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Sunday, February 10, 2013

In defense of "extremism"

Frank Bruni complains about the loss of the media monoculture in the New York Times:
America these days is an immoderate land of fixed opinions and outsize fixations. More and more we wallow: in our established political philosophy; in our preferred interest group; in our pastime of choice; in whichever health routine we’ve turned into a health religion.

I BLAME the Internet. Well, that and social media and cable television, with its infinity of channels. In theory our hyperconnectivity and surfeit of possibilities have broadened our universes, speeding us to distant galaxies, fresh discoveries and new information. But in reality they’ve just as often had a narrowing effect, enabling us to dwell longer on, and burrow deeper into, one way of being, one mode of thinking.

Whether you’re predisposed to a conservative or liberal view, you can set your bookmarks to Web sites that reinforce what you already believe, take a similar tack with your Facebook and Twitter feeds, and turn for news to Fox News or MSNBC, each an echo chamber for like minds.

And many Americans do just that. The prime-time audiences for Fox News and MSNBC increased significantly between 2011 and 2012, while CNN’s prime-time audience dropped. The percentage of swing voters seemed to shrink, and over the last two decades, the percentage of voters who label themselves “moderate” has similarly declined. 
Bruni is whining about essentially the same "problem" that McRapey lamented in his recent interview.  The Left is deeply and bitterly upset about their inability to control the narrative in the way they were once able to.  Bruni is complaining that although ABCNNBCBS, NPR, the AP, and the New York Times are all still around and putting out news and opinion, Americans don't have to pay attention to them anymore, and increasingly, they don't.  Bruni resents the fact that, as McRapey said in the CBC-Q interview, "the internet is a great big world and you can't mallet everybody."

But the Left would like to.  Oh, how they would dearly love to be able to shut out every critical voice, to see and hear no evil, to prevent the innocent ignorant from being able to learn that the Officially Sanctioned Story is not necessarily true and its case is riddled with holes.  This is why the Left so religiously shuns debate, erases its opponents from the history books, and often tries to pretend that the other side doesn't even exist.  They have to rewrite history, and in some cases jettison it entirely, because the facts and lessons of history simply do not work in their favor.

It's not the Right that is burrowing deeper into its own way of thinking.  We of the Right have been steeped in leftist propaganda and ideology for our entire lives.  We understand the Left's thinking, and we reject it due to that very understanding, whereas leftists, when caught off-guard, will readily admit that they are both frightened and confused by what those on the Right are thinking.  This is usually because they are totally unfamiliar with it; in some cases they literally haven't ever heard anything like it before.  And because their thinking is wholly based on rhetoric and rote-learning, they are almost uniformly incapable of operating on a genuinely dialectical level; what looks like leftist dialectic is almost always, when you examine it, nothing more than rhetoric.

Consider the poor leftist who believes avidly that a) racism is evil and b) evolution is true.  What is he to do when confronted by someone who points out, on the basis of genetic science, that humans are not even all equally homo sapiens sapiens?  If he is to cling to his beliefs, he must either accept a continual state of cognitive dissonance or bury his head in the intellectual sand.  This is why "burrowing" is an apt term for the Left's response to the changes brought about by the Internet, though not necessarily the Right's.

Expect more public lamentations from the likes of Bruni as the power of the media gatekeepers continues to fade and more and more independent alternatives whose only credibility is based on their substance, not their credentials or their historical position.  As was once said of liberty, extremism in the pursuit of truth is no vice.  It is, rather, the cardinal virtue.

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264 Comments:

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Anonymous Bob Ramar February 10, 2013 7:59 AM  

Vox: You see this also in religious circles. Say, for instance, that the Doctrine of the Trinity is an incorporation of Greek philosophy into Christian doctrine, or that John Calvin was a murderer whose 'Chrisitan' ideas need to be relegated to the rubbish heap, and people will come out foaming at the mouth, rather than engaging in any kind of discussion about the merits of either idea.

Blogger Rantor February 10, 2013 8:10 AM  

Oh Bob, the Dread Ilk have repeatedly discussed the Trinity and Calvin with minimal froth. These discussions are typically quite educational and sometimes revealing.

Anonymous weak February 10, 2013 8:14 AM  

VD, nice job forcing in a McRapey reference to wind up the warrens. It didn't detract from the post, but will still serve to have them a-hoppin'. Nicely done.

Anonymous Krul February 10, 2013 8:17 AM  

It's a telling example of the Leftist perspective. In the first place, Bruni is objecting to the mere fact that other peoples' preferences differ from his own. In the second place, he is striking a moralistic pose using the evasive "we", as in "We are too extreme, we should be more moderate, how did we let ourselves go so badly? (By 'we' I mean 'everyone except me and my preferred ingroup')". In the third place, in the political context "extremism" is one of those newspeak terms that only means "unwavering commitment" which is neutral - there is nothing bad about commitment as such, it depends on what you're commited to.

There’s more extremism on the right than on the left: President Obama’s health care reform and push to raise taxes don’t come anywhere near the socialism that his Tea Party nemeses, themselves much more rigid, rant about. Above all, there’s gridlock. It’s hard to make much progress when reciprocal distrust is this extreme.

I know exactly what their idea of "progress" is, and if the right is impeding it then it's doing its job. Note the bias - he's blaming the right for lack of progress even though I don't see the left offering to compromise. In fact, I've only ever seen the right make concessions to the left, never the other way around that I can recall.

Blogger Shimshon February 10, 2013 8:23 AM  

Ka-ching! And McRapey virtually adds another $5 to the virtual pledge.

This is the modern equivalent of Pauline Kael's alleged shocked that Nixon had won, since she didn't know a single person who voted for him.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2013 8:26 AM  

What ho? A bunny and his money are soon parted.

Blogger Rantor February 10, 2013 8:32 AM  

For the issue at hand, the division of the country by increasingly extreme and competing views is a socionomically predictable part of an economic depression. The fact that the moderate right has awakened to understand how corrupting the left wing media has been for the last 50 years is refreshing. Of course the far right has been harping on this for decades, like a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Yet even Fox News is dominated by Neocons and gives time for their pet liberals to spout off. I don't know if MSNBC has pet conservatives, neither do I care.

The current debate with Rabbit-Dom shows that these disparate sites are not in silos but the debate can and will overflow when the issues are considered important enough by someone (whether for personal or ideological reasons) I had not thought that it could happen so quickly over this issue, but Scalzi successfully characterized this as a fight for human rights against some monster and the left-wing guardian picked it up.

Rabbit-Dom will always be upset when we get our news and develop our views based on unapproved sources

Anonymous daddynichol February 10, 2013 8:34 AM  

Religion, evolution, McRapey and taking as shot at the media. This thread is going to explode!

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 8:34 AM  

VD, nice job forcing in a McRapey reference to wind up the warrens.

It didn't have to be forced. I was extracting samples from the CBC interview - some of them are hilarious as is - when I noticed that the Bruni column was saying much the same thing that McRapey had in his interview. I'll post the transcript later this week. The CBC interviewer had a great voice; if he'd been the one to say "John Scalzi is a rapist" it would have more punch than "James Brown is dead".

Question: does it count if the only reference to McRapey is a quote of McRapey saying McRapey? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous Susan February 10, 2013 8:35 AM  

Facts are tricky and dangerous things to lefties. Better to ignore and/or deride them as fantasy spewings by evil and insensitive people who hate small animals and children.

Anonymous jack February 10, 2013 8:36 AM  

An incisive thrust this post. Much like the cut of a Seal's razor sharp fighting knife.

Vox: The internet is the life blood of the counter view to the left's narrative. Without giving them any new ideas [hard to discuss without doing so, I guess] what do you think they will come up with to counter that resource short of shutting down DARPA's grand experiment? Can the net even be shut down this far in?

Anonymous The Great Martini February 10, 2013 8:39 AM  

I think you have some things right here and some wrong. The Left does prefer to disengage than to debate. They prefer to try to ignore a problem into nonexistence, and in the long run, that doesn't work. It's more than putting your head in the sand but less than engagement and resolution, which is a strategy that will work so long as culture is moving in your direction, but a prescription for disaster if you actually need to convince people that you're right.

But, you're wrong that the Right doesn't try to insulate itself away from information it doesn't care to deal with or try to create its own world-building narrative. You wrote for WND. Need I say anything else?

The NYT article is so broad that you could go off on any of a number of tangents. We do now live in an age when we can construct our own information feeds that reinforce our own prejudices about the world. Yes, we do live in world that seems to be in a mini-ice age of personal gluttony, and it is an "extreme" world. Extreme sports, extreme cooking, athletics, politics. We've lost sight of the wisdom of moderation and the idea that (though the extreme of seeking truth may be a virtue) the truth itself seldom resides at the extreme.

Blogger tz February 10, 2013 8:42 AM  

The typical mistake of the right is to somply seek another warren. There are even libertarian warrens.

Truth can come by great effort with reasoning based on dialectic and evidence, or by hearing it from someone who has gone through the process. The error comes from superficial acceptance. When a liberal gets mugged - or raped - intellectually if not physically, they run to fox news, not to a classical education. So they simply get a mirror image false idol, which they genuflect with the other knee.

It is like watching the moonies v.s. the rajneeshis.

I prefer people I disagree with who at least will defend their views having formed them and tested them - if we disagree it is because we cannot convince each other, many matches end in a stalemate where we can symbolicallynshake hands, and at least I appreciate understanding that which I disagree with. Instead, red or blue, in the opening "you nasty person - you captured my pawn! unfair!".

Vox is correct though that the bias is mostly from the left, those on the right at least need superficial reasoning, but they tend to be so much thoughts as talking points. If they thouht through, they wouldn't be for the war on terror and the rest of the right's pet evils.

But note Ron Paul got traction last year although he didn't win. There are thinkers, and when reality sweeps in like a hurricane, the hawks will soar while those n thwarrens will drown.

Blogger Markku February 10, 2013 8:43 AM  

Some people have asked me: Okay, you have all this money pledged, but how can you be sure that people will follow through on their pledges at the end of the year? The short answer is: I can’t be sure, but I believe they will. The slightly longer answer is: well, look, it’s easier to lurk and watch on something like this than to put yourself (and your money) out there and say, yes, this is something I believe in. I think people who did say that will be good for it. Maybe some of them will have a rough year and can’t donate all they promised, and that’ll be fine if it happens. On the other hand, there are some people who said, hey, if things go well, I’ll donate more. That will be fine, too. In the end it’ll all even out and these organizations/charities will see the benefit.

Now isn't that nice? I believe too!

Anonymous DC Al Fine February 10, 2013 8:46 AM  

What is he to do when confronted by someone who points out that humans are not even all genetically homo sapiens sapiens?

Can anyone give me a link for this? I'd like to use it on a leftist midwit I know.

Anonymous Stilicho February 10, 2013 8:47 AM  

Question: does it count if the only reference to McRapey is a quote of McRapey saying McRapey? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh, he is so going to tell Google on you. We'll see whose blog gets shut down. Mallet up!

Blogger Shimshon February 10, 2013 8:48 AM  

The CBC interviewer had a great voice; if he'd been the one to say "John Scalzi is a rapist" it would have more punch than "James Brown is dead".

Weird train of thought here. This mention of "great voice" got me thinking of that wonderful deadpan reading of 50 Shades and kinky fuckery, and...

Since McRapey has already set a precedent by engaging in poses that indicates some weird fetish, he should next write 50 Shades fan sci-fi depicting Rapey McRaperson himself in the Christian Grey role. Then, he'll be an admitted rapist, and play one in a book. After the Direct to Video movie comes out, he can even boast that he (since the part naturally is written for him) plays a rapist on TV too.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 8:50 AM  

But, you're wrong that the Right doesn't try to insulate itself away from information it doesn't care to deal with or try to create its own world-building narrative. You wrote for WND. Need I say anything else?

Yes, because I also wrote for Universal Press Syndicate and with one exception, the mainstream media resolutely failed to pick up my op/ed columns while some of the largest picked up my game review columns. Why do you think that might be? Did I somehow magically lose my ability to write?

Now, I don't deny that there are lots of rabbits on the Right. But there are far more on the Right who are willing to engage than on the other side. I didn't challenge McRapey to a debate on anything, but when I was challenged, I accepted. He ran away. Was this really a surprise to anyone on either side?

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 8:51 AM  

The typical mistake of the right is to somply seek another warren. There are even libertarian warrens.

This is absolutely a problem.

Blogger tz February 10, 2013 8:53 AM  

The polarization is not between left and right, it is between men - with wills and intellect - and the gamma rabbits of all warrens.

There are even non-rabbits on the left (those who criticize Obama with arguments). Note they are also banished from the warren (Glenn Greenwald is an example).

Fox news. I used to quip "because someone has to guard the hen-house" (note hens, not roosters), but perhaps it should be "someone needs to keep the hutch informed"

Our common enemy is the army of bunnies armed only with votes, but who elect people with guns who don't think, merely exploit the mass of fools - on both sides.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 8:54 AM  

You know, if the Warren was serious about all those pledges and ensuring that the little gay black pregnant girls got money, wouldn't they have already set up a simple pledge site listing the names of everyone who's pledged, with a big ticker that had the total amount pledged, and links to the various charities?

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 8:57 AM  

This is absolutely a problem.

