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As a liberal, I admire Markos Moulitsas. He has risen to national prominence thanks to his vision, dedication and hard work. He was a young Army veteran and became such an influential voice for progressive voters -- that his views are sought by Sunday talk shows such as Meet the Press. He has created several web sites that allow for the liberal/left to coalesce, exchange ideas and organize.  I am one of those who has contributed to and spoken out on the mega political web site  he founded Daily Kos. I also serve as a front-page contributor to a related site, Street Prophets, which he graciously hosts for us spiritual Lefties. Beyond that, I served with Moulitsas as an adviser (although I never conferred with him) to the 527 political group, Stempac.


But it is out of this very admiration and understanding of his important role in contemporary politics that I am at once disappointed by and concerned about the political impact of his new book, American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right. For a man who has done so much for liberalism, this tome does little, and may probably even be a setback.

My issue is not with Moulitsas, his philosophy, or the disinfecting sunlight he shines on many characters of the religious and political Right in this work.  My concern is with the book's glib and ultimately false equation of the Afghanistani Taliban with any and all American conservatives.


"Taliban" has a precise meaning. In Pashto, it literally translates to "students."  To Americans, it is the name of the political-religious movement that ruled Afghanistan from 1994 until it was overthrown by Coalition and Northern Alliance forces in late 2001; a military action brought on because of its hosting of Osama bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist group. It regrouped about three years later after President George W. Bush's administration became increasingly distracted by the war in Iraq.


The Taliban's theocratic philosophy is based upon an intolerant, non-pluralist Wahhabi Islamic vision for society. To describe its understanding of Sharia law as fundamentalist is an understatement.


As Amnesty International recently reported a couple was stoned to death simply for eloping. In 2002 the U.S, State Department described Taliban-style justice:

Murderers were subjected to public executions, a punishment that at times was inflicted by the victims' families. Thieves were subjected to public amputations of one hand, one foot, or both. Adulterers were stoned to death or publicly given 100 lashes...The stipulated punishment for those found guilty of homosexual acts was to have walls toppled on them.

We are probably all familiar with the Taliban's brutal opposition to girls and women seeking education and employment outside the home, as well as the zeal with which they punish, often by mutilation, open feminism. In short, the Afghanistan Taliban enforces its theology through cruel and unusual punishment.


What becomes immediately apparent in American Taliban is Moulitsas's glib exaggerations and unsupported premise.  "Fact is," he declares in the introduction, "progressives hate the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists precisely for the same reason we hate rabid conservatism at home: their fear of change, their contempt of nontraditional lifestyles, their mania for militaristic solutions, and their fascistic efforts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of society"


Hate? Is that really a "fact"? I do indeed hate the Afghanistani Taliban for numerous reasons - including those examples stated above - but especially for giving aid and comfort to al-Qaeda while they planned and carried out the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


But I don't "hate" American conservatives.  In fact, some of the people who hold views like those Moulitsas describes as American Taliban include some of my friends, neighbors and family. While I may not like their politics I care about them very much. More importantly, while I hope that they come to embrace more tolerant points of view, I also know that they do not advocate the stonings of eloping couples, the collapsing of walls upon gays (a 1998 incident in Herat, Afghanistan is discussed in the chapter entitled "Sex.") or the mutilation of girls trying to attend school. In fact, some of their Islamophobia is in response to such incidents. Beyond that, since Moulitsas, like me, objects to liberals being derided as "fascists" by the likes of Jonah Goldberg, then it is more than a little illiberal as well as hypocritical to lower himself to Goldberg's standards.


Moulitsas's discussion of the Herat execution of two gay Afghanistanis is an excellent example of his slippery-slope argument that all American conservatives have the same violent goals as the Afghanistani Taliban.  "Many in the American Taliban, who must look at this cruelty with satisfaction," he concludes, "have fiercely fought the inclusion of anti-gay violence in our nation's hate-crime laws."


Many? I'll bet that few of them even know about the episode. Yes, there are certain Christian Reconstructionists who call for such literal but extreme Biblical sanctions. And yes, there are thugs who beat-up LGTB people for no reason but irrational hate. But such violence is the exception rather than the rule, even among the bigoted. I rarely come across conservatives who call for anything like the tumbling-wall execution of gays. Instead, the more common expression of LGBT intolerance I encounter is either a few derogatory off-the-cuff words or more like a response of "hate the sin but love the sinner." (Likewise, I have yet to meet any conservative who believes that eloping couples should be stoned to death.)  This is not to say that American LGTB people have not as a group, experienced hatefulness and violence, and especially as individuals. And of course there is a dangerous anti-gay demagoguery that remains a significant wedge in public life. But all this is still nothing like what gay people experience at the hands of the Taliban.


Wherever we look in this book, the analogy of the title and the central premise of the book does not hold up. For example, Moulitsas calls Orly Taitz a member of the American Taliban. While she is clearly a crackpot birther, she is not a known theocrat of any sort (she is Jewish). I have not seen any proof that religious fundamentalism plays any part in her opposition to Obama's presidency, and Moulitsas does not provide any.


All of these problems are a direct result of Moulitsas's failure to offer parameters -- let alone a definition -- of the "American Taliban." Is it any particular religious affiliation or is it merely self-identification as a political conservative? Moulitsas never says. I suggest that this is much more than a forgivable error, and makes the book counterproductive -- a setback for our common task of  building a larger liberal movement.


"When men are once inlisted on opposite sides," Enlightened thinker David Hume, observed, " they contract an affection to the persons with whom they are united, and an animosity against their antagonists: And these passions they often transmit to their posterity."


Incendiary epithets will win us no converts to liberalism. They are more likely to cause division among ourselves and backlash from other elements of society. I think it tends to make folks who sympathize with some, but not all of the ideas of the political and religious Right -- defensive and protective of their own, creating greater identity with "whom they are united." Ranks close and camps become further polarized. Tribalism takes over, and the discourse sinks deeper into the mud. And that plays right into the Right's hands.


