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Link to Rev. Wright's Speech:
If you're interested in watching the entirety of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's speech at the National Press Club, C-Span has it here.

  The speech begins at about the 5:30 mark, and then the Q&A starts at the 31:30 mark. The question about Farrakhan occurs at the 35:30 mark; the question about America being damned — and the response about Wright "coming after" Obama if he is elected — occurs at the 39 minute mark; and the question about the U.S. inventing the AIDS virus comes at the 43 minute mark.

  UPDATE: Senator Obama has responded to Rev. Wright's comments at a press conference; initial coverage is here.
EKGlen (mail):
the National Review Online is still leading the Volokh Conspiracy in posts about Wright by about 14 to 4, even with this late assist by Mr. Kerr.
4.28.2008 8:44pm
Adam K:
Reverend Wright is like a waking wet dream for NRO. It's a sad state of affairs over there.
4.28.2008 8:52pm
OrinKerr:
EKGlen,

I'm curious -- why are you not also counting the coverage from the liberal-leaning blogs? By my count, TalkLeft has had 2 posts so far on Wright's talk today; Washington Monthly has had 1, etc.
4.28.2008 8:53pm
EKGlen (mail):
Orin - I don't read those blogs.

Will you be posting some thoughts on why people who don't wear flag lapel pins hate America?
4.28.2008 9:00pm
someone_not_you:
Fantastic! Thanks for this very helpful link. Now I can determine whether Obama would be a good president. Say, do you have any links to any speeches or comments his family members have said? How about anyone he has ever come into contact with? You know I'd be interested to learn more about his belief in the American flag. Do you have any links that could enlighten me as to Obama's belief in the American flag? That would be super.

Oh and thanks for your contribution regarding the number 1 issue in the 2008 election, as shown by this headline...

The Onion: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
4.28.2008 9:05pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
From the Obama attempt at damage control press conference:

"I think people will understand that I am not perfect and that there are going to be folks in my past like Rev. Wright that may cause them some concern but that ultimately my 20 years of service and the values that I've written about and spoken about and promoted are their values and what they're concerned about," Obama said.


Twenty years of service doing what exactly? Voting "present" in the Illinois legislature?

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if Obama actually had a record of accomplishments, he could point to that and this issue wouldn't be that big of a deal.

But he doesn't, so he can't and it will be.
4.28.2008 9:05pm
EKGlen (mail):
Winston - I don't know why you are talking about such things: the absence of a lapel pin on Obama's suit jacket tells you all you need to know about him.
4.28.2008 9:09pm
Hoosier:
EKGlen--Well, I would LOVE to have a nice, in-depth discussion of Obama's legislative record, diplomatic efforts, years of administrative experience, crisis-management skills, and op-eds on economic policy.

When you and Dave Axelrod can set that up for us, I'm sure we'll be all ears. (No reference to candidatial-pinnae intended.)

Until then, enough of the huff. We are going to ask questions about Obama's record on "the culture issue," since there isn't much of anything else to ask. Is that why his supporters are so anxious to marginalize this line of inquiry?
4.28.2008 9:14pm
OrinKerr:
WKGlen writes:
Orin - I don't read those blogs. Will you be posting some thoughts on why people who don't wear flag lapel pins hate America?
Well, I read them and I don't read the Corner, so I guess we're even. Although you really should read Wahsington Monthly and TalkLeft; they're quite good. I'm curious, why do you read the Corner?

As to flag lapel pins, I think they are kind of silly and I thought Obama's explanation for why he didn't wear one was quite persuasive. Do you disagree?

someone_not_you,

You'll notice that I have also recently provided links to jazz clips and dancing bears; just to be clear, the fact that I link to something does not mean it is the #1 most important issue in the election.
4.28.2008 9:17pm
EKGlen (mail):
Hoosier

What in the world are you talking about: I would no more marginalize the line of inquiry into statements made by Obama's pastor than I would marginalize the line of inquiry about the importance of patriots to wear flag lapel pins.