The cognitive dissonance of the conservative demanding that we balance the budget, but we can't cut medicare, social security, or military adventurism, who loudly rallies everyone to vote for mitt Romney.

Blogger Tiny Tim February 10, 2013 8:59 AM  

Leftism is catalogued stupidity, ubiformed and sing song. It is the philosophy of a child.

Blogger El Borak February 10, 2013 9:07 AM  

what looks like dialectic is almost always, when you examine it closely, nothing more than rhetoric.

Which is why the left is always obsessed by the symbolism of words and actions. Even when they know some proposed solution will not fix as it promises, they will do it anyway because to fail will "send the wrong signal."

They are constantly finding racist 'dog whistles' in everyday conversation. E.g. call the President skinny, it's racist, as is calling his wife fat. Though it's demonstrably true, that truth doesn't matter - what matters is the President is black, therefore all opposition must be rooted in that fact.*

Find someone who wants to ban not X, but toy Xs, pictures of Xs, and little boys making Xs with their fingers, and that person is of the left, nine times in ten, no matter the value of X. The symbolism, the sympathetic magic of the thing, is what's important.

It may sound like logic, but scratch the surface and you'll find that it's an artifice constructed of fear of the otherness of thoughts and noises and machines they don't understand.

* That disagreement with a black person is racist is a given, unless they are disagreeing with someone like Thomas Sowell. Then Sowell is a self-hating black. Only white people have the right to be conservative, and they just barely, until the left can fix that.

Anonymous The Great Martini February 10, 2013 9:20 AM  


There are even non-rabbits on the left (those who criticize Obama with arguments). Note they are also banished from the warren (Glenn Greenwald is an example).


There are a shitload on the left who are openly critical of Obama. They will come right out and say he's a war criminal for his use of drones. Like Greenwald, they might not get published in mainstream "left" outlets, but then Vox isn't going to get published in National Review. You have to compare like with like. If you do so, you won't find a huge difference between the willingness to debate on left or right. You will find some. The left does prefer to ignore and shutdown adversaries, but that's only because they are currently winning the culture war.

John Derbyshire found out exactly how willing the centrist right is to entertain a position that was outside their comfort zone.

Anonymous Godfrey February 10, 2013 9:21 AM  

Oh how very true! The "Gatekeepers" are dead, or nearly so. The establishment is in terror. The "little people" are beginning to think for themselves.


POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Anonymous Stilicho February 10, 2013 9:22 AM  

The symbolism, the sympathetic magic of the thing, is what's important.

Interesting observation given how much leftism overlaps with paganism.

Anonymous Godfrey February 10, 2013 9:23 AM  

There really isn't a left and right...

...instead there are those that are conned by the establishment (i.e. the wealthy powerful ruling classes) and those that are not.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 9:24 AM  

If you do so, you won't find a huge difference between the willingness to debate on left or right. You will find some. The left does prefer to ignore and shutdown adversaries, but that's only because they are currently winning the culture war.

I don't disagree, on principle, but you exaggerate the similarities. When has a publishing house led by a right-leaning editor ever openly declared that they would never publish a nationally syndicated left-wing writer? When actual science fiction writers dominated the SFWA, were they regularly bringing up the idea of kicking out feminist members for their feminism?

Your point about Derbyshire is an apt one. But the historical revisionism and intellectual intolerance of the Left has always been a much more powerful force, dating back to the French Revolution and the month of Fructador. The Right often lacks the courage to face the truth, but the Left outright hates it.

Anonymous E. PERLINE February 10, 2013 9:28 AM  

Given the evidence of the success and failure of nations, why would anyone pick socialism today? Private enterprise has its fits and starts but the path for its standard of living is upward. Socialialim's path is downward. It encourages throwing sabots into the machinery.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 9:29 AM  

The one area where the right tends to argue like the left is foreign policy and the national security state. Much like the left branding their opponents as raciss or sexiss or homophobiss, the right leaps to accusations of anti-semite, anti-american, or terrorist sympathizer. Not surprisingly, this is the one area in which the agenda has been set by those who are leftist (the neocons) and still retain the thought processes of the rabbit people.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 9:38 AM  

"Given the evidence of the success and failure of nations, why would anyone pick socialism today? "

Why do the lemmings run off the cliff? WHY???

Anonymous Tad February 10, 2013 9:40 AM  

@Vox Day

Bruni is whining about essentially the same "problem" that McRapey is lamenting. The Left is deeply and bitterly upset about their inability to control the narrative in the way they were once able to do so.

No, Vox Day. He is not. He is complaining about intense ideological polarization that is given velocity by the hyper-segmenting the Internet allows and the way the media is following suit. He's not focusing on Fox, the WSJ, USA today or the Washington Times. He's focusing on the media on the left and the right.

It's not the Right that is burrowing deeper into its own way of thinking...

Of course it is. The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years and the Tea Party movement is the inevitable result. Your long and storied mis reading of American politics is showing through here. You are not in your element.

Expect more public lamentations from the likes of Bruni as the power of the media gatekeepers continues to fade and more and more independent alternatives whose only credibility is based on their substance, not their credentials or their historical position.

The problem is that too many of these outlets are akin to World Net Daily, surely among the most absurd "news" outlets currently publishing today. World Net Daily is said by some to have credibility not based on its substance, but based on its relatively large readership, which consists almost entirely of....wait for it....far right wingers who are simply getting more reinforcement, but with loony toon views rather than anything like original reporting.

You demonstrate once again not to be very talented at analysis, be it American politics or the Media. You ought to stick to those things about which you are expert such as............um.....calling authors more popular than you names. There are others I'm sure. I'll think of them.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 10, 2013 9:42 AM  

Details of the other random shooting by LAPD


"Nobody trains police officers to look for one of their own," said Maria Haberfeld, a police training professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "I wouldn't want to be in their shoes and I don't think anybody else would."


So, it's OK to shoot up random bystanders, or are college professors just that dumb?

Anonymous Tad February 10, 2013 9:42 AM  

@krul

It's a telling example of the Leftist perspective. In the first place, Bruni is objecting to the mere fact that other peoples' preferences differ from his own

That's incorrect. He's objecting to the polarization of American politics and his bleed over into the media as well as the media's influence on the polarization.

Anonymous Bah February 10, 2013 9:45 AM  

There are a shitload on the left who are openly critical of Obama.

Um, for not being Left enough. Those of us who are not members of the Leftist rabbit warren don't find this especially impressive.

Anonymous Red Comet February 10, 2013 9:47 AM  

@Tad

Angrily restating what Vox already wrote doesn't count as arguing with him you understand?

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 9:49 AM  

You have completely mis-diagnosed both the situation and the response to it. The situation is not that the public is rejecting the leftist ideology, because of new media. The situation is that for the last 40 years, media consumption has gotten drastically more democratic. There are many, many, many more sources.

And as that has happened, people have gravitated to whatever sources play to their inherent biases. The number of sources that capture the attention of a broad slice of the population is dwindling, and the ones that are left are graying, rapidly, in the face of an onslaught of new competition.

Many commenting on the loss of power of the traditional media outlets think it's because viewership or readership has fallen off dramatically. This not exactly true. While the big newspapers (WSJ, USAToday, NYTimes) have seen some reductions, they are not far off from their historical peaks: the NYTimes, for example, had about 1 million daily readers in 1980, and in 2010 they had about 900,000 daily readers. Given population increases it's safe to say it reaches a smaller percentage of the population by at least half. But the real loss of power comes from the loss of profitability, and the loss of access that comes with that. And the loss of profitability of all the major media sources stems not from readership, but from advertising. The real story is that advertisers have many many more channels to get to consumers, and so, the traditional media influence declines with each new year of reduced advertiser demand.

The premise that the traditional media is leftist is simplistic and unoriginal. A more appropriate description is that it was orthodox, and favored institutions. A great example that illuminates this is the deference shown to the Presidency, to the point of hero worship. During the term of Pres. GW Bush, the media fawningly (led by the NYTimes, by the way) and shamelessly played up every insider leak, every bit of news to support the Iraqi war and invasion. The major outlets instantly fell into line with the drumbeat of war. When anti-war activists immediately debunked and cast doubt on the UN testimony of Sec. State Colin Powell the big media outlets sanctified and backed him up. They were shocked! shocked! that some on the left cast doubt on his testimony. The man was a war hero! After the war started and it was clear the premise was false, the media dutifully stayed in line, helping push the narrative that it was an honest mistake. Compared to the UK, where the press effectively ended the career of Prime Minister Tony Blair, and where the oversight process produced definitive evidence that the run-up to the war was manipulated to achieve a predetermined case for war the US media response was pathetic.

The same corruption is on display with the Obama administration. When Rep. Joe Wilson shout "you lie" during the State of the Union, the press and media was shocked! shocked! that someone would interrupt the President and call him a liar. Within a day, every outlet was forcing Republicans to denounce or agree with Rep. Wilson, and the party eventually betrayed him and pushed out a weak knee-ed apology. In both cases, the traditional media is caught fawning over access, power, and institutions. The fact that one was a little right of center (Pres. GW Bush) or that one is a good bit left of center (Pres. Obama), it is predictable that the media will protect the status quo.

As far as borrowing, this is clearly happening. For the elite left, and Democrats, it was Bush derangement syndrome. For the right, it's scary black man syndrome. The entire start and end of that argument can be expressed simply as "see Fox News". For these viewers, the only thing you need to know is that are convinced that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, and most believe that we actually found his weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq. It is a fact free existence, re-enforced by the in-house media arm of their party.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 9:52 AM  

Yes, because I also wrote for Universal Press Syndicate and with one exception, the mainstream media resolutely failed to pick up my op/ed columns while some of the largest picked up my game review columns. Why do you think that might be? Did I somehow magically lose my ability to write?

VD, what you write has virtually no commercial appeal. People will syndicate anything that sells papers. You really think you were discriminated against because of your politics? Don't be vain.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 9:54 AM  

You demonstrate once again not to be very talented at analysis, be it American politics or the Media.

Tad, all you've manage to demonstrate, once again, is that you are an obsessed and syphilis-addled homosexual. Since you still can't stop talking about me rather than about the topic at hand, you're now permanently on the five comments per post limit.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 9:55 AM  

"People will syndicate anything that sells papers."

Observable reality called. It says you don't pay much attention.

Anonymous Harsh February 10, 2013 9:56 AM  

The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years and the Tea Party movement is the inevitable result.

The Democratic Party has moved much further to the left in the same period of time and the fact that there is no equivalent of the Tea Party there is because the extreme element has take over the entire party.

You ought to stick to those things about which you are expert such as............um.....calling authors more popular than you names.

Observe the feminine snark, fellas. When "men" like him are losing a debate they always fall back on that old standard.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 10, 2013 9:57 AM  

And as that has happened, people have gravitated to whatever sources play to their inherent biases. The number of sources that capture the attention of a broad slice of the population is dwindling, and the ones that are left are graying, rapidly, in the face of an onslaught of new competition.

And so we need some sort of (government) monopoly on new/media because people are biased?

Anonymous Harsh February 10, 2013 9:59 AM  

Since you still can't stop talking about me rather than about the topic at hand, you're now permanently on the five comments per post limit.

While I respect your right to run the forum as you see fit, VD, I do object to your depriving us of Tad's limitless capacity to unintentionally amuse.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 10:00 AM  

VD, what you write has virtually no commercial appeal. People will syndicate anything that sells papers. You really think you were discriminated against because of your politics? Don't be vain.

You clearly know nothing about it. I know I was. Universal Press Syndicate syndicates a very small number of opinion writers. They aren't Creators and they only choose those they consider to be the very best regardless of ideology; I was chosen over Eric Alterman, as a matter of fact. And UPS was told by numerous editorial page editors, that my politics were too libertarian for their papers. The other problem was that my writing style was too complex for the eight-grade level they target.

Furthermore, my column was one of the three most-read at WND for most of the 11 years it ran there, behind only Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 10:00 AM  

"
Of course it is. The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years and the Tea Party movement is the inevitable result. Your long and storied mis reading of American politics is showing through here. You are not in your element.
"

BAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

Yes yes yes... The republicans are moving to the right! We know this... becuase they are nominating right wing extremists like... Bob Dole! and John McCain... and Mitt Romney... And George Bush... And George W Bush!!! Hardline right wing extremists!!! Every one!!!

Holy crap are you a moron...

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 10:02 AM  

I do object to your depriving us of Tad's limitless capacity to unintentionally amuse.

Oh, he can do that within five posts, I'm sure. What he can't do is blather on and on, saying the same thing over and over again.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 10:05 AM  

What is he to do when confronted by someone who points out that humans are not even all genetically homo sapiens sapiens?

Much like you don't care about McRapey, those of us on the left aren't bothered by this. It is not great intellectual leap to acknowledge racial advantages and disadvantages. We all recognize them everyday. This can be done without ill will or animosity.

Where we separate is in the "what to do about it" department. And this is where those like yourself and the ilk are intensely unable to to articulate a position that doesn't betray a personalized disdain, not a generalized position based on racial attributes. When you and others mimic and mock low-status black speech and writing, trivialize black social problems, or denigrate their politics it's not based on the racial characteristics, or some other high-order reasoning. It's based on malice.

