A cou­ple days back PZ posted a com­ment on some­thing new called Conservapedia, which is a right-​​wing reli­gious answer to Wikipedia and, like every other thing in their bizarro world, it essen­tially exposes them as the char­la­tans they are.

To be sure, Wikipedia has its prob­lems. Sometimes the posts aren’t entirely accu­rate, and in some cases it’s clear that the wiki’s edi­tors are more inter­ested in ego stroking than pro­mot­ing facts — but then, this is the case with all branches of acad­e­mia and human endeavor. Lampooned in the likes of Mad mag­a­zine, Wikipedia is far from being a nest of inac­cu­ra­cies and non­sense; it’s actu­ally a well-​​honed and fairly well-​​done repos­i­tory of human knowl­edge of an absolutely stun­ning vari­ety, from the minute arcana of ancient his­tory to the breath­less fas­ci­na­tion with mod­ern pop culture.

Enter, then, Conservapedia, which illus­trates just how thor­oughly the Einsatzgruppen-​​ÜberKristians have co-​​opted the moniker con­ser­v­a­tive. True con­ser­v­a­tives are remark­ably like sci­en­tists in that they want to rely on evi­dence rather than faith to reach con­clu­sions, they aren’t ready to embrace the lat­est fad just to keep up, and they pre­fer to keep gov­ern­ment the hell out of everyone’s lives.

The con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment in the US today is about as far from these ideals as it’s pos­si­ble to be.

But the polar oppo­site of con­ser­vatism is not lib­er­al­ism — after all, both ide­olo­gies have at their core a strong value placed on the worth of human lives and the value of reduc­ing human suf­fer­ing; rather, anti­mat­ter to con­ser­v­a­tives appears to be ramp­ing up debt and expense in the name of foment­ing more war and, as much as pos­si­ble, elim­i­nat­ing reality-​​based teach­ing, fill­ing the heads of chil­dren and adults with the most utterly false bull­shit conceivable.

In his post, Myers makes an inter­est­ing observation.

I look for­ward to see­ing devi­ous exam­ples of the con­ser­v­a­tive posi­tion being del­i­cately exposed as inane. You can’t find a bet­ter exam­ple than their tirade against the biases in Wikipedia, which I sus­pect was writ­ten by a sin­cere con­ser­v­a­tive, but reads like some­thing out of The Onion.

What he’s sug­gest­ing here is that extreme state­ments are indis­tin­guish­able from par­ody — that is, if one of the Einsatzgruppen-​​ÜberKristians declares that Earth was cre­ated in six days and another per­son stands and shouts, “and it’s also flat!”, there is no way to be cer­tain whether the sec­ond per­son was jok­ing or not. This is because of the over­all out­ra­geous­ness of all the atti­tudes held by the Einsatzgruppen-​​ÜberKristians — and it’s a lucid truth deli­ciously exploited reg­u­larly by Stephen Colbert.

In short, every­thing they say is nutty, so it’s just not pos­si­ble to tell if any one state­ment is meant to be taken seri­ously or not.

The prob­lem is that this is true of extrem­ist lib­er­als every bit as much as it is of extrem­ist con­ser­v­a­tives, and sadly enough it was another com­ment on Pharyngula that led me to this con­clu­sion.

It seems that as part of their train­ing, law enforce­ment offi­cials are put into mock sit­u­a­tions where they have to show accu­rate and instant judg­ment. While the link ref­er­enced from Myers’s site is not avail­able to me I gather the exer­cise in ques­tion involved a raid wherein some civil­ian types wore even num­bers and oth­ers had odd num­bers. Even num­bers were good; the odd num­bers were perps.

Included in the exer­cise (which was played out with paint­ball guns) was a dog with an odd num­ber on it, and the dog repeat­edly got shot by the “raid­ing party”.

