
This is a test. Does this story make you laugh or cry?
A friend of mine wrote an article that, while it did make fun of a left-wing group, was a pretty sober and factual presentation on a simple point. My concern here is NOT the specific story involved but the ending.
Some people pointed out that Herman Cain, a presidential candidate, in apologizing to Muslims for something he said, just happened to do the apologizing to a specific group that's a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in America. A site that's part of President Obama's favorite thinktank and is well funded by a certain billionaire (no extra credit for guessing) ridiculed this claim.
So what did this author do? Research! In the finest scholarly tradition, he found some U.S. court judgments that concluded, based on documentary evidence, that the group in question is indeed a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.
So he proved his argument to be correct. The result? Retraction? Apology? Hey, it's 2011!
How, then, did a non-profit group--not the one he was responding to but one of similar ilk--respond to the article? See below:
Response 1: "Take your head out of your ass....You live in America, even though you don't deserve to."
Response 2: "Hey...how's your application to the Nazi Party going?"
Now you have to laugh, right? Here's an author who irrefutably proves his case and that's the response he gets. This is the level of sophistication of our adversaries. They cannot come up with good arguments so they either have to name-call or distort. A lot of them sound more sophisticated than the above two quotes but what they say basically amounts to the same thing.
What's especially ironic is that the author of the article comes from a family persecuted by the Nazis (response 2), and arrived in America--legally--as penniless refugees from Communism (response 1).
Remember that those responses did not come from some deranged individual hiding behind an alias but a non-profit organization whose name isn't concealed and that is given exemption from paying taxes because it serves an "educational" purpose. Fortunately, since the Federal budget is balanced, America doesn't need its tax money!
So please be civil when you respond to people you disagree with; provide facts and good arguments; try to avoid insults. If you have facts and good arguments on your side that should be enough in a democratic country that's ultimately a free marketplace of ideas (even if considerable sections of that marketplace have been hijacked and turned into propaganda organs). You won't convince the haters and extremists but you will convince the openminded majority even if it takes a while.
Going back to the exchange above, you either have to laugh or cry. I suggest laughter. It's more fun and he who laughs last laughs best. Become a historian; live long; and write about this era in 30 or 40 years. Sure, many people won't believe these things happened but show them the quotes and documents.
Ghost: "Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose."