Gay Patriot Header Image

The Unintended Utility of The Straw Man Argument

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 6:16 pm - April 19, 2009.
Filed under: American Self-Hatred,Obama Bashing America

One of the most ubiquitous (and my most favorite to pick apart) argumentative fallacies is that of the Straw Man. The Straw Man Fallacy is a cop-out in a debate wherein if an arguer has no (or insufficient) defense of his own position, he’ll simply argue against a point that nobody is making. In doing so, he can claim victory without ever having to face an actual intellectual challenge.

A favorite example of this from the Left is that of questioning someone’s patriotism. Although we hear from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden about how patriotic it is to pay higher taxes, never have I heard a prominant Republican raise the issue of anybody else’s patriotism. Never. Nonetheless, it is a constant theme of the Left when the efficacy of their policies are questioned to resort to the Straw Man argument that their opponent is “questioning the patriotism” of said Leftist politician.

But then something curious usually happens: in so defending himself, ironically, the Leftist in question actually does raise the question of his own patriotism where otherwise it wouldn’t even be a thought in a voter’s mind. I remember first hearing this bizarre line of accusation during a presidential election several cycles ago and thinking to myself, “Yea, well nobody’s questioning your patriotism. But come to think of it, isn’t it a good idea that we elect someone president who is patriotic? That’s not asking too much, is it? To have a president who’s patriotic? Maybe we should ask candidates about their patriotism. I’d kinda like to have a president who loves America.”

Comes along Barack Obama (who, in spite of his constant drumbeat of anti-American rhetoric as he tours the world, I believe really does love America after all), who’s turned straw man-building into a way of political life. His latest is brought to us from (once again) foreign soil. Not content to simply diss us as “disengaged” and selfish, now we’re bullies.

The quote from The One was: “We’re not simply going to lecture you, but we’re rather going to show through how we operate the benefits of these values and ideals.” The straw man here is obvious. Who, Mr. President, has been lecturing? And who suggested we should?

More importantly, this kind of raises the question: Perhaps Americans don’t want a president who “lecture”s other nations or their leaders about liberty and freedom. But is it asking too much for a president to embrace these ideals at least? To advocate them? We have a president whose reply to those who feel he’s gone too far toward nationalizing the banking system and the automotive industry, who feel his forrays into nationalizing a private health industry, whose profligate spending and borrowing will only further weaken an already hobbled US (and world) economy, is “we won”.

Lecture,” Mr. Obama? No. We wouldn’t expect you (nor even consider asking you, with the track record you have) to “lecture” other nations or their leaders. But how about if you showed us you believe in American principles in the first place?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot) from Undisclosed Alternate HQ

Share

35 Comments

  1. I’m sorry–why do you assume Obama loves America? I never got that impression from the very first. I always assumed he was Rev. Wright-lite. That particular brand of black liberation theology really, really does hate America. Why would Obama associate himself with those theologians (Cone) and pastors (Wright) if he didn’t feel that way himself?

    Comment by Ashpenaz — April 19, 2009 @ 6:55 pm - April 19, 2009

  2. Well, I don’t know what constitutes a prominent Republican but certainly lots of Rightish folks have questioned the patriotism of both individuals on the Left and of leftliberalism itself. Which is fair game. Why not? I know lots of liberals and have done an experiment: criticizing America for racism, violence, greed, or stupidity and religious superstition. Never do they stand up for their country. Many many of them do not love the actual America; they are embarassed or worse. The only America they can bring themselves to kinda love is a future one, where liberalism reigns. Are there liberal patriots? Sure. Of course. But most of them are not. IMHO.

    Comment by EssEm — April 19, 2009 @ 7:58 pm - April 19, 2009

  3. Agreed. Our new messiah doesn’t seem to know that your adminitration can make all kinds of apologies and even accusations… by making underlings do it.

    That’s what they’re there for! It’s just beneath the Presidency to smirk at Chavez or snear at Limbaugh himself.

    Most of us saw this coming. Let’s hope the “on-the-job training” speeds up in a hurry.

    Best wishes,
    -MFS

    Comment by MFS — April 19, 2009 @ 9:18 pm - April 19, 2009

  4. I fervently hope that the United States doesn’t reach the point where socialism is so woven into the American political and cultural fabric that those like myself are considered unpatriotic.

    Comment by Ignatius — April 19, 2009 @ 9:30 pm - April 19, 2009

  5. EssEm: Funny thing about the anti-patriotic meme vs. the racist/bigoted trope: I still have as of yet to EVER see any prominant Republican accuse the Left (or anyone in the Left) of being unpatriotic.

