I received some interesting comments about my fake news post. Twelve comments do not qualify as a lot, but I was intrigued and delighted that some of them came from readers I associate with another site that has nothing to do with politics, or the Second Amendment, or chance encounters with wildlife, or any of the things I write about, and—rightly or wrongly—I associate those readers with that very liberal site, so I was surprised to find some liberals were agreeing with me. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that was just my flu-meds working, because it finally occurred to me that perhaps they, like me, are conservatives who also just happen to be interested in the topic covered on that other site. Oh, well.
I actually received even more comments, all of which, ah, shall we say, disagreed with me and with those readers who had liked what I wrote, but I deleted those comments. However, since one of them (also deleted) took me to task for not posting disagreeing comments, I have decided to explain, as clearly as I can, precisely why none of those comments saw the light of day, and why certain comments will never see the light of day on this blog.
I am happy to indulge in civilized debate with any of my readers, and readers who have been kind enough to follow this blog for any length of time will know that. However, profanity does not qualify as civilized. Anger does not qualify as civilized. Ad hominem attacks do not qualify as civilized. Personal insults do not qualify as civilized. Sneering does not qualify as civilized. Contemptuous dismissals do not qualify as civilized. Those things are just the ugly venting of ugly little trolls.
But deleting ugly little trolls isn’t the only issue. In this case, there was the paucity of even the most rudimentary attempt to present an opposing point of view. There was absolutely no attempt, by any of those people, to point out a specific mistake or omission I made. And I might well have missed something; I don’t read all the papers, liberal or conservative. I don’t spend my days flipping from news channel to news channel. I don’t pore over online news sites, liberal or conservative.
If any one of those comments had politely pointed out that the New York Times had recently had to walk back their fulsome article praising Donald Trump for his heroic efforts to revive the dithyrambic verse form (don’t worry: they didn’t, and he hasn’t) I would have had to concede that all the fake news stories I cited were perhaps nothing more than legitimate journalist errors.
And even if I had chosen to clean up the frequently incoherent mangling of the English language in some of those comments, to delete the insults, and ignore the contemptuous dismissal of facts, there was a complete absence of any kind of logical argument. In fact, there was a complete absence of any kind of thought process whatsoever.
My mother was so intelligent and so well-educated that she sometimes used to be able to get away with total nonsense. Usually, but not always, and one of her efforts once reduced my stepfather and me to hysterics at the dinner table. My stepfather was a demon gardener and had cooked some kind of casserole, heavy on squash he had grown himself, and he was urging my mother to have some more. She demurred, and he persisted.
“It’s very good for you, Sydney,” he said, his face beaming with pride and bonhomie, the ladle, steaming and dripping, held in one hand as he reached for her plate with the other.
Another lady might have drawn herself up grandly at this point, but my mother didn’t need to; she was always drawn up, and she fixed him now with a look.
“Nice people,” she said, “don’t eat squash.”
There was a frozen moment of silence as my stepfather and I looked at her with our mouths open. Then our eyes met and we began to laugh, to howl, to roar so uncontrollably that after a while, to her credit, my mother began to laugh with us. And when we finally began to subside enough to be able to speak, she said, “Well, they don’t.” And off we went again.
It was just one of those lovely silly moments that occur in families, but it is also an excellent example of the kind of faulty syllogism so many people mistake for logical debate. Her thinking ran:
I am a nice person.
I don’t like squash.
Therefore, nice people do not eat squash.
It is a perfect example of the kind of nonsense that passes for political debate these days. Politically, that kind of tenuous and muddled syllogistic thinking (such as it is) comes out as:
I am intelligent and caring, and I want open borders, a socialist/communist government, gun control, and free everything for everybody.
You don’t want those things.
Therefore, you are a loathsome, selfish, hateful moron.
Unfortunately, the only true aspect of the argument is the minor premise (I don’t want those things), so the whole argument falls apart, but in any case, calling me names does not change the truth of what I wrote, nor does it advance the debate.
A good example—a brilliant example—of an opposing comment that not only advanced a debate, but my thinking on that issue as well, a comment I jumped at the chance to post, can be found here: (http://readjamesonparker.com/archives/date/2015/01)
I have been fortunate enough to have many other intelligent, thoughtful, well-written, and civilized comments, and they are all still up on my site, but this one is hands down the best.
There are other categories of comments you will never see posted on this blog.
I will not tolerate America bashing.
I will no longer waste my energy explaining for the millionth time that the lies—that’s lies, not misspeaking, nor exaggeration, nor hyperbole, nor any of the other euphemisms the media and politicians like to use when caught telling lies—of the Shannon Watts/Gabby Gifford/Mayor Bloomberg/Schumer/Feinstein anti-gun crowd are precisely that: lies made up out of whole cloth. If you are computer-savvy enough to read this blog, you are certainly computer-savvy enough to make your way the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (or the Bureau of Justice Statistics [BJS] or the CDC National Center for Health Statistics) and look up the truth yourself. Be sure to remind yourself, as you study the actual numbers that, because of the time-lag in compiling and processing those numbers, the truth was compiled under the Obama administration.
And if you are anti-Zionist; if you are stupid, hateful, and evil enough to support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement, you are, as far as I’m concerned, an anti-Semite, and I won’t even bother acknowledging that you exist.