I have been receiving emails from a hostile and deeply prejudiced questioner and, fool that I am, answering them (at least up to now). He calls himself a “true academic” and an “intellectual,” although from his many misspellings and grammatical stumbles I rather doubt it. Anyway, in his latest salvo was this:
I see recently that you refer to the Iranian president as ‘Thug-In-Chief’, which is very objective by the way mar [sic] Spencer, and talk about his disgraceful comment concerning Sharon. However you do not mention that similar vile comments were made by the devote [sic] Christian Pat Robertson who called Mr. Sharon’s illness revenge from god [sic]. Do you see the problem here Mr. Spencer?
I like that “mar Spencer.” In Syriac “Mar” is an honorific title for bishops and holy men. I am neither, but I appreciate the thought.
In any case, the point here is moral equivalency. It is evidently wrong for me to mention Ahmadinejad’s thuggishness without also bringing up Pat Robertson. There are many things wrong with this, and these errors are so commonly made, that I thought I would discuss them in a post.
This is not “Vile Comments Made By Whomever Watch.” It is Jihad Watch. Ahmadinejad explicitly invokes jihad theology and ideology, and makes his threats and disgusting remarks in that context. Pat Robertson does not. To insist that I can’t mention one without mentioning the other is to insist that I change the topic and focus of this site, which is, of course, precisely the point. We are supposed to believe that Ahmadinejad and Robertson are basically two sides of the same coin, and it is unfair for me to discuss one but not the other.
However, one of these men is a head of state. The other isn’t. One has declared repeatedly his desire that a sovereign nation disappear from the planet. The other hasn’t. One has aggressively pursued nuclear material. The other hasn’t. One reflects a murderous ideology held by untold millions all over the world. The other doesn’t reflect a murderous ideology held by anyone.
Objectively, is Ahmadinejad a thug? Of course. Do Pat Robertson’s remarks somehow make Ahmadinejad not a thug and a menace to the world? They do not. Nor are they remotely equivalent.