When the cultural warriors of the Right trap us into shouting and name-calling contests, they have us exactly where they want us. Instead of using our resources to persuade voters that our philosophy has a proven track record of wealth creation and social inclusion, we are distracted by machismo-like gutter brawls over who is a liberal fascist or who is an American Taliban. Such sideshows may make us feel triumphant and morally superior but they are a waste of time.


I wish Moulitsas had explained why Keynesian economics - an economic philosophy against which conservatives since Reagan have railed against  -- is far superior to the laissez-faire approach of the culture warriors. Better yet, I wish he had exposed some of the theocrats named in his book for their shameful abuse of faith to mask an oligarchic economic agenda. It is a far better thing to expose how these characters by explaining how they betray their ostensibly Christian values than resorting to demagogic name calling.  Moulitsas would have served the liberal cause better by exposing the absurdities of malefactors such as Phyllis Schlafly and James Dobson in a more credible fashion.  He could have then decoupled those uniting "affections" to show how the pecuniary interests of these well-financed pundits are out of sync with much of their constituency.


The Right does emotion far better than our side. In fact, far too much of their discourse is nothing more than fearful allegations designed to have the passions of the heart prevail over the coolness of the head. Liberalism, on the other hand, fires on all cylinders when it appeals to both heart and head in equal measure. Yes, righteous anger has its uses, but only when the energy it creates is channeled to constructive action. After getting us steamed by the words and antics of various theocrats, American Taliban offers no plan of action in response.  


"We'll call them bigots-and they'll call us godless!", Bob Somerby of the web site The Daily Howler recently observed, "In the process, Oligarchic Power will dig its roots deeper into the soil."


I believe Moulitsas has it in him to write a much better book, one that moves us to action and points us in some constructive directions. That is the tome I hope to read someday.

Originally posted to Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I haven't yet read Markos' book -- (18+ / 0-)

    although I do think it is a good thing if all of us who call this site home get the book and read it.

    I do understand what you are saying, Frank, however.  I, too, feel that heightening the division of "us" and "them" will not serve us well in the long run.

    It would be better if we could all pull together and get to work on solving the many problems we face as a nation.  There has been considerable effort on the part of the Right to enhance divides.  

  •  Well, you spent a fair amount of time (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, SJerseyIndy, skrekk, rubine, Gracian

    writing out your reasons, but I disagree with your conclusions, although I don't have the energy tonight to spend half an hour writing out out all of mine.

    But I will note that

    The Right does emotion far better than our side.

    doesn't mean we should simply cede demagoguery to them entirely.  We keep struggling far more than we should with elections for the simple reason that we don't bother, by and large, to go after the emotional, rather than reasoned vote.

    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:25:44 PM PDT

  •  The book is a masterpiece! (5+ / 0-)

    Forget you! Markos hit the nail right on the head!

    •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

      As much as I respect the author, ask yourself this question: How many minds on the other side did he change?

      I'll bet not a single one.

      •  Who cares about them? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OHdog, gsenski, DontTaseMeBro

        The main goal is to marginalize them like the nut-jobs that they are.

        •  As a Liberal, I Care About Them! (3+ / 0-)

          Then you have an awful lot of marginalizing to do.

          But let me rephrase the original question a bit: How many of the folks sitting on the fence do you think this book brought over to our side?

          Those are the folks you can't marginalize or turn off. In fact, you need to reach them in order to win elections.

          •  That's not re-phrasing, it's changing the essence (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OHdog, Angela Quattrano

            "How many minds on the other side did he change?' vs "How many of the folks sitting on the fence do you think this book brought over to our side?" is actually a fundamental change to your point.  Saying that the difference between extremists and middle grounders is simply a difference in "phrasing" is wrong.  

            I have not read the book, but I do believe that many on the extreme right would approve of executing or severely punishing people for doing things that we as liberals don't object to.  As a quick example, I have encountered a number of conservatives in my life who think that anyone caught smoking pot should go to jail for life, and junkies should be executed.  And there are e-mails from conservatives (on-screen - I do not have copies) that I have seen that advocate murder of those they consider traitors, or otherwise against the conservative "agenda".  These would shred our Constitution immediately if they could - in spite of their professed love of, and respect for it.

            The extreme right here might not behead people if they could, but i have no doubt that they would beat and kill people if they could.  Fortunately, law enforcement and the courts still work in this country, and the extremists here are pretty much kept at bay, unlike the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

            Remember that Sarah Palin does not go out of her way to refute (or is that "refudiate?) the threats of violence and terrorism that many of here followers make on their signs and in their words.  I sadly believe that the American extreme right would literally celebrate if President Obama was assassinated - exactly like extremists in Arab countries did after 9/11.

            To say that Markos' book would not change any of these minds is an obvious point, and that is exactly what you said in your original comment above.  Trying to weasel out by saying you meant was fence-sitters is really lame. (But a reasonable point for debate.)

            Dave

            The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them - Albert Einstein

            by DaveVH on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:21:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Question is - who is "them" ? (11+ / 0-)

          There are many factions on the right and Christian right. And, the left/right schema is simplistic. A better map of political inclination is the multi-axis Political Compass.

          Further, having come over the past few years to make the acquaintance of several people from the 1st Reagan Administration (as a kid I nearly thought Reagan had horns) I've learned it's absurd to speak in terms of "us" and "them." Politics always involves strange and shifting alliances. Also, one of these acquaintances helped fight within the Reagan Administration to protect public education. Another is Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

          Nothing is ever so clear cut.  

        •  What do you mean by "marginalize" (0+ / 0-)

          and in whose minds will they be marginalized? Also, will this sort of thing backfire and marginalize the left instead?

      •  You can't change the minds of people you alienate (4+ / 0-)

        who do not respect you.  And if they are attacked they simply hunker down.
        I have a close cousin who might be considered one of the "American Taliban).   We are very good friends.  He would do anything for me if I asked. (Except become a liberal).  He worked on Joes "You Lie" Wilson's last campaign.