These are both vital issues. The electorate needs to focus on these matters.

How can we win the war on terror if our potential commanders in chief do not wear flag lapel pins?
4.28.2008 9:18pm
Houston Lawyer:
The Obama supporters who post here remind me of the people who hissed in class in law school. Just put your hands over your ears and sing to yourselves.
4.28.2008 9:18pm
EKGlen (mail):

I'm curious, why do you read the Corner?

I like to get a periodically get a sense of just how far "conservatism" has strayed from the course charted by Kirk/Goldwater and become a refuge for fat-assed keyboard warriors, proto-fascists who don't hesitate to advocate torture in the name of freedom, and such things.

But, if I can count on 4 or 5 posts about Wright in the Volokh Conspiracy, I will probably be able to curtail my NRO habit.
4.28.2008 9:22pm
EKGlen (mail):
Houston Lawyer reminds me of the people in law school who put their hands over their ears and sang to themselves.
4.28.2008 9:24pm
Adam K:

Winston - I don't know why you are talking about such things: the absence of a lapel pin on Obama's suit jacket tells you all you need to know about him.


I saw a shot of John McCain on some Sunday political show without a flag lapel pin. What's that say about him?
4.28.2008 9:25pm
wooga:
Houston,
Well this is what happens when you put all of your emotion and dreams into a candidate - and then that candidate implodes.

EKGlen,
I don't think you know what the term 'proto-fascist' means. Really, the Weekly Standard is the neocon publication. National Review remains a generally anti-statist magazine.
4.28.2008 9:26pm
wooga:
I saw a shot of John McCain on some Sunday political show without a flag lapel pin. What's that say about him?

Adam K,
Nothing. Just as it would have said nothing about Obama - if it weren't for Obama making a big point about how flag pins were phony patriotism, and he was refusing to wear one as a matter of principle.
4.28.2008 9:28pm
Hoosier:
EKGlen--OK. Saw your last post.

You are clearly a very silly person. I will waste no more time with this.

Bring back Daria!
4.28.2008 9:28pm
OrinKerr:
EKGlen,

Hmmm, I don't know how many "fat-assed keyboard warriors, proto-fascists who don't hesitate to advocate torture in the name of freedom, and such things" there are here among the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy. If you like, I can check to see how many I can find and will get back to you.
4.28.2008 9:33pm
AntonK (mail):
For some clarity here, simply ask yourself how these same people would react if the tables were turned and McCain had sat passively in the pews for 20 years listening to an unreconstructed Southern Baptist bigot in the pulpit damning America for seeking racial equality, accusing the government of inventing AIDS to punish sinners and extolling KKK Imperial Dragon David Duke for defending the superiority and purity of the white race. The double standard at work here is absolutely breath-taking.
4.28.2008 9:56pm
grackle (mail):
Thank you for the C-SPAN link. I watched most of the questions and answers. I found Rev. Wright forthcoming, honest, disarming, charming and extremely bright. It speaks well for Obama's choice of churches, since I doubt that the sermons were boring. It seems that the outrage expressed against Rev. Wright mostly comes from a confusion over the respective realms of God and Mammon. Rev. Wright is quite testy in his views about Mammon.
4.28.2008 9:57pm
ras (mail):
Either Obama knew all along about Wright's views or he didn't.

If he knew, and then kept the man as his spiritual mentor anyway, he is a closet hater of pretty much everyone else.

If he didn't know, after decades of such close association, he is the most gullible man in America.

Either he knew or he didn't. Pick one.
4.28.2008 9:59pm
ras (mail):
Either Obama knew all along about Wright's views or he didn't.

If he knew, and then kept the man as his spiritual mentor anyway, he is a closet hater of pretty much everyone else.

If he didn't know, after decades of such close association, he is the most gullible man in America.

