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Rhetorical ridiculousness

What follows is supposed to be erudition.  It's supposed to be enlightenment.  We're all supposed to rise to this level of intellect.  This is, according to the elite, what passes as brilliance:

Coming our way via John at VerumSerum who adds:

I try to deal fairly with opinions of all kinds. Sometimes people whose ideas I disagree with make a sound point. It's self-destructive to pretend otherwise. And then there's the kind of willful stupidity that you hear in this interview. As I've pointed out before, even Christian bashing author Sam Harris has called this line of reasoning a fraud. Point being, you don't have to be a fan of religion or Christianity to see a difference between Islam and evangelicalism. You just have to be honest and sane.

The attempt to suggest that America's evangelicals pose as big a threat as radical Islamists accomplishes at least two things.

First, and perhaps foremost, the danger posed by extremist Muslims is minimized, an incredibly stupid and perilous thing to do, an act that emboldens the enemy and leads to the loss of innocent life.

Second, and more obvious, it cements the notion that so much of leftist thought today is vaccuous, shallow and unthinking.


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Comments (23)

muslim extremists condemn t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

muslim extremists condemn the west in general. This is not a threat to the left as it is diffuse and they can point to their own dislike of "western excess" and find agreement with the terrorists. This they believe offers opportunity to find common ground with them and hence their belief that they can negotiate peace with them and it is the source of their refrain that these terrorists "Just need to be understood".

Christianity, on the other hand, points to specific issues and behaviors that it objects to and this is a direct threat to the left as it confronts their own selves and their own behavior. In that sense Christianity is a far more real threat and far more dangerous because it addresses them specifically as individuals.

The left is threatened by Christianity because it asks for specific action. The terrorists condemn the West in general and since the Left does as well, they do not realize that the muslims include them in their condemnation.

Everybody hates being manip... (Below threshold)

Everybody hates being manipulated. I would like to add to; "vaccuous, shallow and unthinking", ignorant, foolish, manipulative, malfeasant, malvolent, micheivous and a hundred other civilized but insulting acronyms.

You're to stupid to underst... (Below threshold)

You're to stupid to understand what's going on? Gee, that's a big surprise.

Paranoid religious fundamentalists? More like bedwetters and hand-wringing morons.

Look under your bed, Rick - IT's OSAMA BIN LADEN!


There you go again Dane, be... (Below threshold)

There you go again Dane, being all "vaccuous, shallow and unthinking". Rick is too polite, I would just call you a dickwad.

Boo Dane!I'm a Chr... (Below threshold)

Boo Dane!

I'm a Christian. Be careful with us, we might pray at a football game and turn everyone in attendance into Christians, or we might pray at school and turn the children into Christians, heh, we might even have a Christmas tree in the town square and who knows what horrors that might bring. Scary things, us Christians.

Perhaps KOS should stick to... (Below threshold)

Perhaps KOS should stick to a subject the readership is familiar with, like pacifiers and pampers considering the intellect of thier posters/readers like Dane or warchild or whatever his name is.

The notion of left... (Below threshold)

The notion of leftist thought being vacuous, shallow and unthinking is readily explained when one realizes that these "reality based thinkers" operate in a fiction-based reality.

See? That wasn't so hard, was it?

"Second, and more obvious, ... (Below threshold)

"Second, and more obvious, it cements the notion that so much of leftist thought today is vaccuous, shallow and unthinking."

Whadya mean today?

Dane -When calling... (Below threshold)

Dane -

When calling someone stupid, you really should bother to check out the difference between 'to' and 'too', and make sure you use the proper one.

Guess you're just 'to' smart for us! LOL.

Hey did you notice Dane sai... (Below threshold)

Hey did you notice Dane said something really profound I mean it was like "you guys are all poopy heads" or something like that. Hey Dane you're really are the smartest one here I've not heard anyone come up with a better argument. Damn I wish I could sort out the complex issues they way you do.

"you guys are all poopy hea... (Below threshold)

"you guys are all poopy heads"

Well that's about what you'd expect from a guy like Dane who walks around with his head planted firmly up his ass.