        We have political discussions all of the time.  Needless to say I disagree with much of what he says.

        But I never attack him or his policy viewpoints.  I find those areas were we agree on the problem.  Then I ask many questions about what he thinks about the problem and its possible solutions.  I never attack these or demean him as being crazy or ignorant and all the rest.... I simply define my viewpoint.   Part of what this requires is that I maintain a "non-anxious,"  non reactive presence.  He is still a right wing Rethug, but he has moderated some of his positions.

        Apart from his political leanings he is a wonderful man.  He is still maintaining a modest middle class lifestyle.  Is is college educated, has a wonderful family, good productive children, etc. etc.  He donates a significant amount of time and energy to good causes as well.  I addressed a board meeting of a national group that works to keep at risk kids out of gangs and to help others get out.  He serves on their board and contributes time and money to assist their goals.  The leadership loves him.  they don't talk politics.  For the purpose of context, he is the only white man on the board.

        I don't see where I have any chance of changing his mind about his politics if I alienate him by calling him ignorant, crazy, Taliban, etc.

        The problem is their politics might be all screwed up, but they are human beings.  And our best chance of winning them over is to treat them as such, with the same respect and dignity that we desire for ourselves.

        You Never Get the Problem You Can Handle

        by gc10 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:37:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Curious (0+ / 0-)

          I am curious if in the back and forth about politics if things he has said have modified your previous positions at all?
          I'm with you - I'll talk to anybody of any political stripe as long as we can have a civil conversation.

          Currently Top Ten in Slate's Lean/Lock game!

          by greatdarkspot on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 08:08:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To answer you question, No. (3+ / 0-)

            What it has changed to some extent is my own understanding of the complexity of people.   the complexity of the world and the complexity of the problems.

            He wants most of the same things you and I want.  Problem is there is so much information out there that one cannot possibly know all.  So, the result is we are vulnerable to manipulation of demagogues.

            It is also tied up with to other problems I see:  1) not enough education dealing with logic and reasoning. 2) that in their fear or anxiety people will always grab onto the most comforting argument or "reason" regardless of whether it is true or not.

            So what do we do?   People I have been able to persuade, have not necessary been persuaded by logic or rational reasoning.... at least not at the beginning.

            They first entertain my positions AFTER they come to trust me and respect me.  And this seems to be reinforced to the degree I return the favor.

            You Never Get the Problem You Can Handle

            by gc10 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 08:44:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please allow me to add.... (2+ / 0-)

              I have also discovered that a "uncivil" conversation requires the cooperation of both parties.   If I don't get hooked on any of their crazy rhetoric, then I don't cooperate in the "uncivilly."

              By "not getting hooked," I mean not getting anxious and reactive...  If I can remain non-anxious and non-reactive, it eventually has a calming effect on the other person and our conversation can evolve in constructive ways."

              If someone is being "uncivil" I don't get focused or hooked on their words.  Because when someone is being crazy, or unhinged, or whatever,  I know that their automatic Reptilian brain has hijacked their cortex......therefore, I know that while they are using words and talking points, whatever... what is really going on is an emotional phenomena.

              You Never Get the Problem You Can Handle

              by gc10 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 08:52:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  If the problem with their politics (0+ / 0-)

          is that they wish death to people who they disagree with, then he is part of the American Taliban. If he wants to have civil discussions that do not devolve into talking about wreaking God's vengeance on people, probably not.

          "Too big to fail" is not too big to jail.

          by Angela Quattrano on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:32:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm finding this much like the Yglesias piece... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cenobyte, OHdog, Rich in PA, gsenski, zenox, Recall

    "Yes, of course the Taliban does X and the religious right in America does X, but...degrees! degrees!"

    Weenie liberals waxing weasel words placates American Talibanicans.

    More and Better Democrats

    by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:27:57 PM PDT

    •  Right. And not to be pedantic, but (0+ / 0-)

      to the diarist: It's Afghan, not Afghanistani.

      The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

      by Cenobyte on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:31:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And come to think about it, the title is, for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler, SJerseyIndy

        a diary about overgeneralizations, ironically an overgeneralization.

        For the title, American Taliban, to be an oxymoron, "American" and "Taliban" would have to be mutually exclusive. From what i know of Kos's book, he makes the case that in at least some instances, the title fits like a burqa.

        The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

        by Cenobyte on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:35:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

          •  Does one need to... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler, sfbob

            to know for one's self the ways in which the two are the same?

            Seems to me that one doesn't need to read the book Markos wrote to already be aware of the ways in which they compare.

            Though, it was kind of Markos to do such a good job of compiling it that weenie liberals are left with little but to quibble over degrees of difference.

            So, members of the Taliban kill lots of gays for being gay.... and members of the American Taliban kill relatively fewer.

            You'll note that in both instances, gays are still dead for being gay.

            More and Better Democrats

            by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:51:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  since you are criticizing the diarist (3+ / 0-)

              for his views of the book, seems like the least you can do is to read it instead of relying on hearsay:  

              From what i know of Kos's book, he makes the case that in at least some instances, the title fits like a burqa.

            •  If You Haven't Read the Boo... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              khughes1963, greatdarkspot

              ...then you should withhold your comments until you do. Until you do, you have no real point of reference to argue from.

              In the real world, that undermines credibility.

              •  I didn't need to read the book... (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tmo, kurt, OHdog, Rich in PA, Recall

                to have and express the opinion that your diary reads just like you caught the same vapors aired in the Yglesias piece... with you yourself even making mild comparisons, but just unwilling to actually use the term.

                I'll leave you with this, which pretty much addresses it:

                Cenk: All right Markos now you had a number of critics here, the American Prospect or at least a writer there, writer at the Atlantic and Matt Iglesias of Think Progress, uh writer at Daily Beast, all who are liberals or claim to be liberals,  uh saying hey you know what this book is over the line. Iglesias said it was lying to the choir, and uh the American Prospect wrote that it was feeding into the same thing the right-wingers do calling our opponents terrorists, uh how do you respond to that?