We also know this to be true because you hold your own class to be the highest. Yet, an objective study of the situation would most likely not put the anglo-whites at the top of the class structure, but rather, ethno-pure asians, especially koreans or japanese. If we are going to order society around the undeniable truth of racial characteristics, it is obviously not going to be anglo and european whites.

Anonymous Krul February 10, 2013 10:06 AM  

That's incorrect. He's objecting to the polarization of American politics and his bleed over into the media as well as the media's influence on the polarization.

You're right as regards to the passage quoted in VD's post. However, I was referring to the overall point of the linked article, which is not about political polarization but about what Bruni percieves to be an undesirable widespread preference for "extremes", especially when it comes to food and entertainment.

Anonymous Harsh February 10, 2013 10:07 AM  

When you and others mimic and mock low-status black speech and writing, trivialize black social problems, or denigrate their politics it's not based on the racial characteristics, or some other high-order reasoning. It's based on malice.

Substitute "Southerner" or "redneck" for black and you basically have the Left's position. You're no different so get off your fucking high horse.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 10, 2013 10:08 AM  

Evidence that the DHS ammo purchases are a case of minority looting of the treasury?

Selling 40 cal or 9mm JHP at 21 cents a round? Company formed 5 days before the award? I wonder if that is Chinese ammo or defective ammo, or given the peculiar accounting situation with ammo, invisible ammo?

Anonymous Houston February 10, 2013 10:08 AM  

Bruni's accusations against America's non-leftist majority are typical and revealing:

"America these days is an immoderate land of fixed opinions and outsize fixations. More and more we wallow: in our established political philosophy; in our preferred interest group; in our pastime of choice; in whichever health routine we’ve turned into a health religion.

I BLAME the Internet...."


First, there's the dishonest use of "we", which is a shoddy pretense of fellowship and good-natured concern. The tactic is not so remarkable for its arrogance and mendacity as it is for sheer stupidity: establishing a deservedly vile reputation and then expecting your opponents to identify with you. It's as cluelessly inept as the behavior of an English commenter I read on YouTube last night, who kept telling increasingly irate Welshmen how the song "Men of Harlech" made him proud to be an Englishman. He couldn't fathom why naming the Welsh as his countrymen only provoked their scorn and derision.

Second, there's the shaming language: immoderate, fixed, fixations, wallow, religion. More incompetence. Bruni's opponents are not rabbit people and they do not share his dread of these words, all of which mean or connote the refusal to yield position. The Right actually delights in the accusation of intransigence because this is the sound of the Leninist bayonet clanging uselessly against a steel wall of principled resolve. As Vox observes, the Left does not and cannot fathom the thinking of its intended victims.

Finally, the impotent raging against a popular, irresistible social revolution: "I BLAME the Internet..." We can only shake our heads in pity at this feat of self-immolation. Bruni has just renounced the Left's most formidable propaganda advantage, the old high ground, the claim of uniquely promoting and embodying salutary progress for the masses.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 10:11 AM  

You ought to stick to those things about which you are expert such as............um.....calling authors more popular than you names.

Now Tad, before you were telling me that I shouldn't call more popular authors names. Now you're telling me that I should? Consistency is clearly not the hallmark of the syphilitic.

Anyhow, I was perfectly willing to engage in a civil debate when invited. McRapey chose to run away, and so now there is nothing left to do but continue to taunt his eminently tauntable self. And so we shall... for the incestuous little gay black girls.

Anonymous rienzi February 10, 2013 10:16 AM  

@ TAD: The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years....


Really???? I don't know about you, but ever since I was old enough to vote in 1972, the GOP has served me a steady diet of Nelson Rockefeller clones. Although I will grant, that from your point of view, ol' Nelson probably looked a crazy, loony, right-wing extremist.

By the way, if you really want to see "loony" on display, don't bother with WND. Just go observe your friendly local "Gay Pride Parade". Now THAT'S loony.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 10:16 AM  

Much like you don't care about McRapey, those of us on the left aren't bothered by this. It is not great intellectual leap to acknowledge racial advantages and disadvantages. We all recognize them everyday. This can be done without ill will or animosity.

Speak for yourself, dh. Unlike you, most leftists have swallowed the equality myth. They are absolutely shocked by the idea that blacks might not be totally equally in every way to whites and Asians for reasons that go beyond nurture.

It is bad enough living in a quasi-democratic society where people with an average IQ of 100 are permitted to vote. One needn't possess any animosity or ill-will to not want to live in one where the average IQ is 90, for a variety of reasons.

We also know this to be true because you hold your own class to be the highest. Yet, an objective study of the situation would most likely not put the anglo-whites at the top of the class structure, but rather, ethno-pure asians, especially koreans or japanese.

Incorrect. Your logic is wrong. Either you know it not to be true or the objective study of the situation is based on the wrong metric. Is it your belief that Man's highest civilizational attainment was either Korean or Japanese society? If not, what society does represent that?

Anonymous Harsh February 10, 2013 10:23 AM  

We also know this to be true because you hold your own class to be the highest. Yet, an objective study of the situation would most likely not put the anglo-whites at the top of the class structure, but rather, ethno-pure asians, especially koreans or japanese. If we are going to order society around the undeniable truth of racial characteristics, it is obviously not going to be anglo and european whites.

Until about 65 years ago Japan represented a rather extreme form of male-dominated society. Is that what you're advocating?

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2013 10:29 AM  

> Why do the lemmings run off the cliff? WHY???

Wasn't that "famous video" faked? The principle still applies, but I recall reading it was faked a while back.

====

It is amazing the number of people who are convinced GWB was a hard-core right winger.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein February 10, 2013 10:29 AM  

Tad: Of course it is. The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years and the Tea Party movement is the inevitable result. Your long and storied mis reading of American politics is showing through here. You are not in your element.

Ummmm.....no. Both the Dems and the GOP have been steadily moving leftward. To quote a self described "New Deal Democrat" --"The Democrat Party left me, not the other way around." Simply put, Ronald Reagan's political beliefs didn't change. In 1935 they were considered leftist. By 1980, the same philosophy was considered extreme right wing.

Think of it as political relativity.

You, sir, are no Einstein.

*Sheldon Cooper laugh*

Anonymous Harsh February 10, 2013 10:29 AM  

VD, what you write has virtually no commercial appeal.

Again we see the spinning hamster wheel of Leftist thought. VD's writing has no commercial appeal and yet they do everything they can to shut him up so no one hears his message. Get your story straight, folks. Is he relevant or not?

Anonymous Cryan Ryan February 10, 2013 10:30 AM  

"Why do the lemmings run off the cliff? WHY???"

Umm..didn't they determine the film crew couldn't find any real lemming mass suicides, so they caught a bunch and threw them into the ocean and then filmed them swimming and drowning?

Anonymous Joe February 10, 2013 10:33 AM  

He's a culturiss...

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2013 10:33 AM  

I do wonder if FoxNews wouldn't be so popular if other good choices existed. They have the only "mainstream" alternative choice for cable news, such as it is.

I used to like them a lot, but I have gotten a lot more jaded as I have started thinking in a more Libertarian manner. (I still can't stomach murdering children though as a key "choice" or having different kinds of marriage shoved down my throat by the state which is a platform of many who call themselves Libertarian. That is another topic though.)

Anonymous Anonymous February 10, 2013 10:35 AM  

Wow. This is one of the best posts over the last 3 months. I will be thinking about this for days.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 10:40 AM  

Bruni's screed reminds me of the way Feminists complain about Pintrist. It also proves that in reality the left absolutely hates freedom. They know, that folks left to their own devices will simply not behave the way the left wants them to behave.

Now... they don't behave the way the right wants them to behave either... but its less a problem for the right because the right isnt out there trying to create a star trek utopia.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 10:44 AM  

Please choose a name, Anonymous. Any name. Anonymous comments are not permitted.

Anonymous Krul February 10, 2013 10:45 AM  

Now... they don't behave the way the right wants them to behave either... but its less a problem for the right because the right isnt out there trying to create a star trek utopia.

IMO the right goes wrong when it gives in to the temptation to legislate morality, as in banning pornography and drugs for instance.

Anonymous Sawtooth February 10, 2013 10:47 AM  

I believe that when the internet was just beginning to emerge, the lefties thought that it was an interesting technical innovation and that only they would be smart enough to utilize it or even take an interest in it. Much to their horror it has grown huge and spun wildly out of control.

Liberal-"We must regulate the 'net! It's for the fukin' children! What don't you understand?"

Conservative-"Well as long as you put it in those terms, perhaps just a little."

Liberal (under his breath)-"He...he...he".

Anonymous JI February 10, 2013 10:58 AM  

Not all of us are "Homo Sapiens Sapiens"? What are you talking about?

Anonymous Daniel February 10, 2013 10:58 AM  

No commercial appeal? Vox has raised at least one dollar in pledges for a tattoo. There was also money for a stripper or something. Strippers have commercial appeal.

Maybe I have an extremist perspective on what constitutes commercial appeal.

Anonymous Krul February 10, 2013 11:02 AM  

Not all of us are "Homo Sapiens Sapiens"? What are you talking about?

IIRC he's referring to the research indicating that northern/western Europeans might be descended from a mixture of Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals, whereas the other races are pure Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Anonymous Daniel February 10, 2013 11:04 AM  

Not all of us are "Homo Sapiens Sapiens"? What are you talking about?

Genetics.

There are humans with distinctly different hominid ancestry than others.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:06 AM  

Incorrect. Your logic is wrong. Either you know it not to be true or the objective study of the situation is based on the wrong metric. Is it your belief that Man's highest civilizational attainment was either Korean or Japanese society? If not, what society does represent that?

This is the wrong metric. The metric is not which society has achievest the greatest feats as a whole, but which group under which society has achieved the greatest feats.

We are currently in the process of having the Asian-subculture complete donkey whip the western, Americanized, culture, in our our society.

Although, in general, the Japanese society is not far from the height of civilization.

Within the existing US/western society, 2nd-generation asians are clearly the strongest performers.

Anonymous Daniel February 10, 2013 11:10 AM  

Krul, you are in the ballpark, but the genetic research has identified a variety of different hominids traced to the broader homo sapiens line. I don't know the technical names, but obviously, mankind consists of homo sapiens sapiens, homo sapiens neandertalis, homo sapiens erectus, and homo sapiens habilis. There are at least four major groups that I know of - there could be more. Then you probably have subsets within each category (homo sapiens neandertalis erectus, for example)

There are different races in the genes. No way around it.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:11 AM  

You clearly know nothing about it. I know I was. Universal Press Syndicate syndicates a very small number of opinion writers. They aren't Creators and they only choose those they consider to be the very best regardless of ideology; I was chosen over Eric Alterman, as a matter of fact. And UPS was told by numerous editorial page editors, that my politics were too libertarian for their papers. The other problem was that my writing style was too complex for the eight-grade level they target.

I guess we are arguing over the term discrimination. A newspaper editor saying "your politics are too libertarian" is your work being judged on it's merits. A newspaper editor saying "we won't carry you because you are a libertarian" is you being discriminated against because of your politics.

I retract the bit about being a commercial success. If WND ran the article, presumably at a pay structure you were happy with for 11 years, it was at least commercially viable. I suspect most authors at WND would see the column space as a loss-leader for other stuff they are selling?

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:13 AM  

Until about 65 years ago Japan represented a rather extreme form of male-dominated society. Is that what you're advocating?

No person who is credible would compare pre and post-war Japan. It's a completely useless metric. At the end of WWII, Japan began a transformation.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 11:18 AM  

Terrible. This is just like back in the 1750s, when any jackass with a printer could write a newspaper!

Before people write this crap, the need to open a history book. Americans managed to figure things out with rumor/scandal laden screeds back then (and people were spreading some real whoppers), and 100 years later there were party controlled papers (hence the Republican and Democrat name of some papers today). And back then, where was the fact checking? A fist in a bar fight was a good substitute. Today, opposing ideas are at your fingertips.

Give or take 70% of the public will never view anything outside of the mainstream. What these guys really hate, the MSM guys, is that they're getting it at both ends. In order to stay "objective" they want to be as liberal as they can, within limits. But right-wing sources make them look more biased by the day by uncovering what they ignore, while they're bleeding readers to the left-wing outlets. They are holding unstable ground, along with the RIAA in the music industry and others who can't adjust to a new market. Being a respectible leftist with the veil of objectivity is gone, and with it job security.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:19 AM  

Again we see the spinning hamster wheel of Leftist thought. VD's writing has no commercial appeal and yet they do everything they can to shut him up so no one hears his message. Get your story straight, folks. Is he relevant or not?

I don't think you can objectively measure this. His goal does not appear to be the "normal" one of mass appeal and popularity. (Or, if it is, he's a complete and total failure).

Anonymous cherub's revenge February 10, 2013 11:20 AM  

The metric is not which society has achievest the greatest feats as a whole, but which group under which society has achieved the greatest feats.

Building the entire society is a lesser feat than shuffling off to be a middling in Silicon Valley? Sure.

Playing Mozart in a recital at Carnegie Hall is greater than 18th Century Vienna's status? Ok.

The tiny new Yellow parts are greater than the old White whole.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 11:20 AM  

A newspaper editor saying "your politics are too libertarian" is your work being judged on it's merits. A newspaper editor saying "we won't carry you because you are a libertarian" is you being discriminated against because of your politics.

