Mutatis mutandis

What’s the difference between blaming everything on “the Jews” and blaming everything on “the Muslims”?

Anti-Semitism is the irrational practice of blaming everything on “the Jews.”

Glenn Reynolds hates anti-Semitism. Being the calm, rational person he is, he blames everything on “the Muslims.” (Not “some Muslims,” but simply “the Muslims.”)

Glenn’s conclusion seems to be that Jews should engage in more random violence.

As a Jew, I have to say that with friends like Glenn, we hardly need enemies.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Mutatis mutandis”

  1. The racism of the right is truly distressing me these days. I suppose it was always the logical conclusion of their policy of playing the fear card to win elections, but for it to be so brazenly out there does make me question the fundamental decency of a non-insubstantial chunk of my fellow citizens.

  2. Mark, I think you've misconstrued Instapundit's sarcasm as sincere. His main point, which he's been harping on for some time, and which I consider perfectly valid, is that responding to terrorism by granting extra respect and sensitivity to the group the terrorists claim to represent rewards violence, and thus creates an incentive to others to pursue their goals through violence as well.
    Hence his comment that if British Jews "had a habit of blowing things up", then they would be better protected from anti-Semitism today. This is not meant as serious advice to Jews, but rather as a sarcastic demonstration of the absurdity of the British policy of attempting to reduce Muslim terrorism by being more solicitous toward Muslims.
    As for his "blam[ing] everything on 'the Muslims'", I understand him to be accusing the pusillanimous British authorities of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism out of fear of "the Muslims"–not to be expressing that fear himself. Now, I don't know if this is really why anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Britain, or even if it accurately characterizes British policy–but if it does, wouldn't you agree with him that it's appalling?

  3. Dan:
    Yes, Glenn's comment was his usual clumsy sarcasm. But the violence-envy that runs through his commentary is sincere.
    And yes, he intended to criticize the British authorities. But in doing so he asserted that "the Muslims" are behind anti-Semitic violence. That was a dumb, ugly thing to say, and I called him on it.
    I would have done so in an email rather than in public, but he stopped responding to my emails a couple of years ago, about the same time he stopped linking to items on this site. It seems that poor Glenn is very thin-skinned, and I hurted his widdle feelings.
    Since you're more sympathetic to him than I am, perhaps you might want to inform him of his gaffe in expressing directly the bigotry he prefers to only imply.

  4. Mark, Glenn isn't a friend to 'Jews'; he just finds pretending such a friendship to be politically advantageous. Just like those Evangelicals who *love* the state of Israel, because it sets up things for their Rapture.

  5. Glenn is a friend of Jews like he is of gays. He personally won't discriminate against gays, but he has no qualms in fully supporting a party that will deny homosexuals equal rights.

  6. I'd like to explore your perspective, Dan, by drawing an analogy. Can we agree that during the run-up to the Revolutionary War, the American "patriots" – who spoke for only 1/3 of Americans – were committing acts that were considered indecent then and would be called terrorism today? (they did not stand in formation and fight in the open, but shot from behind rocks and trees, Indian-style, when they were not destroying Crown property and the property of Loyalists.) My question: would you have advised the British Crown to IGNORE the concerns of Americans, as you now advise the same authorities to ignore the concerns of Moslems? If not, why not?
    Let us be clear that British Moslems DO have concerns. A recent study showed that only 7% of British Muslims consider themselves to be British first and Muslim second; in contrast, 43% of French Muslims consider themselves first to be French and only secondarily to be Moslem.
    http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2006/8/25/12215/384
    What is your advice to the Crown?

  7. Never understood why intelligent people, i.e. reality-based-community, read Glenn and his likes.
    Glenn, as linked here, makes one point worth emphasizing. Anti-Israel is the European withdrawal drug from millennia of Anti-Semitism. The left, following the cue of the Soviets, has used Israel as a powerful disguise for hatred of Jews.
    Moslems have nothing to do with it. Glenns recommend violence? Sound anti-Christian to me.

  8. Shmuel, I'm sorry but I can't agree that being opposed to Israeli government actions expresses anti-Semitism. I especially can't agree if that idea is supposed to discount anything anyone says that's critical of Israeli government policies and/or actions.
    Sometimes governments and their agencies do things that others disagree with. Period.
    Israelis have rhetorically been very careful to refer to the "State of Israel." It's a political entity. Its relation to the People of Israel has been close in some ways and very distant in others. But the State itself has always been very clear about what category of being it is.
    Now– and probably since the Begin period, come to think of it– the State continually cries anti-Semitic foul when it's criticized for actions which many of its own citizens, and many others among the People, think are dubious at best. It is deliberately conflating the State and the People, something the State never does in its own actual thinking.
    This deliberate obfuscating of the boundaries between the State and the People seems sometimes to have been useful to the State. But for us in the diaspora– at least for me as part of the diaspora– it's a tactic that endangers us.
    And I think for those who live in the State, it's even more dangerous. It encourages people who aren't anti-Semites to become anti-Semites who also want to see harm come to the State of Israel, and it prevents Israelis from thinking about whether others might be right once in a while.

  9. Mark, you seem to misquote Reynolds here:
    he blames everything on "the Muslims." (Not "some Muslims," but simply "the Muslims.")
    What Reynolds writes is
    the Muslims who seem to be behind these attacks
    I think that qualifies as "some Muslims".
    [Either the comma I thought I saw after "Muslims" has disappeared, or I misread the original post. The latest Google cache is, unfortunately, from two days ago, and doesn't show the post at all. MK]

  10. Mark: I agree that if Glenn was indeed identifying "the Muslims" as perpetrators of terrorism, then that's a terrible thing for him to have said. But I didn't take him to be saying any such thing–rather, I understood him to be accusing the *British government* of making that identification, in attempting to improve relations with its Muslim population by turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic violence. Again, I don't know if his accusation is the slightest bit correct, but I understood it as an accusation, not an endorsement. (And I've seen him make similar accusations before.)
    Michael: *Of course*, the British were right to try to crush the rebel terrorists by force in 1775, and their failure to do so only whetted the latter's appetite for conquest. It took the razing of Washington during the war in 1812 to bring them at least partly back into line. In contrast, we Canadians sought our independence by peaceful means, and obtained it in due course, on amicable terms, with no loss of life.
    That's probably not the answer you were expecting, but given that you are apparently seriously comparing Islamist theocratic terrorists in modern democratic Britain with democratically-minded American revolutionaries fighting an autocratic colonial government in the 1770's, it's a much more polite answer than you deserve.

  11. "And the authorities haven't done enough about it because, it seems, they're too afraid of the Muslims who seem to be behind these attacks and who do blow things up."
    I find the above comment to be offensive. Spain has jailed and is prepared to try a number of parties accused of complicity in the 3/11 attacks in Madrid.
    Considering the number of terrorist instances that Europe has suffered long before 9/1 it is the height of arrogance for Glenn to make a comment like that.

  12. Mark, it would be decent of you to note as an update that this is quite possibly simply your misreading. I clicked through and couldn't see what you were getting at, and only now see your doubts deep in the comments.
    While we're at it, you're crack at Glenn would be more persuasive if it didn't mention the fact that he doesn't link to you anymore. As it reads now, it looks like two people had their widdle feelings hurt. (BTW: Glenn stopped responding to my emails a couple of years ago, too. I think that may have to do with the volume of email he receives, not anything I said.)

  13. Seriously, Mark – are you going to address Stefan's comment? It's the first thing I thought after actually reading the Glenn's post.

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