                Markos: Yeah, I call these people weenie liberals. These are people who are afraid to throw a punch and sort of make very stark, what we're facing up against, I mean they think they're making a you know the well reasoned argument with the flow charts with the embedded excel spreadsheets, will somehow uh get people to understand. So they're talking about, uh you know health care bill and they're talking about exchange councils and you have the right-wing talking about death panels, right. I did not resort to lying about anything. Nothing in that book is false. You know I was very very, uh, careful with that because of course, uh, people on the left are held to a different standard than our right wing colleagues, right. They can lie with impunity, we can't. I don't want to lie, so it wasn't something I did that was very difficult to do but, uh, I was very very careful, uh, to be completely solid on the facts, and ultimately, I mean, even like Matt Iglesias who's got you know he's got the vapors because oh my God how dare you call them the American Taliban, concedes in his argument that yes there are similarities in their militaristic world view, and the way they treat women, and so on and so forth. But he says, and I I don't remember his exact argument, but it's Ann Coulter isn't cutting anybody's head off. Granted I will concede that right now but ultimately like I said this book isn't about how they're trying to accomplish those aims. The book is about what those aims are and how they share again that hatred of women and gays and science and in think that since the masses don't adhere to their ideology guns and violence are a way to impose on the rest of them.

                More and Better Democrats

                by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:04:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's How You Throw the Punch That Counts (5+ / 0-)

                  With all deference to Markos, he may like to throw punches but with this book he is doing nothing but flailing away, hitting nothing but open air.

                  Without using epitaphs, but by employing skill and self-discipline, this is how you land a knock-out.

                  •  How you throw the punch is... (0+ / 0-)

                    with a fist full of facts.

                    Do you contend Markos lies?

                    I don't get that in your criticism.

                    What I get is that you concede the factual grounds, but simply refuse to bring yourself to be able to cope with a simple three-word-used-for-effect title that results from the facts.

                    Nevermind the entirety of the facts that lie behind the title.

                    Again, unless of course you contend Markos uses falsehoods...

                    More and Better Democrats

                    by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:54:11 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I study this so-called "American Taliban"... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...and I could have provided Marcos with many devastating quotes that would have backed up his book title but I don't feel using the term "American Taliban" is useful, helpful, or appropriate, for many reasons - not the least of which involves the fact that the movement I study is radically different from the Taliban.

                  Leaders in the movement occasionally evince admiration for the dedication of the Taliban or Islamic suicide bombers, sure. But more often they hold up, as models for political dedication, the followers of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.

                  In my opinion, the very frame "American Taliban" is detrimental, especially because it distracts from observation of the thing-in-itself. In my experience many claim knowledge of the politicized Christian right, but few spend much time studying it (the movement is very complex) and even when such study occurs it tends to flow through research channels cut years if not decades ago. The American left is only now discovering the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which Frederick Clarkson helped pioneer researching two decades ago.

                  Now there's a new game in town, off almost everyone's radar screen because it looks different, thinks different, and organizes in a different manner. And, unless more people pay attention this new iteration of the Christian right (call it the "American Taliban", call it Christian supremacy) this movement may well achieve new levels of political advance.

              •  There are other things regarding this subject (0+ / 0-)

                which can be discussed other than the book itself. Much has been written by Markos and others on these issues.

      •  actually (9+ / 0-)

        Afghanistani is quite correct, (just like Pakistani), and is used internationally as well as by citizens of Afghanistan. Afghan is a widely used shorthand.

        It helps to remember that the people of Afghanistan, whatever their affiliation, are citizens of a sovereign nation.

  •  This one thing (6+ / 0-)

    "We'll call them bigots-and they'll call us godless!", Bob Somerby of the web site The Daily Howler recently observed, "In the process, Oligarchic Power will dig its roots deeper into the soil."

    People really need to think about this. I recently heard someone remark about our government, "While we were watching football they stole it from us." Well, they are still stealing it from us as long as we stand back and argue endlessly over the lines we've drawn in the sand. Instead of isolating ourselves from the conservatives close to us, those in our neighborhoods, families and organizations we belong to, we need to be talking with them and reminding ourselves, both us and them, of all the things we have in common that matter.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.--Hamlet

    by Ooooh on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:43:11 PM PDT

  •  Actually, "American Taliban" (8+ / 0-)

    is not an oyxmoron. It's a metaphor.

    When I read Markos' book - I will! - I'll judge the aptness of the metaphor.

    "Who am I to give science the brush?" Sugarpuss O'Shea

    by semiot on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:49:39 PM PDT

  •  It wouldn't work as the title of a scholarly book (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SJerseyIndy, kurt, BlueJessamine

    But that's not what Markos' book is. It's a book with a political agenda; it's rhetoric. It happens to be rhetoric for our side. While there is a risk involved occupying what is normally views as right-wing territory, I don't for one minute believe that anyone who's likely to buy Markos' book is in any danger of not getting that the American extreme right actually IS the Taliban.

    I've read Markos' book. It isn't great literature, nor is it supposed to be. It's a good read and the analogies made between the Christianists of America and Taliban of Afghanistan are pretty much on the mark.

    I find it sort of ironic that the Christianists and the Taliban hate each other so much mainly because each views the other as competition for the same mind-set.

    •  ooops. I need to proofread before posting (0+ / 0-)

      This phrase

      I don't for one minute believe that anyone who's likely to buy Markos' book is in any danger of not getting that the American extreme right actually IS the Taliban.

      is pretty much unrecoverable as-is.

      What I ought to have said is

      I don't for one minute believe that anyone who's likely to buy Markos' book is in any danger of getting the impression that Markos thinks the American extreme right actually IS the Taliban.

    •  Nor Is It Effective Politics, Sfbob (3+ / 0-)

      Defeating demagogues requires more than hurling epitaphs; actually it requires self-discipline, skill and wisely choosing your battles.

      Here is a perfect example of what I mean.

      •  Hmm (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenPA, Frank Cocozzelli

        Did you mean epithets? Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck seem to thrive on invective.

