Standards

Are we held to higher standards than the Left?  Thinking so is morally hazardous, because one can very easily fall into a mindset that dismisses any criticism of bad behavior on the Right, i.e. we start refusing to hold ourselves to any standard higher than we would imagine the media applying to the Left.  On the other hand, what if it’s actually true?

R. R. Reno is very, very sorry that First Things published an essay by Rabbi Gilles Bernheim in which it turns out the good Rabbi plagiarized a good part of the material.  He insists that the downfall of the Chief Rabbi of France has nothing to do with him having taken on the most powerful lobby in history; it was purely a matter of professional ethics.

The first thing to say is that this affair can’t be interpreted as an example of progressives hunting down dissenters. Bernheim took a strong stand on a controversial issue, but it wasn’t his opposition to gay marriage that precipitated the scandal. It was his dishonesty. These transgressions of basic academic integrity were uncovered by Jean-Noël Darde, a plagiarism watchdog, not a gay activist.

Ah, but how can we be sure?  I suppose the only way would be if we could study a case where a religious figure associated with a Leftist cause was credibly accused of plagiarism, or something of that sort.  Would such a figure be renounced by everyone and held in disgrace?  Would it be ignored?  Would excuses be made, e.g. that the citation standards in religious rhetoric are not the same as in academic writing?

It’s too bad we don’t know of any such case.  It would have made for an interesting comparison.

5 Responses

  1. I disagree with Reno. It was almost certainly Bernheim’s opposition to gay marriage that “precipitated” the scandal, insofar as it caused the “plagiarism watchdogs” to start sniffing round for something scandalous. Bernheim’s dishonesty was, like water vapor, bound to remain invisible until the condensation nuclei of a politically incorrect opinion came along.

  2. I have a dream that someday leftist mythology will be demolished…

  3. Ich bin ein agreer-with-you.

  4. I wonder how many of the writers at First Things would even get the joke.

  5. Beat me to the punch, dangit.

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