In contrast, at certain other outlets, tempers are on edge and friendships are being destroyed: ‘Ex-Friends: Casualties of This War’ by Rod Dreher is all about how much he and his political allies now hate their old friends who disagree with them about the war, demonizing them as ‘irrational,’ and vice-versa. This struck me as bizarre, especially because Rod’s much more of a human being than some of the names that make modern opinion journalism resemble ‘Attack of the Ideological Clones.’ I couldn’t imagine breaking up with an old friend over this war, especially because it’s so easy to see that everybody has at least one good argument on his side. Boy, you must have to have whipped yourself into a real frenzy to let this interfere with your friendships.
This is quite wrong. My piece in no way said I, or anybody who agrees with me, now “hate” our friends who are antiwar. I certainly don’t, and find it hard to imagine hating anybody I’d otherwise come to call my friend because we disagree on political matters. In fact, any fair reading of my article would see real sadness over the fact that we can’t talk to each other about the war any longer, because in some cases, the anti-war friends have become emotional and irrational. Calling them irrational is not “demonization;” it’s true.
Being against the war is not evidence of irrationality. I do believe there are rational arguments against the war, by which I mean arguments based on reasonable premises. I don’t happen to find any of them convincing, but they are certainly there. My complaint is about friends I know and care about who become very angry when talking about the war, and start fulminating about Jewish and/or capitalist conspiracies, who start talking about what an inherently evil country America is, or who start yelling about the “rush to war” (yeah, 12 years of sanctions, and months of debate in Congress and in the media, to say nothing of fooling around in the UN Security Council for weeks and weeks). Regrettably, to these friends, one simply has nothing useful to say — and one fears that the friendships may be permanently damaged, and perhaps even abrogated, by the rancor.
I plainly stated in that article that I have chosen not to discuss the war with most of my antiwar friends, for the sake of preserving friendships for which I care a great deal. Yet somehow, Steve concludes that I’m so obsessed with the war that I’m wanting to abandon friends for not agreeing with me! I’ve written him about his errors, and he’s promised to correct his blog entry. I hope he will.
UPDATE: He did. Thanks, Steve.