      •  Understood Frank.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Cocozzelli

        How do we defeat these people?

        I've read a few theories over the years, but I'm interested in your thoughts..

        There are some who say America is getting more religiously diverse, and time will defeat them. I sense you would disagree saying this underestimates them?

        Another theory is many of the RR voters don't make a lot of money, and if Democrats would move to the left on the economy some of them would vote for us.
        That may be the Thomas Frank approach we need to fight their cultural populism with the "real deal" economic populism..

        I'm sure there are others..

        "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

        by joedemocrat on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:28:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oops apologize.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Cocozzelli

          I thought I had read your diary, but I had not..

          I read Frederick's and Troutfishing's and have been switching screens on comments..and thought I had read this one but hadn't..

          Actually, you answer some of this in the diary here

          had explained why Keynesian economics - an economic philosophy against which conservatives since Reagan have railed against  -- is far superior to the laissez-faire approach of the culture warriors. Better yet, I wish he had exposed some of the theocrats named in his book for their shameful abuse of faith to mask an oligarchic economic agenda. It is a far better thing to expose how these characters by explaining how they betray their ostensibly Christian values than resorting to demagogic name calling.

          In other words, tell the truth and expose how the leaders of this movement use religious issues to mask trickle down economics and how trickle down economics is inconsistent with christianity?

          But boy it seems difficult to break through this if you look at the last few decades..I've known some religious right voters in my life. My observation is they trust anything labeled "Christian" such as Christian TV/radio, a pastor, so if Christian media says vote Republican they do it. They don't trust anything "of the world" so until you are credible with them they don't listen to anything you say..

          dont know what that observation is worth or how common it is..

          "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

          by joedemocrat on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:43:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Got any examples from this century? (0+ / 0-)
      •  Your problem is your desire for censorship (0+ / 0-)

        That only a few narrow types of books should be written. I suggest you become an author and start writing those books. Then think about the First Amendment.

        Do militant extremist Christians write their books with you in mind?

        "Too big to fail" is not too big to jail.

        by Angela Quattrano on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:42:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry, but I lost it at this point (5+ / 0-)

    Instead, the more common expression of LGBT intolerance I encounter is either a few derogatory off-the-cuff words or more like a response of "hate the sin but love the sinner." (Likewise, I have yet to meet any conservative who believes that eloping couples should be stoned to death.)

    A kid who went to my HS killed himself a few years back because his ultra-conservative, ultra-Catholic parents disowned him when he came out of the closet. And I know people who think that Matthew Sheppard "got what he deserved." So I'm sorry, but your point is horseshit. The hard core culture warriors are just as bad as the Taliban on those issues, and saying as much is just telling the truth. Whining about incivility when your opponents want to form a theocracy is idiotic. If you're not hearing "theocratic state" when people talk about "getting back to the Judeo-Christian principles our country was founded on" then you need to open your damn ears and pay attention.

  •  I have read the book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler, skrekk

    And I believe Markos outlines the thoughts and fears that have plagued many an activist for years. I think his analysis is spot on and not meant to be a criticism of religion as much as a cautionary tale against fanaticism of any kind.

    "It may be lonely at the top but it's real crowded here in the middle"

    by Shanna on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 02:59:52 PM PDT

    •  OK Shanna, You Read the Book.... (0+ / 0-)

      Now recite the part where he offers a game plan for beating these theocrats?

      The fact is that he offers no such plan in the book; a major shortcoming.

      •  It's refreshing that you concede... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk, gsenski, RandomActsOfReason

        one of the many similarities and comparisons:
        specifically, that both groups are or tend toward being theocrats.

        Much as you might have the vapors over the phrase "American Taliban" being used to describe those many similarities between the two.

        More and Better Democrats

        by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:51:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Frank has been writing about theocrats (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Cocozzelli, joedemocrat

          for many years. His knowledge and experise is considerable. He has no need to concede the obvious.  The issues at hand are different.

          •  indeed... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Cocozzelli

            The issues at hand are different.

            And the issue at hand is how did cute and adorable Markos suddenly get 'Mean as Hell...'
            After reading his book, I get the impression that he wants to 'Shit Kick every republican in the country'.
            Goodness, you would think the mans been wearing Combat Boots.

            My own theory as to how he suddenly became so vicious is that he's probably been lurking over at 'Pharyngula'

            What we concerned liberals need is something like a sister site where we can discuss issues without being confronted with the 'nastier' elements on this site. If Kos wants to call it 'WeenieKos' or 'DailyWeenie' that's fine, Sticks and Stones etc...oh, never mind, we already have 'streetprophets'.

        •  Frank has been studying this for years... (4+ / 0-)

          And his running Talk To Action series covering the Catholic Right has little precedent, on or off the Internet as far as I'm aware.

          For my part I'd add this (which I've already said in a previous comment) - I study the movement Markos addresses but in my experience it is radically different from the Taliban. Its leaders occasionally evince admiration for the dedication of the Taliban or Islamic suicide bombers, sure. But more often they hold up, as models for political dedication, the followers of Hitler, Lenin, and Mao.

          In my opinion, the very frame "American Taliban" is detrimental, especially because it distracts from observation of the thing-in-itself. In my experience many claim knowledge of the politicized Christian right, but few spend much time studying it (the movement is very complex) and even when such study occurs it tends to flow through research channels cut years if not decades ago. The American left is only now discovering the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which Frederick Clarkson helped pioneer researching two decades ago.

          Now there's a new game in town, off almost everyone's radar screen because it looks different, thinks different, and organizes in a different manner. And, unless more people pay attention this new iteration of the Christian right (call it the "American Taliban", call it Christian supremacy) this movement may well achieve new levels of political advance.

           

      •  He wrote his last book about that. (0+ / 0-)

        I think you're starting from opposition and then figuring out why you oppose.

        The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

        by Rich in PA on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:08:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yet another lame argument (0+ / 0-)

        The idea that no one but you has the right to express an opinion unless they have proposed a solution that will completely solve the problem is bs.

