Anti-Intellectual Radicals

I’ve been meaning to offer kudos for this excellent letter by David Carlin, who is, somewhat surprisingly, a sociology and philosophy professor at CCRI:

The question of whether or not anti-SSM people are motivated by bigotry is an empirical question, and I submit (as would Dr. Harrop, I believe) that if their motives were empirically examined, it would be discovered that they are not so motivated. But those associated with the gay movement are rarely interested in this empirical question. Instead — behaving in a purely propagandistic and thoroughly unscientific manner — they simply classify anybody opposed to their agenda as “bigoted” and “homophobic.” Thus no amount of empirical evidence to the contrary will persuade them to withdraw their accusations.
One of my great objections to the gay movement is its profound anti-intellectualism — that is, its absolute refusal to keep its mind open to empirical evidence that might contradict its propaganda.

That’s from the November 22 Providence Journal. I wonder whether the professor’s had any threats against his job, or the like.

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Bob Walsh
Bob Walsh
11 years ago

“somewhat surprisingly”? Such assumptions are beneath you.
However, if Professor Carlin suffers threats against his job, you can be sure that his union will be there to represent his rights! Not only is he a member of NEARI, you might also be “surprised” to learn that he is a Democrat, a former leader in the Rhode Island Senate, and a former Democratic candidate for Congress.
Never assume . . .

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
Professor Carlin condemns those who unthinkingly condemn as bigots all persons who are anti-gay-rights as. Surely, some who oppose gay rights are bigots, but Carlin is right that it’s not correct to paint everyone on that side with such a broad brush.
However, when Carlin claims that all “those associated with the gay movement… simply classify anybody opposed to their agenda as “bigoted” and “homophobic”, isn’t he not making the same error that he accuses others of?
As for threats to his job for voicing (possibly) unpopular ideas, that’s what tenure is for.
(With due respect to Bob W, who just posted a comment, I’ll note that non-unionized faculty may also be protected by tenure).

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

So when will the liberals stop calling anyone who supports enforcement of EXISTING immigration laws nativist,xenophobic,bigoted,racist,blah,blah,blah ad nauseum?I’ll tell you when-not in this life,so they can kindly go to Hell.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Joe,
So when will the liberals stop calling anyone who supports enforcement of EXISTING immigration law…
I don’t know if you’re addressing me, but I’m afraid that I can’t answer your question, as I’m not currently authorized to speak on behalf of “The Liberals”.
But thanks for the thoughtful comment.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Prof.Schmeling-are you paranoid?I don’t recall you in the immigration discussion at all.
Actually,the question applies to the RIF gang,some folks at Kmareka,Providence Daily Dose,and the General Assembly.Not to mention the ethnic pimps like the Ministers Alliance and Rev.Anderson of the RI Council of Churches,and Rabbi Flam,lately of Brown.Also the leaders of DARE,Olneyville Neighborhood Association and Progreso Latino.
Specific enough,doc?

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

As they say, Joe, it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you. But, since you’ve been so friendly to me in the past, I must have been mistaken.
However, I didn’t think this discussion was about immigration at all, so I guess we’re even.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Bob,
Your quiet acquiescence to the low theatrics of your assistant and his playground leave you lacking in credibility to chastise me about unfair assumptions.
There is simply no question that academia, especially amidst the social disciplines therein, is sufficiently leftist that commentary like Carlin’s is non-standard.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
What’s “leftist” about support for gay rights? I’m pretty sure libertarian party platform supports repeal of any laws that discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. Are the libertarians “leftist” now?

