In response to some seriously righteous indignation from John Cole, I want to bring back a post I wrote in my previous blog-life that I think applies:

Wading into this whole debate about Kos’ American Taliban, I think we’ll see that the difference between “difference in degree” and “difference in kind” dissolves when you realize that the whole question centers around values, which is what puts the lie to both Kos and his (in this particular case) conservative doppleganger Jonah Goldberg. Kos wants to make the argument that in, say, hatred of women’s sexuality, American Christian conservatives and the Taliban are different only in the ways they express that hatred – ie, the values are the same but they’re just enacted more moderately here. And these kinds of situations often leave people fumbling around finding differences of differences of differences. But really the answer is: how you decide to enact your value is in-and-of-itself a value. All of us, all the time, carry around all kinds of values and beliefs and urges about all kinds of things that clash, compete, and in the end mitigate each other. The reason Christian conservatives in America are not regularly stoning or disfiguring women is because they think its wrong, and their value of “don’t physically harm other people” outweighs their value of “women who have violated traditional sexual norms deserve to be punished.” The value of “respecting the democratic process” is important enough in the United States that it outweighs the desire of both sides to see their side in power, and it is in fact exactly this that we are trying to instill in the Taliban! We want opposing factions and radicals and extremists and violent types everywhere to sublimate those beliefs to a shared belief in values like “thou shalt not kill” and “let’s make rules and follow them.” This is why conservatives aren’t the Taliban, Hillary Clinton isn’t Mussolini and everybody needs to seriously CTFO.

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