justdrew

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Conservative politics and the rise of the morons


Recently I posted a snarky comment on a friend’s Facebook post that highlighted a recent Onion article that calls into relief how a certain conservative moron has thousands of equally moronic conservatives under his sway.


The headline is a classic:

Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit

In case you don’t care to read the article, Glen Beck is the asshole moronhalf-wit in question.

I chimed in with this comment,

Drew What is it these days with conservatives and stupid people? At least Bill Buckley Jr had a brain… why do these morons now choose to follow other morons? So bizarre.

which was followed up by Jon, an apparently incensed conservative who took offense at my characterization of conservatives as moronic… which isn’t what I meant to say.

Jon If ya’ll think conservatives = morons I’m not sure this disconnect you feel is their fault…

Okay, deep breath. Obviously painted with too broad a brush there, Drew. So I replied with

Drew Okay, not all conservatives are morons; but Beck is, Palin is, Rush is… and every dumbass who swallows what these clods serve up is- at the risk of sounding redundant- a moron.

To which Jon says

Jon You’re proving my point. Doesn’t screaming `you’re an idiot’ at someone you disagree with (without, of course, actually addressing anything specific) show more about your own lack of understanding than anything else? And by the way, Buckley and Rush were friends, I was a big admirer of his. Was it the PBS show and his aristocratic accent that made him more palatable?

Really? What does he expect, citations? This is a Facebook comment thread, not a formal debate. Also, I was not screaming anything.

In any case, a mutual friend’s FB wall is no place for what was shaping up to be a good ol’ political argument. Still trying to keep it light, I clarified my position and ignored the fallacy implied that just because Buckley was friends with Rush (something of which I was unaware) that makes Rush smart by association. Very smart people are bound to have friends with room-temperature intellects. The law of averages demands it.

Drew I’m not saying they’re morons because they disagree with me. They are morons because of their reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies and hate-filled speech.
I referenced Buckley as a counter-example. He was smart- not because of his accent -I’ve read many of his books and articles and in my head he has a very different accent :-)

Of course, our intrepid conservative is having none of that

Jon Reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies = faith? Hate filled speech = the state has to shrink?

Really? not sure I said anything about faith (though I will) nor the size of the state (which I feel is a red herring- conservatives are generally quite happy to increase the size of the state when it can enforce their agenda- remember faith-based initiatives and the Patriot Act?)

Still, neither of those are things I even remotely referred to, so I posted this rejoinder… plus an apology to the friend whose wall is now filling with these comments

Drew Wow, I didn’t think it was possible to present a strawman in such a short post. Well done, sir.
Jon, you’ve inspired me. Let’s take this to my blog- FB comment thread is not the best forum for a political debate. Sorry, Sian :-)

Hence this blogpost where the debate can continue, should Jon care to.

He has the last word on the thread with

Jon Strawman? As you didn’t give me much I was guessing. And I’m not interested in debating, just trying to understand. You’re a liberal (right?), and that’s fine, I’m just fascinated by the dismissiveness. Political opponents aren’t just misguided, they’re morons, hated filled, etc.
And Sian, I’m sorry too if this has gone too far.

For the record, a Strawman is when you characterize an opponent’s position in such a way that you can easily tear it down.

The example here is Jon assuming that my (liberal) argument equates the concept of faith with logical fallacy. Many people of faith live their lives based on a house of logical fallacy cards, however I never said or even intimated that faith was even part of the equation.

So, I have invited Jon to come read this post and comment in a more robust forum where he can refute my proposition, which follows:

Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh areis a stupid and/or disingenuous peopleperson who havehas managed to sway thousands of credulous and stupid people into believing practically everything they sayhe says.

Since I am affirming, I accept the burden of proof and will provide it, should Jon accept this friendly debate.

8 Responses to “Conservative politics and the rise of the morons”

  1. Jon Munce Says:

    Drew, thanks for the chance to reply.

    I can’t say I know a lot about Beck, and I’m not sure I’m in a position to defend his fans as I don’t think I know any. But let me ask. You said you read WFB, do you think Buckley would find anything Beck has said or done beyond the pale? That he’d find Beck’s fans moronic?
    What rankled me was the very dismissive smear of thousands (surely it’s more). I see that a lot. It’s lazy.