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Wouldn’t the Libertarians object to the very idea that government should be in the business of sanctioning marriage in the first place? In that case, the question of a position regarding laws about that subject would be moot?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Libertarians tend to be socially liberal, yes, but whatever the case, your observation is a non sequitur. The assertion is that socially focused academia is reliably liberal, so a non-liberal statement from a sociology professor is something of an anomaly. The existence of libertarians has no relevance.
Indeed, you’ve spun the matter even in characterizing the subject as “gay rights.” I’m for gay rights by standards that I would consider reasonable (namely, that homosexuality should have no bearing on one’s treatment in the law). Carlin’s target is the “gay movement,” by which he clearly means a decidedly leftist group.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“So when will the liberals stop calling anyone who supports enforcement of EXISTING immigration laws nativist,xenophobic,bigoted,racist,blah,blah,blah ad nauseum?”
Yup, same idea as Justin references. When the debater turns to baseless name calling, it is confirmation that s/he cannot or does not want to debate on the substance of the issue.
Congressman Kennedy’s recent rant during a Congressional sub-committee mark-up of a bill on e-verify is one of the more notable instances. (He also did not seem altogether clear, which was a little disconcerting, that e-verify is now law for the federal government and – ahem – for the government of the state that he represents.)

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

I was the one making a non sequitur? You called support for gay rights a “leftist” position, which I think it is not. What’s the non sequitur?
My view is that the left-right dichotomy has very little relevance to modern social policy debates.
You say, homosexuality should have no bearing on one’s treatment in the law!!!!!
Including the law regard to whom marriage licenses should be issued?
I think we’re making progress!

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Monique says, When the debater turns to baseless name calling, it is confirmation that s/he cannot or does not want to debate on the substance of the issue.
Exactly, Monique. Whichi is exactly what happens when Professor Carlin says that “gay rights supporters refuse to listen to empirical evidence”

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

BobN,
I believe that the libertarians would like government to get out of the marriage business. Short of that, however, they do say…
We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. LIbertarian Party Platform

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
Hang on a sec.
You’re a “gay rights supporter”, in that you believe that “homosexuality should have no bearing on one’s treatment in the law”.
Yet you’re comfortable with someone saying that the “gay rights movement” is leftist.
So, are you a leftist? If not, what distinguishes you, as a gay rights supporter, from the gay rights movement? I find your distinctions rather too fine to follow.
Also, Justin, would you characterize the “Log Cabin Republicans” as “leftist”?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Did I BLOW YOU MIND!?!? (Sorry. Little Sunday night silliness.)
Look, this isn’t anything you shouldn’t be able to piece together for yourself, whether you agree or not. “The gay movement” and “support for gay rights” are not synonymous. The gay movement suggests a certain range and definition of what “gay rights” constitute.
I believe it includes the right to marry, but not to change the definition to fit ones needs. “Marriage” describes a relationship between a man and a woman, and homosexuals ought to be able to enter into such relationships. (A recent story that I considered mentioning was the admission of the actress who played the mom on Growing Pains that she is a lesbian. Asked if she’d been living a lie during male-female marriages throughout her life that produced children, she said, “not at all.”)
But the point is that you’re apparently unable to comprehend an intellectual position apart from the claims of a social movement that claims to own it. The gay movement is radical after a politically left fashion.
To the extent that Log Cabin Republicans are a part of the movement, then they are, indeed, leftist, but my sense is that a not-insignificant contingent among that group are not, in fact, either leftist or part of what most people would consider “the gay movement.” Rather they are people who are simultaneously homosexual and Republican.