Either he knew or he didn't. Pick one.
4.28.2008 10:01pm
GV:
TalkLeft used to be a great source of news on criminal law related issues. But several months ago it turned into the PR department for Clinton. I have actually stopped visiting Clinton's own website for spin on bad news for Clinton and have started going to TalkLeft instead. I used to really respect TalkLeft, but the "analysis" on that site is embarrassing and it has been overrun by commenters who parrot Clinton talking points. The comments section is also heavily censured for content, ensuring the echo chamber remains.

. . .

Back on topic . . . I'm an Obama supporter, and I'm disappointed about his relationship with Reverend Wright. What I don't understand, however, is why this issue is so much more important than his policy stances, which receive little play time. I also don't understand why republicans who have had relationships to conservatives who have spewed similarly vile crap receive little scrutiny for those relationships.
4.28.2008 10:14pm
PC:
Hmmm, I don't know how many "fat-assed keyboard warriors, proto-fascists who don't hesitate to advocate torture in the name of freedom, and such things" there are here among the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy. If you like, I can check to see how many I can find and will get back to you.


That would be a hilarious poll, but not insightful. Prof. Kerr seems to ride the middle of the road politically, as best I can tell. Rev. Wright is all over the news today and I think you do a disservice if you /don't/ listen to him.

Agree or disagree about the substance, Rev. Wright has his opinion and deserves a full hearing in context. Don't bash a person on the soundbites.
4.28.2008 10:14pm
OrinKerr:
GV writes:
TalkLeft used to be a great source of news on criminal law related issues. But several months ago it turned into the PR department for Clinton.
Sadly, I've noticed this, too; I should have said above that I used to read TL a lot, but now check in only once in a while (for that reason).
4.28.2008 10:18pm
fishbane (mail):
Sadly, I've noticed this, too; I should have said above that I used to read TL a lot, but now check in only once in a while (for that reason).

Yes. Speaking for me only (ahem), I can't wait for the primaries to end. Well beyond tedium at this point, and I say that as a bit of a politics junkie.

Still waiting for the poll results, as well as wondering what the cutoff point for fat-assedness is. Strictly out of academic interest; I'm way to skinny to approach the mark, wherever it may be.
4.28.2008 10:34pm
CDU (mail) (www):
GV wrote:
What I don't understand, however, is why this issue is so much more important than his policy stances, which receive little play time.


There's so little difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues, it hardly seems worth talking about Obama's policy stances during the primary campaign. Do his policy stances really matter when the biggest difference between Hillary and Barack is whether to mandate people get insurance coverage in their healthcare plan? It's a distinction without difference.

This is a big part of why this campaign seems unusually focused on minutia (bittergate, snipergate, pastorgate, etc.) rather than the issues. Until the Democrats decide on a candidate and the general election campaign gets going there aren't really any real issues to discuss (not that there's guaranteed to be much real discussion of the issues in the general election, but at least the possibility exists).
4.28.2008 10:34pm
dre (mail):
"extolling KKK Imperial Dragon David Duke "

Or W. Wilson and the Democrat Party. Nice "Klan Bake" in 1924 losers.
4.28.2008 10:36pm
Pug (mail):
...sat passively in the pews for 20 years listening to an unreconstructed Southern Baptist bigot in the pulpit damning America for seeking racial equality...

Well, these used to be called Democrats. Now, though, they've mostly switched to the Republican Party.
4.28.2008 10:48pm
Hoosier:
GV: "What I don't understand, however, is why this issue is so much more important than his policy stances, which receive little play time."

I'm always amazed when I read this statement—and it comes up frequently these days fro Obama supporters.

