10 September 2010

Get Your Dose of Daly Hate

Michael Daly thinks Rush Limbaugh and others bear some (if not all) responsibility for Michael Enright's attack on cab driver, Ahmed Sharif. Never mind that Enright has a history of bizarre, drunken behavior, for which Limbaugh and others cannot be responsible. Last year, he was arrested in an apartment building while ranting about dead Marines. Residents hid in their apartments as Enright marched up and down the hall for a half hour. Who's responsible for that, the cast and crew of "A Beautiful Mind"? We do not know. But we do know that Michael Enright, the guy who did the marching and ranting, is not responsible for it.

"As Limbaugh and...other...panderers...shamelessly sowed," Daly writes, "so did Ahmed Sharif undeservedly reap." Oh, brother.

Sharif, we are to believe, was attacked because Limbaugh and other svengali types made appeals to base desires. Begging the question which has everyone arguing (i.e, whether there is anything objectionable about a mosque at or near Ground Zero), Daly arbitrarily asserts, without any explanation of the causal relation between Limbaugh's supposed pandering and Enright's attack, that he "fanned...bigotry and hate...at one point saying it was like building a Japanese temple at the battleship Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor."

So far, I have not found that Enright was even listening to Limbaugh and Gingrich when they both compared the building of the mosque to that of a Japanese temple. If Limbaugh's pandering, as evidenced by his analogy, is responsible for the attack on Sharif, one should expect that Enright heard it. Not only so, but Limbaugh has millions of listeners who have heard this violence-motivating pandering but for which the attack would not have occured. Thus far, only one attack, on a single cabbie, not millions of attacks.

To get around the probability that Enright wasn't responding to anything he heard Limbaugh or Gingrich say, Daly asserts that Limbaugh and Gingrich are responsible by creating a "climate", which climate itself, not Enright, is somehow the cause of Enright's attack on the cabbie. In the same way, no doubt, that one cannot help being cold in a cold climate -- and responding accordingly -- one cannot help hating in a hate climate -- and responding accordingly, like Enright.

But the only way one can avoid the ridiculous charge of "climate creation" is simply to voice no opposition to something like the building of a mosque near Ground Zero. That's the left for you: the only way not to be responsible for this or that is to keep your mouth shut about things they do not oppose.

It doesn't bother Daly that despite having millions of listeners all over the country, there were not millions of attacks all over the country -- only one. He deftly deals with Limbaugh's pandering analogy: "One difference is that Japan really attacked Pearl Harbor. The World Trade Center was attacked by a handful of fanatics who need us to do exactly what the panderers are doing." (Yeah. That's it. The fanatics didn't really want to kill any of us. They just wanted us to get really angry with each other. Thousands died, not so much because the terrorists wanted to kill anyone, but because they wanted us to get pissed off at each other. All we have to do, I guess, is not get angry with each other and the fanatics will give up.)

Brilliant, but only so long as one ignores, as Daly does, that the handful of fanatics were fanatical about Islam and thought, as is too well known, they were doing their God's will. (Allah akbar, and stuff.) All Daly really demonstrates is that what Limbaugh should have said is something to the effect that building an Islamic community center (or mosque) at or near Ground Zero, which many Muslims round the world admit would be something on the order of an arch of triumph, would be like building a Japanese cultural center at the battleship Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor, which cultural center, arguably, has as one of its purposes the celebration and honor of the Emperor of the Empire of Japan, in whose name, and for whose sake, the attack was perpetrated, and was being funded by Japanese who remain sympathetic to the Japanese Imperial cause. Or something like that.

See the problem? It takes too many words. Daly and people like him can do stupid in fifty words or less. Smart takes a bit more. Limbaugh hosts a live call-in show, not a live philosophy journal. (And it might interest Daly to know that even in philosophy journals, people smarter than Rush Limbaugh employ faulty analogies. I have never seen it happen that one philosopher accuses another of any act more heinous than logically fallacious reasoning. Good thing Daly doesn't read philosophy journals: whole lot of crime in those pages!)

Of course, what Daly would like us to believe is that Limbaugh didn't just happen to employ a faulty analogy. If he's truly responsible (I mean, you know, if Daly isn't just, well, pandering) then he did so knowingly, consciously, and with malice aforethought and with the express intention of so fanning bigorty and hate (blah, blah, blah) that it would create the necessary climate and some harm would result. Furthermore, he did so hoping that, in fact, someone out there in radio land, hearing his svengali broadcast, or being influenced by his climate, would in fact perpetrate just this sort of violent act. Wait, there's even more: If Rush Limbaugh did not intend this, then he is still culpable, for he should have known his svengali message would have this effect, and behaved accordingly. So he's guilty of not knowing something he should have known.

Given how smart Daly must believe Limbaugh to be, I imagine that the only thing that bothers Daly more than the fact that Limbaugh is (must surely be!) smarter, is the fact that Limbaugh is richer. (Daly mentions Limbaugh's money two or three times in his article.) But I digress.

So, it's about a mosque at Ground Zero. To Rush and others, there is something objectionable about a mosque at Ground Zero. To Daly there isn't, which naturally makes him morally superior to those with whom he disagrees. Morally superior enough to know there can be no truly principled objection to a mosque at Ground Zero. In order honestly to have a problem, Daly has to hold that Limbaugh and his fellow panderers really know and agree with him that there is no principled objection to a mosque at or near Ground Zero. Otherwise, the charge of pandering fails.

