Archive for April 2nd, 2009

April 2, 2009

Hysterical: Sully denies nihilism, accuses conservatives of psychopathology

Quoted by Ta-Nehesi Coates:

I don’t think it’s possible to believe [the gay rights agenda threatens traditional families] without, at some level, engaging in homophobia – literally an irrational and exaggerated fear that the gay somehow always obliterates the straight, or that 2 percent somehow always controls the fate of 98 percent.
This is where paranoia and panic take over. It is where homophobia most feels like anti-Semitism.

Sullivan’s finger-pointing j’accuse is enthusiastically endorsed by Coates, of course. Amazing how these “intellectuals” — including Sullivan, who pretends to the humlity of Oakeshott — just know these things, eh? To oppose their politics is to be guilty of bigotry, per se, with them acting as judge, jury and executioner.

Myself, I profess to be a man of “untaught feelings,” as described by Edmund Burke:

You see, that in this enlightened age I am bold enough to confess, that [the English] are generally men of untaught feelings; that instead of casting away all our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree, and to take more shame to ourselves, we cherish them because they are prejudices; and the longer they have lasted, and the more generally they have prevailed, the more we cherish them. . . . Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man’s virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.

The accustomed habits of a society are not to be cast away willy-nilly merely because some radicals conspire to convince us that innocent people are victimized by our traditions. As to the 2% versue the 98% of which Sullivan speaks, should the tail wag the dog? Ought one of our most fundamental institutions be redefined on behalf of the minority of gays who seek legal recognition for their couplings?

Sully and his friends insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards. If we disagree on what is, at heart, a question of policy, we are accused of vicious hatefulness. Indeed, we are said to be suffering from a psychological disorder, homophobia. To this insult — and their arrogant supposition that we are too stupid to know when we are being insulted — I quote one of the great heroes of cinema.

“Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

The discourse Sully means to have with us:

Sully: You’re stupid.
Us: Excuse me?
Sully: You’re mentally ill, too.
Us: What the . . .?
Sully: Hatemonger!
Us: Boy, I’m about to whup you.
Sully: Fascist!

He does not argue in good faith. We have on our side ancient tradition and religious orthodoxy. He has on his side the prestige of the intellectual elite. Ergo, we are ignorant rabble, and he is so infinitely superior to us that he can insult us with impunity, and we dare not even take notice of the insult.

UPDATE: Re-reading this, I realize I failed to explain why I said Sully and those like him (who pretend to an expertise at diagnosing the mental malady homophobia) “insult conservatives by supposing us to be cowards.”

What I mean is that they seem to assume that we are so afraid of this pejorative label that, merely by accusing us of being “homophobes,” they’ll cause us to cede the premise of their argument. They make the same assumption when they throw around epithets like “racist,” “nativist,” “McCarthyite,” etc.

These negative labels are intended to pre-empt argument, to throw one’s antagonist onto the defensive so that he wastes time defending himself against this label, rather than discussing the subject at hand. And there is good reason why Sullivan supposes conservatives to be cowards in this regard: Because many conservatives are.

They are easily intimidated by liberal name-calling and will bend over backward to protect their precious “respectability” by trying to dodge the accusation. And in doing so, they end up abandoning the high ground, tacitly granting the premise of the liberal argument.

This is why I so admire Kathy Shaidle. When the leftoids shout, “Racist!” she responds, “OK, fine, I’m a racist. Do you have an actual argument, or are you just here to call me names?” Real courage like that utterly confounds the Left, because they’re so used to getting their way by intimidating their opposition into surrender.

Getting a bit more specific, there is a reason why the accusation of “homophobia” does not intimidate me: I refuse to accept that “homophobia” accounts for most of the problems experienced by gays. Define “homophobia” however you wish, if you are gay, ask yourself this question: What percentage of the daily problems and hassles in your life are the result of this supposedly pervasive phenomenon?

This is what is so absurd about Sully likening “homophobia” to anti-Semitism. It is he who has succumbed to the paranoid tendency, suspecting that “homophobes,” like the Jews of anti-Semitic imagination, are conspiring to deprive him of happiness. Here he is, a successful and famous journalist, with lucrative book contracts and nearly carte blanche to publish in prestigious publications, yet he sits around fretting and fuming over the pathological suspicion that other people don’t like him because he’s gay.

Who is it that really has the mental problem here? And who takes seriously the charge of “homophobia” from someone like that?

De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace!

UPDATE II: Speaking of fallacies, Debra Dickerson engages in the “progress” fallacy:

But this is an issue, like race, whose time has come. Enjoy the last few years left of discriminating against gays ‘cuz them days is almost gone.
It’s hard out there for a bigot. Homophobia is on a short list of acceptable bigotries. But it’s fading fast.

To quote Burke again:

We know that we have made no discoveries, and we think that no discoveries are to be made, in morality; nor many in the great principles of government.

Or, to quote G.K. Chesterton:

My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.

Truth is a durable commodity. Of course, Burke and Chesterton were intractable homophobes, which is why they are so morally and intellectually inferior to Andrew Sullivan.

April 2, 2009

Bikini News Roundup

Trying to make it through the long week between Rule 5 Sundays can drag you down. So we try to do what we can to keep hope alive.

Lindsay Lohan’s Bahamas bikini gallery is the Eye Candy Link O’ Th’ Day over at Conservative Grapevine, where John Hawkins seems to have the same idea as me: Not only does Rule 5 boost traffic, but it’s also a morale-booster for the troops in the war of ideas, like Bob Hope bringing Racquel Welch and Joey Heatherton along for the USO show in Saigon.

