Sunday, January 29, 2012

PuffingtonHost deplores "ignorance"

At the HuffingtonPost, Philip Goldberg complains about Rick Santorum's "ignorance":

In the run-up to the South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum continued his record-breaking run of irritating different segments of the American population. This time, the offended were Muslims and followers of Eastern religions. By extension, that would cover just about everyone from the farthest reaches of Asia to the west coast of Africa.

The offending statement, which contains onion-like layers of ignorance too thick to peel away here, was: "I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, 'Well, equality, we want equality.' Where do you think this concept of equality comes from? It doesn't come from Islam. It doesn't come from the East and Eastern religions. Where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that's where it comes from."

My initial reaction to this classic ethnocentrism was a combination of outrage and amusement. Really, is it too much to ask that a presidential candidate in this diverse society have a rudimentary knowledge of religions other than his own, and the decency to at least pretend to respect them?

At this point, Mr. Goldberg should enthrall us with extensive examples of Islam and Eastern Religions shaming the West into accepting their deeply-held belief in equal rights.  But, of course, he doesn't.   Instead he attacks Christianity:
[W]hat is there to say about a sanctimonious politician who is already famous for intolerance extolling equality in the language of in equality, especially when his own religion has demonstrated its commitment to equality with actions ranging from the Inquisition to the stubborn refusal to ordain women?
This, of course, completely misses the point.  No one claims that equal rights or other ideas of morality sprang forth in ancient times in their full modern form with immediate acceptance.  Nevertheless, it is still Western civilization that developed the ideal of equal rights and has been applying it ever more broadly.  Santorum is not my favorite politician, but he has a strong point here and the PuffingtonHost misses it.

Mr. Goldberg is a victim of oikophobia.

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