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Democrat Drops MN State House Run After Tweeting 'ISIS Isn't Necessarily Evil' (startribune.com) 519

An anonymous reader writes: Dan Kimmel, who works for U.S. Bank in its technology and operations section, dropped out of the race for a Minnesota House seat after unleashing a firestorm of criticism. The controversy erupted after Kimmel tweeted, "ISIS isn't necessarily evil. It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though." The tweet rapidly led to harsh criticism on twitter and spread from there. The DFL Party Chair issued a statement saying that Kimmel's "views have no place in our party. On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. ..." The House Minority Leader for the DFL called for Kimmel to end his campaign. Kimmel issued a written apology and withdrew from the race.
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Democrat Drops MN State House Run After Tweeting 'ISIS Isn't Necessarily Evil'

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  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:17AM (#50939011)

    Chopping people's heads off to make a point and to recruit more crazies is not necessarily evil... uh huh. And Aristotle taught us that violence IS the answer. "We make war so that we may live in peace". This "violence is never the answer" is just a meaningless feel good politically correct statement to appease the liberal left. There is violence for the right reasons, and violence for the wrong reasons. We need more violence for the right reasons because war, after all, is a contest of violence. These crazy people must be rooted out and dealt with.

    • by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:32AM (#50939111)

      I agree with you about violence. But on evil, he's right of course, but as a politician he's a fool to have imagined a cerebral point about moral relativism wouldn't be misinterpreted by the people at large, or misrepresented by his enemies as support for ISIS.

      ISIS are evil by my definition of evil, and I'd gladly see them all hang. By their definition of evil, I'm evil, and they'd gladly see me hang. So, I bomb them, and they abduct and decapitate me.

      I still think I'm right - I'm not saying that I think there's any moral equivalence between me and them. But I'm able to see that they have exactly the reverse position, and thus that in their minds, they're not just not evil, but even rigtheously good.

      Saying "ISIS aren't evil" as a shorthand for all that is not likely to get people's votes. Hell, even saying all that is likely to piss off people who see the world in simplistic black and white (as I believe the majority do).

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:48AM (#50939217)
        Oh yes I'm sure ISIS believe themselves to be fighting for god and all sorts of good things especially when they're hooked on Captagon [cnn.com]. But what they are fighting for is an islamic caliphate where they see themselves as the warriors who brought this caliphate into being entrenched firmly at the top, and everyone else their slaves paying tribute in goods and women. While this is not necessarily evil if you happen to be in charge of this caliphate, it certainly is evil to today's current social order. While the western system is far from perfect it attempts to reward individual effort and permit individual expression. I for one am not prepared to see this situation change and if I have to be called "extremist" for this view by ignorant fools then so be it. It's easy to say there's no absolutes and no black and white, but in war you only get to pick one side or the other.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          You have to remember that individual expression is bad to them. Conformity in worshipping Allah and serving those ranked higher than yourself is the only moral way to live. That's how it was in Mohammed's time, that's how he lived, so to them it's the ideal.

    • And Aristotle taught us that violence IS the answer. "We make war so that we may live in peace".

      Aristotle made many dubious claims (and many good ones). An improvement over Plato, to be sure, but not always.

      Augustine echoed the same sentiments later, setting the stage for the "Just War Theory" that the Jesuits still push forward today - even Bush the Second used Augustinian rationalization to go to war in Iraq.

      Modern ethics understands that the means are what's important - not the ends. Just ends can be a

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        "Modern ethics understands that the means are what's important - not the ends."

        Then modern ethics - read "liberal" values - are full of shit. The means might be important but the end is far more so unless its trivia like a kids egg and spoon race. The whole "he played fair but lost, what a good chap" ethos fails miserably in war if by playing fair you and your whole family end up dead.

        "Violence has only one place - in response to unprovoked aggression"

        So you think terrorists should be allowed to commit an a

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

          So you think terrorists should be allowed to commit an act before they're captured or killed then?

          Personally I think it's hard to try someone for a crime they haven't done yet. The criminal always has the initiative. But there is common sense and warning signs that can let you catch them at the "conspiracy" stage. And you don't let mullahs go around in the mosques you let build in your country preach "death to the West".

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

        Violence has only one place - in response to unprovoked aggression.