  2. Drew Says:

    Okay, let me reply in reverse order: a comment on Facebook does not require specifics. You seem to assume that if someone has a negative opinion about a person or persons it is because they are lazy or ill-informed.

    I don’t, nor will I, post lengthy justifications for every opinion I have (even if I weren’t so opinionated).

    Yes, I believe Buckley would distance himself from Beck. Even if I fail to prove the man is a moron, that is a leading hypothesis and is supported by his constant pandering to the LCD.

    Buckley would also likely have bristled at Beck’s unethical behavior, particularly his shady involvement with Goldline

    Buckley provides contrast to Beck’s technique of hyperbole, exaggeration, and outright lies- instead choosing to construct soundly reasoned arguments.

    A lot can be learned by looking at the way Buckley’s opponents addressed his position…

    –another contrast is WFB invited his opposition on his show where they were respectfully given a chance to present their side- Beck just gushes in monologue with the occasional maudlin crying–

    … The counter argument against WFB, from the likes of say, Noam Chomsky, would focus on the points of the argument, refinement of one or more of his premises, attempting to invalidate his conclusion, etc.

    Opponents of Beck have no such structure to attack. The valid response to his statements is to point out that he (Beck) is fear-mongering, exaggerating and VERY often, outright lying.

    Again, I’m not (yet) saying he does these things, I’m pointing out that this is what Beck’s opponents call out over and over.

    Not because they’re being underhanded or playing dirty. Some are the same folks who matched wits with WFB.

    The fact is, Beck presents very few, if any reasoned arguments; choosing instead to attempt to provoke an emotional response and sell more soap for Fox News and find more rubes to fuel his own gold scam.

  3. Jon Munce Says:

    Drew, I posted a response that was `waiting for moderation’ for two days and has now disappeared?

  4. Drew Says:

    Hey Jon, sorry- never saw it. Can you repost, it may have been trashed by my spam filters.

  5. Jon Munce Says:

    Shoot, I didn’t save a copy, it appeared here for me to see…odd.

    Let’s try an abridged version. :o )

    I’m not buying your assertion that WFB wouldn’t like Beck. Obviously we’ll never know, but he liked Rush, and no, that doesn’t mean Rush has WFBs IQ. They were friends, and WFB was a fan of his.

    You mentioned Chomsky, so let’s do a little thought experiment.

    One of Chomsky’s best known quotes is: “In comparison to the conditions imposed by US tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise” (To say nothing of his truly epic “I see no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust.’)

    Now Drew, is this (first) quote a lie, an exaggeration, fear-mongering? Does this quote attempt to elicit an emotional response?

    Are Chomsky’s fans morons?

    Does Chomsky solicit arguments against his thesis in his books?

    My overall point is you’re welcome to criticize Beck all you want, as I said I’m not that familiar with him, though I’ve never seen anything from him, from afar, that’s well outside the mainstream. But you dismiss his fans at your own risk. At some point you’re going to have to deal with the arguments of the small-government Right, and belittling them won’t help you.

  6. Drew Says:

    Okay, an ad hominem attack on Chomsky will not help you here. It’s immaterial in any case. I can say that just like WFB, he said a lot of things and even when his position was moderate, his statements were often taken out of context and distorted.

    Especially his apparent defense of holocaust deniers. Look a bit further and you’ll see that he defended the rights of free speech of those who published such sentiments. Chomsky himself is of Jewish descent and did not share the belief of those whose rights he (in)famously defended.

    And really? You think it’s a fair comparison to put Chomsky in the same class as Beck? That’s just laughable.

    ——–

    The other fallacy you seem so ready to employ here is that if you’re a fan of Glen Beck, you are a rational conservative who believes in small government.

    The relationship cannot be supported. Most, if not all of Beck’s fans probably say they want small government, but not all supporters of small government are Beck fans.

    You have made a leap of sorts by insinuating that I have called those in favor of small government “morons”. I have made no such statement.

