16 January 2010
The idiocy of Pat Robertson
There's an insightful take, though: here.
One odd thing about the now infamous comment is that Robertson has his Napoleons confused. He said the Haitians were in rebellion against "Napoleon III or whatever." Maybe he has Haitian history and Mexican history confused.
"Ah, but I admitted the possibility that it was really Emperor Whatever!"
Yeah, those fifth of May celebrations are fun, Pat. But put down the Corona and listen for a sec.
I suspect there is something more than ignorance at work in getting the Napoleons mixed up. Robertsonian history would locate the rebellion in the 1850s or 1860s, the period of the nephew's imperium. That moves it out of its true context. The French Revolutionary government promised the slaves of the French empire their freedom, and all the subjects of the empire full citizenship.
After Napoleon (the first!) overthrew the late-revolutionary Directorate, (after he took its bones apart) he was determined to ignore this decree, and carry on business as a proper monarch should.
If Robertson had recognized this much, he might have had to ask himself: Should the Haitians have passively accepted their continued subjugation? should the slaves among them have accepted the hell-on-earth that their lives had become? Would that have been godly of them? His implication is that if you believe in a supernatural Being who helps the slaves and oppressed of this world -- who ensures that over time (though the periods involved can be fristratingly long from a human POV) the slave-master fails and freedopm prevails -- then the Being you recognize is the devil. It seems to me that a much more appropriate name for that Being is: God.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.