"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unfortunately relevant

One of the comforts of teaching such a disturbing piece of literature as Arthur Miller's The Crucible is that the passions which inspired it, specifically the anti-Communist crusade of the 1950's are safely dead and embalmed in history books.

Except, of course, that they're not. This week we read that Republican Representatives, on the basis of a book called Muslim Mafia, co-written by an alleged counterterrorism expert named Dave Gaubatz, are calling for an investigation as to whether the Council on American-Islamic Relations has placed spies as interns into key legislative offices in order to influence the creation of American law, especially with regard to the revision of the Patriot Act. The net social effect is to equate Islam with terrorism.

According to website A Tiny Revolution, "[co-author] Gaubatz was last seen explaining how he'd discovered "biological and chemical weapons, material for a nuclear programme and UN-proscribed missiles" in gigantic underground bunkers in Iraq."

At the moment, only right-wing and left-wing blogs are covering this story, and there does not seem to be any independent disinterested journalism going on. It is impossible to evaluate the reliability of this information, other than on the past record of the parties involved. Nonetheless, at this point it feels like guilt by association. Remember those first 24 hours after the Oklahoma City bombing when "everybody" was "sure" it was the work of Islamic terrorists?

What "everybody" knows often is not worth anybody's time.

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