So, if I may ask for clarification: Do you really not understand why people focus more attention on these sorts of issues than on detailed, nuanced, hard issues like international trade policy or managed-care regulation? Really?
4.28.2008 11:51pm
GV:
CDU, are there really no policy differences between Clinton and Obama (other than health care) or is that just what the media is telling us? I'll concede that there's not a huge policy gap between Clinton and Obama. But they do differ on policy. To point to just one example that came out recently: Hillary favors temporarily reducing taxes on gasoline. Obama opposes such a reduction. To point to another example that is old news now, but is near and dear to my heart: whether amendments to the sentencing guidelines reducing the penalty for crack offenses (to bring them more in line with cocaine offenses) should have been made retroactive. Obama favored making them retroactive. Hillary opposed. I think a lot of these issues, when you look at them holistically, do paint markedly different pictures of Obama and Hillary. (And, of course, one is a war mongerer and one is not. But that's neither here nor there.)

Hoosier, perhaps I should re-phrase: I don't understand why blogs (especially blogs run by professors) focus in on all this crap. I guess I should not expect anything else from the media.

As a complete random aside for Professor Kerr, per your suggestion in a post, I recently read the "authentic fourth amendment" article in the Michigan law review and found it to be incredibly interesting. Any chance you could do a post on interesting/must-read 4th amendment articles? Feel free to plug your own articles . . . Perhaps I'm projecting, but I suspect others would be interested in such a post as well.
4.29.2008 12:43am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
There's so little difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues, it hardly seems worth talking about Obama's policy stances during the primary campaign.


Agreed, there's not enough of a difference in terms of policy issues between the two Democrat contenders to make it much of a debate. Both want what amounts to a federal takeover of the healthcare system (as obvious to anyone who actually reads their proposals), both want to raise taxes, both support corporate welfare subsidies like ethanol and biofuels (thereby driving up the costs of feed, food, and fuel for consumers), neither want to actually do anything to fix entitlement programs, and both are singing from the protectionist hymnal on trade. There may be a difference in minor details but it's the difference between being 90 percent wrong and 95 wrong which doesn't present enough of a choice to make it worth caring about.
4.29.2008 1:11am
Rock On (www):

There may be a difference in minor details but it's the difference between being 90 percent wrong and 95 wrong which doesn't present enough of a choice to make it worth caring about.


I'll take 90% wrong over 100% wrong any day of the week.
4.29.2008 1:30am
OrinKerr:
As a complete random aside for Professor Kerr, per your suggestion in a post, I recently read the "authentic fourth amendment" article in the Michigan law review and found it to be incredibly interesting. Any chance you could do a post on interesting/must-read 4th amendment articles? Feel free to plug your own articles . . . Perhaps I'm projecting, but I suspect others would be interested in such a post as well.

You mean the Davies article? Yeah, it's great, glad you liked it. Hmm, let me think about compiling something and see what I can find.
4.29.2008 2:55am
CDU (mail) (www):
GV wrote:
I'll concede that there's not a huge policy gap between Clinton and Obama. But they do differ on policy. To point to just one example that came out recently: Hillary favors temporarily reducing taxes on gasoline. Obama opposes such a reduction. To point to another example that is old news now, but is near and dear to my heart: whether amendments to the sentencing guidelines reducing the penalty for crack offenses (to bring them more in line with cocaine offenses) should have been made retroactive. Obama favored making them retroactive. Hillary opposed.

Nice examples (I hadn't heard about the crack cocaine one before). That's definitely not much of a gap though. They disagree on a legal technicality and whether they're willing to offer an unsustainable quick fix on gas prices. "Retroactivity and the Gas Tax!" is hardly a stirring campaign slogan. I'll stand by my statement that their policy differences hardly seems worth talking about.
4.29.2008 3:19am
Orin Kerr reads TalkLeft??? (mail):
Why would you read TalkLeft?

Jeralyn Merritt is nutballs crazykins and Big Tent Democrat, who is "speaking for me only" should be renamed Big Concern Troll.
4.29.2008 6:32am
Gaius Marius:
If Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama is elected President, then folks like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and President Ahmadinejad will be White House guests sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.
4.29.2008 8:33am
GV:
Gaius, who do you think is more likely to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom first? And would they be able to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom, since it's likely that Professor Ayer will be permanently living there? Please discuss.
4.29.2008 9:30am
Anderson (mail):
jazz clips and dancing bears

That would probably raise the level of campaign coverage, actually.

