by Patrick Appel

Yglesias's understanding of American Taliban mirrors mine and Conor's:

This stuff doesn’t win votes anyone because, after all, it’s a form of preaching to the choir. Which is finethe choir needs some sermons. But there’s no real upside in lying to the choir. Political movements need to adapt to the actual situation, and that means having an accurate understanding of your foes. You need to see them as they actually are so that you know the right way to respond. Either underestimating or overestimating their level of viciousness and evil can lead to serious miscalculations. Which is just to say that getting this stuff right is more important than coming up with funny put-downs.

Ta-Nehisi's view:

As is often the case, with arguments that lead with analogy, the point isn't to clarify anything, it's to turn heads. Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not think you claim that Glenn Beck is the white Malcolm X because you think it's a particularly astute analysis; you do it because it will get you on the Atlantic Wire. I don't believe you claim that the American right's tactics are "almost indistinguishable" from the Taliban because you think it's adroit and original. You do it to elbow your way up the best-seller list.

That's fine--it's an accepted strategy. But speaking only for me, if your committment is to making me look, as opposed to making me think, expect that I will only look once. Everything you say afterward is compromised in my eyes.

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