Logical Fallacy Ref: Enemy of Trolls
Recently, Log Cabin Republicans were denied a booth at the Texas GOP convention. I’ve debated with myself (a little) if I should even mention it.
Why the disinterest? As longtime readers know, GP is a group blog. Bruce and Dan are Republicans; and more than that, Republicans who have had past dealings with LCR. One of them might want to cover this topic. But they seem to be busy these days. Posts lately have been written mainly by V the K (who has been awesome! – if a little incendiary at times ), and to a lesser extent by me.
And I have been an Independent for years. I believe V is too. In other words, as committed non-Republicans (presently doing the posts), we may often just not care about LCR-related news. The more so because, over the years and at the national level, LCR has so often abandoned the conservative and/or small-government principles that we believe in.
Speaking purely for myself (and with no knowledge of whether the Texas LCR group is better than national LCR), I can hardly blame any Republican group for wanting to exclude LCR from anything, since LCR so often seem to be barely-Republicans. I believe very much in freedom of association.
But it turns out that anti-gay animus could be at work, in this case, because the Texas GOP platform claims that “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” And that is worthy of comment. I find it silly, for the following reasons.
First, the Texas GOP may be inadvertently serving the interests of LCR: dignifying them with controversy (thus, publicity) that they may not deserve. Second, I do think it would be much more accurate to say that -the extreme Gay Left- tears at the fabric of society, as does the Left in general.
My title (point) will strike most people as obvious. But some “obvious” things remain theoretical until they hit you. Then they feel almost like a new thought.
I’ve been on a break from “the news” for over 2 months now, and I feel relaxed. Life is easier this way. What Obama and the Democrats have been up to, by way of destroying most of what has been healthy and good about America, is so sad. And out of my control, so it’s easier to think about other things.
This may lead to a small insight into the “low-information voters” who support Obama / Democrats. Politics deals with life-and-death questions. A budget or regulatory change can force any number of people into changing their lives. ‘Not thinking about it’ is probably easier for most people, including those voters.
The average Democrat voter (that I’ve encountered) has a feeling that the Democrats seem to like abortion privileges, gays and blacks; and she likes those things, too; and she doesn’t think any further about politics, because she figures that whatever else the Democrats are up to, she would probably also like. Never mind that in reality, the Democrats are the stalwarts of that Big Government – Big Banking nexus which siphons off her earning power year after year, and whose nature is essentially fascist (anti-freedom).
What’s depressing for libertarian-conservatives is that the Republicans are only a little better. The GOP are better – as in, usually they are a bit less insane. But the GOP Establishment are also captives of (or intimidated by) the same Big Government – Big Banking nexus that uses/runs the Left. The GOP and Democrat establishments unite in seeking to destroy the Tea Party – who are the main people interested in a smaller government, to restore the prosperity and freedom of Americans.
I believe it’s been a week, maybe more, since I even checked this blog. I did not get to the post I wanted to write on JFK, contrasting that smart Democrat’s record with the media coverage of his murder and his legacy. I had a few notes for posts on Obamacare and honesty and one on Obamacare and prediction. Reading something this morning in the Daily Caller reminded me of a piece I had read yesterday in Commentary, articulating an idea which gets at the meaning of Obama’s reelection last year.
Peter Wehner wrote:
In their fascinating behind-the-scenes book on the 2012 election, Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann write that the campaign’s research showed “that there was a deep well of sympathy for Obama among voters.” In focus groups after the first debate, they write, “people offered excuse after excuse for his horrific presentation. In Florida, one woman said, almost protectively, ‘I just bet you he wasn’t feeling well.’”
That deep well of sympathy–that willingness to give the president the benefit of the doubt and the attachment and connection voters felt for Mr. Obama–has been crucial to his success for his entire political life. He has always been viewed as a likeable and decent man, even when his campaign employed fairly ruthless tactics. But the days of broad public faith and trust in this president appear to be over. And no wonder.
I think this is why the image of Obama responding to Hurricane Sandy was so beneficial to the incumbent. People do want to like him. And in the coverage of the storm and his response, that Democrat looked very much like the man they wanted to like.
It remains to be see whether the disaster of the Obamacare roll-out and the realization (despite his many promises) that many Americans who liked their health care plans couldn’t keep them will erase the goodwill many Americas feel for the incumbent. That said we on the right should not lose sight of the fact that as Halperin and Heilemann put it, many Americans do have a “deep well of sympathy for Obama”.
