Straw Man

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


If we are going to start to be civil in our discourse, I really really have to STOP seeing articles like these:

A List Of Barely Socratic Questions To American Progressives

and

7 Nonpolitical Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives.

Click the links if you wish your head to explode. Entitling the first link "barely Socratic" is an understatement. It is exactly and specifically un-Socratic. And the 7 non-political differences are, as you can probably guess without clicking the link at all, completely and totally political in every way.

I really want to post every "question" from the list and answer each one. It's easy. Instead I'll pick a few of my personal faves.
Why do those demanding "equal pay for equal work" never protest against "equal pay for little or no work"? A: Um, because that is universally recognized as a really stupid idea. Nobody would do that. Straw Man.

Why has no politician ever run on men's issues or promised to improve the lives of males? A: Because we are still, for better or worse, the top of the work world's and social world's food chain.

How did the "war on poverty" end? Has there been a peace treaty or a ceasefire? Who is the occupying force and who are the insurgents? A: It will end at the same time as the "War on Drugs." And probably cost less.

If capitalism makes some people rich without making others poor, who will benefit when capitalism is destroyed? A: Nobody will! Hey! We agree on a point here! Since nobody here wants to destroy capitalism, we can shake hands on this one!

If cutting out the middleman lowers the price, why are we paying the government to stand between us and the markets? A: Yawn. Straw Man. Like above, since nobody wishes government to stand in the way, I guess we'll be seeing things like lower insurance rates now, won't we??

If racial profiling is an abomination, what do you make of the last presidential election? A: I think you missed the definition of racial profiling here...

If diversity training benefits everyone, why do those classes mostly consist of white heterosexual males? A: Because...we are still the statistically largest group in employment?

Why is a huge poisonous cloud over a volcano considered magnificent - but a smokestack over an American factory is ugly and harmful? A: Wait...who said a poisonous volcano cloud is magnificent? I don't recall that ever being said.

How many Kyoto Protocols are rendered pointless by one medium-sized volcanic eruption? A: Oo! Oo! I know! ZERO!! The Kyoto protocols don't stop the earth from doing what it does naturally because we can't! Just what we humans add to it.

Why is burning gas in my car hurting the planet, but setting fire to housing developments in California is saving it? A: We...purposefully set fires to housing development in California??

How come Hollywood can always find a good side in thugs, but never in businesspeople? What was the last movie that pictured a self-reliant, industrious man as a role model? A: Umm, the movie Tucker comes to mind...

Why do those who decry modern civilization never live far from shopping centers and why don't they grind their coffee with a stone ax? A: I am at a loss to whom you are referencing. Oh, wait...it's a Straw Man!

If describing terrorists as freedom fighters is justified by the journalistic principle of neutrality, what is the name of the principle that justifies describing U.S. troops as rapists and murderers? A: Ah, the old left-over Vietnam stuff. Nobody recently has described a terrorist as a Freedom Fighter, unless it is to quote what one of the terrorists say about themselves. And I haven't seen any news reports in decades that have described American troops as rapists and murderers.

How come industrial logging is a crime against nature, but the destruction of forests by wildfires is a natural cycle of life? A: See above, regarding volcanos.

If Al Gore is right and our consumption of the planet's resources is a moral issue, doesn't that make genocide an ethical solution? How about an artificial famine? What would Al Gore choose? A: Ahhh, the false choice. I love the smell of Fail in the morning.

Why is there never a media story praising capitalism for the booming economy? A: There are plenty. Just ask The Google.
Whew. That's a bucket of dumb.

But even worse are the "7 Differences." These are so horridly misaligned and completely devoid of actual fact that I hope, for the human race, that the publisher either meant these as ironic humor or felt a tinge, however small, of shame when he hit the "publish" button:
1) Conservatives are more patriotic than liberals
2) It's socially acceptable for liberals to lie about conservatives
3) Conservatives are results-oriented. Liberals are not
4) Conservatives care about the Constitution. Liberals don't
5) Liberals are much more misogynistic than conservatives
6) Conservatives are happier people than liberals (Editor's Note: after reading especially this blog article, the author may be on to something here...)
7) Conservatives are better Christians than liberals
I think our good buddy Streak has been doing a banner job of late pointing-out the fallacy in #7. But in the end, a refutation of any of these 7 points is an exercise in futility; they're all opinion-based, and this guy's effort smacks of blind dogma and base incitement rather than an honest attempt to engage in information or debate.

6 comments:

Bob 4:14 PM  

I actually think one might be right:

"Conservatives are happier people than liberals..."

It's becuase they are blissfully stupid simpletons?

steves 5:41 PM  

I think there is some research that shows conservatives are happier. Snarky comments from Bob notwithstanding, I think happiness is hard to measure and I question the validity of that research.

Having hung out on partisan boards on both ends of the spectrum, I have found that the true believers tend to be somewhat ignorant of the "other side." This gets us sites like what Smitty found. Fortunately, most people here and most moderates tend not to get all caught up in these kinds of arguments.

Good find, BTW.

Smitty 9:07 PM  

and most moderates tend not to get all caught up in these kinds of arguments

Totally. Most normal, rational people find this stuff so easy as to be child's play to ridicule. But I love to pieces that the guy who wrote the 7 Differences bit starts out his missive by saying essentially that moderate people aren't politically active, and that politically active people believe, on either side of the political spectrum, as he believes they believe. Fucking hilarious.

steves 10:45 AM  

By good find, I mean that they are funny, not that they are menaingful in any intelligent way.

Streak 6:48 PM  

Except that this kind of rhetoric is fueling the entire Tea Party. I have lost faith in moderates and adults on the right. They have proven me wrong time and time again--more willing to tolerate torture and wiretapping, or willing to listen to and pass on lies from the right.

Sigh.

leighton 9:42 PM  

"Conservatives are happier people than liberals..."

I dunno, I've been both, and I've got to say that I'm much happier not worrying that God will punish the entire world for what a couple of people decide to do in the privacy of their own bedroom. Getting pissed off at stupid websites is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

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