        And I say there's no such thing as unprovoked aggression because I am sure the side doing the aggression will list any number of excuses to justify their action. The ideal solution to all these problems is education. Only education has shown its ability to reduce religious fanaticism. But we don't live in an ideal world. Education takes time and political stability, neither of which we have. So we are left with one option - to defend our values and way of life, by force if necessary.

        • Wait, doesn't the leader of ISIS have a PhD? Didn't like 8 of the 9/11 attackers have engineering degrees?

          I think we can toss "education" on the does-not-work pile.

          • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

            Wait, doesn't the leader of ISIS have a PhD? Didn't like 8 of the 9/11 attackers have engineering degrees? I think we can toss "education" on the does-not-work pile.

            I'm pretty sure the leader of ISIS is not doing any shooting or suicide bombing. He's the one who is good at manipulating the others into doing stuff for him. Hell he probably doesn't even believe in Allah or Mohammed - but he sure as hell gives the impression he does. I'm talking about the poor fool who agrees to be sent on a suicide mission in the hope of a better life. He's the one who needs education.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      These crazy people must be rooted out and dealt with.

      They aren't crazy. You're failing to understand their motivations, which means you're failing to combat those motivations. Escalating the "kill a few, create a thousand" strategy of fighting terrorists will have predictable results, and maybe the next dead civilian will be someone you care about. We've tried stupid reactionary wars. It was called the Bush administration, and it got us where we are today. Lets try being smarter about it instead of doubling-down on stupid.

      • by Rob MacDonald ( 3394145 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @10:17AM (#50939421)
        Careful injection reason into these type of conversations. See, the fact is, these people are sub human and evil and there is no reason behind it. /end sarcasm While we continue to ignore the reasons that people join with these monsters, we will only ever add more monsters. It's as simple as that. We can't fight terrorism by fighting the symptoms alone, we must also fight the cause. As long as people feel they have no other resource but to join with these people, these terrorists will always have numbers. What makes someone willing to sacrifice their life for a cause? Desperation? Determination? What exactly is it? It's a fight for survival. Our troops enlist and give up their lives to help our way of life survive. Yet we want to pretend some of the enemy doesn't do this for the exact same reason? I guess I'm naive to think that a lot of these people are doing this for more reasons that to just straight up murder people. It's like saying all elisted troops are well adjusted people who just want to do the right thing. That's patently false.
        • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @12:34PM (#50940591)

          I just had this conversation last night. I'm Muslim, at least culturally. I don't really believe anymore.

          I don't know too many people who think people who join ISIS just like to kill people.
          Yes, they want their way of life, and they get their people to join their fight.
          We have our way of life, and we get our people to join our fight.
          Yes, people have reasons.
          Yes, the leaders rally people around causes, sometimes even with bad/alterior motives.
          Yes, the average person normally just wants to live their life.

          But in the end, what does this all matter?
          They're killing, raping, enslaving people.
          Does it matter what made someone a monster? I don't think so.
          Even if someone is born purely genertically a sociopathic murderer, that is what they are.
          You can do what you can to prevent that kind of person from being born/created, but once there, that is what they are.
          People in ISIS are killing people on mass, enslaving people, raping young girls and women, all the while thinking they have a right as per their religion.

          What is evil? What is moral? You don't need to get all philosophical. It's been had 1000 times before. In WW2, the Germans bombed London. But the allies did the same to Germany. Who is really evil?
          I'm going to opt out of that discussion for this post.

          When my relatives sit there and blame everything on the US. The US created ISIS they say. The US created Al-Queda and Sadaam Hussein. It's all done for oil and Israel...

          Unless you're a real libertarian/anarchist, you should come to accept one simple rule in life. You will be living under someone's rule. And being in charge is freakin hard. When Syrians were rising against Assad, the demand on our world leaders was to support the rebels. Well turns out that gave the opportunity for ISIS to rise as rebels. What a mind-fuck of a choice. I personally tend to be a little isolationist in these respects for that reason, but it has to be acknowledged that it means I'd let a Rawandan Genocide happen. Unless you're preapred to be the boss and take over and rule a region for a century or massively invest in it, don't jump in. In these global conflicts, all you can do pick the best/least bad ruler.

          Just like in WW2, you have to kind of put the tactics used on the backburner. Not totally of course ,but you enter a blackhole of immorality. War is sick and depraved and it reduces all of us. You can't be Ghandi about things. Non-violence only works against nice enemies like colonialists, and even then, backrupt colonialists who were pulling out anyways :P
          All you can ask yourself is would you rather have had the Nazi ideology win or the Allies?

