Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When anger overwhelms decency

Whatever credibility Quadrant used to have an outlet for thoughtful conservative intellectuals has long been gone, but Roger Franklin plummets into new depths of Right wing reactionary anger and, frankly, stupidity, today. 

While virtually no one is expecting the suicide bomber at Manchester to not have been motivated by radical Islam, Roger is beside himself with rage that last night, on the ABC, left leaning quasi intellectuals were opining that the risk of harm for the average citizen in countries like the US and Australia from Islamic terrorism, especially by foreign terrorists,  is actually very small.

Now, if these comments had been made after the Manchester bombing, Franklin might have had some emotional excuse, at least, for anger at insensitivity at what would have been seen as  downplaying the public distress at such a terrible terrorist attack.   [And by writing this post, I am certainly not trying to make any excuse either - this is surely the most unforgivable attack because of the age and innocence of the victims.  It is, by all standards, horrifying.]

But this is not what happened.   Roger can't  see through his anger that the comments remain essentially true, and were not made in any context where they could be taken as insensitive. 

Furthermore, everyone, Left or Right, understands that radical Islam is a terrible problem and causes great evil.   Fuming about it alone doesn't solve, in particular, the problem of self radicalised, Western born terrorists.  All nations already spend a lot of effort in trying to trace and prevent it.  No one on the Left thinks that is a wasted effort.

Franklin's disgust reaches absurd and offensive heights with his ending:
Life isn’t fair and death less so. Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio. Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.

Mind you, as Krauss felt his body being penetrated by the Prophet’s shrapnel of nuts, bolts and nails, those goitered eyes might in their last glimmering have caught a glimpse of vindication.

Yeah, nice one Roger.   You're just another example why such a large part of the conservative Right has become so untrustworthy in thinking about risk.  

Update:    It took a day, and scores of real journalists and members of the public condemning Franklin,  but Quadrant (although not specifically Franklin) has apologised.  From the paywalled Australian:
Quadrant magazine today “unreservedly apologised” to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie for an online article that suggested it would have been better off if the Manchester terrorist had bombed the public broadcaster’s Sydney headquarters. 

The magazine’s editor in chief, Keith Windshuttle, responded to Ms Guthrie late today in a letter agreeing the “intemperate wording” in the article was a “serious error of judgment and should not have been published”.

The article will be withdraw from the magazine’s website, he said.

“Even though I do not share all of the interpretations expressed in your letter, I accept your assurance about the offence it caused you and your staff. You have my unreserved apology for any concerns it might have given you,” Mr Windshuttle wrote.

Earlier, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield blasted Quadrant for its “sick and unhinged” comments about the ABC after contained in the article.
 The now amusing thing about this, if one reads the Catallaxy threads, is that the many wingnutters ecstatic with Franklin's offensiveness have been pledging subscriptions to Quadrant all day, and now have had the rug pulled out from under them. 

Sinclair Davidson - who pathetically joined in with the defence of Franklin, suggests its because the magazine couldn't afford a legal fight with the government funded ABC.   What tosh.

No, simple decency required the apology, but ageing, angry ant culture warriors are too blind to see that.


not trampis said...

Quandrant merely shows there is no intellectual energy anywhere in the right in Australia. Yet again they merely imitate the anti-intellectualism of the right in the USA.

It was not always like this. more is the pity

Jason Soon said...

stupid glibertarians trot out that refrigrator stat too so it's not just Lawrence Krauss (whose work I generally like).

Steve said...

Quoting a stat like that is always somewhat problematic because it doesn't reference the moral dimension of one cause of death (being at the intentional hands of another human) and the other being an accident.

As a simple way of putting terrorist deaths into perspective, though, well it doesn't hurt to put some perspective when you have some populists trying to claim the West is doomed, or some such tosh, after every Islamic inspired terrorist attack.

And you also have populists backing Trump, who mooted banning all Muslim immigration "until we work out what's going on", which is obviously morally problematic for its effect on people and families (there are obviously going to be people caught up in that who don't deserve it), and practically uselesss - in fact likely harmful - in addressing "home grown" Islamic inspired terrorism. Such proposals deserve push back and reason of the type that was being made on the ABC.

So regardless of the imperfect comparison, Franklin's death wish on Krauss was ridiculous and offensive.

Jason Soon said...

Yes agreed but I think this is an over-reaction too. Nonetheless Quadrant shouldn't have published such intemperate remarks and it's clearly gone down in standing since it was first founded http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/abc-boss-michelle-guthrie-demands-apology-from-quadrant/news-story/650c4c93197c40c61f333d434b7ea0bb

not trampis said...

so Soony agrees with me.

how ironic it was much better in its 'CIA' days. That is when right wing intellectual was not an oxymoron.
Ah the 50s and 60s when the right ruled the intellectual scene and the left was a complete joke!

Steve said...

I see Bolt outright defends Franklin. Tim Blair evidently approves too. Oddly, there is actually a bit of pushback in comments at Bolt's.

Steve said...

Oh, and now in rides Sinclair Davidson glibly defending Franklin, and quoting Franklin's article after he removed the "if there was any justice" line.

None of the screaming howler monkey readers (all who are pledging allegiance to Quadrant) have pointed out the silent edit by Franklin.

The wingnut obsession with the ABC is absurd.

not trampis said...

complete hypocrisy from Sinkers after HIS line on the pommy journo.

I have made my position clear at my place

Steve said...

Ha! I see that Quadrant, in the incarnation of Keith Windshuttle, has apologised to the ABC. (But not Franklin).

That is good as far as it goes - but what's funny is that the many Catallaxy readers who have been pledging subscriptions to Quadrant because wishing a bombing on the ABC is only just and reasonable, or threatening to cancel if it apologises, are left in a quandary. I expect some nashing of their aged teeth to start any minute now...

not trampis said...

Franklin should be sacked