Bob Walsh
Bob Walsh
11 years ago

Justin,
The 20 people who work for me have the same rights to express themselves as individuals as the almost 12,000 members we represent, with or without my acquiescence. Should any of them disagree with dogma, I prefer to keep those conversations private, as fashionable as making such disputes public may seem to some.
While the center of the political gravity of academia still warrants no assumptions in this state, especially when viewed through the lens of those academics most commonly quoted, it was more “surprising” that Prof. David Carlin’s views were not previously on your radar. He is a frequent letter and commentary writer in the Journal, and I believe he still writes for Commonweal. One of his books is titled “Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?” Plus, he beat me in an election. What more could you want in a mentor?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Bob,
The rights of your employees are irrelevant, inasmuch as I didn’t think you to be denying my right to make such comments. What’s relevant is that you believed me to require public correction while one of your twenty is perhaps Rhode Island’s most prominent (if obvious and ineffectual) radical propagandists. No biggie. I actually took it as a compliment that you thought such activity beneath me and can only lament that reality is not such that you could offer me a job with commensurate pay to the comparison.
As for my radar, I haven’t the time for shuffling Post It notes in my lair that you have for organizing yours. Peripheral names fall through the memory cracks between the rise and run of a stairway on one street in Newport, the symmetrical reveal lines of a row of office cabinets on a different street, and which political complaints I’m obligated to address, this week.
I’m not in the market for a mentor, anyway.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Well, one of us needs to piece it together! I can’t actually imagine that there is something called the “gay rights movement” that goes beyond “support for gay rights”. I know that in some fevered minds there is a “homosexual agenda” to recruit heterosexuals, but that is, of course, total nonsense. I believe it includes the right to marry…Marriage describes a relationship between a man and a woman, and homosexuals ought to be able to enter into such relationships. As long as they marry opposite-sex partners? That’s not support of gay rights, my friend. But the point is that you’re apparently unable to comprehend an intellectual position apart from the claims of a social movement that claims to own it. The gay movement is radical after a politically left fashion. This conversation would go better if you refrained from making claims about what I am and am not capable of comprehending. Again, you keep making the claim that the “gay movement” is “radically left”. I say, “prove it”. To the extent that Log Cabin Republicans are a part of the movement, then they are, indeed, leftist, Oh great. Now we have leftist Republicans. Does anyone else stillwant to hang on to the left-right dichotomy in this debate? but my sense is that a not-insignificant contingent among that group are not, in fact, either leftist or part of what most people would consider “the gay movement.” Rather they are people who are simultaneously homosexual and Republican. They are “not leftist” nor “part of they gay movement”, yet they support marriage equality (see the CLR platform). So if people who are not part of the “gay movement” support marriage equality and are not leftist, what the heck is the “gay movement” and in what way is it “leftist”. Again, I think this… Read more »

Justin Katz
11 years ago

The issue gains clarity if you acknowledge that what we’re really talking about are two definitions for the “gay movement.” You want to define it so as to include anybody who supports the rights of gays to any degree… for the same reason that you use the term “marriage equality” rather than a more neutral phrase such as “same-sex marriage” or even “gay marriage.” I’m defining it — actually carrying the definition suggested by Carlin — in accord with the usage that I’ve typically observed it to have over several decades, covering an actual movement of people with an agenda to build a politically powerful identity group around same-sex attraction and that movement has been characteristically radical.
For different example, I consider myself to be part of the conservative movement. If in a concise letter to the editor, somebody used the term “conservative movement” — say with reference to Sarah Palin, or something — it would be tangential and pedantic to insist that there are people in the world who agree on any given issue (abortion, taxation, superior phases of classical music) who don’t fit the short-hand