Somehow I think this is rel... (Below threshold)

Somehow I think this is relevant (oooo, now we are all overlords, cool):

recently received from a Greek bearing gifts:

Dear Daily Kos community member,

Conventional wisdom is that Democrats are doomed in the 2010 elections. And yes, by all indications, things look bleak.

So how do we react? I suppose we could surrender to our new tea party overlords. If we show enough deference, maybe they'll take mercy, and allow us to keep a constitutional amendment or two.

But that's not how we roll at Daily Kos. Instead, we're going on the attack.

We're going to make Republicans defend their Senate seat in Kentucky, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway is pushing Civil Rights Act opponent Rand Paul to the limit. Can you contribute $10 to Jack Conway, and make the tea party play some defense this fall?

There is perhaps no clearer contrast anywhere in the country -- between a Democrat who believes government can make people's lives better, and a Republican who hasn't met a government program he doesn't hate.

As Attorney General, Jack Conway has proven he can win statewide. He supports Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and wants to change Senate rules to make a filibuster a real filibuster.

Ya, nothing like taking an ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Ya, nothing like taking an issue and oversimplifying it to try to make a political point--and this is exactly what Markos is doing here. He's making all kinds of generalized claim about one segment of the US population, basically in order to sell books. Ya, I'm not impressed. People who oversimplify issues really irritate me.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, So it goes.

Truth is, there are some pretty thoughtful writers over at Dkos--and there are also plenty of people who are full of it and completely unwilling to listen to different points of view. I've never been all that impressed with Kos himself. And I've gotten some pretty nasty responses from some folks for deviating from the accepted political talking points. Lame.

Second, and more obvious, it cements the notion that so much of leftist thought today is vaccuous, shallow and unthinking.

Indeed, much of it is. But then...

Ok, I'll save it this time. I need to get back to memorizing the Communist Manifesto and practicing my socialist talking points anyway...

I need to get back to me... (Below threshold)

I need to get back to memorizing the Communist Manifesto and practicing my socialist talking points anyway...

LOL. Ryan, I appreciate your sense of humor and willingness to listen to opposing points of view. I think we're rapidly approaching a time where the radical excess is going to be trimmed. Things have NOT gone as the radical left expected... though I'm just guessing here I think they figured that the theories they thought were impeccably logical and incapable of failure haven't exactly produced the results they were expecting.

Well, theories always trump reality in the classroom and coffee shop - but when tested against reality they'd damn well better be solidly thought out. And a lot of the theories being tried now seem to be of the...

1. We start with a bad economy.
2. We pass a law to regulate (something).
3. We hire a lot of people to oversee the regulation of that law.
4. Then a miracle occurs
5. The economy improves.

... variety. Not solidly thought out, and more grounded in imagination and rhetoric than reality.

When it doesn't work - then someone's to blame because the THEORY can't be wrong. So because we're operating on new theories, if they don't work it's not because the theory's in error, it's because something's keeping the theory from working right. So Bush is to blame, the 'rich' are to blame, taxes being too low are to blame, everyone's to blame... but the theory, and the folks who thought it up.

Sooner or later folks are going to realize who's been pushing the theory, and some politicians are going to find themselves unemployed. But then we'll get a new crop, with new theories. Let's hope those are a bit better grounded in reality...

JLawson,S... (Below threshold)
ryan a:


Sooner or later folks are going to realize who's been pushing the theory, and some politicians are going to find themselves unemployed. But then we'll get a new crop, with new theories. Let's hope those are a bit better grounded in reality...

Ya, the new crop. Where they say they're going to scrap everything that the OTHER guy was doing, bring about change, and really make a difference. And then about one year into it, you look closely, and it all looks oddly similar, just with a different label. A fun roller coaster, no?

About the theories. You know, one of my dumb little side projects has been doing a lot of research about the histories of modern economic theory. Fun stuff. Slogging through Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, Marx (yes, I know), Mises, Hayek, Polanyi, Friedman, Krugman, etc.

You know what I think? I think that a lot of modern economists of various persuasions are a little at a loss these days. I hear a lot of the same people calling for the same answers they usually call for, but I think this last crash kind of confounded all sides (from the Friedmanites to the neo-Keynesians like Krugman). I'm not seeing a lot of great answers from ANY of these guys...just a lot of rehashing of the same arguments.

