Friday, May 18, 2012

Alan Dershowitz on religion's role in society

This is quite prophetic, since it's from a year before the 9/11 attacks.

This debate, between Alan Dershowitz and Alan Keyes, took place on September 27, 2000. The entire debate - "Does organized religion have the answers to 21st Century problems?" - is here. This is just Dershowitz's opening statement.

I did watch the whole thing. Keyes is an excellent debater and a superb speaker. He's wrong, I'd say, and he deliberately misinterprets Dershowitz in order to win points with the audience, but he's quite skilled.

I didn't find Keyes very likable, but I was impressed at his abilities. Of course, Dershowitz is no shrinking violet. As the debate continued, the fur really started to fly.

As I noted, this was a year before the 9/11 attacks. It was also four months before George W. Bush was inaugurated as our 43rd president. I thought it was interesting to hear Keyes comment, in his opening statement, on the great economy - how wonderful everyone was doing at the tail-end of the Clinton years. (He didn't put it like that, of course.)

This was a time when the right-wing was pushing tax cuts for the rich because the economy was doing so well, instead of, a year or so later, when they were pushing tax cuts for the rich because the economy was doing poorly. (It's interesting how tax cuts for the rich are the perfect solution to every situation, don't you think?)

Anyway, it seems almost old fashioned these days to hear that optimism about America's economy. Well, it's amazing what eight years of George W. Bush can do to a country!

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