The presidential candidate versus the Frayster: Ralph Nader got special extra "Breakfast Table" time this week to answer a Fray post from RonK of Seattle. Ron is back at Nader below. The rise of Le Pen in France continues to bother posters, even though the election is over. Moloch says you can learn a relevant lesson from the Fray: "When somebody's ideology is truly beyond the pale, engaging them in debate can only legitimize—and encourage—them."
Subject: Talk Is Cheap
Re: "Foreigners: He'll Be Back"
From: Adam Morgan
Date: Mon May 6 1:11 p.m. PT
Why must the French debate? Which insight is debate going to provide? The French, like most European colonial countries, committed numerous genocides in Africa and Asia. They participated in the Holocaust. Also, when they did have a large Jewish minority, there was lots and lots of debate of how to integrate Jews. The French, it seems from my knowledge of history, have been debating about similar topics for centuries. Does Anne [Applebaum] think that the [success] of Le Pen is going to change something that all of the above mentioned hasn't?
Subject: Consistency on Democracy
Re: "Readme: This Throne of Kings"
From: Andrew Straticzuk
Date: Sun May 5 10:24 p.m. PT
[We act as if] a democracy is incapable of committing a wrong. … It is a cardinal sin for Iraq not to be democratic. It suddenly is our moral duty to save Iraq from itself. Why not simply give us the truth about why we have to take down Saddam? … On the other hand we had the democratically elected government of Allende in Chile. Protestations by Powell aside, we were perfectly happy when the democratically elected Chávez of Venezuela got ousted by coup, and we were visibly dismayed when he actually regained power. Oh well, play the democracy card when it is convenient. The hell with consistency! Alternatively, why not be honest and hold nations accountable for their actions regardless of their form of government.
Subject: Arguing the Consequences
Re: "The Breakfast Table: James Fallows and Ralph Nader"
Date: Mon May 6 8:07 p.m. PT
The primary issue, as I see it, is moral responsibility for one's political behavior. Are we responsible for the reasonably knowable consequences of our discretionary acts? Yes, except in systems of pure fatalism or pure proceduralism. May immediate harm be outweighed by more compelling considerations (such as the opportunity to provoke a crisis—sacrificing a generation of pawns—to create the preconditions for revolutionary change)? In theory, yes, but at great risk. Nader rejects this responsibility. He relies instead upon a thin conceit that … Gore and Bush are the Bobbsey twins. Cowardly and dishonest.