Take the simple proposition, "The building of a mosque at Ground Zero is objectionable." It is a categorical affirmative proposition, taking the form "For all P, P is Q" or, "For all building of mosques at Ground Zero, the building of mosques at Ground Zero is objectionable." As a proposition, it has a truth value: it is either true or false that "For all building of mosques at Ground Zero, the building of mosques at Ground Zero is objectionable." The difficulty is that this is not a question of empirical fact. The proposition is not subject to empirical verification. Its truth value depends upon the grounds which render objectionable the building of a mosque at Ground Zero, grounds which also are not capable of empirical verification. But that particular question does not concern me here.

What concerns me presently is how holding the proposition either true or false makes one responsible for the actions of another, simply because one has used a faulty analogy in arguing the case. If Rush Limbaugh and others believe it to be true that "For all building of mosques at Ground Zero, the building of mosques at Ground Zero is objectionable" how do they become responsible for the attack on a Muslim cab driver? Why is not the attacker, and only the attacker, responsible?

According to Daly, they are responsible because they complained, loudly, and employed an analogy which, to him, isn't just inapt, but inciteful -- climate-creating, in fact. Very well and good. Daly tells us they are responsible but he doesn't tell us the way in which they are responsible.

And he really should do, because there are many ways of being responsible for something.

(1) One can be role-responsible, in the sense that one holds a position or office in an organization to which specific duties are attached to provide for the welfare of others and is responsible for the performance of these duties. A ship's captain is responsible for the performance of those duties which attach to his position; and in that role he may be held responsible for, among other things, the lives of his crew and any passengers. Should any harm come to them as a consequence of some failure of his assiduously to perform these duties he is responsible for that harm although, techinically speaking, he himself did not cause the harm. If Daly conceives of Limbaugh and others as role-responsible, then he must believe they have, by virtue of their positions, or offices, some specific duties they are obligated to perform and which they failed to perform. And the failure to perform these duties resulted in harm to Ahmed Sharif. I suppose he could assert that at least one of these duties was the duty not to pander, which pandering is what caused the harm. But his only evidence for this putative pandering, at least in Limbaugh's case, is the "Japanese temple" analogy. If so, that's pretty lame. (2) One can be causally responsible, the way a drought is causally responsible for a famine. But if we consider causal-responsibility in thinking of the harm to Sharif, then the one who is causally responsible is Enright, not Limbaugh. I think about the only way Daly could hold Limbaugh causally responsible is if he argued that Enright was Limbaugh's agent. To be a reasonable claim, it would entail that Limbaugh personally selected both the target (Sharif) and the agent (Enright). I don't see Daly pulling that one off. Besides, that isn't the way causal-responsibility is discussed. (3) One can be liability-responsible, having some obligation -- legal or moral -- to act or refrain from acting, and becoming responsible when failing to meet the obligation. Moreover, one can be held (vicariously) responsible for the actions of one's servant, or employee, even if he gave no order or permission, or even had no knowledge of what his servant was doing. But the master-servant, or employer-employee, relation is a formal one. Such a relation did not exist between Limbaugh and Sharif. We would also have to inquire about Limbaugh's state of mind at the time of his pandering. Daly needs to believe that Limbaugh had, or should have had, some certainty that someone, somewhere would assault a Muslim just because he (Limbaugh) has some objection to the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero and offered a faulty analogy involving a Japanese temple. (4) One can be capacity-responsible, but the issue there isn't about what someone has done, or failed to do. The question with regard to capacity-responsibility is whether one has the mental capacity to be held responsible. The assertion that one is capacity-responsible is intended to defeat a claim, among others, that one is not guilty of wrong-doing by reason of some diminished capacity (e.g., an insanity defense). There is no question of Limbaugh's sanity. (If so, then those who find fault with him should shut up, since he can quite obviously use the diminished capacity defense. Just saying.)

Ulitmately, Daly's problem comes to this: He doesn't like Rush Limbaugh, because Rush (who, by the way, made less than half of Beyonce's $80 million, according to Daly's own Daily) is rich:

Rush Limbaugh sure lived up to his name. He was in such a rush to leave the city he helps make more dangerous that he left the furniture when he unloaded his apartment.

Limbaugh pocketed $6 million profit on his Fifth Ave. penthouse even as he was fanning the bigotry and hate aroused by the so-called Ground Zero mosque.

So, maybe Limbaugh could spare a few dollars to help out the Muslim cabbie who fell victim to the kind of attack that was sure to come in such a climate.


There's your hate. It is not hate to have, and voice, an opinion at variance with the left, despite the left's insistence that it is. It is not even hate to argue a contrary position and employ a faulty analogy, despite Daly's insistence that it is.

But it is hate to take a difference of opinion, call it hate, connect it with a tragedy, and assert that the tragedy occured because of this so-called hate. That's the left: telling us who they really are, by what they call their opposition.

Note: I'm still waiting to see whether Daly accuses Al Gore of being responsible for James Jay Lee holding all those people hostage at the Discovery Channel. After all, he said he was inspired by Al Gore.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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