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Durbin’s latest non-apology

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2005

Heh — Mayor Daley made a fuss, and, quick as a wink, Durbin summoned up the Voinovitch tears and used the word "apology." But his statement makes it perfectly clear that he doesn’t disavow his outrageous slander, that he stands by the "legitimate concerns" he raised about Gitmo interrogations, and that he merely regrets his choice of words.

Ace of Spades summed up the problem nicely:

A genuine apology would disavow the Nazi-Khmer Rouge-Soviet comparisons. A genuine apology would distinguish between those hellish regimes and our own. A genuine apology would actually confess true error, not just in clumsy phraseology (an error of happenstance). A genuine apology would confess that his words were intentionally grandstanding and slanderous, and that these words were deliberately chosen for effect, not blundered into by some sloppy draftsmanship.

I was going to fisk Durbin’s statement pretty thoroughly. Almost every line cries out for it, from the shameless attempt to connect himself to Colin Powell to the self-righteous choice of Lincoln quote and the allusion to it in the closing. But I just don’t have the energy. Go read it yourself. Its flaws and failings and logical deficiencies will leap out at you.

I do want to comment on one aspect, though, because it reveals a mindset, a way of looking at the world, that’s endemic among the left — and utterly contemptible:

I’m sorry if anything that I said caused any offense or pain to those who have such bitter memories of the Holocaust, the greatest moral tragedy of our time. Nothing, nothing should ever be said to demean or diminish that moral tragedy.”

What, exactly, does "moral tragegy" mean? A tragedy is an unfortunate event, usually one that caused much pain and suffering. We speak of natural disasters and accidents as tragedies. We associate sadness with them, but not anger or blame. There’s no one to blame, they just happened.

Now, what does adding the adjective "moral" do to the meaning?

I find the combination at best incoherent and at worst an abdication of responsibility for making moral judgments. Because "moral" suggests a moral agent — a person or persons making choices and acting upon them — and "tragedy" suggests something unfortunate that just sorta kinda happened. To combine them suggests that when people choose to do profoundly immoral things, it’s unfortunate, but there’s no responsibility, no blame — they just happened to act that way, who knows why, it’s all so sad…

The Holocaust wasn’t a moral tragedy — it was a moral outrage.

But Durbin and his moral relativist friends don’t like to judge others or assess blame or feel outrage.

Wellllll — except towards the eeeevil Bush administration and its bloodthirsty neo-con storm troopers.

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One Response to “Durbin’s latest non-apology”

  1. Jan said

    Maybe Senator Durbin was crying because someone was holding electrodes to his genitals. No, wait, that would be torture.

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