More recently, I entered the moral hazard zone by getting into a colloquoy over at TPMCafe wherein I criticized a trend among some progressives focused on the NSA surveillance story to speak fondly of people like Grover Norquist and Paul Weyrich. In responding to Matt Yglesias' suggestion that Norquist's position against the NSA program indicated that Grover wasn't all bad, I said: "Matt, Grover Norquist is all bad; if you look up 'bad' in the dictionary, you see his photo."
Now I'm perfectly willing to stand by the argument that Norquist's politics are all bad, and indeed, that his opposition to NSA surveillance is based on well-articulated Norquistian positions that are bad as well. But I probably implied that I knew Norquist was an evil person, and that's a judgment that should be consigned to his actual friends and associates, and to the Almighty. I've met the guy exactly once, when I debated him on CSPAN after writing a very hostile profile of him in Blueprint magazine, which now seems more accurate than ever. Up close, I did observe that he looked remarkably average physically, given his self-identification as a macho guy who likes gunplay, uses violent language in attacking his enemies, and once spent a lot of time hanging out with guerillas in Angola and Mozambique. But I didn't smell the brimstone, see the horns, or hear anything that made me certain I knew the dark depths of his soul.
My allegiances are clear; my conviction of the moral superiority of progressivism and the Democratic Party is unequivocal. But if we are, to use the overworn but useful phrase, the "reality-based community," it's important that we stick to what we actually know, and let the other side become the party of know-it-alls who really are know-nothings.
MetaDash is a Dashboard widget for Mac OS X 10.4.2. It behaves as a RSS feed viewer for Metafilter, Ask Metafilter, and Monkeyfilter (and can be extended to some other site feeds). Additionally, news items can be added automatically to the del.icio.us online bookmarking service with one click (free account req'd). (15 Jan 2006)
Note: MetaDash is no longer available for download. Please respect the developer's wishes and do not illegally redistribute copies. Please contact the developer for more information. (7 Feb 2006)
535 ~$ telnet reynolds.bio.upenn.edu 80
Connected to support-reynolds.bio.upenn.edu.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /metadash/ HTTP/1.1
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 03:56:14 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.33 (Darwin) PHP/5.1.2
Last-Modified: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 00:12:20 GMT