Monday, April 11, 2005

Ah, FrontPage, um, "Magazine" 

Michael Berube has apparently had quite an experience with Crazy Davy's FrontPage Magazine. It reminds me of my little experience over there two years ago. Although I have to say they weren't editing my responses to make themselves look good or anything like Crazy Davey apparently did to Michael.

I tried over and over to make logical arguments and engage the righties in some sort of dialogue. All the righties over there wanted to do was make ad hominem attacks, suggesting that those of us who were against the war really loved terrorists or communists. It was all astonishingly disappointing yet not terribly surprising. They were so intellectually dishonest it was appalling.

The worst of the folks over there for just wanting to mount ad hominem attacks was Judith Klinghoffer who is still taking up space as a blogger at my old digs over at HNN. Interestingly enough, Klinghoffer is listed both at HNN and when she writes at National Review Online as an "associate scholar" at a branch of Rutgers. This is a nice way, I'm afraid, of saying she's both an "adjunct slave" and "hasn't found a job yet but my husband is a full professor so they gave me this title but don't list me as a faculty member so I can say I have something to do with academe when I appear on the web or on television."

But I digress. If you really want to see how little there is to conservative arguments these days, you should go read the exchange. I'll go ahead and post one of my responses just so you can get a taste of what I was dealing with:
Spencer: Dr. Klinghoffer, since when am I "the left?" And when did I mention anything about communist regimes? You don't know a damn thing about me and I can't believe you'd make such bizarre generalizations about me based on so little evidence. I do assume you don't make historical arguments that have this little evidence behind them. Please address my arguments and cease making these sweeping and irresponsible generalizations about my supposed "leftist" tendencies.

Oh yeah. I forgot. It's this sort of junk that passes for reasoned argument in right-wing circles these days. I thought we were in the symposium portion of this website, not the rather irresponsible home page here that includes ad hominem attacks on liberals and leftists in every other story.

What Dr. Klinghoffer is trying to pass off as an argument is perfect evidence of the astonishing disconnect between the rhetoric that many conservatives use and the actual political reality in the United States that probably helps to explain the strange questions that started this forum. She can't believe that someone who was against this war isn't a "leftist" or even a "communist" or a "Saddam-lover" of some kind. That's where she and W go wrong. They can't seem to understand that there are perfectly reasonable people who are against this war on principle and have good arguments against it. In their minds this is impossible so we have to be appeasers and apologists of course. It certainly makes the world a simpler place if you can view your opponents that way, doesn't it? By the way, get off your high horse about how we've helped the women in Afghanistan. It appears that outside of Kabul, women are being treated just as they were before our invasion -- of course everything in Afghanistan outside of Kabul is essentially back to how it was before the invasion, except much more chaotic. Even in Kabul we have to guard President Karzai 24 hours per day to protect him from assassination.

I supported the invasion of Afghanistan but the short-attention-span folks that make up this administration long ago forgot about it as much of a priority. They left aid to Afghanistan out of the last budget after all. We really should be working a great deal more to secure Afghanistan than we are.

The same folks in Iraq who cheered us were the same people who also, I'm afraid to say, were demonstrating against us a couple of days later and, in some places, already demanding an end to our occupation. So much for that point of yours too.

You clearly should read more and get your news somewhere other than the Faux News Channel. That way you'd find out a lot of your statements aren't holding much water and that the world is an awfully messy place that isn't so easily reducible into the battle between "good" and "evil" and the "left" and the "right" as you try to make it. In short, the world isn't the simple morality cartoon that W and the boys are selling to the public on a daily basis even though it's apparent you work really hard to see it that way.
Now that was a tasty slapdown, wasn't it?

And, as you'll see, they carefully try not to respond to any of my meatier arguments all the way through. I've always thought that Josh Marshall described Crazy Davey and his ilk quite well:
But one of the best ways to judge someone's moral and intellectual seriousness -- perhaps also their moral and intellectual caliber, but at least their seriousness -- is to see who they pick as their enemies, who they choose to pick fights with. Someone like David Horowitz is a great example of the effectiveness of this method -- a sorry sort of guy, bubbling on churning rapids of cash, constantly casting about for some new lefty freak to mount a new crusade against, all mixed-up with aggrieved passion and outrage. The whole enterprise is about as grave and righteous as tricking retarded grade-schoolers out of their lunch money.

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