--We should take a poll sometime as to whether Gaius Marius is a liberal troll or not; his pitch is a trifle *too* perfect sometimes ....
4.29.2008 10:02am
BlueBear (mail):
News Flash: we are all bigots to varying degrees. This is due in large part to our ignorance of the other. Labeling anything anyone says we disagree with as "racist" certainly does not promote open dialogue which is necessary to mutual understanding.

We don't even know what the ultimate enlightened view of race or ethnicity should be.

The reaction to Rev. Wright's comments is what I find outrageous. His statements reflect his experience as a black man in a country that has not always lived up to its ideals, to say the least. For that matter I don't think that Israel has always lived up to its ideals, to say the least.

There is no real discussion of this nation's (as well as Israel's) serious moral failings. Instead we attack the messenger for bringing to light what we studiously have ignored. "Whatever is conscious wears out. What is unconscious remains unalterable. But once it is freed, it too falls to ruin" (Freud).
4.29.2008 10:24am
Dan M.:
I don't understand the thinking that this stuff shouldn't be brought up. The Reverend is his 'spiritual mentor' and now says that anyone who critcizes what he's said is actually criticizing the black church. And Obama claims that he's never heard this kind of talk while in church before.

Obama has no accomplishments to speak of and his policy differences with Clinton aren't worth debating.

I think people are a little interested in how big a liar the 'hope and change' candidate is who claims that he doesn't take money from special interests.

Also, he's the presumptive nominee so obviously people are focusing criticism on him. This stuff is going to come up in the general election. And personally, I just want Obama to lose, and I don't personally care why other people vote against him so long as they do it.
4.29.2008 10:36am
BlueBear (mail):
Dan M,
I respect your candor. You just want him to lose by any means necessary, however immoral.

This immoral attitude has certainly characterized this nation from its beginning. Of course, privileged elites have devised more sophisticated methods in destroying anyone who threaten their privilege. They have convinced themselves that their interests are identical with everyone's interests. Thus whenever anyone attacks their interests they have attacked the nation's interests. But failing this they resort to smear campaigns.

Wrights real sin is pointing up America's moral failings. We have to ignore such troubling facts, because they challenge us to change.
4.29.2008 11:10am
Anderson (mail):
Labeling anything anyone says we disagree with as "racist" certainly does not promote open dialogue which is necessary to mutual understanding.

My problem w/ Rev. Wright is less that he's a racist and more that he's a kook, not to mention a self-enamored kook.

I understand that he's also done a lot of good things for his church and community. It would be great if everyone who did good works was also humble, wise, and media-savvy.
But no.

I am beginning to agree with those who think that, given his latest round of self-promotion, Obama's going to have to cut his ties altogether.

It's pathetic that this is the kind of thing we're talking about -- even Thorley Winston's slams on the Dem candidates, above, have more substance -- but you play the game by the rules of the game, and trivial b.s. masquerading as news is part of the game in American campaign politics.
4.29.2008 11:17am
Brian Mac:
BlueBear:

I think it's fair to label someone whose views on the innate differences between white and black brains mirror those previously held by the SS as a racist.

I also think it fair to consider someone who repeats the lie that the US Government created AIDS as a tool of genocide against minorities as an idiot or demagogue.

However, feel free to convince me that these are simply the natural byproducts of a highly successful, wealthy black man's experience in America.
4.29.2008 11:18am
Anderson (mail):
Btw, it would help to remember that Wright's religion was founded by a kook.

The original "sound bite" must surely be the testimony against Jesus in the Sanhedrin:

And certain persons rose up and bore false witness against him, saying, We heard him saying, I will destroy this temple which is made with hands, and in the course of three days I will build another not made with hands.
4.29.2008 11:26am
Anderson (mail):
I think it's fair to label someone whose views on the innate differences between white and black brains mirror those previously held by the SS as a racist.

