March 31, 2005
How low can Krugman go?By Edward L. Daley
Every once in a while I stumble across an opinion article that's so irrational, hate—filled and hypocritical that I feel compelled to comment on it. New York Times op—ed writer Paul Krugman's most recent column is no exception. Titled "What's Going On?", this rambling op—ed is filled with more unprovoked attacks on religious—minded people than any other I have had the misfortune to read, and I've read more than I care to remember.
Mr. Krugman begins his piece by attempting to impress upon his readers the dangers of extremism in democratic countries, quickly focusing his attention on the United States, where, as he puts it,
"dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence."
Of course, he utterly disregards the fact that while extremism does indeed dwell among the ranks of the white, Christian community, it certainly isn't any more prevalent there than anywhere else. In fact, if we are to define extremists as being individuals who hold views which are not widely accepted by the majority of Americans, no single group embraces more of them than the ACLU.
Yet you won't see a word about that organization, or any of the several other radical (and primarily left—wing) groups residing within the U.S. in Krugman's article. No, he has decided to zero in exclusively on white (primarily right—wing) Christians, even though it is that group which has been under relentless assault by people of his ilk for decades now.
Apparently Mr. Krugman is under the impression that just because some extremists call themselves Christians, and happen to be Caucasian, they are necessarily able to influence the way most Americans think. Of course, if most people agreed with what they had to say, one couldn't very well call their views extreme. They would, by definition, be mainstream opinions.
Krugman singles out House majority leader Tom DeLay in his article, charging that he and his fellow conservative legislators, who were "shocked by the public's negative reaction to their meddling" in the Schiavo case, now "want to move on." He doesn't bother to mention that the majority of Democrats in Congress agreed with Mr. Delay's opinion on the matter, or that the so called meddling to which he refers is an activity that's permitted under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
He talks about the "climate of fear" that people like Judge George Greer live under, because they dare to stand up to all those religious extremists out there, and rule to starve innocent people to death. Of course, Mr. Krugman assumes that the people who oppose Greer's decision are all white Christians. Well, unless he thinks that Joe Lieberman isn't really a Jew, or that Jesse Jackson is white, he is completely out of touch with reality.
I myself am not a Christian, and I have concluded that Judge Greer is an arrogant fool. In fact, most of the people I talk to, who have taken the side of Mrs. Schiavo's parents on this matter, never even suggest to me that their religious beliefs have anything to do with their opinion of how Terri should be treated. Practically all of them tell me that their primary concern is that Terri's wishes were never made known in a clear and convincing way, prior to her becoming disabled.
Paul Krugman then goes onto state that
"Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo's parents, hasn't killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti—abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor."
Talk about guilt by association! Without coming right out and saying it, Krugman is implying that people like Mr. Terry are all potential murderers. He adds that Judge Greer "needs armed bodyguards" for protection, and he clearly means protection from lunatic religious white people.
I find it ironic that Krugman would bring up the fact that Mr. Terry isn't responsible for anyone's death, since the very judge he supports is. Back in 1998, Helene Ball McGee pleaded with Judge Greer to bring a protection order against her estranged husband, claiming that he had raped her, set her clothes on fire, and threatened to kill her. Two weeks after Greer concluded that she had not provided him with enough evidence to warrant such an order, Mr. McGee stabbed her to death in her home. Supporters of the judge claim that he was only following the law in that case, but the fact is that it was within his discretion to bring the order if the woman's charges were of a serious enough nature. He chose not to believe her though, even though rape, arson, and criminal threatening are extremely serious charges, and his error in judgment cost Helene McGee her life.
"Another thing that's going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right," Mr. Krugman writes. But he does not offer even one example of that having happened, aside from the bipartisan attempt by Congress and Florida state elected officials to save Terri Schiavo. I myself can think of at least a half a dozen examples off the top of my head of activist judges who've not only stretched the intended meaning of the law, but ignored it altogether. One that leaps to mind practically every time the subject of judicial impropriety is raised, is the case of Judge Laura Blackburne of Queens New York, who actually assisted in the escape of a wanted robbery suspect from her own courthouse. (See The Growing Tyranny of the Judiciary)
Krugman frets that
"there has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice."
However, it just so happens that there's a good reason for that story to be largely ignored... it never happened! Both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Governor's office have denied that any such action ever took place, and nobody has offered up any proof to the contrary.
He then relates that some teachers in this country feel pressure from parents to provide their students with "creationism—related material," as if it's extreme for people to want their own kids to be exposed to more than one theory of how the universe came into being. After that he mentions that there has been a rise in the number of pharmacists who refuse to fill morning—after pill prescriptions based upon their religious objections to birth control. All I can tell you is that if certain states have declared that it is a pharmacist's right to do that, who is Paul Krugman to say they're wrong?
What Krugman writes only a paragraph later is such a perversion of logic that I find it difficult to read without laughing out loud.
"But the big step by extremists will be an attempt to eliminate the filibuster," Krugman contends, "so that the courts can be packed with judges less committed to upholding the law than Mr. Greer."
This statement is so redolent with left—wing propagandist rhetoric that it's practically obscene. There is nothing extreme about the majority party insisting that extremists within the minority party stop misusing the filibuster rule to block our president's judicial nominees. The term "advise and consent" applies to all Senators, not just a few loudmouths, who can't seem to live with the fact that they are not in power anymore!
"Some people ask, with justification, Where are the Democrats?" adds Mr. Krugman, and I'm more than happy to answer that question for him. When they're not running for cover to avoid taking a moral stand on some issue which they suspect may hurt their reelection prospects, they're lying through their teeth about how the religious right is destroying the country. They are as hopelessly ignorant and paranoid as you are, Mr. Krugman, and if you think that any of them wouldn't sell your precious Judge Greer down the river if they thought it would get them control of the White House, you are even more clueless than your article suggests you are.
Edward L. Daley is the owner of the Daley Times—Post.