However, having recently been dubbed a “public intellectual,” I now feel the obligation to provide insightful news commentary in every post, even the gratuitous babe-blogging posts. So, courtesy of Memeorandum (Rule 3!), Technorati (Rule 2!), NetRightNation, Hot Air Headlines and our blogroll, here’s your daily roundup of insightful commentary:

Please note that this collection of insightful news commentary will be extended continually throughout the day, so you should refresh often. (I’m working on another project today and don’t have time to create separate original posts.) So you now have the perfect excuse, guys. When your boss asks you why you’re looking at Lindsay Lohan’s boobs every time he walks past your cubicle, just say, “This is insightful news commentary by a public intellectual!”

April 2, 2009

‘Public intellectual’? Moi?

Believe it or not, I have been named one of the “Top Hayekian Public Intellectuals in America” by Greg Ransom. This was for promoting the free-market economic ideas of Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek, not Hollywood hottie Salma Hayek.

Looking over Greg’s list, there’s no argument that Thomas Sowell deserves his No. 1 ranking. Ever since this blog started, Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed has been on the sidebar as the single best volume for those who want to understand modern liberalism. It’s possible to view The Vision of the Anointed as an expansion on the theme developed by Hayek in The Mirage of Social Justice. What I’ve always admired about Sowell is the admirable clarity of his writing. He has an excellent knack for boiling things down to an understandable essence.

John Stossel at No. 2, George Mason University’s Walter Williams at No. 3 — both excellent choices. It is possible to argue that Williams’s influence at GMU, where he teaches the school’s Ph.D. candidates in economics, makes him the single most influential free-market educator in America. GMU is also home to the Mercatus Center, which helps nurture free-market ideas.

If I could quibble with Greg’s list, I’d suggest he take another look and consider adding Michelle Malkin. Since 9/11, Michelle has been pigeonholed as a “neocon” hawk, but she has a strong free-market background — she was a Brookes Fellow at CEI — and has been perhaps the blogosphere’s most prominent opponent of the Keynesian stimulus/bailout approach to the economic crisis.

April 2, 2009

‘President Obama is so damn smart . . .’

“He just drips smart. He clearly understands stuff that we could never understand. He’s trustworthy. . . . He could talk me into anything. Obama tells us that we can spend our way out of debt. He tells us that even though the government had control over the banks and did nothing to stop the bad that’s going on, if we give them more control over more other bank-like things, then they can make sure bad stuff doesn’t happen ever again.”

April 2, 2009

Republicans ‘bringing knives to a gunfight’

So says Deuce Geary, talking about a GOP filibuster threat against Obama appointees:

Ed Morrissey tries to take the high road at HotAir over threatened Republican filibusters of Obama judicial (and administration) appointees. Normally, I’m all for the high road, but in this case, I’m not sure. I’m not even sure that what he is advocating is taking the high road so much as it is driving right off of it and over the cliff.

Deuce is right, I believe. Republicans simply don’t have enough votes to carry a filibuster. Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe are not going to vote against cloture on an Obama appointment. There may be “holds” that delay confirmation, but it’s silly even to talk filibuster at this point.

When Jon Henke is asked, “What do Republicans do now?” his answer is: “You lose.” Which is to say that, unless and until the GOP can recapture control of at least one chamber of Congress (or the White House), what will happen in Washington is this: Democrats will ram their agenda through, and Republicans will be powerless to thwart them.

The only effective thing that Republicans in Washington can do at this point is to (a) vote “no” on everything, and (b) stand up and loudly proclaim, “IT WON’T WORK.”

Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress (especially in the Senate) want to feel like they’re “relevant” and “part of the process,” and so they’ll sign onto various elements of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda, thereby giving the Democrats a fig leaf of bipartisanship.

April 2, 2009

Saints and ‘sin’ taxes

The usual liberal moral categories inverted:

One of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday.
The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama’s promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000.
This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.

Generally speaking, liberals demand leniency toward the shortcomings of the poor. If poor people commit crimes, well, we have to look at the “root causes,” say the liberals. The poor get hooked on drugs? Give them treatment, not prison, the liberals say.

Smoking, however, is something different. With cigarettes, even the sainted poor are targeted. Liberal hatred of smokers is a monomania that has never been adequately explained. Basic economics tells you that the punitive taxation rates will be self-defeating in terms of the revenue generated; by driving up prices, they’ll reduce sales. One can only speculate that the liberal war on tobacco is motivated by the liberal’s desire to boss people around.

April 2, 2009

Password Schemes Even Their Mothers Probably Hate

by Smitty

This is not an out-take from The Daily WTF. It really crossed my screen today:

Please enter your old password and a new password in the spaces below using the following password rules:
The password must be at least 14 to 30 characters long.
The new password must differ from the old password by at least 4 characters.
Passwords ARE case sensitive.
Special Characters are allowed in the password with the exception of the single quote (‘), double quote (“), and less-than sign (<).
The password must contain at least:

  • 2 uppercase alpha characters [A-Z]
  • 2 lowercase alpha characters [a-z]
  • 2 numeric characters [0-9]
  • 2 special characters [ ~!@#$%^&*()-_+={}[]:;,>/ ]

The password must not:

  • contain spaces
  • contain the single quote (‘), double quote (“), or the less-than sign (<)
  • be the same as your user-id

I’ve also seen one site like this, but the “special characters” (which do NOT include the back-tick `) have to occur early in the password, or it doesn’t count. Relative to unemployment, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Nevertheless, they do make my tourettes syndrome act up.