*And the question now becomes whether we should change the tense on this verb from present to past.
I regret not having had the occasion to blog for quite a few days now. And do hope to chime in again soon.*
I have heard also that while Bruce has not been blogging much recently, he has been tweeting up a storm. And since I am not on twitter, I am not aware of the content of his many tweets, though have heard rumor of several.
Please note that if you wish to opine on his tweets, you should contact him, not me. He is responsible for his own words. For though I do blog at GayPatriot, I am not GayPatriot. That title belongs to Bruce and Bruce alone.
Now that I have spoken, have it in the comments. Let that section be our open thread. And be civil. Even as I urge you to express yourselves, respect those whom you criticize, address their arguments don’t insult their persons.
*ADDENDUM: A number of things, mostly involving my book, but also involving my family has kept me from blogging. As to the family, it’s mostly good things, with a beloved niece and cousins visiting Southern California.
I find it a somewhat delicious irony that on the day the Supreme Court hands down its gay marriage decisions, a day I had planned on blogging about the debate on gay marriage. But, I had been planning that before knowing that on the actual day, I would be more focused on writing the first chapter of the second part of my epic.
I have long thought the debate on this important issue, this fundamental social institution, has long been particularly lame. And from reading my Facebook feed, see that it has become ever more so, with all too many (but fortunately not all) treating the decisions not so much as constitutional interpretation and social policy, but as personal validation — as if they needed some government body to decide the “right” way so they can feel recognized. But, that feeling of approval will fade.
That said, I have seen two statements on Facebook which do get at the meeting of the decision, from people on opposite sides of the political aisle. And I’m sure that in due course, I will discover some thoughtful blog posts and editorials. But, for now, while I have much to say about marriage, my mind is on my book. At the end of May, I finished the first draft of the first part of the book (over 150,000 words) and spent the better part of this month revising it, having intended today to print out the whole thing and take it to a printer (so I can share it with friends). (As I begin serious work on the second part.)
So, let me offer the meaningful Facebook post for your consideration. My friend Harmeet Dhillon (my predecessor as president of the U-VA Federalist Society) offered this on the standing issue which served to overturn Prop 8:
As a political law practitioner, the broader implication of today’s Prop 8 ruling is 1) a narrow interpretation of standing and 2) apparently there is no recourse by the citizens if their elected constitutional officers (here, the Attorney General) simply refuses to enforce a law passed by the majority of voters. The former is likely an artifice of the Court trying to dodge a merits decision on a very controversial issue, but the latter severely undercuts the power of the citizen-sponsored proposition in California, regardless of subject matter or what political persuasion is affected. A sobering reminder that your vote on propositions sort of matters sometimes, while your vote on who is the Attorney General matters a whole lot. And not enough of you vote!
Just because Barack Obama won the 2012 election, in large part, by dishonestly portraying Mitt Romney as a cold, uncaring, out-of-touch plutocrat does not mean our readers have grounds to level similar personal charges against our (and their) critics.
And please do not make assumptions about my left-of-center friends.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, take issue with the arguments they raise, but do not level personal attacks on the individual making them. You don’t know that person. You don’t know why he has made the case that he has.
I do not check the comments all that regularly, but in the past few days, have received repeated reports from readers about commenters using ad hominem attacks in exchanges with their adversaries.
More on this after I’ve discussed the matter with Bruce.
In GP comments, we’ve seen the occasional mini-kerfuffle over someone’s references to the mentally handicapped: whether they were hurtful, or whether the critics (those claiming hurt) were just playing mind games, etc.
In that light, it’s interesting to note that beloved lefties Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters all agree that it’s perfectly OK for a comedian to mock Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”:
Maher mocked Palin’s special needs son by referring to him as “retarded” during a June 8 Las Vegas show…
Walters, who grew up with a special needs sister, said on June 17 on The View that she did not think Maher was “mean-spirited” when he referred to Palin’s son as “retarded.” Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word could be hurtful…even Walters’s in-studio audience was not buying this defense and was left silent…
Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…” Video here.
I regret that I couldn’t find the exact original quote of Maher’s, but Walters and Goldberg clearly wanted to speak out in Maher’s favor: the camera flashed to an old family photo of Walters’ as she spoke, which means that Walters’ remarks were planned.
