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Letting the Fish Out of the Bag



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First Maerose Prizzi, now Stanley Fish: It’s getting so that the principles of American taqiyya just aren’t being observed any more, and we’re hauling off and telling you wingnuts what we think of you right to your ugly faces — and in the New York Times no less:

If we think about the Rush Limbaugh dust-up from the non-liberal — that is, non-formal — perspective, the similarity between what he did and what Schultz and Maher did disappears. Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice. Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy. Why should he get an even break?

There is no answer to that question once you step outside of the liberal calculus in which all persons, no matter what their moral status as you see it, are weighed in an equal balance. Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.

By Gaia have I been wanting to say that for ages! And, come to think of it, I have been saying it for ages, or at least the past five years. But now Brother Fish has gone ahead and done the deed and instead of criticizing him you ought to thank him.

Why? Because you’re finally freed of driving yourselves crazy about the double standard. If I had a nickel for every time one of you troglodytic morons began a sentence with, “If this were Bush . . .” I’d be even richer than Mitt Romney. You clowns on the right have been barking about this ever since His Serene Majesty the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Master of the Greens, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Vacationer-in-Chief, Slayer of Osama, Killer of Qaddafi, Atomizer of the Economy, Sultan of the Slippers, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Honolulu and Chicago ascended to the Throne of the Peacock and began his beneficent rule by regulation and executive order. It’s unfair, you say.

Well, boo-freakin’-hoo. As Fish notes, “fairness” is not only a weak virtue, it’s no virtue at all when it comes to dealing with you. For decades we of the Fairness & Tolerance brigade have been guilt-tripping the bejesus out of you, making you question not only everything you do, but your very existence. Fairness would have been one of our core principles, if we had any core principles, the kind of thing we might have built a secular religion around, if we could stomach the thought of any kind of religion besides Marxism. The idea that somewhere, someone might be unfair to someone else was one of our pet obsessions, and our ample hearts bled at the rank injustice of it –

Oh, the hell with it. As Stanley says, we don’t give a fish’s patootie about fairness and never did; it was just another club with which to beat you. All along, we’ve wanted you to be fair to us, for you to tolerate us, while we were merrily undermining the foundations of your illegitimate country. But the time has come at last for us to drop our unreasoning masks and step boldly into the sunny uplands too long denied us by our need for stealth and secrecy. In other words, no more Mr. Nice Guy!

So say it loud: We’re out and we’re proud:

I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule “don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you” the rule “be sure to do it to them first and more effectively.” It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.

From now on, anything and everything you say can and will be used against you. Because, by the new Fish Fairness Doctrine, we are always right and you are always wrong, and real fairness consists of us whaling the tar out of you every chance we get, and not even pretending to offer your side a shred of legitimacy. As I famously wrote, ”In the future, everyone will be a criminal for 15 minutes. Except Us.”

Mene, mene tekel upharsin. You’d better get used to it. There’s a lot more where that came from.



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