Monday, April 06, 2009


If you wonder what I meant by rhetorical contradictions in the previous post, Victor Davis Hanson gives a perfect explanation while discussing why the "Hussein" in Obama's name is not allowed to be spoken here, but is trumpeted abroad:

All of which brings up interesting rules of usage with the name "Hussein":

1) It is forbidden at home; any American who employs the tripartite presidential name does so only to fan religious, racial, or ethnic prejudice.

2) It is encouraged abroad both in Europe and the Middle East (cf. the al-Arabiya interview) both to establish our president's multicultural fides and sensitivity to Muslims, and to distance himself from our past illiberal foreign policy and attitudes.

3) Rule #2 only applies to the president himself. Even liberal journalists abroad are not allowed to say "Hussein" even in the most progressive of contexts.

and further:
Mark Steyn wondered why the silence about the Korean rocket. Other than a canny Clintonian sense that weekend news is dead news, I think it may be because we know the presidential response: Just as spending and borrowing became fiscal responsibility, "stimulus," and halving the new deficit; just as serially trashing Bush became "preferring to look forward rather than backward," so too watching the Koreans showcase their new intercontinental ballistic missile to global nuclear customers becomes a rhetorical occasion to promise a new non-nuclear world.

BTW, Here is how Stephen Hicks in Explaining Postmodernism put forth the concept of using contradictory discourses as a political strategy:
In postmodern discourse, truth is rejected explicitly and consisteny can be a rare phenomenon. Consider the following pairs of claims:

- On the one hand, all truth is relative; on the other hand, postmodernism tells it like it really is.
- On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.
- Values are subjective--but sexism and racism are really evil
- Technology is bad and destructive--and it is unfair that some people have more technology than others.
- Tolerance is good and dominance is bad--but when postmodernists come to power, political correctness follows.

There is a common pattern here: Subjectivism and relativism in one breath, dogmatic absolutism in the next.

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