There is no such thing as political neutrality

Being evenhanded with evil ideas is "ridiculous," argues Martin Amis.

MARTIN AMIS: Salman Rushdie has argued that you can't be—you know, it's idiotic to say you're above politics, because politics is all around you and above you and beneath you. I was resistant to that idea, but it's clearly true, isn't it, that it's very hard to imagine a piece of writing or a longish speech that doesn't have political bearing on us all. So I think neutrality is a chimera. It's not there. It's a mythical creature.

And evenhandedness is its own trap as well. I mean if the press had not been so "evenhanded" we would have President Clinton and not President Trump. Some things are so clearly wrong, so unshirkably ill-advised that I think being evenhanded about it is ridiculous. What do you do with Alex Jones and those people who harass the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or Parkland, Florida, and say – and threaten them with death and say they're worthless—what is the phrase – emergency actors, crisis actors. Now I'm not going to sit down and say well let's go through your points one after the other. And we hear a great deal about being respectful to white supremacists. I'm not going to be respectful. I haven't got it in me to be respectful of that. Some things are malum per se, evil in themselves and the crisis actor business is one of them.

  • Every piece of writing has a political bent, says Amis. Thus, in his view, neutrality is a chimera — a "mythical creature."
  • Some things are so "unshirkably ill-advised" — such as white supremacy — that Amis believes treating such views "evenhandedly," as an alternative perspective of equal moral standing to others, is ridiculous.
  • Amis says that he doesn't have it in him to be respectful toward people who harass the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or Parkland, Florida.

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