Skip to comments.The Difficulty Of Intellectually Engaging The Left (Dennis Prager On Thoughtful Left Oxymoron Alert)
Posted on 10/25/2005 3:30:34 AM PDT by goldstategop
One of the more appealing aspects about being on the Left is that you do not necessarily have to engage your opponents in debates over the truth or falsehood of their positions. You can simply dismiss your opponent as "anti."
Anti-worker: It all began with Marxism. If you opposed communism or socialism, you were not merely anti-communist or anti-socialist, you were anti-worker. This way of dismissing opponents of leftist ideas is now the norm. Anyone, including a Democrat, who raises objections to union control of state and local politics is labeled anti-worker: "anti-teacher," "anti-firefighter," "anti-nurse," etc. This is how the unions are fighting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to rein in unauthorized union spending of members' dues to advance leftist political goals. He is depicted as an enemy of all these groups.
Anti-education: Those who object to the monopoly that teachers' unions have on public education and to their politicization of the school curricula are labeled "anti-education." Of course, the irony is that if you love education, you must oppose the teachers' unions.
Anti-intellectual: If you object to the dwindling academic standards at universities, or to the lack of diversity in ideas there, you are dismissed as "anti-intellectual." Given the universities' speech codes, the intellectually stifling Political Correctness that pervades academia, and the emotionalism that characterizes most leftist views on campus (American "imperialism," Israeli "apartheid," "war for oil" are emotional outbursts, not serious positions), if any side seems to express anti-intellectualism, it would be the Left.
Anti-Semite: Leftists who attack Israel frequently claim that they are shut down by irresponsible charges of anti-Semitism. The claim is that people who criticize Israeli government policies are labeled anti-Semites. I have never come across a normative conservative or any other pro-Israel source that has labeled mere criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. It is those who single out Israel of all the nations of the world for intense criticism, those who argue that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state (that it is, by definition, a "racist" state) who are sometimes charged and sometimes validly so with anti-Semitism.
What is rarely noted is how often the Left will label anti-liberal comments as "veiled anti-Semitism." A left-wing Jew at a Jewish seminary sent out an e-mail charging Ann Coulter with anti-Semitism. His grounds? All of her attacks on liberals were really attacks on Jews. That she herself never made such a connection and that the vast majority of liberals are not Jews mean nothing to those who believe that "anti-liberal" often means anti-Jew.
Anti-black ("racist"): Perhaps the most common of the Left's "anti" epithets is "anti-black," i.e., "racist." If a person opposes race-based affirmative action, for example, he is likely to be called a racist. And, of course, the recent libeling of Bill Bennett as a racist was a classic example. Though he and his wife have done more for blacks than most people in public life, black or white, Bennett implied while making another point (about abortion) that blacks were disproportionately involved in violent crime. This is a statistical fact and a sociological tragedy. But because a conservative made the point, the charge of racism permeated the (liberal) media.
Anti-woman: If you oppose any aspect of feminism, you are likely to be called anti-woman or "misogynist." If you oppose "equal pay for equal work" because you believe it undermines economic freedom, you're anti-woman. If you oppose abortion on demand because you believe that the human fetus has a right to live, you are against women's rights.
Anti-peace: The very fact that anti-war and "peace" activists have labeled themselves "pro-peace" and "anti-war" renders their opponents vulnerable to charges of opposing peace and even loving war. Again, no intellectual argument is needed. According to much left-wing rhetoric, those who support the war in Iraq do not love peace. Of course, there was no peace in Iraq prior to the American deposing of Saddam Hussein, and there would be far more bloodshed if America now left Iraq. But it is far harder to engage those arguments than to label those who make them "anti-peace."
Anti-gay (homophobe): It is the rare proponent of same-sex marriage who acknowledges that it is possible to oppose this redefining of marriage yet affirm the equal humanity of gays. Overwhelmingly, the response to those who wish to maintain the normative way of forming a family basing it on a married man and woman is to simply declare them "homophobic."
The same is true for conservative policies on the economy "anti-poor" and for opposition to any leftist policy on the environment "anti-environment."
The "anti" arguments are effective. Conservatives have to spend half their time explaining that they are not bad people before they can be heard. But the Left has paid a great price. Because they have come to rely so heavily on one-word dismissals of their opponents, they have few arguments.
("Denny Crane: Gun Control? For Communists. She's a liberal. Can't hunt.")
When my son was in eighth grade he would explain to anyone who would listen, including his teachers, that an oxymoron is a contradiction in terms...like UN peacekeeper or liberal intellectual.
Another oxymoron is muslim intellectual.
Yhey can always throw food.
Liberals are very shallow people so they are left with a one liner - anti this or anti that. Sometimes "conservatives" have slipped into this mode too. The word "anti" has become a convenient word to vilify your opponent without having to explain why.
They are fanatical jerks. Jerking people around, murdering babies etc....they reduce politics to 60s drugs, peace and love college swinery the young were so tempted into after leaving the draconian but mostly wise restrictions of home.
Some people jerk the world with finess and true effect, the truth is also the biggest jerker of the world, in the forms of Hurricane Katrina, for example.