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“bigoted” and “homophobic.” Thus no amount of empirical evidence to the contrary will persuade them to withdraw their accusations.
I suppose it could be said that I do not approve of the “gay lifestyle”. At the same time, I do not wish them any harm.
I don’t think “bigoted” fits the bill. “Homophobic” really annoys me, “phobic” implies fear. I suspect it was selected for that reason. I would much prefer “homo averse”.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“immigration laws nativist,xenophobic,bigoted,racist,blah,blah,blah”
I wonder how Xenophobic is now defined. I understand it as a “fear of others”.
I have always assumed it derived from Xenophon and his 10,000 Greeks. They were hired by Persians as mercenaries and led into a deserted area where they were supposed to be disarmed and slaughtered. They ended up fighting their way back to Greece. If they developed a “fear of others” along the way, that seems entirely reasonable.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Dave Carlin has become just a bitter old man who’s not worth spilling outrage over. Don’t take his bait.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
It gratifies me that your latest comment includes no reference to the left-right dichotomy.
The issue gains clarity if you acknowledge that what we’re really talking about are two definitions for the “gay movement.” You want to define it so as to include anybody who supports the rights of gays to any degree.
Not quite. I would probably not include people who stop short of marriage equality.
The distinction that you allude to is, in my mind, the distinction between “identity politics” and “assimilationist politics”. The former you characterize as an “actual movement of people with an agenda to build a politically powerful identity group around same-sex attraction and that movement has been characteristically radical.” Assimilationist politics is the idea that people’s sexual orientation should not be an issue, legally or socially.
If you like, you can draw the parallel between the civil rights movements of the late ’50s and early ’60s (“the content of my character, not the color of my skin) and that of the later ’60s (“Black Power”).
In general, I agree that the distinction is important.. It is also important to realize that, within the “gay rights community” (for which I have no authority to speak) there has been a tension between the assimilationist and identity-politics “factions”.
I will note that there’ nothing inherently “leftist” about identity politics. The politics of “faith-based” communities is identity politics, but few would say it is leftist.
However, I don’t regard the distinction as pedantic. I’m guessing you would not be happy with me saying that you and um…Pat Buchannan? David Duke? are both part of the “conservative movement”
If Professor Carlin wants to make claims about “those associated with the gay movement”, he ought to be clear what his reference is.
best regards,
Tom

Justin Katz
11 years ago

I’ve got no problem with folks like Pat Buchanan being included in “the conservative movement.” I don’t agree with some of what he says, but he’s clearly within the descriptive confines of the movement. The individuals within the confines of a movement needn’t be identical to each other.
Elsewhere: I’m not sure what, precisely, you mean to indicate by “faith-based communities,” but there’s another distinction to be made. Even to the extent that religious groups require certain political positions, religion and ideology are closely related. You’re in the group because you have certain beliefs, and the political requirements are an application of those beliefs. “Identity politics,” as I mean it, and as practiced most systematically on the left side of the political spectrum, seeks to chain people to a quality that needn’t have anything to do with beliefs in order to compel them to back certain political organizations. A black man can support limited government and strong welfare reform. A lesbian can acknowledge marriage as indicating a fundamentally procreative relationship.
Generally speaking, it is a practice of the left to say that a black man must support this or that wish-list item of self-proclaimed leaders of the “black community” or else he does not count among them, heritage notwithstanding. It is also a practice of the left to say that “Catholic politician” has every justification for identifying himself as such without regard to his beliefs about the Church’s teaching.

Robert
Robert
11 years ago

Both Dr Carlin and Dr Harrop, must not have access to Google. A quick Google search will find thousands of bigoted vile and hatefull comments fom those on the anti-SSM team.
http://www.godhatesfags.com is just an example
To claim that none of the anti-gay folks are bigots,like Carlin does is a lie

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
Ah, there you go with “left and right” again.
I’ve got no problem with folks like Pat Buchanan being included in “the conservative movement.”
I notice you didn’t comment on David Duke. No problem with him either?
“Identity politics,” as I mean it, and as practiced most systematically on the left side of the political spectrum,
Seriously? How about Adolf Hitler, Aryan Nation, The DixieCrats, Sarah Palin and the “Real or Pro-America”. In fact, the right has been thriving on identity politics for quite a while.
And I totally disagree with you about religion. Very, very few people choose their religion because of ideological affinity; they’re born into it. You’re not “in the group because you have certain beliefs”. You have certain beliefs because you were born and raised in the group. Religion-centered politics is clearly identity-politics.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“To claim that none of the anti-gay folks are bigots,like Carlin does is a lie”
Good thing he doesn’t make that claim.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Dan,
Very good, and quite right!
Now, if you have the leisure to do so, please evaluate this claim:
“Carlan thinks that all people “associated with the gay movement” are unwilling to consider empirical evidence regarding the question of whether anti-SSM people are bigoted.”