        "Too big to fail" is not too big to jail.

        by Angela Quattrano on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:48:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Give them an inch, and they'll take a mile. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, Uwaine, gsenski, Angela Quattrano

    I am certain that while the vast majority of Christians in this country would not, the activist right-wing of this country would certainly eventually go back to stoning and all sort of ancient practice if we allowed them to begin going backwards.  The Tea Party has confirmed for us that there is a radical underbelly to their beliefs that is far worse than had generally been exposed to the public before.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:08:45 PM PDT

  •   I read the "American Taliban" (7+ / 0-)

    It is brilliant. I highly recommend it to everyone. It is not necessarily targeting "all conservatism" as the diarist claim but the "fundamentalism" in US. The main issue is not the "degrees" but the "mind set" and Moulitsas is able to higlight this specific "mindset" that wears different costumes, cultures, etc. while being quite similar underneath. You won't miss the truth when you see his examples. The psychopathy of "control" is universal, which means it transcends surface tags like "Wahhabis" "Sharia" and us vs. them. It transcends nationalities, races, cultures...it transcends time and space."Degrees" of it is cosmetics. As simple as a matter of time and cirsumstance can change the "degrees."

    The "monster" meanwhile, stays the same.

  •  Thank you (7+ / 0-)

    Your voice needs to be heard. You move beyond the divisive and personalities and see through to the better way. It's called vision. Thank you.

  •  I haven't read the book yet, though I plan to (3+ / 0-)

    This line resonates with me:

    "But I don't "hate" American conservatives.  In fact, some of the people who hold views like those Moulitsas describes as American Taliban include some of my friends, neighbors and family. While I may not like their politics I care about them very much. "

    I don't hate the people I disagree with politically, although I tend to want to avoid argument and political discussions with them in order to keep the peace. It was especially hard during the last presidential election as many of the hierarchy seem to want to go out of their way to endorse rightist candidates.

    Confession-I did buy "American Taliban" and plan to read it, and I will keep these critiques in mind. The sad part is that as a nation, there are many things we citizens need to pull together and fix, but due to the wealthy and well connected buying our political process, Congress won't fix things, both parties lack the political will to do so, and the GOP wants to gain political supremacy at the long-term expense of the well being of our country and its citizens. Furthermore, our political process seems to be held hostage to the tea partiers, who seem to know more about what they are against, rather than what they are for.

  •  Lets not forget (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, newpioneer, Uwaine, gsenski

    the history of america, it was not to long ago that the law looked the other way when black people were killed.  The only difference between the taliban and the american taliban is the law.  I don't doubt for a second that if they could the american taliban would kill in a heartbeat, those that they don't like.  

    •  They already do. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, newpioneer, Uwaine, gsenski

      One easy and recent example is that of Dr. Tiller.

      The diarist can only really argue that perhaps they don't kill as much.
      Degrees of means, really, to the same ends.

      More and Better Democrats

      by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 03:41:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, It's Not the Same (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greatdarkspot, joedemocrat

        Tiller was killed by a single nut-job.

        Now let me ask you a question. You must have friends and families who define themselves as "conservative." How many of those folks that you know would be willing to go as far as the nut who killed Tiller?

        •  Tiller was killed by a nut-job that was part... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gsenski, DontTaseMeBro

          of a group of other nut-jobs who believe in precisely what he did.

          A group now commonly and rightly referred to as The American Taliban.

          More and Better Democrats

          by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 04:56:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have written about antiabortion violence (3+ / 0-)

            for many years. It existed before the Taliban, as did the American Religious Right.

            I am not a prognosticator, but my hunch is that this term will be briefly fashionable among a narrow group of people before it gets stale.

          •  You Refused to Answer My Question (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greatdarkspot, joedemocrat

            And that says it all.

            •  Sorry, admittedly I was so blown away... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tmo, newpioneer

              by the miss-the-mark first sentence that I didn't even make it there.

              To be quite honest: most of the folks I know who call themselves "conservatives" are mostly not when it boils down to it on the issues.

              They just... call themselves "conservative".

              Though, there are some who I would say indeed are... and they do indeed share many of the same beliefs, like:

              a) anti-gay
              b) an almost animus hang-up about sex and sexuality
              c) women in a subservient role
              d) religion over science, because god knows and will take care of it all, of course

              and almost to a person they love their firearms, and talk about them and the other issues in away that causes me to believe they are prone to using them to carry out violence.

              As a result, I do my best to avoid them and keep different company.

              More and Better Democrats

              by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:36:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I personally have known conservative christians.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Frank Cocozzelli

          I can't name a single one who would support violent acts to further religious or political goals..

          I think you are spot on this is a tiny fraction of the pro-life movement..

          I've thought about your diary, and in a way trying to appeal to their better angels is more sensible than demonizing them or name calling..point out how the Republican platform is inconsistent with their christian beliefs..

          "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

          by joedemocrat on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:36:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No the real question is, "Is the percentage of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SJerseyIndy

          religious right members in the US willing to kill the same or greater than the percentage of Taliban members willing to perform an equivalent killing?" And considering the Taliban is a subsection of Islam, I could probably shrink the American grouping a bit to be fairer.

          The major difference that you push aside too easily is that in Afghanistan, the Taliban had/have a society and laws/lawlessness that allow overt practice of their prejudices. Here in the US, those in favor of Taliban equivalent hatreds do not have the ability to practice out in the open - yet - that is what they are trying to achieve. So we have the occasional murder, more beatings, and as much media shoving as is politically feasible as they continue to try to move discussion and to move reality rightward. They don't call for Biblical punishments yet, because they lack the political access and clout to succeed. But I am not sure I agree with you that it wouldn't happen if they did. I think that is where they are going. Look at the Montana GOP's recent platform for the most recent example. You don't think that will get "stronger" should politics in this country swing more to the right? I recognize your significant work in this field (and if I don't, your bulldog Frederick Clarkson will surely remind me), but if anyone should be aware of the trending it should be you.

