The Jury Talks Back

8/12/2017

Keith Ellison Saying Kim Is “More Responsible” Than Trump Is Part Of A Disturbing Pattern Of Moral Equivalence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:13 am

You may have heard that Keith Ellison — a guy who came within a whisker of being the DNC Chair — yesterday claimed that Kim Jong-un is “more responsible” than Donald Trump:

North Korea is a serious thing. You have this guy making bellicose threats against somebody else who has very little to lose over there.

Kim Jong-un, the world always thought he was not a responsible leader, well he’s acting more responsible than this guy is.

“This guy” is a reference to Donald Trump.

I’m tempted to take the Lord’s full name in vain, complete with the middle initial, and include the concept of a popsicle stick. What a ridiculous, absurd, stupid, over the top thing to say.

Ellison has retracted the statement, but he meant it when he made it. It’s worth talking about how absurd it is — and how it’s part of a pattern of Americans drawing a false moral equivalence between evil dictators and the United States.

Even if we’re just talking rhetoric, Ellison is full of it. You don’t have to agree with Trump’s rhetoric (I don’t) to recognize that Kim’s rhetoric is far less responsible. At Hot Air, the always thorough John Sexton gives several examples of Kim’s explicit threats of aggressive nuclear first strikes against the United States. The threats have been going on for years, and most sentient beings are familiar with them.

But to me, the outrageousness of Ellison’s statement goes deeper than a mere comparison of the rhetoric.Look: Trump may display all of the Seven Deadly Sins. He may be a personally awful human being all the way around. (OK, forget “may.” He does, and he is.) But Kim is evil. His regime is evil. He starves his people, runs secretive prison camps for political opponents, and engages in murder, rape, and torture as a matter of government policy. There is zero free press. The entire nation is one giant personality cult. As cultish as some Trumpers can be, there is no comparison between the two countries. Anyone who says there is — or that Trump is worse — is giving aid and comfort to one of the most purely malevolent regimes on the planet.

Ellison isn’t the only one trying to equate Trump (in Ellison’s case unfavorably) with Kim. Here’s Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor with over 215,000 Twitter followers:

I like the response of Popehat’s Patrick Non-White:

Joking around that Trump is a lunatic like Kim is one thing. I happen to think they both have a screw loose. But to seriously assert that Trump is less responsible than Kim, or that there is an equivalence between the two regimes, is absurdly myopic and morally wrong.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the villainy of Kim’s North Korea. Leftists ought to keep that in mind when they make flippant remarks like Ellison made yesterday.

FROM THE “BOTH SIDES DO IT” FILE: I hate to disturb your partisan pleasure in mocking leftists, but I can’t let Trump and his minions off the hook entirely. Because he and his supporters have engaged in a disturbing trend of their own, in straining to find good qualities in Vladimir Putin, and to equate his atrocities with America’s actions.

Take Roy Moore, who this week declared his kinship with Putin in declaring American to be the “focus of evil” in the world:

In an interview with the Guardian’s Anywhere But Washington series, Moore also said that Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration about the Soviet Union being “the focus of evil in the modern world” might today be applied to the US.

“You could say that about America, couldn’t you?” he said. “We promote a lot of bad things.” Asked for an example, he replied: “Same-sex marriage.”

When it was pointed out to Moore that his arguments on gay rights and morality were the same as those of the Russian leader, he replied: “Well, maybe Putin is right.” He added: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

This is an organized plot to cause me to violate the Third Commandment, isn’t it?

And those with keen memories will easily recall how Trump shrugged off complaints that Vladimir Putin kills critics with a flip “hey we all do bad stuff” remark:

TRUMP: I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world —

O’REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: — major fight, that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea. It’s very possible —

O’REILLY: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

TRUMP: A lot of killers. You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?

I’m not here to say America hasn’t done bad things. But we are not Kim Jong-un’s North Korea. Explain that to Keith Ellison and Jay Rosen. And we are not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Explain that to Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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