Liberals are swines who pride themselves in murdering babies for sake of zeal and militant like "desperate for job" adoration of terrorists and the big boy club of jerks in China and elsewhere....
Actually it's because they have no serious intellectual positions that Rats are dependent upon one-word (ad hominem) dismissals.
Skilled debaters such as Ann Coulter and Chris Hitchens (at least on his Iraq position) have learned that the best way to quash a liberal leftie Rat is to come out swinging, with better and more potent ad hominems.
Then and only then can one resort to reason.
The other problem liberals have nowadays is that EVENTS are refuting their warped world-view, leaving them with only DISTORTION and DISSEMBLING with which to fight back.
Facts are to a liberal what salt is to a garden snail - death.
Of course Europe has always been some years ahead of us as far as cultural decline.
I don't engage liberal types. It's like talking to a drunk a child or a mental defective. Cold hard logic, facts and reality are not recognized elements of any debate for them. Of course you know how far those things go with drunks, mental defectives and children.
I guess not all anti-intellectuals are liberals.
What is this equal humanity stuff? Phrasing it that way gives credibility to the idea that being homosexual is innate, or at least that it is deserving of respect. It isn't. Otherwise why not affirm the equal humanity of other sexual deviants? It's just irrelevant. And you don't have to fear something to think it is morally wrong and reprehensible, and biologically abnormal and unnatural. That's the argument. This equal humanity nonsense is a self-defeating argument. He should stop being ashamed of the truth about homosexuality. And stop apologizing. It is not unequal or unfair to think the behavior is against both God and nature, and therefore unworthy of gov't recognition and support.
Osama Bin Laden could be affirmed as equal humanity. But his behavior is certainly not equal to other behavior. So the equal humanity thing is just not relevant to the rightness or wrongness of his behavior. Sure, he should be treated as any other terrorist is treated. No one would argue with that. But in the above context, focusing on his equal humanity would oddly serve to offer a level of approval. We are talking about behavior and nothing else.
Because they have come to rely so heavily on one-word dismissals of their opponents, they have few arguments.
And to take your statement of
Actually it's because they have no serious intellectual positions that Rats are dependent upon one-word (ad hominem) dismissals.
a bit further, I believe that it's because they are actually dumber; they're not smart enough to actually put together a well reasoned argument. That's why they rely on chants, slogan, and name calling. They're just too damned dumb to come up with anything else.
Who cares, they have the monopoly on conventional wisdom, which is more powerful that intellectual honesty.
If we were truly smarter than them, then why haven't we broken the backs of the NYTCBSABCNBCNPRPBSWPBBCHOLLYWOODACADEMIACNNMSNBC machine?
It is they who run this country, and have for 40 years.
"Another oxymoron is muslim intellectual."
or 'tolerant Muslim'.
Gee, that sounds an awful lot like what has been going on at FreeRepublic for the last several weeks, except I haven't been dismissed as being "anti", I've been dismissed as been "illiterate, 8 years old, an idiot,"and other ad hominem too numerous to mention.
When did the Right (the dark side conservatives) stop being Christian and start being downright arrogant and nasty?
Emotion VS Fact
This kind of mental exercise is more than wrong, it simply irrelevant. All it can every tell us is what he prejudices, moral equivocations, or fudged values of the author say about past era's, their people, and those people's actions and ideas. Would he accept the judgment of some future critic of his works? That critic might have the entire society at that future time on his side, but what possible difference can that make?
This one fallacy undermines just about all leftist or liberal scholarship regarding this nation's, and any nation's true past history. Combine that with a selective memory, and a dearth of knowledge and understanding of authenticated facts, and the way too frequent resorting to meaningless emotional slogan-ism, and you have a basic overview of Leftist historical thought.
It is humility. We are all flawed in some respect, but some people's flaws are more outwardly visible than others. It is impossible to live in a fallen world and not sin against others, no matter how hard one tries. That is why grace is God's greatest gift to us. He will judge.
Besides, it ignores the definition of homophobic and the background of the terms usage, and jumps to a defense that doesn't fit. It's just a loser argument on purely debate terms. It cedes a fundamental point -- checkmate for the other side.
It just uncovers homophobiaphobia, the irrational fear of being labeled a homophobe without ever even accurately analyzing the term, and the willingness to betray core principles to prove oneself non-homophobic. It's just dumb.
While most leftists are anti-Americans.
I find it a great difficulty to intellectually engage anybody. We're all a bundle of unexamined contradictions, and even Prager's pulled quite a few logical boners, himself.
It is possible to respect a person's basic humanity and still reject their sin. I have certainly been called to do that with family members who were alcoholics, liars, et cetera. The pain they caused was enormous, but more easily hidden from the neighbors than a brother in high heels. It is up to God to judge the person ultimately, but up to us to judge the behavior when it obviously conflicts with what we believe to be the Word of God.
I maintain that homosexual behavior is a more obvious sin than the tax cheats, adulterers, blasphemers and other liars sitting in the pews, that's all -- but no less heinous a sin in God's eyes. I believe gay people belong in church, as long as they are hearing the message of repentance and redemption, not politically correct justification for their acts. They cannot heal if they are vilified by the so-called holy. But they should repent and give themselves to Christ for healing.
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