People attacking Wright should take a little more care not to be dishonest themselves. Hilzoy at ObWi should be consulted before repeating this "SS" stuff further.
4.29.2008 11:28am
Hoosier:
Anderson--These attempts by Wright's defenders--including Wright himself now--to portray him as a Christlike or at least martyr figure go too far. (I was previously a moderate defender. After his recnet speech, I'm now "backlashing.")

It was NEVER a part of the ministry of Jesus to claim, say, that the Pharisees had invented leprosy to "keep the Essene-man down."

Nor was it part of the Prophetic Tradition to preach to your flock about how awful the other guy has sbeen behaving. The original Jeremiah was not known for complaining that he was being victimized, and quoted out of context.

And I cannot recall Qohelet saying that "When they attack me, they are really attacking all of God's chosen people." But then Qohelet falls under the category of "Wisdom." Rev. Wright? Not so much.
4.29.2008 11:43am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
What are hilzoy's qualifications in this area and why should anyone have to consult her?

She thinks Wright said "nothing controversial" in his press conference or speech. What does that say about her judgment?
4.29.2008 11:55am
Hoosier:
Dan M,
I respect your candor. You just want him to lose by any means necessary, however immoral.
This immoral attitude has certainly characterized this nation from its beginning


Huh? I wonder why steelworker in Yougstown aren't flocking to the Obama bandwagon.

Hint to BlueBear: The reason Catholics gave only 28% of our vote to Obama in Pennsylvania? It's because we think he thinks what you think.
4.29.2008 12:00pm
Brian Mac:

People attacking Wright should take a little more care not to be dishonest themselves. Hilzoy at ObWi should be consulted before repeating this "SS" stuff further.


Well, here's a hint: I compared his racial ideology to that of the SS, not to the authors of the bell curve. I saw his quotes side by side with educational materials aimed at SS officers (oh no: maybe I missed key context!), and they had, shall we say, strong similarities. I can't find the link just now, but I'll be able to access it at home.
4.29.2008 12:10pm
Brian Mac:
Here we go (from the SS pamphlet, courtesy of perfunction):


"Just as plants and animals are of different types, so, too, are people. Each of these types inherits certain characteristics, which distinguish it from all other types, from all other races. Racial differences are physical, spiritual, and intellectual. The most important differences are in the spiritual and intellectual areas, in life styles."


"Genetics tells us that characteristics are passed unaltered from generation to generation, and that spiritual and other characteristics are inherited along with physical ones. The environment can only influence what is already present in the genes. Unlike animals, a person does not have a single environment, but also lives in the cultural world of his race and people. This too determines the development of his inherited traits. His culture comes from his inheritance."
4.29.2008 12:26pm
Anderson (mail):
These attempts by Wright's defenders--including Wright himself now--to portray him as a Christlike or at least martyr figure go too far.

I don't think "Christlike" is so farfetched as that, at least in the context I was discussing (kook who has had soundbites misrepresented by his accusers).

In that sense, lots of people are Christlike. Or should that be Jesuslike?

Brian: Glad to see your familiarity with SS doctrine; the catch now, of course, is to prove that Wright holds these beliefs.

As the Hilzoy post should have alerted you, the issue here is the assumption that racial differences are (1) genetic, (2) pernicious, and (3) not environmentally caused.

If for example black American kids are more likely to be poor than white American kids, then we would expect to see certain traits disproportionately among the black kids, but that wouldn't make them genetic.

Your Nazi sources made this sort of confusion all the time, since they were mainly interested in rationalizing their evil deeds.
4.29.2008 12:31pm
Gaius Marius:
Gaius, who do you think is more likely to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom first? And would they be able to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom, since it's likely that Professor Ayer will be permanently living there? Please discuss.