          Would you rather be ruled by Putin?
          Would you rather be ruled by ISIS?
          Would you rather be ruled by Saudi Arabia?
          Would you rather be ruled by USA.

          I'm not even American, but the choice is pretty plain to see in my eyes. At this point in history, give me American Rule any day of the week.
          Although, I'll say the Chinese are winning me over to some extent.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

        We've tried stupid reactionary wars.

        Bush toppled a government and occupied a country. He created the instability that led to ISIS. But he did not engage ISIS. So spare us your flawed arguments especially since you are not offering any sort of solution. The motivation of those who wish to see you dead are quite simple. They wish to see you dead [youtube.com].

    • by c ( 8461 )

      Chopping people's heads off to make a point and to recruit more crazies is not necessarily evil... uh huh.

      Well, ISIS doesn't consider it evil. The rest of us think it's batshit crazy evil.

      Getting back on topic, it's one thing for a western politician to argue that ISIS doesn't see their actions as evil; knowing your enemy should always be an input into your engagement strategy, and showing awareness of your enemies twisted viewpoint demonstrates you're not a complete moron.

      But to phrase it they way he did o

      • Saudi Arabia beheads people almost every month. They do it for various reasons from protest against the government to witchcraft. When asked about it, the State Department calls it unfortunate, not batshit crazy evil. Saudi Arabia is on the UN Human Rights Council, IIRC, their position being sponsored by the British government.
        • Saudi Arabia beheads people almost every month.

          And many of the state governments in the US routinely execute people (some innocent) plus the federal government kills innocent people all the time with drone and missile strikes while trying to assassinate people they deem terrorists. You really want to compare the human rights and execution record of the US with Saudi Arabia? It won't be pretty on either side of the ledger.

          When asked about it, the State Department calls it unfortunate, not batshit crazy evil.

          Because of practical Realpolitik [wikipedia.org] reasons. Not as if the US government has its hands clean. If it was politically expedient for the

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Note that 'violence is not the answer' was directed toward ISIS folks, not to our response to ISIS. Note that ISIS is much much larger than the folks that speak and control the rhetoric. The crazy people are empowered in part by our inability and/or unwillingness to make a compelling counter perspective to the folks that get caught up in ISIS nonsense. If there was news that snipers took out a group of people widely believed to be accomplices of ISIS, there would be cheers. That's how ISIS recruits view

    • I think he phrased that wrong. What he probably meant to say is, that ISIS does not regard itself as being evil. For them, we are evil, with our pornography, homosexuality, atheism, idolism, liberalism and other lack of "morals". They consider themselves the righteous defenders of the one true faith, doing the right thing by punishing the unbelievers.

      I think a large part of what is happening these days with islamic extremism can be attributed to "culture shock". Many people underestimate the importance of c

  • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:18AM (#50939021)
    That was going to go down well? After the other night?
  • ISIS is completely unnecessarily evil.

    • And so was bombing Iraq. While I don't agree with the terrorists, I can understand that they return the "favour" that has been done to them (one of the terrorists apparently came from Iraq). I mean, the main difference between "shock and awe" and "terrorism" is "us" and "them". I just don't understand why they do this to France.
      • Re:True enough (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WhatHump ( 951645 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @01:33PM (#50941125)

        There are many reasons for targetting Paris. It's a world-class city, it's streets are alive with locals and tourists, giving gunmen lots of easy targets. The French are very proud of their history as standard-bearers of liberty and freedom, ideals detested by fanatics that treat women like dirt and anyone that does agree with them as candidates for death. And France itself does not have clean hands. Its colonialist past, most recently in Algeria, resulted in a lot of carnage back home.

    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      "ISIS is completely unnecessarily evil."

      Unless you are the government of the USA and need a powerful Sunni militant group to facilitate your goal of regime change in Syria, counter the Shiite Muslim influence in Iraq and undermine the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

  • How is this news for nerds?

    and its only stuff that matters to the people who would have been voting for him

  • Honestly all this does is serve to prove that the people running for any office are some of the absolute dumbest people in our society. Because smart people don't want to have anything at all to do with it because you have to deal with the general population and that is the largest collection of dumb there is.

  • You could almost say this of Daesh even a few years ago, when they kept their antics mostly confined to their own territory. You'd still be wrong, because that argument requires you to ignore both the sheer enormity of the things they do to inside that territory and the blatant expansionism they practiced and continue to practice, but the argument could at least be considered semi-reasonable.

