Richard Goldstone, head of the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, gestures prior to delivering a report at the session of the Human Rights Council. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)
Richard Goldstone's report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Israel's invasion of Gaza appears to have struck a nerve. Even given the extreme defensiveness typical of Israel's government and its apologists, the reaction to Goldstone's investigation has been astonishing in its hyperbolic fury.
The Dalai Lama greets a supporter after his press conference Saturday, October 3, 2009 at the Bell Center in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
Tibet sometimes seems like a case study in the futility of peaceful resistance. It has been occupied by the Chinese since 1949, two years after the creation of Israel led to the dispossession of the Palestinians. Unlike the Palestinians, the Tibetans have rarely resorted to violence or made common cause with terrorists of the far right or far left. Instead the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who lives in exile in Dharamsala, India, embraced liberal democracy and fused modernity with religion in a way that's both inspiring and unprecedented. The Tibetans did everything in exact accordance with Western liberal values, and so far it has gotten them very little.
Now that popular conservatism has given itself over so avidly to racial resentment, it's curious to remember how hard the right once tried to scrub itself of the lingering taint of prejudice. Indeed, for a decade and a half the Christian right -- until recently the most powerful and visible grassroots conservative movement -- struggled mightily to escape its own bigoted history. In his 1996 book Active Faith
Recently, we've seen the radically different ways that Democrats and Republicans deal with political radicalism in their ranks.
Throughout the summer, right-wing protestors descended upon town halls nationwide screaming about socialism and death panels, and the GOP consistently defended them and egged them on -- even when they came with guns. Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann called on her supporters "to slit our wrists" in a blood covenant against the Democrats' health-care reform plans, and though more sober members of her party may have been privately embarrassed, no one rebuked her publicly.