Professor Ayer is more likely to be living in his office at the Justice Department after President Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama appoints Mssr. Ayer as Attorney General of the United States.
4.29.2008 12:32pm
Anderson (mail):
Sure you didn't misspell "Obama," Marius? Isn't there an "s" in there?
4.29.2008 12:38pm
Brian Mac:
Anderson:

It seems most plausible (to me at least) that Wright was referring to innate neurological differences. If he was meaning that black culture favoured certain approaches to teaching over others, I don't see why he would have raised (pop)neurology at all (it's extraneous information).

Perhaps I'm wrong though. But as you appeared to have missed from the quotes, the SS thought that genetics were only one part of the puzzle. So if Wright and the SS philosophy do indeed differ on the role of genetics, it seems to me to create a difference without a distinction between their overall theories of race.
4.29.2008 12:54pm
Hoosier:
Your Nazi sources made this sort of confusion all the time, since they were mainly interested in rationalizing their evil deeds.

Anderson--Are you sure you aren't just repeating the same few Nazi sound-bites? You know, taking them out of context or something?

As far as the Christlike characteristics of Rev. Wright, we'll just part company there. At least until we resolve the AIDS/leprosy dilemma.
4.29.2008 1:10pm
Anderson (mail):
It seems most plausible (to me at least) that Wright was referring to innate neurological differences. If he was meaning that black culture favoured certain approaches to teaching over others, I don't see why he would have raised (pop)neurology at all (it's extraneous information).

See also "(2) pernicious" in my comment. I have no idea why black kids would be left-brained or right-brained or whatever, but if there were evidence of such, it would not demonstrate any inferiority.

As for the SS, I quote your quote: "Genetics tells us ... that spiritual and other characteristics are inherited along with physical ones." The omission is to clarify the syntax.

The SS, need I remind, were interested in genetics insofar as it could be twisted to support Germanic superiority and the extermination of Jews and Slavs. Arguing about the details of their "theories" is missing the point, as I've already implied ("rationalizing," above).

I would not consider that Wright's half-baked musings lack any significant difference.

Hoosier: this Adam Kotsko post on the silly HIV thing is worth a look. It's short, but not quite short enough to dump into a comment here.
4.29.2008 1:41pm
Brian Mac:
Anderson:

Alright, if it's all about rationalization rather than theory: isn't Wright harnessing pseudo-science in a manner that would contribute to keeping black americans lagging behind other ethnic/cultural groups, so as to achieve his own political or economic goals?
4.29.2008 2:10pm
Anderson (mail):
isn't Wright harnessing pseudo-science in a manner that would contribute to keeping black americans lagging behind other ethnic/cultural groups, so as to achieve his own political or economic goals?

Michelle Cottle certainly would find this plausible:

I, too, think Wright is digging center stage. But I also suspect he specifically wants to tank Obama's candidacy. I mean, this is a man who has spent a fair portion of his career spreading the message that blacks cannot get a fair shake in this country; that America was, is, and always will be fundamentally racist; that the U.S. government in particular has it in for blacks. So what happens to all that if suddenly a black man--and not just any black man, but one who has been counseled by Wright and so cannot be dismissed as some pathetic Uncle Tom--is elected president? With Obama in office, it suddenly becomes much harder for Wright to rage against the evil of America in general and the government in particular. Certainly, he'd have a harder time spinning new tales along the lines of AIDS was a government creation aimed at wiping out the black race.

But if Obama loses, Wright's ugly vision of America is confirmed yet again, and so he can keep on fighting the good fight at even greater volume and with even uglier rhetoric. How nice for him. How sad for the rest of the country.


Personally, I tend to think that there's a simpler explanation:

(1) Wright is in love with the sound of his own voice, and

(2) "He's a preacher. They're predisposed to believe all manner of crazy shit."
4.29.2008 3:05pm
wooga:
The SS, need I remind, were interested in genetics insofar as it could be twisted to support Germanic superiority and the extermination of Jews and Slavs. Arguing about the details of their "theories" is missing the point, as I've already implied ("rationalizing," above).


