The Daily Bork

March 31, 2005

Riddle me this

I sometimes wonder about the obsession non-US persons have with the internal wranglings of the US. This is amply demonstrated by the Schiavo circus that is now drawing to a close, a performance that has been going on for a long time but has suddenly popped to attention round the world because the state is finally ordering the poor woman bumped off.

Why do foreigners get so panty-twisted about US consitutional law, state's rights, lobby groups, etc etc, then proceed to display profound ignorance about the whole shooting match? The only idea I have is that it suits their needs for an easy story, particularly when you don't like the incumbent president. Thus the Schiavo performance. Now if you have a case where some non-criminal is going to die due to actions of a court, you are naturally going to draw out the extreme elements of society. State governor's become involved, state and federal courts, congress and even the president. Happens under all presidents. However, the panty-twisting and in-depth soul-searching only becomes noticable when someone like Bush is president. Why? Why not under Clinton? The answer is obvious when you look at whose panties are busy doing the twisting. It is not out of any moral feelings, not out of any concern about state's rights etc etc. Ask yourself this, if Bush was for pulling the plug on Schiavo what would the reaction be? You'd be getting long odds on people still standing up for the court decision to kill her.

Thus you get inane crap like this, masquerading as analysis on the Schiavo case...

Paul Krugman looks at what's happening and gets the fear. With some reason: a committee of the Florida legislature has approved a bill that could and would be used to require not just schools to teach creationism, but universities. Students could sue professors who questioned their beliefs on evolution, abortion, the Holocaust, or, indeed, anything. See also: The New Brown Shirts. In a lovely bit of doublespeak, this is being referred to as an "academic freedom" bill …

The relevance of the academic freedom bill to Schiavo? What is the bill about, why is it being introduced? You'd never know unless you were interested enough to go read all about it. But notice how it is phrased, not in any relation to getting professors to teach what they are supposed to teach instead of preaching. Nope, just deep paranoia from a minor luminary at the New York Times, that bastion of rational thought. I'm surprised the above article didn't have some witty quote from Ms Dowd. A more rational analysis from less biased sources is rather less hysterical...

He is, however, less concerned about these doctors when the "pressure and intimidation" is brought to bear by limiting doctors/pharmacists rights to choose. A more cynical blogger might respond by pointing out that such a principle, carried down the slippery slope Paul Krugman sees so clearly, would lead to doctors being forced to perform abortions against their will.

But then if you're not out to feed your political farmyard with dressed up "news" the chances for hyperbole are considerably less and you don't get to use Orwellian or Nazi references.

Why do you never see these sort of analyses of, say, France with its never ending political scandals and presidential shenanigans? Or of the UN with its nepotism and corruption? Or Dutch euthanasia laws? Or coverage of Iraqi bloggers? Because it is too hard, their is no ready made crowd of cross-wavers at an event to give nice photo-ops for the oh so concerned liberal drips. A proper analysis might lead to uncomfortable answers, not so easy to write off as Christian fundy claptrap. That would be altogether too difficult. That would be hard news.


  • I son't mean to be overly critical here, but I don't think you've been paying enough attention.
    The reason why Europeans are so interested, critical, hysterical and loving of the USA is because the citizens of the US are us. They're Norwegians, Swedes, Dutch, English, German and French (amongst others, of course).
    We love to hate the US, and we love loving it as well, but I think the decline seen in the governing of that great state has saddened most of us.
    I won't ramble here, but if you had looked around, you'd have seen that papers doesn't write articles about France and so on, because there are so many whole BOOKS on those things thatyou wouldn't believe it.
    One example of authors you should look into (want more? Ask.); Inayatullah and Blaney has some fantastic books. Heavy, but very informative.

    Take care.

    By Blogger von Sommerfeldt, at 10:39 am  

  • I wasn't meaning so much those countries, as more countries like NZ where whole topics like the Schiavo case go unnoticed for years until they suddenly pop-up at their end games and suddenly many "commentators" have seemingly detailed opinions on the intricacies of various things like US constitutional law etc but are really just fronts for their continued diatribes against particular politicians, presidents, parties, whatever. Not that the Europeans are much better, I find them to be by and large as wilfully ignorant on topics until it is of political interest to suddenly trot out their standard opinions. As in the Schiavo case, it is really neither here nor there if Bush is for or against pulling the plug on her. It doesn't matter, the opinions would be nearly uniformly against whatever he backed. As in the Q and O articles and elsewhere, rational analysis makes it look a very difficult subject, not just crazy right wing politicians meddling in state affairs. As for the governance of the US, it is hardly any more of a mess than the shambles here in the EU. It's just no one wants to talk about the various buggared up EU governments. Again, it'd be too hard.

    By Blogger Chefen, at 4:36 pm  

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