    ———

    However, to take that tangent very briefly I will say that these social conservatives hit the pause button on that small gov thing when it comes time to suggest the government should interfere with the freedom of religion.

    Should the government step in to protect the ‘rights’ of parents to delude their children into believing the christian creation myth? “Sure” say these same ‘small government’ conservatives…

    Should the government promote prayer in schools and restrict the rights of homosexuals or other groups the religious majority feel should be ostricised?

    “Sure, even if it takes more police and more police powers. Let’s start enforcing some of those other 10 commandments while we’re at it. Start with adultery!”…

    ———

    To sum up here, if you’re not prepared to even look into Beck and claim you know nothing about him, then you have no business telling me I’m wrong about him being a moron.

    I suggest you do some research and reply to the subject at hand.

    Perhaps you could provide a counter-example to Beck being a moron.

    I mean, I could give you one: he’s certainly media savvy. He garnered over 35million dollars last year. So he’s good at fleecing people and getting them to watch him.

    I argue that doesn’t make him smart, just able to manipulate a bunch of morons even duller than he is.

    So give me something to work with here. Let’s take the time, for example when Beck called up the wife of a rival on the air just days after she had a miscarriage and mocked her, saying her husband couldn’t even have a baby right.

    To me that is a wicked combination of being both moronic and cruel. Only a fucking moron would do something like that… and only an equally moronic person would follow or defend this shit-stain of a human being.

  7. Jon Munce Says:

    Ah, so there it is. It all comes out now. What we have here, it seems, is genuine hatred. I’m tempted to just let this drop at this point, clearly I’m dealing with someone unable to discuss Beck (or his fans, which WAS my original point)rationally.

    Usually, in my experience, once someone starts dropping F-bombs they’ve lost it and are no longer worth the trouble. But here goes one more try.

    From what, may I ask, does your hatred of Beck spring? Have you listened to his radio show, watched him on TV? I strongly suspect not, as we have one, exactly one specific incident after, what? How many paragraphs?

    `He mocked a woman who had a miscarriage.’ I’d never heard of this, so I Googled it. It was decades ago. And there’s apparently no audio or a transcript, it’s hearsay.

    That’s pathetic Man. Absolutely pathetic. This is IT, really? He’s been on the air how many hours a day on radio and TV, and this what you come up with??

    Why not just admit the obvious? You hate Beck for his views, and admire Chomsky for his. (In case you missed it, my `attack’ on Chomsky was an attempt to show your double standard). And, of course, to justify to yourself the righteousness of your cause, you label Beck’s/Limbaugh’s/Palin’s fans `morons’ because — you must. Or your entire emotional investment in Leftism is called in to question.

    Beck’s no more a moron than Chomsky or Al Franken or Michael Moore or Ed Shultz, and their respective fans — each of them — aren’t morons either. Depending on your point of view, they’re right, or they’re wrong. And that’s all.

  8. Drew Says:

    Ha, I didn’t realize there was a statute of limitations on moronic behavior. If you do something nasty and pernicious, it’s okay as long as enough time has passed.

    Got it.

    I swear when I feel it’s appropriate. Sorry if certain words in this language offend you or make you convinced the person who employs them has ‘lost it’.

    Whatever.

    And your summary is full of shit too. I haven’t bothered to tear down Beck, but that’s because so many sideline conversations were much more interesting.

    He has a laundry list of much more nasty and moronic things than ridiculing a woman for the death of her baby.

    I have not employed a double standard here (I’m begining to think you’re a moron too).

    I disagreed with WFB, but I never thought he was a moron. He was in all likelihood much smarter than I’ll ever be.

    Same with Chomsky. Though on most points I agree with Noam. He’s also smarter than I and probably smarter than WFB was. None of which has to do with the degree to which I agree with either of them on a given point.

    I’m smarter than Glen Beck. Of that I’m quite convinced. He may be smarter than you are, but I don’t for a second believe he’s even in the same class as WFB or Chomsky.

    I would even hazard a guess that you are a bit stupid and/or naive to assume Beck fights in the same weight class.

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