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Prof.Schmeling-you degrade the conversation by bringing up Hitler and David Duke in the same breath with Sarah Palin and the conservatives-when has Sarah Palin used racial hatred as the basis of her politics?
I don’t see Palin as a potential Presidential candidate,but I think she’d be a good Senator to counterbalance people like Franken and Whitehouse.
I despise Obama.I guess that makes me a racist in your book.So be it.I could care less what any of you academic pontificators think of me personally.I’m not looking for friends.I wanna do that,I’ll join a lonely hearts club.
My REAL reason for despising Obama is that he is a centralized government fanatic who has strong Marxist leanings and he seems to be able to apologize for the country he purportedly leads at the drop of a hat.Snivelling in front of a two bit Commie bandit like Ortega.
Living it up with the weekly cocktail bash,”date night”in NY and Paris at great cost to the taxpayer;putting communists in high positions not subject to Senate comfirmation-those are the real reasons,and most of all,allowing Eric Holder to treat enemy combatant terrorists like they stuck up a 7-11.
I have never totally mistrusted my government in my life up to this point-now I feel like it’s been co-opted by the internationalists and appeasers of tyrrany.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“Prof.Schmeling-you degrade the conversation by bringing up Hitler and David Duke in the same breath with Sarah Palin and the conservatives-when has Sarah Palin used racial hatred as the basis of her politics?”
I picked up Sarah Palin, too. I couldn’t understand her inclusion in that list. I thought it might be a cse of “identity politics”, he couldn’t ignore her and be a good “progrssive”.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Is Thomas Schmeling an alias of George’s Elbow?
I hadn’t seen such a string of intellectual dishonesty on AR until recently.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

BobN,
I’d be grateful if you would point out in what way you think I’ve been dishonest.

slinkydue
slinkydue
11 years ago

JUSTIN what are you afraid of with the gay rights thing. How will two men being able to legally marry each other have any effect on your life. Isn’t your marriage and your faith strong enough to stand alone. You surely must support agy marriage since you said that you support it within the law. Let the government recognize the marriages and let churches decide if they want to recognize or perform any such weddings.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Thomas,
Got numbers for that “very few” people who choose religion? I’ll be your first statistic as one who did. Or we could look at the history of schisms and sects and such.
But that’s not really the point. Whatever motivates a person to sign on as a member of a particular religion, a religion is definitionally a set of beliefs. The same is true of tea partiers and pro-America types. (Do you not self-identify as pro-America?) If they count as “identity groups,” then (as with the “gay movement”) you’re stretching the definition beyond utility.
Any group will have an “identity” and will try to appeal to its members. I’m taking “identity politics” to mean the practice of focusing on an arbitrary identity and trying to rope those who share it into a particular ideology that needn’t have anything to do with the source of the identity (skin color, most prominently).
As for the racists that you site, I’ve been speaking in the current context of what left and right constitute today. If, however, you intend to argue that the modern left is closer to the Nazis than the modern right, I’ll cede the point and congratulate you on the revelation.
And on the David Duke thing… What a nasty inference, on your part, to assume that of two people you mentioned, the fact that I accepted one as “conservative” but didn’t mention the other suggests an affinity on my part. David Duke was before my time, and I’ve known the name mainly as a sort of bogeyman, so I don’t know whether or not it would be accurate to consider him a part of the modern conservative movement. (Of course, if you’re among those who believe that racism = conservatism, then ipso facto.)

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
I’ll respond, but I’m going to wait a bit before I do so the choir of Joe B., Warrington, and BobN can chime in to comment on how I “degrade the conversation”, exhibit “intellectual dishonesty” and demonstrate that I’m a “good progressive”. And where is Mike Capelli? I haven’t been called a “pig” in recent memory.
Speaking of which, I wonder if you’ll ever extend to your guests the respect that you demand commenters give to contributors..