That makes no sense, dh. Take another look at what you're saying. The point is that it wasn't the merits of the column that were the problem, it was the ideology. The left-wingers running the editorial pages didn't want a libertarian, they wanted a George Will-style "conservative", or at most, an Ann Coulter Republican.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:21 AM  

Being a respectible leftist with the veil of objectivity is gone, and with it job security.

Let's do a thought experiment. A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 11:22 AM  

At the end of WWII, Japan began a transformation.

A white American directed transformation. So, not Japan. Or Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or South Korea. Unless white-asian hybrids are at the top.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:22 AM  

The left-wingers running the editorial pages didn't want a libertarian, they wanted a George Will-style "conservative", or at most, an Ann Coulter Republican.

But is it because they hated the ideology, or because % of their readers were interested in reading that?

Anonymous Brandon February 10, 2013 11:24 AM  

"Extremism in pursuit of truth is no vice. It is rather, the cardinal virtue".

Excellent.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 11:25 AM  

A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?

Everyone, if they get the scoops and good information.

The MSM were selling objectivity, but were giving heavily skewed reports. I often read the Guardian, China Daily. I read financial papers that I know are bullish/bearish. Opinion isn't the problem, it's when you claim otherwise.

Anonymous Krul February 10, 2013 11:26 AM  

Let's do a thought experiment. A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?

The consumers who demand information instead of polemics or commentary. There are plenty of publications that aren't about politics. Hell, I've got Archaeology open in the other tab.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 11:26 AM  

His goal does not appear to be the "normal" one of mass appeal and popularity. (Or, if it is, he's a complete and total failure).

A complete and total failure? Really? How many writers do you know that have been nationally syndicated for two entirely separate columns? I was the sixth columnist in the 143-year history of the St. Paul Pioneer Press to be syndicated, and the first who was an external contributor.

You're correct that mass appeal and popularity is not my objective. But even if it had been, complete and total failure seems a bit of an overstatement.

Anonymous Cryan Ryan February 10, 2013 11:27 AM  

"Let's do a thought experiment. A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?"

Good one.

But don't we each believe we are truly objective?

I certainly know that I am. Always. And everyone else is not. Ever.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:29 AM  

Everyone, if they get the scoops and good information.

The MSM were selling objectivity, but were giving heavily skewed reports. I often read the Guardian, China Daily. I read financial papers that I know are bullish/bearish. Opinion isn't the problem, it's when you claim otherwise.


"Everyone" is not a publication. What publications? Or make a new one?

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 11:29 AM  

> Can the net even be shut down this far in?

Almost certainly. The vast majority of people in the US access the Internet via a half a dozen or so companies. As demonstrated by the warrantless wiretapping under Bush, those companies will do as they're told.

> ..the truth itself seldom resides at the extreme.

In day to day life, your point may have some validity. But scientifically speaking, you're incorrect. Take the reaction to the very idea of heliocentricity, for example.

> The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years...

Oh, yes, Because Bush, Doe, Bush, McCain, and Romney were oh so much more conservative than Reagan.

> And as that has happened, people have gravitated to whatever sources play to their inherent biases.

And we can't possibly have that, can we. Why, who well tell them the "truth" about matters?

> The premise that the traditional media is leftist is simplistic and unoriginal.

Note something important here folks. Dh, for all of his positions, doesnt' tend to lie, unlike Tad. And he very carefully did not say that it wasn't true.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:32 AM  

A complete and total failure? Really? How many writers do you know that have been nationally syndicated for two entirely separate columns? I was the sixth columnist in the 143-year history of the St. Paul Pioneer Press to be syndicated, and the first who was an external contributor.

This is really vain. You are talking about a mid-market newspaper in United States, syndicated too a few other papers, right?

Please correct my description. I wouldn't read over your resume and use words like "mass market appeal" or "popular".

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:37 AM  

Note something important here folks. Dh, for all of his positions, doesnt' tend to lie, unlike Tad. And he very carefully did not say that it wasn't true.

I didn't say it's untrue because it's not untrue. The left is the side of the status quo, and institutions always tended to support the status quo. Make a comment on something isn't a snide hidden agenda. I am pretty clear about opinion.

And we can't possibly have that, can we. Why, who well tell them the "truth" about matters?

Where do you get this aggrieved status from me? I am perfectly happy to have the democratization of media to continue. The concept of having an "objective" news source is strictly recently American. I suspect if you asked VD to describe the Italian media landscape it would be a bit more colorful than that of the US.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 11:37 AM  

> A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?

Given recent history, I'd have to say either the Drudge Report or the National Enquirer.

> But don't we each believe we are truly objective?

Come on, Ryan, most of us know better than that. Of course, it helps if you're married.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:38 AM  

It is amazing the number of people who are convinced GWB was a hard-core right winger.

Very few left-leaners can admit the truth - he was very slightly right of center.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 11:39 AM  

You asked who they market it to. They market it to everyone. This is why papers work hard to separate opinion and reporting. I'll give you the perfect reverse example: The Enquirer. They broke the John Edward's scandal. They up their reputation with these scoops.

The NYTimes' problem isn't the opinion pages. It's that people see reporting that leaves out part of the story or is written in a clearly biased manner because they now have comparisons.

As for an example, despite their penchant for using stringers who get their photos from Hezbollah, I've noticed AP stepping up their game (more objective or getting the other side in stories) and going more direct via the web. (Google News) AP doesn't need newspapers to run its stories anymore. Then that leaves opinion, and there's not much use for a seemingly objective moderate opinion, when most moderate readers are moderate because they don't care.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 11:39 AM  

> Where do you get this aggrieved status from me?

I didn't dh. It was simply a reaction to your comment, not directed at your personally.

The comment about you not lying was about you personally, but was intended as a complement.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:40 AM  

Given recent history, I'd have to say either the Drudge Report or the National Enquirer.

I'd probably agree, the problem being or Drudge, he produces no actual new news. He's a pure aggregation expert. And there is value in that.

The problem with the Enquirer is that for everything great they publish, they get about 20 things absurdly wrong. And that's their business model in a nutshell.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:40 AM  

The comment about you not lying was about you personally, but was intended as a complement.

If I was a lovely 8, I'd you just neg'd me...

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:42 AM  

he NYTimes' problem isn't the opinion pages. It's that people see reporting that leaves out part of the story or is written in a clearly biased manner because they now have comparisons.

Ehh, the biggest problem in my view isn't the reporting exactly. Any given article or piece of reporting tends to be well done.

The bigger problem is the editing. What gets run, what doesn't. That's where bias is most often displayed.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 11:42 AM  

> Very few left-leaners can admit the truth - he was very slightly right of center.

And here you have a perfect example of personal bias. Most of us here would say he was well to the left of center, but still well to the right of current democrats. :)

I honestly have no idea which is correct, of course. :(

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 11:48 AM  

"Very few left-leaners can admit the truth - he was very slightly right of center."

And what way did he govern that demonstrated that he was right of anything? Perhaps you will argue that NCLB or Medicare Part D were conservative ideas?

Anonymous Gx1080 February 10, 2013 11:48 AM  

Commiting thought crimes is a bad metric of writing skill.

Also, I notice how the highest virtue for Leftoids has absolutely nothing to do with justice or truth, instead they think that the highest archievement is blind obedience to the herd.

Off-topic, I think that Tad has a crush on you, Vox. It explains a lot.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 11:53 AM  

The bigger problem is the editing. What gets run, what doesn't. That's where bias is most often displayed.

That can be true on whole stories, but if you look for bias, you can find it in stories too. Usually, a left-leaning outlet will set up a story with a narrative, like Medicare cuts will harm the elderly. The beginning is all about this, and then later on there's a short rebuttal from the right. The example I always liked was, imagine if after tax increases, there are stories from people who will have to choose between medicine and food for their children, due to higher taxes. With the headline and intro you can spin a story in either direction, and outlets like the NYTimes controlled the narrative before the Internet.

I don't watch MSM much anymore, but I think you can still see this. Watch a major story on each news outlet, and look at how long they give each side to speak in their own words. One thing I noticed immediately when Fox came out (and why I find their "Fair & Balanced" claim in reporting to be true, at least relatively) is that they would give both sides more time to speak. So in the Medicare example, some left-wing guy gets to talk right after the setup. Then the reporter says, "Not everyone agrees." Then you hear the right wing point, but it's usually truncated or framed by the reporter. Then they go back to the left-wing guy, or another left-winger, for the final opinion. On Fox, the left-wing guy gets a minute to make his point, then the right-wing guy gets a minute. Fox is much better at letting both sides have their say in their hard reporting.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:54 AM  

And what way did he govern that demonstrated that he was right of anything? Perhaps you will argue that NCLB or Medicare Part D were conservative ideas?

Almost none of his legislation was conservative. A little bit of tax policy.

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:55 AM  

Fox is much better at letting both sides have their say in their hard reporting.

This isn't exactly what objectivem means. False equivalency is still a problem, even if you stop watch "both sides".

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 11:56 AM  


And here you have a perfect example of personal bias. Most of us here would say he was well to the left of center, but still well to the right of current democrats. :)

I honestly have no idea which is correct, of course. :(


I guess it's more of a question of what is the center. Which really can't be defined. If you define center as half-way between the left-wing of the Democratic party, and the right-wing of the Republican party, than I have a pretty good case to make that Pres. GW Bush was slightly right of center. If you bring a historical perspective into the question, it becomes muddier.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 11:58 AM  

@ Josh

The cognitive dissonance of the conservative demanding that we balance the budget, but we can't cut medicare,

An even bigger cognitive dissonance is that of the pro-life movement that, largely, considers the current government corrupt but still wants to use it to prevent abortions.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 12:01 PM  

This is really vain. You are talking about a mid-market newspaper in United States, syndicated too a few other papers, right?

It's not vain at all. It is a simple fact which shows your statement to be absurd. And the whole discussion is irrelevant anyhow, because I'm not pursuing mass appeal. If I was, I would write romance novels and practical Game advice columns.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 12:02 PM  

Well there's your bias dh. False equivalency as you're using it is about as Orwellian as it gets. It assumes the result.

It doesn't matter if one side has one supporter and the other side has 50 million. An idea, an argument stands on its own merit. There are two major political parties. An objective news source should report to you the most important information about both sides and leave it up to the viewer who they should believe. If it were up to me, the right and left "extremes" would also get their say in every story.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 12:03 PM  

An even bigger cognitive dissonance is that of the pro-life movement that, largely, considers the current government corrupt but still wants to use it to prevent abortions.

What percentage is denoted by "largely". What percentage of the pro-life movement considers the current government corrupt? And what do you mean by current government?

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:03 PM  

@ dh

You can't compare Greenwald to Derbyshire. Greenwald is shunned for purely political purposes while Derbyshire is shunned for ideological ones. The mainstream "right" has bought into the blank-slatism of modern liberalism.

Rush Limbaugh is left of center.

There are thousands of open socialists teaching in major US universities. How many open Nazis are doing the same? If you want to find where the relative center is located then find the most extreme examples of the fringe and see how much they are tolerated. Far leftists are far more tolerated than far rightists.

Anonymous Roundtine February 10, 2013 12:05 PM  

And if your definition of false equivalency is support, then Soviet era Pravda or Peoples' Daily editorials are the most objective, unbiased and balanced piece of information, with no false equivalency. It is purely the opinion of the ruling party and no other voice is present because no other voice matters.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:07 PM  

@ Tad

He is complaining about intense ideological polarization

This ideological polarization is the product of a diverse society. If you want an ideological environment that is not polarized then you need a social environment that is not diverse.

The real source of the "problem" Bruni is complaining about is cultural diversity.

BTW, Tad, this subject directly relates to my challenge, that you have not answered, to give a definition to the phrase "legitimate government". I would extend this to the question of "what makes a legitimate authority?".

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:09 PM  

> I guess it's more of a question of what is the center.

Of course. And that's where the personal bias comes in. We're not disagreeing.

> A little bit of tax policy.

Notice that his tax policy, which matches you're right of center comment, was one of the few things about his administration that worked as advertised. It did successfully pull us out of the 2000 recession. Something that Obama's more Keynesian based policies have pretty much failed to do wrt the 2008 recession.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 12:12 PM  

"It did successfully pull us out of the 2000 recession. Something that Obama's more Keynesian based policies have pretty much failed to do wrt the 2008 recession."

...

Cutting taxes in a recession is a Keynesian policy.

Anonymous Rex Little February 10, 2013 12:13 PM  

The prime-time audiences for Fox News and MSNBC increased significantly between 2011 and 2012, while CNN’s prime-time audience dropped.

Bruni is implying here that MSNBC is a bastion of left-wing bias, while CNN is more neutral. Can anyone who has watched both confirm or deny this? (I don't watch any TV news, even Fox.) From what I've seen, people on the right usually lump MSNBC in with ABC, CBS and CNN as the "mainstream media," and impute a leftist bias to all of them.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:14 PM  

@ Tad

The problem is that too many of these outlets are akin to World Net Daily

World Nut Daily is to the right what the New York Times is to the left.

which consists almost entirely of....wait for it....far right wingers

I don't read World Nut Daily, but I would suspect I would have heard if they had run a column advocating rounding up all Jews, blacks, etc. and shoving them into ovens, so It's reasonable to conclude they haven't run such a column.

