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November 14, 2008

Extremism in Defense of Extremism

Announcing that Iran had just successfully tested a missile able to reach Europe, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad informed the world that "the Iranian nation defends its dignity. Should any power stand against the Iranian nation, the Iranian people will crush it under its foot and will strike it on the mouth." While the notion itself is somewhat unsettling, we can take comic relief in his choice of words—how exactly will the Iranian people crush a power under their feet while striking it in the mouth? We're not sure, but it reminds of some of the words used by fringe types of yesterday and today.

Hugo Chavez
There's Hugo Chavez's 2006 speech to the United Nations, in which he said this: "The Devil is right at home. The Devil, the Devil himself, is right in the house. And the Devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the Devil came here. Right here. [crosses himself] And it smells of sulphur still today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the Devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world."

Of course, we can't forget Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, who once declared "there is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet."

Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf has given us some rather important pieces of information: "The midget Bush and that Rumsfield deserve only to be beaten with shoes by freedom loving people everywhere," and "my feelings—as usual—we will slaughter them all," which seems to concur with, "our initial assessment is that they will all die."

Saparmurat Niyazov, a.k.a. the Turkmenbashi, once said of the many monuments to himself, "I admit it, there are too many portraits, pictures and monuments. I don't find any pleasure in it, but the people demand it because of their mentality."

The United States has plenty of extremists, as well, such as Pat Robertson, who warned us that "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Robertson's right-wing fellow traveler, Tom DeLay, once astutely observed that "nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes."

America's far-right does not have a monopoly on lunacy, however, as novelist Erica Jong proved with this prediction: "If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets."

Well, we can all be thankful that hasn't come to pass, now can't we?

(Photo of Hugo Chavez poster courtesy blmurch's Flickr.)

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