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Well, if that’s your intention, I can’t promise to still be interested in your response when you finally feel the Anchor Rising community is deserving of its utterance.
Policies on content may change, but I don’t foresee the erasure of the distinction between contributor and commenter. One of the considerations for choosing official contributors is that we think their sensibilities are a match, and I can’t say I’d be comfortable giving your sensibilities veto power over what commenters can say.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Prof.Schmeling-you sound a lot like Sen.Schumer of NY when he refers to the “chattering classes”.This from a senator who NEVER held a job outside of political office(he was my Assemblyman in NY);the same dismissive arrogance.
You can’t answer a direct question.I’m referring to the 2nd Amendment thread.
I’m not part of a chorus.I don’tknow Warrington or BobN-they speak for themselves,as do I.
Associating peoples’ names with infamous figures is rank character assassination.
I wonder if you are the kind of professor who imparts factual information to his classes so they can reach their own conclusions,or a professor who feels it necessary to indoctrinate his students with his own philosophy.I had a neighbor of the latter persuasion who taught at Brown-still dos as far as I know.He told me it was his duty to indoctrinate his students.He didn’t teach political science-he was in Hispanic Studies,so there was some crossover,I’m sure.
I thought his attitude was wrong,but since I’m not in academia(thank God)I’m sure he could’ve sh*t cared less.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Justin,
I get it. Guests in your house must take the abuse of other guests but the hosts must not be insulted. I find that a weird policy, and not inviting, but, hey, it’s your house.
Joe says,
I wonder if you are the kind of professor who imparts factual information to his classes so they can reach their own conclusions,or a professor who feels it necessary to indoctrinate his students with his own philosophy
We’ve been through this before, you know. I’m pretty sure it also involved you invoking your Brown friend. I invited you to attend one of my classes to see if my teaching supported your unjustified insinuation regarding my “indoctrination” of students. You wound up apologizing.
Don’t you recall?
You’re still welcome into my class to see what I do there but, until you’re willing to do so, please knock off the baseless insinuations.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Joe,
Let me add…
One of my smartest students said to me, close to the end of this semester…
“I still can’t figure out just what your politics are”.
I can’t figure out why I feel any need to justify myself to you, but there you are.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

I never attended your class-and see how it feels to try justifying yourself to someone whose opinion really should be meaningless to you?I don’t need you to justify,just answer the question-I am not expecting to change your mind.I think we may have had this conversation previously-if I apologized,it must have been because I thought I was wrong about something-I have been frequently enough.I don’t recall if i did,but i’ll take your word for it.
There are people who just never think they can be wrong.I don’t understand that,but what can you say?
Now I guess you have answered the question.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Thomas,
There is absolutely no merit to your claim in this thread that you are somehow being subjected to personal attacks that wouldn’t be tolerated if you were a contributor. Do you honestly believe that if I or any other top-level contributor had put Hitler and Palin in a list of canonical examples of “the right” that JoeB, WarringtonF, and BobN wouldn’t have reacted in the same way? Or that we would have deleted what was written if they had?
A very simple rule applies here. If you don’t want a dumb analogy or connection called into question, then don’t make the dumb analogy or connection. Or if you’d like to defend the point that Hitler and Palin belong together, then by all means defend it. But don’t start telling other commenters that this is a point so beyond reproach, they don’t have the right to criticize it.
Look, I believe that you sincerely do not recognize the leftward tilt comes through in your commentary, but I am telling you — as someone who has been moderating blog comments on a daily basis for five years — that this is a perfect example of how it does. Don’t get mad at others for being critical readers, able to identify the biases in the source material they are referring to.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Thomas,
We’re not hosting a dinner party, here, we’re hosting political arguments.
On the contributor-commenter differentiation, the significant difference is that we are obligated to read everything in the comment sections, you are free to ignore content from those whom you don’t think worthy of debate.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Andrew, There is absolutely no merit to your claim in this thread that you are somehow being subjected to personal attacks that wouldn’t be tolerated if you were a contributor. Then, to paraphrase Dan, it’s a good thing I didn’t make that claim. I recalled at least one individual who makes a habit of slinging scurrilous invective at commenters here, and (“speaking of which”) opined that the policy protecting contributors from abuse should extend to commenters. Several of the comments directed at me in this thread were personal and meant to be derogatory, and they derailed an interesting (in my view) discussion, which is why I object to them. (I know it’s not a dinner party, Justin, but political discussions can be productive or not). However, I was not suggesting anyone get banned over them! Anyway, I am glad to now know that, while I may not call you a “nitwit”, I may safely accuse you of being intellectually dishonest with explaining why. ☺ If you don’t want a dumb analogy or connection called into question, then don’t make the dumb analogy or connection. I doubtless violated some corollary of Godwin’s Law by mentioning Hitler. No matter how unreasonable the response, I should have foreseen it. However I didn’t make an “analogy” or a comparison to Palin, or engage in the reductio ad Hitlerum. I cited them as examples of non-leftwing practitioners of identity politics, which I believe them both to be. They were arranged on a continuum starting with the most extreme. However, I don’t think that’s any more degrading to Palin (unless you disapprove of “identity politics”) than it would degrade Gandhi to say that he and Hitler and examples of political leaders who were also vegetarian. Look, I believe that you sincerely do not recognize the leftward… Read more »