Offered with this was a link to a page dis­cussing some of the more sadis­tic behav­iors of SWAT and other law enforce­ment agen­cies, along with this com­ment from PZ:

Fascist scum­bags. In any­thing other than a police state, you’d expect the law enforcers to be held to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dards of con­duct; in the US, the police with the biggest guns are unre­strained by ordi­nary decency. Slaughtering fam­ily pets is what I’d expect of a psychopath.

I respect Myers. I like a lot of the things he has to say. But I really have to dis­agree with the tone here. While it’s unde­ni­able that sadism in law enforce­ment exists, while it’s cer­tain that some peo­ple and ani­mals are need­lessly wounded or killed — and while it’s inar­guable that this is ter­ri­ble — I think it’s step­ping over the line to sug­gest that cops and their kind are essen­tially all mini-​​Nazis or play­ground bul­lies grown up and given badges.

What PZ and many of his respon­dents seemed to over­look was a salient truth that crim­i­nals who have dogs will often have trained them to attack, and will rely on the ani­mals to go for the throats of the cops who are raid­ing their drug houses. In some cities it is ille­gal for a felon to have a dog for pre­cisely the same rea­son he can­not have a firearm: He’s far too likely to use it as a weapon in an attack on other people.

Cops can be sadis­tic, but let’s try to remem­ber that it’s crim­i­nals who cause crime, and when in the course of the com­mis­sion of their crimes they seek to do harm eiither to cops or bystanders, they must be controlled.

In keep­ing with the con­cerns about par­ody I think I should point out some of the responses to PZ’s post. I can’t tell, frankly, if they’re sin­cere — or meant to sat­i­rize how lib­er­als are per­ceived as being by wingnuts. Here’s one example.

My pol­i­tics can only be described as pro­gres­sive, and I am for the most part a com­plete paci­fist, but one thing I do believe about America is that as long as the police con­tinue to carry guns every US cit­i­zen should have the right to defned them­selves against them, using lethal force if necessary.

I can’t under­stand how in one breath any­one can claim to be a paci­fist — and then go on to advo­cate killing fel­low human beings, par­tic­u­larly those who are sim­ply doing their jobs. (Necessary jobs, too: When your home is being bur­glar­ized, do you call the police or the fuck­ing paramedics?)

One of the things that lib­er­als are sup­posed to pride them­selves on is a lack of big­otry or prej­u­dice; we’re not sup­posed to be as will­ing as oth­ers to assume the worst of some­one. Yet in the fol­low­ing com­ment there is evi­dence which sug­gests that if you scratch a lib­eral, you get a bigot.

The US forces in Iraq like to shoot dogs that are just hang­ing out on the side of the road (video evi­dence on youtube). Also, after Katrina var­i­ous police forces went around shoot­ing dogs for the hell of it. Does dog-​​hating come with the uni­form and the badge?

The quote didn’t come with any sup­port­ing attri­bu­tion, so the YouTube evi­dence is, for all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, nonex­is­tent; and I don’t seem to recall hear­ing of any post-​​Katrina cops “shoot­ing dogs for the hell of it”. If they were in fact shoot­ing some dogs, likely it was to pre­vent them from turn­ing into hunt­ing packs and eat­ing weak­ened and defense­less humans. I pro­foundly doubt it was a god­damned party.

Sadly many of the com­ments seem to range in this direc­tion (though, to be fair, there’s a lot of remon­stra­tion going on as well); while there’s no way at all to form an opin­ion of the lib­eral mind­set from com­ments on any given arti­cle, if even some of these state­ments are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what’s hap­pen­ing in the minds of extreme lib­er­als, I’d sub­mit there’s very lit­tle rec­og­niz­able dif­fer­ence between them and the Einsatzgruppen-​​ÜberKristians who have so com­pletely cor­rupted con­ser­vatism. Simply sub­sti­tute “ter­ror­ist” for “cop” and you’ll see what I mean.

But the most dis­turb­ing post I left for last.

Copkiller” is deri­sive, when it should be a term of respect, even admiration.

If this is lib­er­al­ism I’ll hap­pily turn in my card. I’d much rather do with­out any labels any­way — and I will not run with psychopaths.

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