And that's what right wing extremism means. If someone hasn't openly called for the mass slaughter of some group of people then they're not a rightwing extremist.

As I understand it WND is big into the whole Obama birth certificate nonsense. But that is not ideological extremism, and is merely a product of the left controlling the ruling institutions for the past several decades. Conspiracy theories are not even tangentially related to ideological extremism, and are simply marginalized people trying to explain to themselves why they are marginalized.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:17 PM  

> Cutting taxes in a recession is a Keynesian policy.

True, Nate. But in today's benighted times, it's considered more Chicagoan than Keynesian, while Obama's infrastructure spending is considered Keynesian. :(

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 12:17 PM  

It did successfully pull us out of the 2000 recession.

Correction: according to the current data from the BEA, there was no 2000-2001 recession. Please adjust your memories accordingly.

Anonymous physphilmusic February 10, 2013 12:18 PM  

Incorrect. Your logic is wrong. Either you know it not to be true or the objective study of the situation is based on the wrong metric. Is it your belief that Man's highest civilizational attainment was either Korean or Japanese society? If not, what society does represent that?

OK, so Western civilization is the "highest" stage of human civilization so far. I don't think that's controversial. Even leftists would acknowledge that. My problem with VD is that he never clears states what his views are on "what to do with it". If it's true that white people have been the ones primarily responsible for modern civilization, what's the implication for today, apart from immigration policies? Would Vox Day always hire a white applicant over a black one (i.e. "affirmative action" for white people) based on these historical connections?

It's true that on quite a few important metrics, "white people" have historically achieved more (although this ignores which subset of "white people" have been primarily responsible for that). But is it justified for any individual white person today to declare himself somehow "inherently" superior to another random non-white person, just because his ancestors indeed achieved greater things?

VD often alludes to the great achievements of white Anglos. These may be true, but it's never clear what the implications are. To me, at times it sounds like basking in the glory of what your father(s) did. Asians are often said to be more intelligent than whites, at least in mathematical skills - and perhaps this is correct, seeing the great numbers of Asian engineers and scientists. But I do not feel justified in touting around how superior Asians are in math (although quite a few people do). Those are not my own personal achievements, after all.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:20 PM  

> And that's what right wing extremism means.

I see that the well read Asher doesn't know that the Nazi's were the National Socialist Party. Hint, Asher; Socialism isn't right wing.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 12:21 PM  

"Socialism isn't right wing."

It is in Europe.

Remember... right and left mean totally different things depending on where you are in the world.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:22 PM  

> ...right and left mean totally different things depending on where you are in the world.

I don't believe Asher is arguing in that context, Nate. Of course, I could be wrong. It's been known to happen on occasion.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:24 PM  

> Please adjust your memories accordingly.

I've never been any good at that, VD. Please forgive me if I make the mistake in the future. :)

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:26 PM  

@ James Dixon

When I was still an undergrad and a standard ideological libertarian I used to make the exact same argument - that Nazis were leftwing because of the term "socialist".

It was stupid, metaphysical, rhetorical handwaving and I'm embarrassed that I made such inane arguments. But, then I was in my early 20s. What's your excuse?

What you are doing is privileging ideology over reality and facts - what are the practices that people actually want to implement.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:32 PM  

@ James Dixon

I've sometimes ironically argued that communism is rightwing because humans have a hardwired instinct to fairness that is the product of our evolutionary history of living in small groups. What we call "socialism" is a hardwired instinct ... BUT BUT BUT it is an instinct that evolved to facilitate in-group loyalty to the exclusion of outsiders. Ideological socialism/communism plays on this hardwired instinct but attempts to ignore the reason why the siren call of socialism is so compelling.

I'm not being serious when I argue that communism is really rightwing, and you're being no more serious when you claim that Nazism is leftwing. The difference between us is that I'm just being ironic and you're not.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 12:33 PM  

> But, then I was in my early 20s. What's your excuse?

Oh, I don't know, maybe I understand the definitions of the words involved?

Oh well, at least I was correct about your context.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 12:33 PM  

OK, so Western civilization is the "highest" stage of human civilization so far. I don't think that's controversial. Even leftists would acknowledge that. My problem with VD is that he never clears states what his views are on "what to do with it". If it's true that white people have been the ones primarily responsible for modern civilization, what's the implication for today, apart from immigration policies? Would Vox Day always hire a white applicant over a black one (i.e. "affirmative action" for white people) based on these historical connections?

No, that's not true. DH hasn't acknowledged that. Leftists have founded entire academic disciplines to contradict it and multiculturalists openly deny it. The practical implications of a truth are irrelevant with regards to the factual truth of the matter or not.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:42 PM  

@ James Dixon

Oh, I don't know, maybe I understand the definitions of the words involved?

Every definition of every word ever used comes from people, people just like us. Usage is meaning. There is no such thing as "correct" understanding of a term, just more concise and descriptive usage.

Look, what I am saying is nothing new. The early Wittgenstein ended up holding a philosophy that the role of philosophers was to figure out the exact meanings of terms so that productive discussion could occur outside of philosophy. Needless to say, he later repudiated that view. Words are defined by nothing more than other words and an attempt to establish what any particular term means just leads to an endless regress of definitions.

There are no "correct" definitions of terms, there is only more concise and less concise usage.

The relative "center" of the American ideological spectrum is well left of center as evidenced by the thousands of socialists and communists teaching in major universities without even one Nazi in the same position.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 10, 2013 12:42 PM  

Speaking of extremism, Dorner seems to practice it because he seems to have killed only blacks and Asians so far.

Will be interesting to see who his next target is, if he makes it that far.

Also, correction:

Dorner: Three dead, one wounded, one grazed

LAPD: One shot/wounded, one grazed, one scared shitless.

Can we start a new era for the LAPD? AD, After Dorner?

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:45 PM  

@ James Dixon

Your view of language is about eighty years out of date and closely resembles what was called logical positivism.

I cannot think of one context, today, where the label "logical positivism" is anything but an insult.

Anonymous The other skeptic February 10, 2013 12:46 PM  


Perhaps the real lesson here is the absolute havoc that one person can wreak on the system. It’s been announced there are 10,000 officers involved in the manhunt. Imagine the consequences if 100 or 1000 well-armed, well-trained men could produce. That’s a scenario the powers that do not want to contemplate.


Amazing. One angry black man can tie down 10,000?

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 12:47 PM  

I'm not being serious when I argue that communism is really rightwing, and you're being no more serious when you claim that Nazism is leftwing.

National Socialism is Center-Left. It always was Center-Left, to the right of both Communism and Socialism. So is Fascism.

Hitler and the Nazis initially profited electorally at the expense of the Democrats the Independent Socialists, and the Economic Party. What put them over the top in 1933 was ten percent of the Communist and Socialist Parties leaving those parties for the Nazis. In the presidential vote of 1932, Hitler won the support of the Socialists; Hindenburg ran to his right and beat him 18.6 million to 11.3 million. Thalman, the Communist, lost about one-third of the Communist vote to Hitler.

Note that support for the Nationalist party remained solid from 1919 to 1933. The Nazis did get some nationalist support, but they got a lot more from the socialists.

And this is off-topic. So drop it.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 12:50 PM  

@ the other skeptic

Yeah. Imagine if Dorner had bid his time and waited a few years for his dismissal to go down the memory hole. We probably wouldn't even know who was doing this and the impact would probably be greater by an order of magnitude.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 12:55 PM  

"Yeah. Imagine if Dorner had bid his time and waited a few years for his dismissal to go down the memory hole. We probably wouldn't even know who was doing this and the impact would probably be greater by an order of magnitude."

I will shocked if this doesn't go on for at least a month or more. Remember it took 3 weeks for them to find the DC snipers and that only happened because a truck driver called and reported them.

One really can't compare those two to Dorner. They were literally idiots with no training or plan what-so-ever. they had no equipment and appeared to have put no for-thought at all into their actions.

Dorner is not an idiot. He has plenty of training... plenty of equipment... and there is a lot of evidence that he has put a lot forethought into this.

LAPD could get lucky and wrap it up quick... but the odds are... this is going to be really bad.

Anonymous physphilmusic February 10, 2013 1:00 PM  

The practical implications of a truth are irrelevant with regards to the factual truth of the matter or not.

As statements of factual matter as such, that's correct, but it is impossible to ignore the practical implications of what you openly argue for, especially since you are not merely a scholar in an ivory tower, but someone who has written quite a lot of political op-eds. If, say, someone starts going around arguing about how bad your family history is, perhaps arguing that the Beale family have always been corrupt and evil and untrustworthy etc., there is no question that many people would think that the writer is surely more than just interested in objective, factual truths. It would easily be inferred that that person is interested in making others not trust the Beale family.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:02 PM  

@ VD

National Socialism is Center-Left.

You are privileging ideology over action. Most "ideology" is just explanation of action or policy that is in the process of implementation. If there is a coherent "spectrum" of thought it is that of "equal" to "unequal", left being that everyone is a blank slate and equal and the right being that there are differences by the fact of nature.

The "golden mean" would be that there are significant similarties throughout the species but also large differences, and that difference doesn't warrant eradication.

That makes me dead center, and most of the American population, Rush Limbaugh, for example, left of center.

The "individualism" versus "collectivism" explication of the political spectrum that I used to advocate as a libertarian simply doesn't make sense. Human beings are inherently social creatures and, thus, calls for "individualism" can never be anything more than metaphysical rhetoric.

"Individualism" simply isn't in our nature. Hell, any Christian understands that from a brief reading of the Bible.

And this is off-topic. So drop it.

Since we're discussing the left/right political spectrum what is the criteria for what is "off topic"? Tad claimed that WND caters to "rightwing extremists", and I pointed out that WND is about as "extreme rightwing" as the NYT is "extreme leftwing". I'm perfectly happy to abide by any rules you set but I need you to actually set some rules.

Simply declaring "drop it" is not setting rules, it is diktat. Fine. This is your blog but it would make it far less interesting.

BTW, I had typed up this comment before I saw "drop it"

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:06 PM  

Simply declaring "drop it" is not setting rules, it is diktat. Fine. This is your blog but it would make it far less interesting.

Yes, it is diktat. And what makes it far less interesting to you is not necessarily true of the rest of the readership. When you learn to stop bloviating, you'll get more leeway to go off on tangents. Until you can show the necessary discipline, you won't.

BTW, I had typed up this comment before I saw "drop it"

NP.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 1:08 PM  

"When you learn to stop bloviating, you'll get more leeway to go off on tangents. Until you can show the necessary discipline, you won't."

or perhaps if he would just pick more interesting tangents.. like... the NFL for example.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:10 PM  

@ VD

My comments were prompted by Tad's claim that WND caters to "rightwing extremists". I may have missed it but I have not seen one commenter dispute his claim. Silence is assent and I have lived my entire life watching the right willingly cede the field of battle to the left by ignoring comments like his.

Your telling me to "drop it" looks like that same ol' accession.

I will ask you the same question I keep asking rightwingers over and over (with no response): are you really that hell bent on losing to the left?

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:12 PM  

As statements of factual matter as such, that's correct, but it is impossible to ignore the practical implications of what you openly argue for, especially since you are not merely a scholar in an ivory tower, but someone who has written quite a lot of political op-eds.

And what about it? I am perfectly aware of what the current rules of discourse are. I simply abide by them until such time that reality necessitates the rules changing. This, of course, is tremendously frustrating to those who are eager to disqualify me for violating them.

But I would not recommend making the mistake of thinking that you can reliably predict my positions on the basis of your own logic. Many people have blundered that way because they simply don't possess my logical abilities. Perhaps you do, but then, perhaps you don't. In the meantime, I'm entirely content to let people utilize their own logic with regards to the indisputable facts I present.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:13 PM  

@ VD

When you learn to stop bloviating

The problem of ruling by diktat is that it is impossible to know when one has transgressed a boundary.

Can you give me an example of this supposed "bloviation" so I can stop doing "it"?

I gave you my reason for my line of discussion, which was that not one person challenged tad's claim that WND caters to "rightwing extremists"

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:14 PM  

My comments were prompted by Tad's claim that WND caters to "rightwing extremists". I may have missed it but I have not seen one commenter dispute his claim. Silence is assent and I have lived my entire life watching the right willingly cede the field of battle to the left by ignoring comments like his.

Silence is only assent for women. Silence is DISSENT for men who don't think like women. Interesting revelation there, Asher.

Blogger tz February 10, 2013 1:16 PM  

The democratization of the media is no more a better thing than expanding suffrage.

Increasing the forms of noise, error, spinning in many more directions are worse than a single attack on the truth. Communism at least was a unitary lie and could fall of its own weight. Now each side says Jesus has not returned, we don't have universal prosperity, or whatever because there are others with differing views thinking bad thoughts. If only everyone would join our warren...

Argument, dialectic, rigorous and thorough discussion are a path to truth, perhaps the only one for people who are honestly seeking. I have heard that rabbinic students are specifically not taught answers but how to argue honestly and properly. When you go back to discourses, the newspapers during the beginning of our country - the federalists v.s. the anti-federalists, or even the Adams - Jefferson correspondence, you see this kind of discussion. Fighting for the truth.

