Malacandra.me

Today In Conclusion-Jumping



A whole lot of people with vastly greater access to the media than you and me are very concerned about other people jumping to recklessly speculative conclusions in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.

 Glenn Greenwald via Bill Moyers:
In this conversation with Bill, The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald describes the manhunt for the perpetrators of the Boston marathon bombings as a “political event” that connects to larger questions about our culture, and explains how, in the wake of the event, people were forming opinions about the world and government based on little information.
Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic:
Given all that, the habit of suspending judgment on matters of terrorism, pending a trial or a fuller airing of facts, doesn't seem like "left-liberal self parody" so much as a prudent, disciplined skepticism.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:
Please. Just stop this.

...if there's anything we've learned over the last week, it's that jumping to conclusions on this stuff is foolish. Our natural curiosity isn't a good enough reason to rush to judgment... Just wait. There's no harm in it. We'll find out soon enough.
I wholeheartedly agree and call upon everyone within the sound of this blog to, for goodness sake, please stop with the wild, reckless speculation about the awful things the government might do in the  Tsarnaev case. In Mr. Greenwald's words, "people [are] forming opinions about the world and government based on little information..." and helping to harden those opinions with rampant, fact-free spitballing about every titillatingly fascistic scenario the government might possibly engage in with no facts in-hand whatsoever is deeply irresponsible.

Of course our government does some truly dreadful things, but our government also does some genuinely fine, noble and humane things every day, and it's just so lazy and cynical to immediately assume that in the Tsarnaev case, the government will automatically take the worst and lowest road to authoritari...

What's that?

 Oh, they're not warning us about jumping to wild conclusions about all the dark and dire things our elected representatives might do?

 They're warning us:
...What we know about Tamerlan Tsarnaev is that he was (a) Muslim and (b) enraged about something. Was he enraged, a la Sayyid Qutb, about the sexual libertinism of American culture? Was he enraged about perceived American support for Russia against Chechen rebels? Was he enraged about American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was he acting on orders from a foreign terrorist group?

We don't know yet. Yes, there's plainly evidence of his growing Islamic extremism over the past three years. But if there's anything we've learned over the last week, it's that jumping to conclusions on this stuff is foolish. Our natural curiosity isn't a good enough reason to rush to judgment about Tsarnaev's motivations. Just wait. There's no harm in it. We'll find out soon enough.
Oh.

Well.