Stateside,  Vote 2012

The wisdom of Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is sometimes portrayed as a thoughtful, studious “man of ideas” (he’s a former college professor, after all, albeit one who was denied tenure).

Now that Gingrich is leading the pack in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, it’s probably worth revisiting some of the products of that supposedly impressive mind of his– like this, from last March:

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” he said. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

A secular atheist country potentially dominated by radical Islamists? That’s what comes from stringing together insults and scare words without caring how (or if) they fit together– like “liberal Communists.”

A Gingrich aide later [said] that he was not talking about an unholy alliance of secular atheists and “radical Islamists,” saying “‘Or’ should have come before the word ‘potentially’.”

That doesn’t make it any more sensible. If indeed that’s what Gingrich meant, he seems to be saying that a secular, atheist takeover of America is about as likely as a radical Islamist takeover– and they are equally dangerous. Essentially he’s equating secular atheism with radical Islamism.

Now you can despise secular atheism, or you can despise radical Islamism, or you can despise both. But a brilliant thinker like Gingrich should be able to discern that they are two very different phenomena. Shouldn’t he?

Update: I suspect he does understand that. He is simply playing to what he considers the gullibility and lack of understanding of rank-and-file Republicans.

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