"Slarrow" refers to the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" from Hamlet's soliloquy. Here are the chronicles of such darts and whatever attempt there may be to take arms against such a sea of troubles.

Location: Ozarks, United States

Monday, December 06, 2004

He Finally Did It

David Scott Anderson finally made me angry.

I've read his blog for some time after he extended a kind invitation to Bush supporters to state why they were voting for their guy. Since I've begun reading him, I've always thought he was an emotional guy who occasionally overreached but who has a fundamental sense of fairness nevertheless. We had a bit of a dustup in private email, though, and I suggested at the end of a long email that while he was looking to build bridges, I was looking for more of a sparring partner. I said that if he figured we wanted different things, I'd just take my comments elsewhere, although I'd still read him and keep him linked. I never got a reply, which may have been innocent (deleted email, didn't read whole thing, etc.). Since I heard nothing, I decided not to act as if he had agreed to something when he hadn't, so I've kept quiet about some rather risible issues.

But he made a mistake. He made the mistake of Being Self-Righteous While Condemning Self-Righteousness.

Rob at Say Anything vented some frustration at those people who view everything as evidence that We Are Losing. He cited David as his example. David countered. Tom from MuD&PHuD weighed in, and David responded with a comment claiming that he had the moral position because apperently he was the only one moved by the death of little babies. That's where he angered me.

While accusing his opponents of self-righteousness, David explicitly made his own feelings about the death and destruction he saw the moral standard by which our actions in Iraq are measured. If his opponents are talking about the relative costs of actions like leaving Saddam alone versus going in militarily versus working diplomatically, they're making political arguments. But since David remembers Abu Ghraib, sees pictures of dead babies killed by accident, and can realizes that dead Iraqi patriots have families, he's making moral arguments, and the rest of us have to defer to his wisdom because he cares and we don't...

...and in the same post, David accuses us of being preachy and self-righteous? Pah.

Why does that get under my skin so much? First, it's a case of projection which I've often found to be the problem when liberals complain about self-righteousness. I really think that David believes he's a better person than the rest of us because of his reaction to pictures of wartime. Not only is that extraordinarily narcissistic, it also confuses emotion for argument. But what really gets my goat is that he uses that emotion as a trump card, and that's foul play.

He concludes the post with a bet that there will be no peace in Iraq for years to come. Well, I'll take that bet, David. Name your terms. I'll go toe-to-toe with you on this, and we'll just see who's drinking the damn Kool-Aid.

UPDATE: After reading David's response to this and reviewing my own writing, I've concluded that I went too far in making the assumption that David thinks he's better than us. That's a blanket condemnation not borne out by the facts, and I retract it. The point about projection still stands--I think the charge of self-righteousness stems from a view on the nature of morality that I don't think conservatives generally share--but I was wrong to attribute motives to David when I can't get inside his head.

While I reserve the right to sift through his statements and nail him when he overreaches, it's not my place to judge his heart in this. David, I apologize.

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