So, what’s the official standard? Is it still baaaaad to refer to anybody (whether mentally challenged or not) as “retarded” – with an exception for Republicans perhaps, or Sarah Palin’s children? On what grounds?
Lefties, please don’t try to say “Oh who cares, it’s only Bill Maher” – because it isn’t, now: it’s also Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters.
Can you imagine an article like this appearing when Bush was president? No, back then it was considered “patriotic” for the press to disclose classified information, even when the information was incorrect or false, so the idea of the press reflecting on the Bush administration’s “struggles” with issues of free expression was unthinkable. But when Obama wants to stomp on press freedoms for any reason, the press decides to be “reflective” and “philosophical” about the issue. Craven rationalizations for restricting press freedoms under Obama are to be expected. I particularly like this reader’s comment which I saw when I originally read the article: “You are surprised Obama is stepping on the 1st Amendment? He tried to stomp on the 2nd Amendment for over a year now! The only Amendment this Administration seems to think is important is the 5th Amendment so they can hide behind it.”
And don’t think for a moment that it’s just the Obama administration. No, it’s pretty widespread throughout the Democrat party. Consider Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) thoughts about whether or not free speech ought to apply to bloggers:
Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Senator Dick Durbin whether Barack Obama’s promise to have Eric Holder look into cases of abuse that he personally approved represents a conflict of interest, but Durbin dodges that question and talks instead about the shield law proposed repeatedly over the last few years as the appropriate Congressional response to the scandal. However, Durbin asks what exactly “freedom of the press” means in 2013, and wonders aloud whether it would include bloggers, Twitter users, and the rest of the Internet media [Video at the link].
Facebook on Tuesday acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove hate speech had not worked effectively, as it faced pressure from feminist groups that want the site to ban pages that glorify violence against women.The activists, who sent more than 5,000 e-mails to Facebook’s advertisers and elicited more than 60,000 posts on Twitter, also prompted Nissan and more than a dozen smaller companies to say that they would withdraw advertising from the site.In a blog post, Facebook said its “systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” The company said it would review how it dealt with such content, update training for its employees, increase accountability — including requiring that users use their real identities when creating content — and establish more direct lines of communication with women’s groups and other entities.
I don’t often check the comments, so have to come to rely on readers’ e-mails to learn what is going on in this or that thread. While I do occasionally hear of a substantive (or otherwise interesting) exchange, more often than not, I learn of one commenter responding to another not with arguments but with insults.
If another’s argument is ludicrous, there is no need to engage in innuendo, just tear it apart point by point, without addressing the motivations of the commenter or making allegations about his (or her) personal life. Just last night, a concerned reader (with a political philosophy pretty close to my own) alerted me about some particularly nasty threads. With permission, I quote from this individual’s e-mail:
Social-issue threads are sometimes a hundred or more comments long. This is not because substantive debate is going on, but because they’re being hijacked by one or two loons. They tend to be laced with profanity and crude sexual innuendo. I can only imagine what straight conservatives who check out GP think. If we don’t want them to think gay conservatives have filthy minds, they’ll nonetheless get that notion if they read those threads. . . .
Nobody with any sense is going to keep commenting on a blog when they’re treated that way. I have better things to do with my time, and as many former commenters have simply gone away, it’s evident that they do, too. GP has become an important source of information for many people. I hate to see this happen.
Look, I know that life is not easy. And we each face our own challenges. Sometimes in the face of frustration as we struggle with setbacks, we need, well, we feel that we need to vent. A lot of people seem to do that in the political sphere, projecting their personal demons onto their ideological adversaries. (more…)
That title, as the eagle-eyed will notice, is the GayPatriot blog’s tagline.
In my years of participating in GP threads, I’ve noticed that some who are opposed to the blog or its usual viewpoint, may be excessively fond of the “consistency game”, demanding that anyone who would criticize them must first meet some standard of consistency that has been issued by themselves.
It’s a cute game. They declare the standards and they appoint themselves the judges – which means they can’t be criticized in the thread, because they will never judge their critic as having been consistent enough, and will always change the subject back to their critic’s alleged inconsistency.
I called it “cute”, because little kids do it to their parents (or try to). But the game’s effects, and likely its intent, are destructive.
What I’m really talking about here is Alinsky Rule 4, as heliotrope and NDT have pointed out to me before. Played skillfully enough, it can strangle a thread, destroying any useful process of conversation. (more…)