I disagree. The genetic theories of the nazis were not just retroactive 'rationalizing' of their preexisting biases. Rather, the genocide was the natural result of following their basic genetic assumptions to their logical conclusions. It is very important to look at, and compare, Rev Wright's basic theories to those of the nazis. Racial essentialism is an evil thing regardless of whether it first manifests itself as overt hatred, subtle patronization, or closet superiority.

If Rev Wright's theories gain a foothold in this country, and become accepted as valid among the politicians, we are heading towards (1) a repeat of Plessy v Ferguson style racism, and/or (2) Mugabe-style statism and resulting economic collapse. Personally, I would like to keep Rev Wright's racial theories in the 'moral abomination' category of thought.
4.29.2008 3:15pm
Anderson (mail):
Rather, the genocide was the natural result of following their basic genetic assumptions to their logical conclusions.

Their "genetic assumptions" were ideological garbage. So they followed garbage to its conclusions.

The distinction may be important. The Nazis did not hate Jews because of mistaken inferences from genetics, such that the Holocaust could've been averted had we only been able to get Hitler and Himmler to attend a semester course.

If the science of genetics hadn't been invented, Hitler and his Nazis would have rationalized the extermination of the Jews on some less pseudo-scientific basis.
4.29.2008 4:11pm
Elkglen-nli (mail):
Here's Greenwald:


I think the most important thing to note about the Jeremiah Wright story is that we're a Nation plagued by exceedingly few significant problems; blessed with a quite healthy political culture and very trusted political and media institutions; composed of a citizenry that is peacefully content with its Government and secure and confident about their future; endowed with a supremely sturdy economic foundation free of debt and other grave economic afflictions; vested with the ability to command great respect and admiration from the other nations of the world; emancipated by the burdens of war and intractable conflicts which have toppled and destroyed so many other great nations of the past; and, most of all, we're becoming freer and more prosperous by the minute.

Not only that, but we have an extremely impressive, serious and honor-bound ruling imperial class devoted to the preservation of all of these blessings.

So it isn't as though we really have anything else to talk about besides Jeremiah Wright. There are some countries -- probably most -- which have so many big problems that they could ill-afford to devote much time and energy to a matter of this sort. Thankfully, the United States isn't one of them. I believe it's critical that we keep that in mind as we discuss him for the next seven months.
4.29.2008 4:25pm
Elkglen-nli (mail):

Hmmm, I don't know how many "fat-assed keyboard warriors, proto-fascists who don't hesitate to advocate torture in the name of freedom, and such things" there are here among the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy. If you like, I can check to see how many I can find and will get back to you.

Orin - I was referring to the NRO blog. I think my post made that clear.

I haven't seen those sort of posts in VC. Most of the conspirators (with the notable exception of you) have reacted to the Bush administration's lawlessness and abuse of power with mostly silence - as opposed to active cheerleading.
4.29.2008 4:30pm
wooga:
Their "genetic assumptions" were ideological garbage. So they followed garbage to its conclusions.

Of course. And Rev Wright's genetic assumptions are also garbage. There is a very real danger in swallowing junk science because it happens to conveniently dovetail with what you want to accomplish (e.g., condemn assimilation, promote biofuels, combat/dismiss climate change, make just about any argument on either side related to gay marriage, etc). It may serve short term goals, but the eventual result will often be far worse than originally intended. Slippery slope and all that.
4.29.2008 4:38pm
Gaius Marius:
Sure you didn't misspell "Obama," Marius? Isn't there an "s" in there?

No, Anderson, I did not. However, Obama sure likes to publicly omit his given middle name "Mohamad." I received an e-mail a week ago from Christian missionaries in Kenya who are familiar with Obama's paternal relatives who will attest to Obama's full name: Barack Hussein Mohamad Obama.
4.29.2008 10:35pm