You are dealing with rabbits when you are first confronted with talking points, then when you demolish their facade of rhetorical pretense (for a talking point is merely something quoted, not really understood), they insult you (as RSHD, commie, or statist, for liberal, conservative, or libertarian respectively).

This is what happened in a libertarian forum when I asked how you can build roads from A to B without eminent domain. I was first told "there are alternate routes". Then I constructed multiple examples where alternate routes would negate any reasons for building the roads, naively assuming they believed in geometry. "there are alternate routes and you are a statist!". Now, "I would prefer to live where there may be gridlock but my property is sacrosanct than the converse" would be honest and honorable, and I would and do respect such a position, but they could not let me point out their utopia would not be free of conflict or problems.

The purpose of the "democratic media" is to dispense talking points for the various sides. Not any logic behind them so they could actually defend the point when someone goes off script. But digested and regurgitated arguments, like a mother bird gives to the fledglings. Their side's part of an antiphonal script, like "Tastes Great / Less Filling". Without any depth or rigor, just a series of opening moves and responses. Like someone who does not know any rule of chess but has memorized the openings for the first 7 moves. They are helpless on the 8th.

There is no point in even attempting to provoke thought on the part of rabbits, and it can be dangerous if your goal is to feed them enough self-esteem and false confidence in their position to keep them inside. So they are fed the talking points and properly regurgitate them on cue (the new atheists, specifically on evolution tend to be this way).

Sometimes even non-rabbits can backslide, e.g. Coulter blaming the two senators who were 100% pro life rather than the GOP non-support and incompetence (better to lose as a rabbit and stay a member of the RNC wing of the bipartisan warren than to be a man and be actually conservative?). Sometimes people can only rise to the occasion when attacking the other side of, or a different warren.

Yet there is an easily found group of people who think their own thoughts, have really informed opinions, and will defend them. Like here and many of the places that are linked-to. The ring of truth is unmistakable even to our deafened ears. But the rabbits won't answer the door or pick up the phone out of fear. There are aristocrats among the demos.

(Peter Kreeft had a good talk which is on youtube about aristocracy v.s. democracy)

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:18 PM  

"Silence is assent" is an ancient Hebrew proverb - it is also a pretty well-established reality. Things that don't get challenged over time end up being accepted as gospel, in the long term.

That's just simply the way things work. It's not a masculine or feminine thing, and you're letting your rhetoric run away with your argument.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 1:19 PM  

"Silence is only assent for women. Silence is DISSENT for men who don't think like women. "

precisely.

When someone says something stupid... especially Tad... the Ilk very often simply decide its not worth taking the time to respond too... because it is so obviously idiotic and or self-refuting.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:20 PM  

I gave you my reason for my line of discussion, which was that not one person challenged tad's claim that WND caters to "rightwing extremists"

Yes, we now know you're either a woman or a gamma male. In case it has escaped you, most of us ignore Tad most of the time. I didn't even read that part of his post and I don't care to whom he thinks WND caters.

Can you give me an example of this supposed "bloviation" so I can stop doing "it"?

Any time you comment more than 10 times on the same post is a useful metric. Or any time you start trying to tie the current topic into one of your favorite two or three arguments. Try to keep in mind that we've all seen this behavior numerous times before from various people. You're not going to fool anyone by being subtle; people tend to notice when your discussions always eventually return to a specific topic or two, or when your arguments follow the same pattern.

"So, what does X really mean?" You can maybe get away with that sort of thing once or twice, by the third time, everyone is onto you.



Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:20 PM  

@ VD

Sure, in the short term silence can indicate dissent. But it is dissent only on the condition that one is willing to and has the ability to engage in actions that contravene what is being said.

Since the context of Tad's claim was a blog comment section I see no possible action that could contravene it.

Blogger tz February 10, 2013 1:21 PM  

Silence is only assent for women. Silence is DISSENT for men who don't think like women.

Justice is modeled after Themis who was a woman.

From a "Man for All Seasons":

Cromwell: Now, Sir Thomas, you stand on your silence.
Sir Thomas More: I do.
Cromwell: But, gentlemen of the jury, there are many kinds of silence. Consider first the silence of a man who is dead. Let us suppose we go into the room where he is laid out, and we listen: what do we hear? Silence. What does it betoken, this silence? Nothing; this is silence pure and simple. But let us take another case. Suppose I were to take a dagger from my sleeve and make to kill the prisoner with it; and my lordships there, instead of crying out for me to stop, maintained their silence. That would betoken! It would betoken a willingness that I should do it, and under the law, they will be guilty with me. So silence can, according to the circumstances, speak! Let us consider now the circumstances of the prisoner's silence. The oath was put to loyal subjects up and down the country, and they all declared His Grace's title to be just and good. But when it came to the prisoner, he refused! He calls this silence. Yet is there a man in this court - is there a man in this country! - who does not know Sir Thomas More's opinion of this title?
Crowd in court gallery: No!
Cromwell: Yet how can this be? Because this silence betokened, nay, this silence was, not silence at all, but most eloquent denial!
Sir Thomas More: Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim is "Qui tacet consentire": the maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent". If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.
Cromwell: Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?
Sir Thomas More: The world must construe according to its wits; this court must construe according to the law.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:22 PM  

"Silence is assent" is an ancient Hebrew proverb - it is also a pretty well-established reality. Things that don't get challenged over time end up being accepted as gospel, in the long term.

I don't give a damn about the Talmud, Asher. And I have no concerns about anything that Tad does, says, or thinks ever becoming accepted as gospel. What is clear is that you literally think like a woman.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 1:22 PM  

"Sure, in the short term silence can indicate dissent. But it is dissent only on the condition that one is willing to and has the ability to engage in actions that contravene what is being said."

See?

You're doing it again.

Anonymous Ferd February 10, 2013 1:22 PM  

Yes, until i read about this Scalzi guy here in this blog, i had never heard of him. He should embrace VD's world. It gives him great exposure. Red Shirts, indeed!

Anonymous Jack Amok February 10, 2013 1:28 PM  

Given the evidence of the success and failure of nations, why would anyone pick socialism today? Private enterprise has its fits and starts but the path for its standard of living is upward. Socialialim's path is downward. It encourages throwing sabots into the machinery

Well sure, if you have the Comprehend Production module installed in your brain, you understand that. But I've come to believe less than half the men in the world, and very, very few women, actually have that wiring in their brain. People without it literally cannot fully understand productive behavior.

They're stuck in a Hunter-Gatherer mindset. Resources are supplied by the universe, their job is to gather them. They will expend energy and thought on obtaining resources, but the idea of creating those resources is never really a first class thought in their head.

You can train a person like this to go through the steps, you can make them productive through rote learning, but they'll never really understand what's going on. To them, it's still a variation on gathering berries from a bush.

Hunter-Gatherers are socialists/authoritarians by nature. See, there are only so many berries on so many bushes. If one person takes too many, then there won't be enough left for the rest of the community. Alternately, the strongest can band together to take what they can. H-G society alternates between those two modes.

Occasionally, a Producer society rises up and brings prosperity to society. But the bulk of the people remain H-G at heart, and seeing the Producing Classes having so many berries convinces them that those rotten entrepreneurs are taking more than their fair share and not leaving enough for everyone else. Remember, again, they literally do not comprehend that the Producers are creating more berries through their actions. To the H-G, it's still the Universe that provides, and those rotten so and sos aren't going to leave enough berries for me!

So, the entrepreneurs must be stopped! Heinlein called this phase of civilization "Back Luck."

Anonymous cherub's revenge February 10, 2013 1:28 PM  

An even bigger cognitive dissonance is that of the pro-life movement that, largely, considers the current government corrupt but still wants to use it to prevent abortions.

It's not cognitive dissonance at all if they believe it's corrupt because it allows abortions.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:32 PM  

@ VD

Yes, we now know you're either a woman or a gamma male.

Now you're really letting your rhetoric run away with you.

most of us ignore Tad most of the time.

People who think like Tad, generally, run things. Claiming that you have the power to ignore the Tad's of this world is just wishful thinking. Sure, you can ignore the specific comment made by that specific commenter but he is voicing sentiments that carry real power in the real world, and you can't just ignore that.

"So, what does X really mean?" You can maybe get away with that sort of thing once or twice, by the third time, everyone is onto you.

That's because most of what most of your commenters say is pure blather. They use rhetorical word games to hide that they aren't really saying anything at all. Politically, I'm largely on their side but I have spent my life witnessing rightwingers getting their clocks cleaned by leftists in arguments.

Why? Certainly not because leftwingers have better arguments. They don't. What leftwingers have is much more potent than good arguments, i.e. power. If people like Nate debated the leftists I have been around in my life he would just get his clock cleaned and I would stand by and just watch it happen as I have done many times in the past.

The problem with arguing badly for a good position is that it tends to crowd out good arguments for that position. This is what I'm getting at when I challenge people to concisely define their terms. Hell, that's what the socratic dialogues are mostly about.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 1:35 PM  

@ VD

If you take "game" blogs seriously then one thing they all agree on is that it is feminine to make things personal and masculine to keep things impersonal.

By that metric, you're the one acting like a woman, here, not me.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 1:38 PM  

Aspie gonna aspie...

Anonymous Jack Amok February 10, 2013 1:44 PM  

Let's do a thought experiment. A truly objective reporter & writer exists. To whom does he market his wares?

In a less democratic society, to the relatively small handful of genuinely thoughtful men who wield outsized influence in the country.

But when everybody is allowed to vote, the votes of the ignorant and fearful swamp that of the thoughtful. So the market for objective reporting, while still being the same size, is less remunerative, because the thoughtful have less wealth.

And, frankly, less need for objective information. Hell, at this point, why should I put the effort into understanding what's going on with international finance to any great depth? It's not like I have any realistic chance to influence what happens. Figuring it out is a hobby. In an earlier age, it would've been an obligation because I would've been expected to make impactful decisions about it.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 1:45 PM  

Now you're really letting your rhetoric run away with you.

Not at all, Asher. Your behavior is precisely in line with what I, and other Game writers, have repeatedly observed. The proverb is actually Latin, not Hebrew, but that doesn't make it relevant. Nor would so many people use it and similar constructions as an appeal to get dissenters to speak out if it were not false.

Silence does not equal consent, which is why totalitarians mandate voting. Silence more often indicates contempt.

That's because most of what most of your commenters say is pure blather. They use rhetorical word games to hide that they aren't really saying anything at all. Politically, I'm largely on their side but I have spent my life witnessing rightwingers getting their clocks cleaned by leftists in arguments.

That may be, but most of what you say is pure blather as well, Asher. And your blather is worse, because it is designed to hide the truth rather than reveal it. You flatter yourself, but you're not in my league either. And your way of trying to teach people by running around and annoying people is demonstrably ineffective as well, so your position on ineffective right-wing arguments is more than a little ironic.

Left-wingers win on rhetoric. And yet, you're wasting your efforts blathering on about dialectic matters... to me.

Blogger tz February 10, 2013 1:50 PM  

An even bigger cognitive dissonance is that of the pro-life movement that, largely, considers the current government corrupt but still wants to use it to prevent abortions.

One of the few proper competencies of Government is to prevent, or if that fails, avenge and do justice to acts of violence such as murder. I am all for removing it from doing the 999 corrupt and stupid things, but while trying to slay this brood of vipers, ought I not be allowed to suggest it actually act to accomplish a legitimate purpose? They are also supposed to do something similar with fraud, but look at the Mortgage mess.

@Asher: Many years ago there was an anime "The Point", where Obleo is banished to "The Pointless Forest" where he encounters many things, each of which has purpose. He also encounters a three headed man who says each of those other things were "pointless". At the end, Obleo concludes that the only pointless thing in the pointless forest was that three headed man.

Leftwingers have no power. The corrupt elites who are not liberal in any true sense - seeking justice for the weak and powerless, no more than the politboro or commissars did under Stalin or Mao. Many years ago fools in a moment of destructive compassion gave suffrage to rabbits and expanded the amount of power suffrage provided (e.g. 17th Am). This was not merely giving an alcoholic cash or a bottle of vodka, but giving him a still and a cornfield.

But there is no free lunch. What even the corrupt elites don't seem to realize is that the Soviet Union didn't fall because of some evil unique to them, they fell because they suppressed the creative energy, so had to redistribute what they could find or rob (they had a fine military, but the farms couldn't feed them). We became the same - in our case it was a different path, but debt has destroyed more worlds than Shiva. You can only redistribute what is first created. When no one creates they can print as much as they like, but paper is indigestible and not a very good building material except for a house of cards.

You can obtain power over other men, at the cost of your soul. It merely requires the willingness to do violence, even if only by proxy. Most - but not all! - men will comply.

You cannot have power over truth or reality. The truth will set you free, for all else is a prison you lock yourself in and hope the guards are nice enough to keep feeding you, but the cage is never locked.

Anonymous Gx1080 February 10, 2013 1:50 PM  

@Asher

People that think like Tad don't run things. People that see the Tad's of the world as useful tools to install a Brazilian Neo-Feudalist State run things. For now.

Also, the MSM Leftoids usually get their way by declaring all crime thoughts as forbidden heresy. Which doesn't apply much on the Internet, hence the whining of the NY Beta Times's tool on the OP.