    On the other hand, we hear all the time from the media and even our elected representatives how racist and bigoted the Right is.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — April 19, 2009 @ 9:54 pm - April 19, 2009

  6. How about the straw man that people who support traditional marriage do so because they are anti-gay?

    Its even worse when people supposedly on “our” side accept the dishonest straw men of the left.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 19, 2009 @ 11:03 pm - April 19, 2009

  7. I had not seen this video before, in which Obama ruled out running for national office in 2008 because he’s “a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job.” What a disgrace this man is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BnLozS-TnM&feature=related

    Comment by Sean A — April 20, 2009 @ 10:25 am - April 20, 2009

  8. Obama love the America he invisions and that is an America that loves his vision.

    Comment by heliotrope — April 20, 2009 @ 11:06 am - April 20, 2009

  9. Don’t you remember Michele Bachman ranting?
    And if I remember correctly the founder of this Blog called H. Reid a traitor

    Comment by gillie — April 20, 2009 @ 12:05 pm - April 20, 2009

  10. Tom Delay said that liberals “are not in my opinion patriots”

    Comment by gillie — April 20, 2009 @ 12:07 pm - April 20, 2009

  11. Or do you think that perhaps they are not prominant enough?

    Comment by gillie — April 20, 2009 @ 12:12 pm - April 20, 2009

  12. Huh- seems to me a platoon of screeching braindead msm zombies was calling me racist, a dangerous right winger threatening the republic, and a mouth breathing redneck these past few days for not wanting to more than quadruple our deficit this year (and worse in later years) via the stuttering idiot’s ruinous budget.

    Guess dissent is no longer patriotic- must have changed around January 19th or 20th or so of this year.

    Anyway, got tipped to this site by a poster from Hillbuzz. Good stuff here, believe you’ll have to go on the favorites list. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by skating on glue — April 20, 2009 @ 12:33 pm - April 20, 2009

  13. never have I heard a prominant Republican raise the issue of anybody else’s patriotism. Never.

    Jesus, were you just born yesterday? Did you live in this country during the Bush years? That’s just total bullsh*t. Impugning the patriotism of liberals and Democrats was the preferred pastime of the Bush administration and the Republican propaganda apparatus for years and years, and remains so to this day.

    It’s like you guys got neuralized after the election. Hopeless, all of you. Absolutely hopeless.

    Comment by Levi — April 20, 2009 @ 1:22 pm - April 20, 2009

  14. Impugning the patriotism of liberals and Democrats was the preferred pastime of the Bush administration and the Republican propaganda apparatus for years and years, and remains so to this day.

    (Sigh)

    Standard refutation: Cite specific examples please, Farva.

    Standard response: (Crickets chirping)

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2009 @ 2:35 pm - April 20, 2009

  15. Impugning the patriotism of liberals and Democrats was the preferred pastime of the Bush administration and the Republican propaganda apparatus for years and years, and remains so to this day.

    And one need not wonder why, given that liberals and the Obama Party consider our troops to be “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in their own country.

    Add to that the fact that Obama himself fully endorses and supports this anti-military hatred and vandalism, and we see really quickly what’s taking place.

    Now watch as Levi suddenly flip-flops and says that Code Pink and hating our military are totally acceptable since Obama supports it and his Party supports and endorses it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 20, 2009 @ 3:14 pm - April 20, 2009

  16. NDT, I would bet on Farva making some kind of moral equivalence between Code Pink (not Patriots) and the Tea Party people (Patriots).

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2009 @ 3:39 pm - April 20, 2009

  17. Standard refutation: Cite specific examples please, Farva.

    Standard response: (Crickets chirping)

    I couldn’t care less about proving anything, especially something so blatantly obvious, to you. Denying that conservatives spent the Bush years viciously attacking the patriotism of liberals is like denying that the Earth revolves around the sun. Questioning Obama’s patriotism was the primary line of attack used by Republicans against Barack Obama last year, as it was in 2004 against John Kerry. Do you remember any of that? John Kerry was a baby-killer shooting kids in the back and burning their villages and giving himself scratch wounds for Purple Hearts, remember that? Obama was a subversive who definitely hated America because he went to Rev. Wright’s church, and worst of all, sometimes he wouldn’t wear a flag pin.

    Hell, look at this website. Look at this thread. I’ve been accused a number of times that I hate America and the troops, NDT has been incoherently doing it since you asked me to ‘prove it.’ I’ve got better things to do than to prove to you something that you know is true anyway.

    I’ll ask you, do you think I’m patriotic? Do you think I hate America? Here’s some reminders while you think about that question; I think George Bush’s presidency was an unmitigated disaster, I think the Iraq war might be the stupidest thing this country has ever done, and I think 100% of the tea party movement can be explained by Republican sour grapes over losing an election.

    Comment by Levi — April 20, 2009 @ 3:55 pm - April 20, 2009

  18. Levi makes his mind known:

    I think George Bush’s presidency was an unmitigated disaster, I think the Iraq war might be the stupidest thing this country has ever done, and I think 100% of the tea party movement can be explained by Republican sour grapes over losing an election.

    1.) “unmitigated” means that every aspect of the Bush years was a disaster. When you choose to speak this way, you demonstrate that your passion controls your wit.

    2.) The Iraq war “might be” the stupidest thing the country has ever done. Now there is an interesting way to back away from “unmitigated.”

