Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's in a name?

First of all, someone who is often chagrined at his habit of not posting anything for extended periods of time probably should not decide to not talk politics for awhile.

Hard not to since I get my news via the intrawebs, which is largely about politics, and then when I go to write a blog post, well, you get the idea.

The upshot is I've averaged about two thousand words a day for just over a week. Maybe I'll be published before the end of the year.

One certainly hopes.

(See what I did there? First paragraph was in third person, middle two in first with a bit of second person, and the last back in third. I've been playing such games for days. I'm such a dork)

Anyway, South Texian today had a post about Joe Klein, of Time Magazine:
"He became ground zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today."

"There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about."

In context, he essentially is saying Krauthammer doesn't know what he's talking about when it involves something physically demanding. In the literary world, to say someone lacks nuance on a particular topic is essentially the same as saying they may know a little about what they're talking about, but lack depth, experience, or some such on the topic.

Well, the only thing physically demanding Krauthammer really talks about is the military and what it does, can do, should do, etc. In a very round about way, he's calling Krauthammer a chickenhawk.

A chickenhawk*, in the parlance of the Other Side, being someone who espouses the use of military force for any reason whatsoever, or just has an opinion of any sort regarding the military, who was never in the military. Amusingly, when Obama called for the bombing of Pakistan (which would have been stupid**) no one called him a chickenhawk. Heck, whenever a liberal of any variety lowers himself to talking about military matters, including strategy, no one calls them chickenhawks.

Funny that. Of course, it's not that liberals don't think those who were never in the military should have an opinion on how it operates, after all, many of them have a whole plethora of rules and policies they want implemented to make the military 'kinder and gentler.' It's really about the nature of the discourse.

This is hardly limited to the instances of people being called chickenhawks. Every time you hear some useful idiot calling conservatives fascists, it's the same thing. I'm sure with some thought I could list a few dozen cliche names liberals will call those who are opposed to their point of view.

See, an argument that stays rooted solidly in reality, ie. logic and facts, is one that liberals have a poor chance of winning. However, call someone a fascist and suddenly he's defending himself and his point of view against a word which has had its meaning redefined specifically to include them. The debate moves into the gutter of arguing from emotion and feeling, facts and history be damned, and this is a fight we conservatives are not good at, but which liberals excel at.

I must admit, I used to allow myself to be roped into such ploys all the time.

The worst part of it, the average man/woman-on-the-street liberal doesn't think they are doing this. They developed their point of view, or had it introduced to them, from the viewpoint of emotion and feeling. That being what the position is based on, it is what they use to defend it.

One must remember that nearly every liberal really does have the best intentions, just like what the road to Hell is paved with.

While most liberals do not consciously try to move a debate to the emotional level, there are some who do so quite deliberately. Anytime you hear the phrase, "Think of the children," or any of its semantic equivalents, someone is defending something they know will not pass rational examination. It also why certain semi-auto rifles are called 'assault rifles/weapons/etc' (though they are nothing of the sort) by those who favor banning them and their talking heads (now including Jimmah Carter!) talk about how they're only useful for killing people. Of course it's ridiculous, but it makes it hard to argue against them when we're forced to play their game.

*The original meaning of a chickenhawk is one who is terrified of something, but is brave anyway. Makes sense, since without fear, bravery is impossible.

**At the time he made the statement. This may be changing soon, if it has not already.

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