Anonymous Jack Amok February 10, 2013 2:00 PM  


Silence is DISSENT for men who don't think like women

Silence is polite dissent for men. It's a chance for the other guy to change his position with minimal loss of status (which holds true for the Tad's of the world too - not much more status to lose). Some ideas do call for less polite dissent though.

"Silence is assent" is an ancient Hebrew proverb

An interesting point, given how closely the voting patters of Hebrews and feminists line up in the US.

Oh, regarding Tad's limit to 5 posts per topic, I find him tiresome and ignore his posts. If Vox cut his limit to zero per topic I'd find reading the comments more enjoyable. But Vox doesn't do this. Tad's able to comment. So are several other leftoids, some of whom I do actually read.

But on lefty sites? Oh, it's mallets all the way down. One rightwing comment can get you banned. It doesn't even need to be rightwing, it just has to disagree with the particular leftism being advocated on the site.

No, the folks here arguing that the right - or even more absurdly the libertarian right - is equally insular with the left are observably wrong.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 2:01 PM  

But it is dissent only on the condition that one is willing to and has the ability to engage in actions that contravene what is being said. Since the context of Tad's claim was a blog comment section I see no possible action that could contravene it.

Your position is simply stupid, Asher. You are claiming that since everyone was silent on Tad's claim, no one had the willingness or the ability to engage in actions to contravene it.

I told you and Nate told you that we were not willing to contest Tad's claim. Because Tad is a stupid, disease-addled, attention-seeking homosexual and we don't care what his claims about WND are. Which thereby means that our silence indicated our dissent by your stated metric.

You're not stupid, Asher. But I increasingly suspect that you are not neurotypical. Do you have Asperger's?

Anonymous Azimus February 10, 2013 2:05 PM  

VD:
"We of the right"

Who are you and what have you done with Vox?

Anonymous Godfrey February 10, 2013 2:05 PM  

It’s wonderful to read Statists lamenting the fact they can no longer easily manipulate the masses.

The days of the ABCNBCBS monopoly are past. The Statists must look back to those days with great nostalgia. Remember decades ago when they were able to easily con the masses with feminism? The agenda was really all about reducing population levels. They wanted women working, not home having and raising children.

But the newest con to reduce population levels isn’t going very well. Despite around the clock promotion, homosexuality just isn’t getting the traction they thought. If they still had the ABCNBCBS monopoly they may have been able to overcome the obvious absurdity of that particular psychological disorder, but they just don’t have the influence they once had.

… And oh how the coordinated gun-control agenda has been an epic failure. I can really understand their bitter frustration.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 2:06 PM  

@ Vd

Your behavior is precisely in line with what I, and other Game writers, have repeatedly observed.

You mean anecdote? Look, I think some of the stuff on game blogs is decent and certainly far more in touch with reality than the ruling blank-slate ideology. But what goes on there is not a systematic explanation of everything.

So, I have a challenge for you: give me some predictions of what you think I am like based on my "gamma" status.

Silence does not equal consent

In the long run it absolutely does mean this. Look, if it didn't then the proper antidote to bad ideas would be to quietly go about minding your own business and everything works out okay, in the end.

If one doesn't "speak up" when confronted with bad ideas those ideas get disseminated to others. Yes, leftists/feminists use the language of "speaking up", too, but they use it in the sense of "speaking truth to power" rather than speaking truth to falsehood.

Silence more often indicates contempt.

The contempt of one matters little to the herd, and, yes, it is possible to get stampeded by the herd. One's contempt matters little when one is being run over by the herd.

nd your blather is worse, because it is designed to hide the truth rather than reveal it.

What "truth" am I hiding? Be specific. The "truth" of politics is power, not rights. Politics as "rights" is a woman thing, and one most of your commenters seem rather fixated on. Politics as "power" is a man thing.

That is the core truth of just about every comment I make on your blog. Do you dispute that the core truth of politics is power, as most of the ilk clearly do?

Left-wingers win on rhetoric

No. Leftists win on rhetoric because they have power. Power is the sine qua non of politics and political debate.

about dialectic matters... to me.

Yes. To you.

you're not in my league either

This is an ill-advised comment. Were differences in "league" so immense they'd be obvious on their face. Differences in league are not vast chasms, and often people with immense intellect expend a great deal of intellectual energy vigorously supporting absurd positions. Making such a claim is grasping at straws because either one is trying to convince where the question is not settled, or the question is settled and doesn't need to be mentioned.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 2:11 PM  

@ VD

Do you have Asperger's?

Heh. I'm about as unAspy a person as you'll meet. I don't watch a ton of TV but my IRL personality is quite a bit like the Patrick Jane character from The Mentalist.

I am a master of metaphor, I come up with them on the fly. One salient characteristic of aspies, and I've met a few, is that they tend to be pretty clumsy. If you look at a checklist of aspy traits I pretty much have the polar opposite of each one.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 2:12 PM  

Do you have Asperger's?

Vox, we have been assured that Asher does not have Aspergers, even if he spends 100 comments arguing about the use of the word "hell" in a sentence...because Asher uses metaphors...

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 2:13 PM  

Ha, I typed my comment before Asher's was posted...and he fell back on the metaphor defense!

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 2:13 PM  

It's not vain at all. It is a simple fact which shows your statement to be absurd. And the whole discussion is irrelevant anyhow, because I'm not pursuing mass appeal. If I was, I would write romance novels and practical Game advice columns.

OK. As I said, I would retract the "complete failure" theme, and revert to "general failure" - if your goal was (and it's not) mass appeal, it's been a poor career. I agree, from what I've read of your writing (RGD, online, none of the long novels) you are more than skilled enough to have mass appeal, if your subject matter was interesting to the MAPI crowed.

Regardless, I think the point holds that because you are uninterested in conventional measures of opinionist ranking we are pretty well unable to gauge your influence in traditional terms. The McRapey's of the world who imagine you angrily dejected for not being more popular would be shocked, I am sure.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:17 PM  

" If people like Nate debated the leftists I have been around in my life he would just get his clock cleaned and I would stand by and just watch it happen as I have done many times in the past."

It would appear to you... because you're basically a woman and view things as a woman views them.

That and the simple fact that you're just not smart enough to grasp abstract processes.. and get hung up on simple colloquialisms.

Believe me... it would just devastate me to think that the retard in the corner didn't think I won the debate.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 2:18 PM  

@ VD

you're wasting your efforts blathering on about dialectic matters... to me.

The vast, vast majority of individuals cannot handle dialectic matters, and a very significant majority of the ilk are not, as well.

I can't say I have seen much attempts on your part to engage the ilk in the dialectic and that may just be prudence on your part.

For myself, I normally wouldn't bother engaging with someone like Nate or Josh but the problem is that when I argue with leftists they throw back in my face the idiotic things that other rightwingers say. That's really damn annoying. My advice to the people deficient in dialectical reasoning is to refer to people who agree with them and who have that capacity.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:19 PM  

"Were differences in "league" so immense they'd be obvious on their face. "

...

/facepalm

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:20 PM  

Tad's favorite topic: Vox

Asher's favorite Topic: Himself

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:20 PM  

And that's the difference between a fag and woman.

Anonymous 11B February 10, 2013 2:22 PM  

The GOP has been moving further and further right for 20 years and the Tea Party movement is the inevitable result.

How is standing still construed as moving in any direction, especially to the right? Read the writings of actual conservatives like Pat Buchanan and you will see where he stood on immigration, gay marriage, gays in the military, women in combat roles and a host of other social and political issues twenty years ago and today. You will find that actual conservatives have been pretty consistent.

The nation might have moved to the left on certain issues, but that is not the same thing as conservatives moving to the right. Check your facts.

Now as for for the GOP, which is really the group you mentioned and not conservatives, well they not only have NOT MOVED to the right, they have actually lurched leftward over the past twenty years.

The GOP was against gays in the military 20 years ago, now they don't oppose it. The GOP was against gay marriage, now the leaders don't oppose it. The GOP was against amnesty only 7 years ago, now they are going to support it. The GOP was against tax increases, now they support it. The GOP was against big government, now they support it. The GOP was against nation building, now they support it. The GOP was against affirmative action, now they support it. The GOP wasn't for a lot of stuff we have today, but now they either support it or don't oppose it.

How the heck can that be construed as moving to the right?

Anonymous dh February 10, 2013 2:25 PM  

No, that's not true. DH hasn't acknowledged that. Leftists have founded entire academic disciplines to contradict it and multiculturalists openly deny it. The practical implications of a truth are irrelevant with regards to the factual truth of the matter or not.

I thought on this some and I can't really say. The problem I have with this is the metric. By what metric will this measured. I don't value liberty nearly as much the average dread ilk, so it's made even more difficult.

For example, comparing relative income levels / standard of living. I am a leftist, I view not only the average as important but also the number of standard deviations from the mean. Somehow I doubt that this metric would fit into the ilk's definition.

I would say, that the post-enlightment Christian founded Western civilizations are, if not clearly the most productive, creative, and freedom orientated civilizations in history, they are very close to the top. As much as it pains me, as a liberal to admit it, the pinnacle of civilization by this metric is post-Revolutionary America, pre-industrial America most likely. Virgina, Pennsylvania, Georgia - all candidates.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 2:32 PM  

The vast, vast majority of individuals cannot handle dialectic matters, and a very significant majority of the ilk are not, as well.

Asher, not only are you a dick, as your constant attempts to falsely elevate yourself above other commenters here demonstrates, but your positions make no sense. You claimed that you are motivated because you see so many rightwingers lose arguments to leftwingers, which arguments we know are rhetorical in nature.

So, you come here and bloviate about how wonderful you think you are and how superior you think you are, despite the fact that you get your head handed to you at least 50 percent of the time here, and then you assert that "a very significant majority of the Ilk" can't handle the dialectic.

Your position makes no sense. It appears that your need to be a dick is trumping your concerns about leftwingers winning arguments. Question: why are you consistently talking about dialectical matters if your goal is to help people make better rhetorical arguments?

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:33 PM  

"As much as it pains me, as a liberal to admit it, the pinnacle of civilization by this metric is post-Revolutionary America, pre-industrial America most likely. Virgina, Pennsylvania, Georgia - all candidates."

oh damn... I bet that did hurt.

kudos mate. that's a big bugbear to face.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 2:36 PM  

Unlike tad, dh is much more of an honest liberal.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 2:37 PM  

As I said, I would retract the "complete failure" theme, and revert to "general failure" - if your goal was (and it's not) mass appeal, it's been a poor career. I agree, from what I've read of your writing (RGD, online, none of the long novels) you are more than skilled enough to have mass appeal, if your subject matter was interesting to the MAPI crowed.

Fair enough.

Regardless, I think the point holds that because you are uninterested in conventional measures of opinionist ranking we are pretty well unable to gauge your influence in traditional terms. The McRapey's of the world who imagine you angrily dejected for not being more popular would be shocked, I am sure.

I tend to concur. A Throne of Bones is as close as I've come to pursuing such a thing, but we can't really judge its mass appeal due to the size of the publisher. It was mostly a test to see if I could write a reasonable epic fantasy in a year. If you want to get on my case for failure, just point to Media Vision and NVidea. My failures are bigger and more complete than most of you realize. They're measured in literally billions of dollars.

Blogger Nate February 10, 2013 2:40 PM  

"My failures are bigger and more complete than most of you realize. They're measured in literally billions of dollars."

Don't think I am not seriously tempted...

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 2:44 PM  

I thought on this some and I can't really say. The problem I have with this is the metric. By what metric will this measured. I don't value liberty nearly as much the average dread ilk, so it's made even more difficult. For example, comparing relative income levels / standard of living. I am a leftist, I view not only the average as important but also the number of standard deviations from the mean. Somehow I doubt that this metric would fit into the ilk's definition.

This merits its own post and discussion soon.

Anonymous Josh February 10, 2013 2:47 PM  

I think that a more free society would have a lower standard deviation of wealth than our current society due to the inability of the banking class and the government class to function as blood sucking parasites.

I would bet that the data (if it exists) would support my thesis.

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2013 3:05 PM  

> Obama birth certificate nonsense

You don't get multiple layers in PDF files with a non-forged source document scan. It doesn't matter, because Obama could do incredibly evil things and still receive the accolades of his supporters as Vox has noted.

We still have the first non-US born US President, but no one really cares, even on the so-called right.

====

Was anyone else on the Internet when they were crying that "you can't do commercial things on the Internet because it was funded by the government" in the early 1990s? It is so laughable because that is what made the Internet successful outside a narrow niche.

Blogger Brad Andrews February 10, 2013 3:08 PM  

I think I have a few Media Vision products in my scrap pile someplace here.... You were involved with that? Or am I confusing that and it was software only? The name sounds familiar either way.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein February 10, 2013 3:24 PM  

Nate said:
Dorner is not an idiot. He has plenty of training... plenty of equipment... and there is a lot of evidence that he has put a lot forethought into this.

LAPD could get lucky and wrap it up quick... but the odds are... this is going to be really bad.


I disagree. The guy has diarrhea of the mouth. People that do, do. People that don't do, talk. I suspect they'll find his body during the spring thaw, within a 5 mile radius of his truck. Unless he has an accomplice. Then all bets are off.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 3:26 PM  

@ VD

Am I a woman? Or do I have aspergers? Wwhat is clinically called asperger's has been described by the leading researcher in the field, Simon Cohen, as hypermasculine personality. Autism is far more prevalent in males and its personality variations are of an even more extreme masculine variety.