My hope-o-meter is running a little low these days, to put it mildly. I think we have some pretty big structural issues to deal with that go a little beyond the usual ideological divisions in economic theory. So the last thing we need is ANYONE getting to hung up on a particular pet theory. Ideological loyalty be damned, we need people to put their heads together and realize that this isn't the capitalism that either Smith OR Marx imagined.

Sorry for the windbag comment. You can tell when I have something that I have to finish writing when I start making these long comments. Procrastination, it's what's for dinner...

...oh, and in my opinion, t... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

...oh, and in my opinion, the usual left/right crap is an absolute distraction, if not completely irrelevant.

we need people to ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:
we need people to put their heads together and realize that this isn't the capitalism that either Smith OR Marx imagined.

...let alone Rand, Greenspan, or Krugman.

Interesting take, Ryan - an... (Below threshold)

Interesting take, Ryan - and something I've thought (though not with the same depth of study you've apparently made) - that the old solutions aren't working, and the only solutions that are 'trusted' are the ones that aren't up to the job.

What's your take on the Fair Tax, BTW?

(That should enable your procrastination for a bit longer, lol...)

JLawson,Whoa. For... (Below threshold)
ryan a:


Whoa. Fortunately I didn't see this last night, or I would have gone off on another tangent and NEVER finished what I was supposed to be doing. Ya, gotta love the internet.

Hmmm. As for the fair tax, I think we might need a whole thread dedicated to that idea. I actually like several aspects of this idea (and some other ideas about reworking the tax system). I'd actually like to see some more ideas about these sorts of things. But I also think that a lot of people would freak out about it (not like that's a surprise). Interestingly, some of the biggest obstacles to change seem to be the pure reluctance to change our habits--even if perfectly reasonable solutions are out there.

What's your take on the fair tax???

I'm cautiously for it, actu... (Below threshold)

I'm cautiously for it, actually. I like the 'prebate' idea, also the idea I get my entire paycheck. It would also do away with the IRS, and simplify things considerably, mostly by doing away with the rat's nest of regulations and exemptions and credits and crap that currently exists.

(Seriously, when the IRS won't even guarantee the answers from its help line, you KNOW something's seriously screwed up.)

In normal times, I don't think there'd be a chance of it passing - but these are not normal times by any means.

Alternatively, we could dial the tax code back to what it was like in the '30s (since it seems that's where our economy's headed anyway, might as well trim the IRS rulebook to match) and see what happens.

But something sure needs to be done - it's too complex to survive, like a poodle with fifteen legs, three hearts, two livers and three heads, but only one brain...

Looking at that last para, ... (Below threshold)

Looking at that last para, I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking but it certainly describes an animal too complex for its own good... lol

(Seriously, when t... (Below threshold)
ryan a:
(Seriously, when the IRS won't even guarantee the answers from its help line, you KNOW something's seriously screwed up.)

Classic example of the bureaucratic nightmare. Exactly. Talk about a huge symptom of some bigger problems.

Of course, any implementati... (Below threshold)

Of course, any implementation of the Fair Tax is going to be resisted like crazy. The media's not going to report on it straight, they're going to tar the 'prebate' as being unfair if it's given to everyone and not just the poor, and they will tout it as being unnecessarily complex and difficult to administer.

Like our current system is any model of simplicity...

And let's not forget the tax evaders who don't buy their stuff from regular retailers and thus avoid paying the tax. (Like they're never going to buy groceries, gas, or clothing or whatever...)

The easier a tax system is to comply with, the less kickback from the people you get. Paying your tax in deductions from your paycheck all year is a lot less painful than coughing up the check on April 15th, which is why it's done that way.

I'd be sorry to see the housing interest deduction go, but I think the other factors would make up for the loss...

As far as structural reform of the IRS goes - I'm sure someone's going to suggest it, and if the current crop of pols get their fingers on it the 'simplification' is going to make it considerably more complex.

You might want to check out the Fairtax.org web site, and read the book if you haven't - The Fair Tax Book, by Boortz and Linder. I don't see much wrong with the proposal, but then I'm no politician and I actually believe that 2+2 SHOULD equal 4 for normal values of 2, so what do I know?






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