          30 years ago, nobody in this country would have remotely believed that the US would submit to using torture - not on the right or the left - not Republican or Democrat, not my conservative family members or my liberal family members. Look how far we've regressed now.

          "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

          by Uwaine on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:07:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  30 years ago (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Cocozzelli

            there was no Taliban. And there is no Taliban equivalent in the United States.  There is plenty of bad stuff to talk about and plenty of clear-eyed and forceful ways of talking about it in order to take it seriously.  

            Thirty years ago, no one believed that the American Religious Right would become as strong as it has. Ditto for twenty. Ditto for ten. But here we are, being lectured by the nouveau about the Montana GOP platform. Some of us have spent years lot of time seeking to understand these things, as well as writing and speaking about it, and are unsurprised.

            •  There was the Ku Klux Klan. They aren't (0+ / 0-)

              "nouveau". They had a nice long run. Still at it as the Council for Conservative Citizens IIRC. How many lynchings, beatings and intimidation ploys were they able to pull off for years even though they were still covert, regarding the laws on the books?

              I just don't think the American Religious Right is that "new" even if it has morphed into something with a better hidden face and more members who wouldn't be Klansmen. The ugly violent undercurrent of that movement is still there, and has always been there - however detailed a metaphor or hyperbolic a metaphor one chooses.

              At any rate, I bow to your superior knowledge to which you have referred repeatedly. You & Mr. Cocozzelli clearly are much more astute than all of us here. I'm sorry we wasted your time with our replies.

              "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

              by Uwaine on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 11:02:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yet another lame argument (0+ / 0-)

          This one is nothing but a right wing talking point, that every event has only one cause. So if the perp is at all mentally unstable, the fact that in his own words he murdered people for God and the Bible is irrelevant. Or that he attributes his actions to inspiration by Glenn Beck.

          It's basically an excuse to advocate violent action against those you disagree with while refusing to take responsibility for those who act on it. I'm not sure why a person like you would be supporting this philosophy, though.

          "Too big to fail" is not too big to jail.

          by Angela Quattrano on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:59:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Our nation on whole (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Cocozzelli, joedemocrat

    is currently facing a threat from extremist backlash these days but unlike the late sixties when the Weathermen from the Left blew up buildings killing people it is all coming from the Right (see Dr. Tiller's death and the Hutare Militia as examples of conservative Christian extremists who may more rightly be mocked and labeled as our "American Taliban").

    HOWEVER: These people are a minuscule example of people even on the far right and trying to match the rabid brain dead in their extremist rhetoric IS a mistake.

    It is divisive and holds out very little chance for progressives to achieve our goals of weakening and undermining conservatism as you rightly pointed out, Frank.

    This kind of rhetoric is unnecessarily problematic for the Left.  

    I hope Markos gets it eventually on this point for all our sake.

    I want a sandwich!

  •  Good sound argument against a stupid title (3+ / 0-)

    Firstly you read his book.

    Secondly, you definitely identify the obvious exaggeration that most people notice, and you hedge nicely at the cheap "shock" appeal that he has used.

    I have been around this site for years and I have to say that overall I like Markos.  

    He is especially strong as an analyst and is really strong at presenting the liberal perspective in a calm and intelligent way to the mass media.

    His contributions at that round table discussion with Darth Cheney's daughter were especially impressive to someone who isn't really a liberal.

    His management of this site has been inconsistant, but it has remained 'The liberal site' for ages in internet time.

    But I can't help but notice that he surrounds himself with 'yes' people who are afraid to tell him, 'nahhhh that's not a good idea'.

    Everybody needs those people. I am really suprised that more conservatives haven't cornered him with his book.

    Surely, Markos is not the type of guy that any conservative wants to really go toe to toe with, but this seems like thier big chance.

    •  Yes, He Is Vulnerable On This One (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greatdarkspot, joedemocrat

      Shelby Foote once said that Lincoln had the gift of "stepping outside himself" and seeing himself as his enemies saw him. Too many of us are not doing that with tomes such as American Taliban.

      I believe that is something we liberals have to work on.

      •  Yeah but you're just a weenie! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greatdarkspot

        Who cares what you say?!  

        If I have read Markos's responses correctly [quoted in some of the above comments] that has essentially been his response to the [internal] pointed criticisms concerning his book.

        Anyway, we have arrived at a critical moment, and it's time to get together one more time.  

        It wasn't long ago when Markos was trash talking Rove for claiming the up-coming perminant Republican majority and looking forward to what looked like such a promising Democratic future majority in 2011.

        Let's hope Markos gets your message and steps it up for us in the coming month.

        •  Is the issue here Markos... (0+ / 0-)

          or the book Markos wrote, its title, and the premise upon which it's based?

          Because reading comments I'm now not so sure...

          More and Better Democrats

          by SJerseyIndy on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:03:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is a writer reducible to the works he writes? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greatdarkspot, Frank Cocozzelli

            None of your choises are mutually exclusive so there is no need for 'or'.

            It is quite possible that Markos, the title of his book, and the premise upon which his book is written are the issue at hand.

            But you didn't include another criticism which has been evident above and that I think is just as important: the role of the liberal community to analyse itself and provide internal critcism.

            My personal comments agreed with the diarist that the title (which is also the premise)of the book he recently wrote were not in accord with the substance of the body of work that Markos has fought for here and other places for the liberal cause.

            My own personal contribution was that Markos for the most part represents the liberal cause well but I have noticed that Markos has strayed from the more altruistic components of the liberal cause from time to time on this site.

            For example I recall one time where Markos thought it was a great idea to post photos of a Republican candidate that walked across the street to a frat party, where he drank a beer, smiled for photos and listened to music with some college kids.

            So it is not completely out of left field that Markos has written a book like the American Taliban, which by the way has a ridiculous title.

            I can't say much about the premise because I haven't read it, but I wouldn't waste my time reading a book with such obvious partisan appeal.

            The diarist has more respect for Markos than I have because he actually read the book and has taken the time to articulate what is painfully obvious for most everyone else.

