Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, “If you truly believe that abortion is murder, than the killing of George Tiller must be viewed as a success.” Get that? If you believe that abortion is murder, you cannot believe in the rule of law. (Because obviously if you believe that a murder has taken place you believe that you have the right and perhaps even the obligation to pursue vigilante justice.) If you believe that abortion is murder you must and do support terrorism.

And what do we Americans do with terrorists?

A similar simplifying and calcifying of thought can be seen in a recent post about why Coates has become an atheist:

I think that those of us who reject divinity, who understand that there is no order, there is no arc, that we are night travelers on a great tundra, that stars can’t guide us, will understand that the only work that will matter, will be the work done by us. Or perhaps not. Maybe the very myths I decry are necessary for that work. I don’t know. But history is a brawny refutation for that religion brings morality.

Atheists like TNC don’t believe, they understand. (The rest of us just don’t understand, I guess.) And in relation to religion all the arrows of “history” point in one direction.

I used to enjoy reading TNC; I don’t any more. What was once a supple mind, open to a range of experiences, willing to treat even people whose opinions are deeply alien to his own as people while never weakening his own hard-earned convictions, has been for the past year or more retreating into a ever-narrowing sphere of sympathy. More and more people are excluded from this sphere, and therefore from compassion and even basic fairness. I don’t think TNC is even trying any more to understand those who are unlike him. And that’s a real shame, because he used to be one of the best.