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Evidence!

Third in what's become an inadvertent series, I really can't do better than this though. Though I recommend reading the whole thing, I'm mainly posting it here because of this line:
"...is evidence that he's a poor President, but not that he's..."
Whatever comes before the "is" may be accurate, and thus people may make normative judgements on their basis, but bogus, strained conclusions (in this case: "the antecedent confirms he's a Muslim! Lets everyone go around saying Obama is a Muslim!") say a lot more about the critic than their target. It ends up being an act of self-nullification of any substantive critique they might have offered.

Here at Winds, one of the original purposes of this blog, and a reason I liked it, is to note and condemn things that poison the debate regardless of whether it's done by "our side" or against it. The knowledge by the fine and wise people who founded this blog, and gave me the opportunity to post here too, that meretricious arguments such as those not only inflame the debate but are self-defeating. Improper arguments may warm the hearts of some of the readers (in the "red meat" sense), but they also discredit those who make them in the eyes of fair observers. Or should. One of the reasons why I dislike the modern Left is that they are allowed to get away with this sort of behavior, since they still have the preponderant control of the "opinion-leading" institutions. Of course, one of the reasons that control may ebb is precisely because, in allowing many to get away with such things and even make careers out of it, they're undermining their own credibility, though at a more glacial pace than many think.

But that's no reason for the other side to become just the flip side of the same coin, because the same fair observers will see them as no different rather than a real alternative.

As for me, and connecting this to the other posts in the series: I don't know what Obama's heart is. I don't know what his real faith is (I highly, *highly* *HIGHLY* doubt it's Islam, however). Perhaps he's a sincerely devout Christian. He says he's a Christian. As Dave Kopel points out, no one doubts Carter is a sincere Christian. People who oppose President Obama's policies and behavior, I highly doubt they do so because they think he's a Muslim but would support those same policies and behavior if they became convinced he was a devout Christian ("Well, if he was, then his policies and behavior would be different!" is a non-argument, as there are many devout Christians who have the same political beliefs and behavior as he. You may think they're politically and even theologically misguided, and I might agree - after all, everyone's a heretic). No, as with the Blogchair Psychoanalysis, they first oppose his policies, and then latch on to something ("he's a bad President by reason of crazy!" or "he's a bad President by reason of Islam!") that claims to explain it, but really doesn't.

To me, the Alinskyist Argument makes more sense, because it's definitely connected to everything Obama has said and done. But even there, so what: A lot of people on the Right these days, while simoultaneously condemning Alinskyism, in the next breath proudly proclaim they are using Alinskyist tactics against Progressives, turning the tables on them. Huzzah!

Well, I'm all for the turning of tables, and holding people (especially the governing class) to the same standards they hold others to. But it's rather ironic for people to say "OMG, this Administration is full of Alinskyists, and Alinskyism is bad! Have you read Rules? You should!" (you really should) "I have! It's evil! And here's what I've learned from it, and this is the Alinskyist tactic I'm using today!"

That's the common thread in this series of posts: that the tactics the Right despises in the Left, some elements of the Right are gleefully adopting themselves, even while still deploring the tactics. Now, this can be done to some degree and in certain ways, but done in the way these have, it's as I said: poisonous and self-destructive.


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