Hilzoy Speak, You Listen

While still ardent in her conviction to make her cold turkey retirement from blogging a permanent one, beloved ObWi ex-pat Hilzoy sends us this all-too brief dispatch (courtesy Donkeylicious) on why, if we can’t exactly trust Assad re: Russia’s opportune embrace of Kerry’s apparently off-the-cuff Syrian CW solution, we at least can count on the naked self-interest of Bashar’s key international patron to overshadow all other concerns:

Suppose that Syria does not turn over all its chemical weapons. Suppose that Russia knows this. Russia has still staked its credibility, such as it is, on this lie. If Syria uses CW afterwards, it is basically burning its major ally and arms supplier.

I do not think that Assad would do this. And my reasons for thinking this have nothing at all to do with trusting him.

Related: More from Brookings scholar Fiona Hill on Russia’s ongoing realpolitik maneuvers re: Syria and why Western media and analysts are fundamentally misreading Putin’s pro-status quo Mideast policy.

Privilege In A Nutshell (Or, There You Go Again, Richard Dawkins)

Richard Dawkins

Srsly, WTF?

In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”

Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.

Wait — it gets better:

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today… .”

Judging by his response to Dawkins’ obtuse, it’s-not-rape-rape-amirite vapidity, Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, clearly recognizes the value in wearing a fresh pair of Cap’n Obvs undies:

“Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,” Watt said. “But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.”

Indeed. For someone who has steadfastly claimed the mantle of elevated reason as his demonstrative trademark, Richard Dawkins seems to cavalierly ejaculate his neuroses — and, especially, his wholly unchecked privilege — all over the face of the body politic rather frequently and with little regard for the outcome.

Though I’m certain the good doctor believes it to be but a mild violation. Natch.


Update: The full interview, liberated by Dawkins’ site from behind the Great Wall of Murdoch, compounds previously-excerpted remarks with until-now undisclosed gems such as this:

“Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”

Which nicely dovetails with prior downward-spiral statements from Dawkins re: systemic Papal abuse (shorter: God-bothering > buggery):

‘Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.’

Yeah. Fuck this guy.