    3.) 100% means that Democrats who voted for Obama and attended the tea party in support of stopping the spending madness are outside your 100%. How does that work?

    Levi, you have an important need to gain control of your language use. As it is now, no one is confused about how totally closed your mind is to rational dialogue.

    Unfortunately, your points of view are almost cartoon balloons of the stereotypical liberal moonbat. Have you no interest in rising above that?

    Comment by heliotrope — April 20, 2009 @ 4:57 pm - April 20, 2009

  19. Good grief, Levi. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anybody work so hard (consciously, it even seems) to discredit himself.

    I have, once again, labored over the words to put into a post, read and re-read it. Let it sit for a while, and come back and make a final check of it before I hit the “Post” button.

    Along you come, and prove my point better than any words I could possibly come up with myself. Sheesh! From now on, I’m just going to post a topic and let you demonstrate it for me from the beginning.

    And for gillie: Please provide some links to actual quotes.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — April 20, 2009 @ 6:25 pm - April 20, 2009

  20. hahah, “good grief”

    Comment by bob — April 20, 2009 @ 6:30 pm - April 20, 2009

  21. The crickets chirped a little loudly, but still didn’t produce anything resembling a quote, a link, or a citation that could be checked.

    Comment by V the K — April 20, 2009 @ 6:50 pm - April 20, 2009

  22. I don’t question the patriotism of liberals.

    When you want to make America resemble its founding principles less and resemble France more, it isnt America that you love.

    Liberals may love the geography, they may love the shopping, but they loathe America which was established and defined by the Constitution.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 20, 2009 @ 10:01 pm - April 20, 2009

  23. Tom Delay on MTP with russert talking

    Bachman with chris mathews

    check them outyourself or use google for crying out loud.

    No wonder you have not see any evidence.
    You have kept your head in the sand

    Comment by gille — April 20, 2009 @ 11:03 pm - April 20, 2009

  24. sorry
    wrong name
    filtered

    Comment by gillie — April 20, 2009 @ 11:04 pm - April 20, 2009

  25. Comment showing gillie the lack of patriotism on the left:

    Filtered

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 21, 2009 @ 1:33 am - April 21, 2009

  26. gillie,

    When one of your rants is ripped to shreds, it’s done with links. Thus the onerous of providing links to counter an arguement is on you.

    Why should I waste my time otherwise?

    Comment by The Livewire — April 21, 2009 @ 7:11 am - April 21, 2009

  27. Ah, lefty trolls. They neither put up, nor shut up.

    Liberals may love the geography, they may love the shopping, but they loathe America which was established and defined by the Constitution.

    You are correct, sir!

    Comment by V the K — April 21, 2009 @ 7:44 am - April 21, 2009

  28. Nancy Pelosi calls House Republicans unpatriotic.

    See how easy that was? What did that take, three minutes?

    Comment by V the K — April 21, 2009 @ 7:46 am - April 21, 2009

  29. Harry Reid calls Rush Limbaugh unpatriotic.

    This is so easy.

    Comment by V the K — April 21, 2009 @ 7:48 am - April 21, 2009

  30. Democrat strategist Paul Begala says tea-party participants “don’t love their country.”

    Comment by V the K — April 21, 2009 @ 7:55 am - April 21, 2009

  31. I think the invasion of Iraq was a very stupid move. I believe it was detrimental to the country I love. Some think such a position is unpatriotic and absolutely nothing will convince them otherwise.

    Comment by Ignatius — April 21, 2009 @ 2:32 pm - April 21, 2009

  32. CP writes,

    is it asking too much for a president to embrace these ideals at least? To advocate them?

    Why are you asking these questions? After twenty two years of sitting in a pew at Trinity UCC and listenting to Rev. Jeremiah Wrights anti-American rants, I mean sermons, ¨God bless America, No! No! No! God Damn America,¨and, ¨the KKK of America¨ why should anybody be surprised doesn´t embrace the ideals. Michelle was no better. She loves America now that her husband was elected. Allah forbid anything should happen to him, because we´ll hear her vitriol again.

    Comment by Roberto — April 21, 2009 @ 3:55 pm - April 21, 2009

  33. Some think such a position is unpatriotic and absolutely nothing will convince them otherwise.

    And others, meanwhile, would only go so far as to notice that the position is held by you in a manner impervious to all contrary evidence, like a Democrat reciting his talking points.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 22, 2009 @ 9:16 am - April 22, 2009

  34. A hypocritical posts like this one really discredit the integrity of this blog. Weren’t the Republican apparatus calling Obama unpatriotic once every other day during the campaign? I thought you were supposed to stay on the message not to use your own strawman, repackage it and stamp the other side’s seal on it.

    Comment by elvlun — April 22, 2009 @ 12:14 pm - April 22, 2009

  35. Weren’t the Republican apparatus calling Obama unpatriotic once every other day during the campaign?

    No, they surely weren’t.

    Individual, private citizens might have been – but you specified “Republican apparatus”. The answer, again: no… not at all.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 22, 2009 @ 4:47 pm - April 22, 2009

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.