Tuesday, November 12, 2013

George Orwell's Observation of Hypocrisy (With 2 Examples, One Less Serious)

I'm no expert on US foreign policy but in some ways I don't have to be. Human nature pretty much stays the same over the years and follows the same rules. George Orwell had an observation about the press coverage of the Spanish Civil War:

I have little direct evidence about the atrocities in the Spanish civil war. I know that some were committed by the Republicans, and far more (they are still continuing) by the Fascists. But what impressed me then, and has impressed me ever since, is that atrocities are believed in or disbelieved in solely on grounds of political predilection. Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence. Recently I drew up a table of atrocities during the period between 1918 and the present; there was never a year when atrocities were not occurring somewhere or other, and there was hardly a single case when the Left and the Right believed in the same stories simultaneously. And stranger yet, at any moment the situation can suddenly reverse itself and yesterday's proved-to-the-hilt atrocity story can become a ridiculous lie, merely because the political landscape has changed.
So I wasn't surprised to see when I came upon this in an article about whether the US recognizes that Iran is entitled to be enriching uranium, that it went back on its word:

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who is leading the U.S. delegation at the nuclear talks (as long as John Kerry isn't in the room), denied Iran's right to enrich uranium during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month. "It has always been the U.S. position," she told Florida Senator Marco Rubio, "that Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all."

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on November 6, an unnamed "senior administration official" insisted that "the United States does not believe there is an inherent right to enrichment, and we have said that repeatedly to Iran." He added later that "the United States does not believe any country has a right... We believe Iran does not have a right. We don't believe any country has a right."

[...]
"They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose," Kerry said.[...]U.S. Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Thomas D'Agostino said at a press briefing in Vienna. "We believe quite strongly that nations have the right to develop their civil programs for civil purposes," D'Agostino said when asked specifically about Jordan's nascent nuclear program. "We are not trying to tell other nations that you can't have enrichment."

On a lighter note: the same human nature is hilariously at work when looking at what political values -- real or imaginary -- a children's cartoon has. When Spongebob Squarepants supposedly talked they were quick to play the fairness card (which they usually believe is an enemy of free speech whenever the law comes up):

CARLSON: We all know that SpongeBob is popular with the kids and for the life of me I still keep trying to figure out why it is. My kids watch limited TV but every time they chose that show, I'm like, 'Why?' Anyway -- it's hard to even follow sometimes. Anyway now maybe that will be a good thing because SpongeBob is talking a lot about global warming, and he's only looking at it from one point of view.  (Media Matters via  Gawker via Mother Jones)
However, play the right song (he gets fired and is determined to have his job back) Fox News observes that:
“Even SpongeBob SquarePants isn’t safe from corporate down sizing….The harsh economic climate has hit the underwater community … Instead of mooching off social services in Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob sets out to return to the workforce,” Fox News anchor Heather Nauert said during an Oct. 31 broadcast of “Fox and Friends.” (Politico)
Apparantly, there can't be two sides to reality, except when one of them is YOUR side.

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