            I personally am willing to overlook certain negative elements about people if I think that they are good people over-all.  And that is the case with Markos. I think he is a big talent.

            So no it's not about Markos himself.

            My idea is that the thread is about the stupid title to his book, the premise, and the fact that nobody called him on it before he published it.

  •  i think maybe you missed his point. thnx (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, gsenski

    for your precise, analytical treatment, however.

  •  That was pedantic, in the typical bad sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    housesella, SJerseyIndy, newpioneer

    Markos is writing about people who oppose pluralism, wish to impose their religiously-derived morality on others, and always err on the side of repression.  The idea that you can't compare them to the Taliban because they're not John Walker Lindh strikes me as foolish literalism and a misunderstanding of why you compare things in the first place.  You don't compare things because they're identical--that would be a clerical exercise, and not clerical in the religious sense--you compare them because they're similar in some important way that lets you get into a worthwhile analysis.

    The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

    by Rich in PA on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:07:34 PM PDT

  •  Pat Robertson said to take (0+ / 0-)

    Hugo Chavez out, when called on it, he changed his story.  John Hagee is another one I don't trust and the list goes on and on.  I don't think that all cons are killers.  But I worry about those that are.   They are willing to kill in the name of Jesus, just lack the courage to admit it.  Because the law is not on their side.  The Iraq war is a prime example.  Some of them were hoping for another crusade.  So no the american taliban is the same as the taliban.  

    It is like the song by Shaggee, my lady caught me banging on the bathroom floor, it wasn't me.  Everyday there is some repug caught in a lie.  I will be damn if don't stick to their lie.  One example is that nutjob Sharon Angle.  Need I say more?

  •  Who is a "Conservative" today? (0+ / 0-)

    On the basis of current politics, many people who used to be called "Conservative" would no longer fit the definition.  Nixon would not be regarded as a "Conservative" in the contemporary conservative movement.  I have not read Kos's book, but you have quoted Kos as saying that progressives hate rabid conservatism, the kind that fears change, has contempt for nontraditional lifestyles, has a mania for militaristic solutions and embarks on fascistic efforts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of society.  I, too, loathe and fear these rabid Conservatives.  

    I believe you are saying it is not politically helpful to use the extreme comparison of our Conservatives with the Taliban, because modern conservatives don't believe in stoning, and there might be someone out there willing to join us who will stay away now because we call them names.  Personally, I don't believe the rabid conservatives Markos spoke of have any desire to join us, regardless of how nice or reasonable we are.  They have no concern for reasoned debate. Heck, they refuse to believe in evolution, despite all of the evidence supporting it.  What will they care about Keynesian arguments for government intervention in the economy?  

    Robert Altemeyer, in his online book "The Authoritarians," says that Authoritarians [and I believe rabid conservatives qualify] rely on authorities to provide their opinions, and they themselves say that no facts could change their beliefs about "the important things in life"[pages 91 and 94].  It seemed to me that Altemeter's conclusion was that you can't change their ideas.  If they change, it's because they can no longer accept what they have been told to believe, based on their personal experiences and insights.  If you find a way that actually convinces rabid conservatives to join with us, I hope you will publish it.

    Until then, like Markos, I think it best to beware of them.  They may not care for stoning, but some used to like lynching a lot.

  •  I call those that oppose (0+ / 0-)

    the building of the community center in New York the american taliban.  I think that if they were not coward they would kill to stop it from going up.  They are evil people, just lack the law on their side.

  •  I believe the Taliban and the... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, newpioneer, freder421

    Christian right (CR) have many fundamental similarities.  They both want to punish anyone who disagrees with them and the followers of the Taliban and the CR are authoritarians, who don't think for themselves, but prefer to follow demagogues.

    The Christian religion has a long history of brutality and cruelty, from the Spanish Inquisition to the KKK.  When the Christians move to the right they can become quite nasty.

    I have family members who are CR and we get along fine.  But I wouldn't trust their humanity when they get riled up.  They might be perfectly happy to see me dragged off to jail.  After all when it comes to saving souls physical pain and suffering are irrelevant.  On the other hand they might stand up and defend me.  When it comes to CR you just don't know which side they'll choose.

    Corporate PACs, not just bribery but a lifestyle!

    by rubine on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:38:27 PM PDT

  •  A different point of view (0+ / 0-)

    one which I agree with and which the "link" below the blockquote serves to demonstrate.

    ...in many areas -- sexual morality, the status of women, state enforcement of religious dogma, etc. -- the actual Taliban is so much more extreme than the mainstream American Right that, shared premises notwithstanding, they are not similar (and in those areas, Moulitsas is using a rhetorical tactic to subvert the Right's own tactics; the efficacy and fairness of Moulitsas' approach in that regard can be and has been reasonably debated).  

    But in other areas, particularly war -- which happens to be the title of Chapter 2 of Moulitsas' book -- the comparison is more than apt in a literal sense.

    More here

    Link - Have a look

    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu - The Art of War

    by truong son traveler on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 08:47:12 PM PDT

  •  Call for Civility (2+ / 0-)

    Frank raises an important point (as he often does) that democracy and civil discourse are not mutually exclusive.

  •  Valuable Reminders (2+ / 0-)

    Frank, thank you for outstanding commentary that provides two valuable reminders to me.

    The first is that it's too easy to slip into extreme rhetoric that misuses religious language, and ends up having an effect opposite to what we intend, when we employ that language.

    I appreciate your reminder that we need to focus on precisely what the Taliban is all about, when we use the phrase "American Taliban."

    The second reminder is about the need to engage the real arguments and real positions of those we critique, and not to rely primarily on rhetoric to carry the day.  I know that you're not arguing that Moulitsas does the latter.

    But it's possible some of those employing his rhetoric do so, and since I sometimes write about these issues and might well fall into the rhetorical trap myself, I appreciate your reminder to put substance over rhetoric.

  •  Well considered crit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Cocozzelli

    thank you for a good, thoughtful, honest critique of Markos book.

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