It's amusing that you call me both a woman and ask me if I have aspergers in the same comment. Even if I were a woman with aspergers it wouldn't make sense to speculate that I am a woman, since females with asperger's have highly masculine personalities.

not only are you a dick

Which is it? Am I a dick? Or a woman? I'm pretty sure that the general usage of "dick" is a reference to a guy who is behaving in an aggressively hypermasculine manner. I don't mind you calling me a dick. I don't mind you calling me a woman. But the fact that someone with your manifest level of intellect managed to call me both in such a short period is something that I find rather depressing.

Personally, I couldn't give a shit what anyone on the internet says about me, and if anyone does care about what some anonymous internet commenter says then they probably shouldn't be commenting on the internet. FWIW, I get far, far more personal attacks than I give.

your constant attempts to falsely elevate yourself above other commenters here

I do nothing of the sort and this is evidence that you give far too much weight to matters dialectical. Most human activity does not involve dialectical reasoning and people who take pride in their intellectual abilities are fools. History is replete is massive intellects who vigorously supported some of the most ridiculous ideas.

That I can do in one specific area that others cannot does not make me better than them.

positions make no sense.

I have precisely taken three positions in commenting on your blog:

A) Most people are not capable of engaging in matters dialectical and that includes most of the ilk, who are still quite a bit more adept than the average person
B) Arguing metaphysics is pointless, since metaphysics is a projection of sentiment and not governed by reason, at all
C) With the death of Christ on the cross the Bible ceases any relevance as a political document

That's it. I have taken no other positions, here. Now, i have made arguments supporting those positions but that was mere instrumentalism

rightwingers lose arguments to leftwingers, which arguments we know are rhetorical in nature.

The problem is that losing arguments via rhetoric has real-world consequences. Nate says he doesn't *care* what the retard in the corner thinks, and nor should he. But when it's 200 million retards who assent to the rhetoric of the Imperial ruling class what those retards think has real-world consequences for Nate.

You stated that silence, yours presumably, indicates contempt. Fine, but your contempt is rather beside the point when your getting stampeded by those 200 million retards.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2013 3:33 PM  

> There is no such thing as "correct" understanding of a term...

In which case, since we have no mechanism for discussion, we have absolutely nothing to talk about, do we?

> Your view of language is about eighty years out of date...

More like 150-200, by your reckonings. There's a reason I call you Junior.

> Unlike tad, dh is much more of an honest liberal.

Exactly.

> This merits its own post and discussion soon.

Yes, it does.

I didn't see your "drop it comment till fairly far down in my responses, Vox. I'll do so with this post.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 3:40 PM  

@ VD

how wonderful you think you are and how superior you think you are

Um, where have I said anything even remotely resembling this? Anyone who considers human reason "wonderful" is a fool. Most people get along just fine and lead orderly and productive lives without the faculty of what you or I would consider "reason".

the fact that you get your head handed to you at least 50 percent of the time here

If I made this claim I would substantiate it. Can you give me even one example? I have spent some comment threads interacting with five or six people simultaneously. During those interactions I have addressed one hundred percent of every challenge or question directed my way. In return I reckon I have received maybe even an acknowledgment of, at best, twenty percent of my direct questions or challenges.

It's tough to say that I have had my headed handed to me when the vast majority of my challenges and questions aren't even acknowledged, much less receive a response.

why are you consistently talking about dialectical matters if your goal is to help people make better rhetorical arguments?

The distinction between the rhetorical and the dialectical is synthetic. How we use terms is tied up with how we experience "external" reality.

I offer, for example, my first foray into commenting on this blog. I chanced across Tad getting a bunch of gun advocates to claim that the second amendment gave schizophrenics the right to own nuclear weapons. That is a win for Tad. Period. Is that win a rhetorical or dialectical matter? It's not really clear.

More importantly, does it really matter? That rightwingers lose arguments is the real point and whether the win is one or rhetoric or dialectic is rather immaterial to the fact that losing an argument has real-world consequences.

Anonymous VD February 10, 2013 3:56 PM  

Can you give me even one example?

In every thread in which you post. For example:

Mudz: you provide very little of value in your argument.

Asher: Just the opposite. Most of the comments, here, have zero value and I demonstrate that. In other words, most of what is said is pure babble and I'm just pointing out that it's mindless babble. That is the value of most of my comments.


First, most of the comments here do not have zero value. You are either assuming an objective standard of value, which is totally false, or imputing your subjective value to others, which is both incorrect and solipsistic. Second, I place no value on your pointing out anything about other people's comments. That's subjective, but as the host of the discussions here, it's hardly irrelevant.

The distinction between the rhetorical and the dialectical is synthetic.

No, it is not. You have it precisely wrong. It is quite obviously analytic.

I chanced across Tad getting a bunch of gun advocates to claim that the second amendment gave schizophrenics the right to own nuclear weapons. That is a win for Tad. Period. Is that win a rhetorical or dialectical matter? It's not really clear.

It is perfectly clear. It is pure rhetoric. And that is not a win for Tad here, because rhetorical victory depends upon the audience. It would have been a win for Tad in front of other audiences, but that is irrelevant; his failure to understand the nature of his audience here is why Tad is such a rhetorical disaster.

Now, we all know that Tad is performing for a nonexistent audience of people who aren't reading the blog, but if your audience does not exist, your rhetorical victory is imaginary. Nor does an imaginary rhetorical defeat before a nonexistent audience have real-world consequences.

Anonymous physphilmusic February 10, 2013 3:59 PM  

But I would not recommend making the mistake of thinking that you can reliably predict my positions on the basis of your own logic. Many people have blundered that way because they simply don't possess my logical abilities. Perhaps you do, but then, perhaps you don't. In the meantime, I'm entirely content to let people utilize their own logic with regards to the indisputable facts I present.

Based on some of your comments, my guess used to be that despite all the proclamations of the superiority of white Anglos and Western civilization (some of which I agree with, some not), you seem to tend to stick to your libertarian side and prefer things to "run their own course", instead of forcefully engineering society so that it gives an institutional preference to white Anglos (the latter of which is usually what leftists and Rabbit People think you would like to do). Now this is actually position I wouldn't disagree with so much. But I've been starting to have doubts over this. I surely do hope your real position doesn't resemble the one most leftists think you espouse.

Anonymous Gen. Kong February 10, 2013 4:01 PM  

Harsh:
The Democratic Party has moved much further to the left in the same period of time and the fact that there is no equivalent of the Tea Party there is because the extreme element has take over the entire party.

Not entirely accurate Harsh. The OWS crowd contained leftists who actually were opposed to endless wars and banksta bailouts - to name two things. Trouble is, like their Tea Party counterparts on the right, they were infiltrated and co-opted by the squid-oligarchy. Soros wrote checks and OWS essentially degenerated into an adjunct of the Obama campaign. If the OWS had torched Gracie mansion with the filthy one-percenter mayor and his goons inside, I might even have some respect for them. Instead, they let Bloomberg co-opt them and morphed into a bad joke.

Anonymous physphilmusic February 10, 2013 4:04 PM  

I chanced across Tad getting a bunch of gun advocates to claim that the second amendment gave schizophrenics the right to own nuclear weapons. That is a win for Tad. Period. Is that win a rhetorical or dialectical matter? It's not really clear.

That part where Nate claimed (half-facetiously, or perhaps not) that owning nuclear weapons would be a good way to prevent things like Obamacare being enforced actually made me laugh out loud, and not really because I thought the idea to be ridiculous. Tad and Rabbit People would gape in horror, but I think it's an interesting idea.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 4:24 PM  

@ tz

One of the few proper competencies of Government is to prevent, or if that fails, avenge and do justice to acts of violence such as murder.

Yes, and different people's and cultures across time and place have disagreed on the question of "what is murder". The problem is that giving government *any* credence in any one area is giving it credence in all the other areas it professes jurisdiction. You want to live in a country that punishes for aborting? Fine, go start your own country or ask for a political divorce. I'd be happy to live in that country, as I don't hold the notion of "a woman's right to choose". But the pro-life movement is just further cementing the overweening reach of the Imperial state by asking it to establish jurisdiction on the abortion issue.

The description you gave of what government is competent to do is a description of a government that is, generally, of a limited nature. Once government begins exceeding that nature it becomes unlimited in every aspect of life it touches and any authority it exercise it does so for its own benefit.

Any actions the Imperial ruling class does in government is for its own benefit and asking it to step in on one particular issue is just giving it more legitimacy. To do that is pure folly.

ought I not be allowed to suggest it actually act to accomplish a legitimate purpose?

Sure, you *can* but to do so is pure folly, since everything about that government is interconnected and any legitimate issue will have the effect of further cementing the illegitimacy of the overall power structure.

The corrupt elites who are not liberal in any true sense - seeking justice for the weak and powerless,

Liberalism, since Kant, has meant radical individual autonomy, about the fundamental eradication of all differences that are not freely chosen by the individual. Liberalism as rule of law is long dead. What was equality under law has now become a crusade for equality, in fact.

And don't think so-called conservatives dissent from this liberal agenda. Most conservatives seem to think that inequality is created by government and that if government just got out of the way we'd all be equal in outcomes, at some distant point in the future. What do you think the democracy project is all about?

You can obtain power over other men, at the cost of your soul.

The action of punishing abortion is an act of power. Period. Hell, enforcing traffic laws is an exercise of power.

I get similar reasoning from leftists as I am getting from you. The argument goes something like the following:

A) A particular policy goal for government is desirable
B) What is desirable is good
C) Power is bad
D) Therefore, that particular policy goal isn't a product of power.

No. What is going on is that the particular policy goal justified the use of power. Ends do justify means. Ends are the only thing capable of justifying means. Now, certainly not all ends justify all means but the argument is not over whether or not government policy is always a product of force, it is, but when the application of power is justified.

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 4:41 PM  

@ Brad Andrews

You don't get multiple layers in PDF files with a non-forged source document scan ... the first non-US born US President,

This is exactly what I mean by nonsense. I suspect that there's something wrong with the birth certificate myself, but I use Occam's Razor to deduce the most likely explanation. Obama's claim that he is the product of two people madly in love is preposterous. The best explanation is that a young radical which girl and a hedonistic, pussy-hunting black man had a moment of jungle love. That is probably what is embarrassing about the birth certificate.

The idea that Obama was not born in the US is as preposterous as his claims about his mother and father.

Anonymous Idle Spectator channeling Asher through Séance February 10, 2013 4:45 PM  

Hi guys at Vox Populi! You'll never believe what happened to me today.

When I got home from work, my favorite movie show was not on Netflix. I was *so* disappointed about that. So instead of that, I went and made myself a sandwich in my little kitchen. It is certainly the best kitchen, and much better than your kitchen. You know what sandwich it was? A ham sandwich, with this "amazing" cheese I picked out myself. I really enjoyed that sandwich. Anyway, back to me. So when I came back to the living room I had to watch something else on television. But at least I had that sandwich. I had to decide what to do. Should I:

A) Watch a different movie on Netflix
B) Wait to see if my favorite movie appeared on Netflix
C) None of the above, and go outside after finishing my ham sandwich

Anonymous Enchanted February 10, 2013 4:47 PM  

That's fascinating Idle.
Do go on!!

Anonymous Idle Spectator channeling Asher through Séance February 10, 2013 5:02 PM  

I thank Enchanted for saying that to me!

I... . .. I.. .. myself .... I .... me .... me .... I feel .... I .... mine .... I.... me... I am...

Me . ... me .... I think .. .. me ... I ... mine ....

Anonymous Asher February 10, 2013 5:07 PM  

@ VD

most of the comments here do not have zero value.

Most comments, here, lack a consistent premise or set of premises. Every sentence I make during an intellectual discussion I ask myself the question "on what premise is that claim justified". The vast majority of claims that most people, here, make are not ones they can justify. That doesn't mean they're wrong or that I even disagree with them but it does mean the claimant is saying something they are not capable of justifying.

imputing your subjective value to others, which is both incorrect and solipsistic.

If I were doing that you'd be correct. However, the vast majority of my comments are not about asserting my own propositions but asking others to justify theirs. The vast majority of those challenges go unacknowledged and by the Athenian notion of agon that means their propositions would be considered failures.

I place no value on your pointing out anything about other people's comments.

Well, your claim was that I regularly have my "head handed to me". Given that claim you made what I say about other people's comments is directly relevant to your claim, so it makes no sense for you to say this. Most of my comments are not about asserting my own propositions but asking others to justify their propositions and most of my challenges go unanswered.

No, it is not. You have it precisely wrong. It is quite obviously analytic.

If you can definitively justify this claim then you will have cemented yourself in philosophical history as one of most three or four prominent philosophers since Socrates. Seriously, the immensity of this claim is gargantuan. I'm not saying that I'm certain that you're incapable of justifying this claim but that this is one of the most astonishing intellectual claim I've ever seen anyone make.

It is perfectly clear. It is pure rhetoric.

Except the reason Tad managed to get them to say that is that they hold to an absolute metaphysical notion of "gun rights". Is that rhetorical, too? When the ilk talk about "gun rights" is that mere rhetoric?

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 10, 2013 5:09 PM  

LOL ---^

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