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

On second thought…. since I can depend on it that any unreasonable (and almost any reasonable), comment from the left will be attacked by one of the other denizens of this blog, I never bother doing so myself.
So, I’m sure 100% of my comments appear to be coming from the left.

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Thomas,
Don’t get mad at me here.
The fact that your own description of your commentary closes off a role in ever helping to advance an argument against the left is one of those little cues that readers pick up on.

Thomas Schmeling
Thomas Schmeling
11 years ago

Andrew,
Now, how could I ever be mad at you?
But, also, why would I be interested in “helping to advance an argument against the left”? Or for tht matter, “helping to advance an argument against the right”?
I could not care less about “left” and “right”. I do care about advancing arguments in favor of “what’s right”, which I prefer to define for myself.
As for your readers, any of them who think or say of me, “he (or his position on this issue) is left (or liberal) and therefore I must disagree with what he says without thinking it through for myself” are a waste of time for you and me and anybody who is seriously interested in issues.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Tom-I think on this blog there are plenty of people who explain exactly why the left wing positions presented here are wrong.Getting a non-answer,or an answer that is another question,or an “equivalence”argument isn’t honest debate.
On the issue of the KSM trial,I’ve not seen one person supporting Holder’s decision explain the inconsistency of his approach.

Brittancus
Brittancus
11 years ago

The fools in Washington don’t have a clue, about the consequence of calling for another Comprehensive Immigration Reform package. Has anybody really got any conceivable idea of the ramifications, once President Obama and his political troops whisper AMNESTY. It will be like the final Marconi radio SS (Save our Souls) urgent message from the sinking HMS Titanic? Those perpetrators who want to pass a bill of Immigration reform, are completely ignorant of the masses of humanity that will be pushing against the border fence. From the tip of South America to the huge continent of Asia, new peoples are already biding their time? It will not matter if E-Verify becomes a permanent fixture or even if Homeland Security fully empowers once again the uniformed police 287 (g) federal immigration detainment bill. Even a sudden surge in ICE raids or any enforcement matters will be completely obsolete, as millions more will be stampeding at the border barrier. It might as not exist, for all the good it will do against millions of destitute, sick, handicapped, pregnant, criminal and just illegal immigrants looking for a better life. Tell me who is going to stop this sudden surge in numbers, that will start moving towards the fence in Canada and the Southern border line. Then we have tourists and students who have arrived for years by aircraft, but never returned to their home country. People trying to cross the undermanned border will never end. Knowing that there is always a chance of another AMNESTY, those who cannot make it in their own country will keep on coming–and never STOP? Has anybody with at least one brain cell in their head, considered that once somebody yells AMNESTY–everybody and their Grandmother are going to be slipping across the border or boarding a jet to come… Read more »

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