    But that was before they started going after their own refugees: people who were outright running away. Quarrel or no

    • It is millenia old islamic tradition to purge all heterodox religions or ideologies they can with extreme prejudice, such as polytheists, Christians, Zoroastrians and the most hated of them, muslims of different branches such as Sunni vs Shia. Any sort of disagreement they consider a threat. And they're not alone in that. Even "civilized" nations are full of such mindset. Only threat of mutual nuclear destruction prevents large scale wars. Actually, that gives an idea: someone should give some nuclear weapo
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Monday November 16, 2015 @09:47AM (#50939213)

    I guess I've heard shit like that before. From my German-side Grandpa.

    I think there is a distinct area in which people and their views can be placed that is undoubtedly evil. Holding abysmally absurd theo-fascist views, chopping peoples heads of whilst chanting praises to your utlitmate-dictator-in-the-heavens god, preaching and trying to practice genocide, believing in truth by revelation rather than insight and forcing that truth to others at gunpoint, etc. pretty much puts people smack center of the 'evil' designation in my book. And in most other peoples book aswell, I would presume.

    Give us an effin' break - please.

    • pretty much puts people smack center of the 'evil' designation in my book.

      What about in the book of an ISIS fighter?

      That's the thing about evil. It doesn't have an absolute definition, and it is entirely dependent on the point of view. They are evil in my book too, so was Hitler, but don't forget that Hitler got to power via popular vote.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @10:00AM (#50939295)

    In the real world, "evil" people almost always think they do what they think is best for something.
    If ISIS cannot be considered evil, then true evil only exist in fiction, and even then, it's only when writers don't put much thought into their villains.

    Maybe that's actually the point : there is a bit of good in all of us, even the worst.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In the real world, "evil" people almost always think they do what they think is best for something.

      Yeah, best for themselves. You think a thief isn't pissed when he's robbed? The bully when he's beaten up? I don't think your average criminal believes he's got any moral high ground, he simply has the power and is using it for personal gain. A few might because they believe it serves the greater good or divine will or whatever ranging from civil disobedience to jihadists, but that's the exception not the norm.

    • I see more of the corollary - there's a bit of evil in all of us, and as soon as we're willing to commit atrocities in the pursuit of a "higher good", the distinction between us and the evil we fight becomes theoretical.

  • by timholman ( 71886 ) on Monday November 16, 2015 @10:14AM (#50939399)

    You know, sooner or later people might get it through their heads that using Twitter is a strategy for fools.

    You have two choices with Twitter: either you tweet some meaningless groupthink post, guaranteed not to offend anyone, OR you post something that offends someone, somewhere. And if you offend enough people, suddenly your life and career are in tatters when the Internet mob turns on you.

    You'd think that enough peoples' lives have been ruined by thoughtless tweets that the lesson would have been learned. But it seems there's always another fool just waiting to make an example of him/herself.

  • "ISIS isn't necessarily evil. It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though."

    Kimmel's views have no place in our party.

    Oh, the pompous Democratic assholes — the above-quoted view was perfectly in line with the party's (including government officials [conservativetribune.com]) thinking until last Friday.

    Maybe, not all of the party, but hardly a far fringe — the man was endorsed by the same Star Tribune [startribune.com], which is now reporting on his dropping out [startribune.com]. The whole i

  • We really live in a more complicated world than that; terms like "evil" have led us into really awful and short-sighted situations before. Perhaps this guy could have phrased his tweet a little more elegantly, but he does have a point that civilized discourse should not reduce itself to calling people - or organizations of people - "evil" (although twitter doesn't help that).
  • In other news, a politician has an opinion and is chastised for it. Let's not let these people think too hard lest they hurt themselves in the process. Just sit down and take your spoonfed soundbites like a good doggy. Here comes the plane! Prrrrrwooooooooeeeeeee!
  • His point could make for interesting academic discussion but in a political context in the U.S. it was moronic.

    Perhaps a showcase example of being so smart you look stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think that his point is that if someone is "evil", it carries a connotation that, there is an agreed upon morality, and they are doing something that is not only wrong, but that they agree is wrong, and that the simple wrongness of the act is in large part the motivation behind it.

    This is opposed to differences in the accepted morality arising from cultural norms or otherwise.

    This has a lot of practical considerations with how to deal with the person. If there are mere cultural differences, it may be pos

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