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Straw Men

Some lefty dude named Rudolf Rocker has taken a rather marked interest in this blog over the past few days, and he’s also complained that I have refused to engage with him. He is entirely correct on that score. Yet after Hank replied to Mr. Rocker in an intelligent and reasonable way, I thought it might be wise if I noted why I am so reticent to waste my time responding to a guy like Rudolf with any degree of seriousness.

Rudolf, apparently, is far more interested in attacking straw men than debating actual conservative positions.

You’re familiar with the concept of the straw man. According to Wikipedia, fount of all wisdom:

To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

Consider the four following egregiously-asinine statements by Straw Man Rocker, highlighted in communist red:

1. “So your argument is that in the name of energy independence we should destroy the environment completely? That is insanity.”

2. “I know that you believe in global warming about as much as you believe in the tooth fairy…”

3. “Romney’s message was unappealing to women because he put on his ticket a wack-a-do that at one point thought Rape well that is just an unfortunate means to conception and all conception is good (perhaps even divinely decreed?)– so what are you going to do…”

4. “For example the continued [Republican] attacks on Social Security are going to need to go. So are anti-medicare and medicaid policies.”

Those basic premises, among others, inform much of what he has written on this blog, and to respond to him without mocking them would require me to at least tacitly accept the stupidity he offers as somehow representative of what I actually think.

For example, consider Red Commie Item #1. For anyone to claim that support for increased shale oil production is a call to arms to “completely destroy” the environment, they would have to be a moron. Seriously. A major league, pinheaded moron. It is self-evident that increased oil production is not, in fact, a mobilization of efforts aimed at the utter destruction of the entirety of livable habitat for humans, animals, and bugs and such. To assume otherwise is to be as dumb as a bag of hammers and/or a sack of hair.

Red Commie Item #2: I apparently put as much faith in global warming science as I do the “tooth fairy.” Rudolf “knows” this. Perhaps, in my public admissions on this blog that the earth has warmed and that humanity has been a contributing factor, Rudolf has found coded messages where I equate those realities with phantom sprites that collect discarded childhood molars in the night. True, I do question the wisdom of so-called “solutions” to global warming that do nothing but increase poverty without decreasing global temperatures, and I also question the extent to which humanity is at fault, the extent to which the problem can be mitigated, and the extent to which the problem continues unabated, given the fact that global temperatures have plateaued since 1997. Those are thoughtful question posed by a real person, not the childish rantings of tooth fairy champions made out of the dried stalks of cereal plants.

Red Commie Item #3: I’m trying to remember when Paul Ryan said conception by means of rape is good and divinely decreed. Maybe it’s the fact that he never said this that’s giving me pause. Why should anyone debate someone who puts words in people’s mouths and then expects others to accept those fictions as an acceptable representation of a real position?

Red Commie Item #4: I agree with our pal Rudy that Republican attacks on Social Security, as well anti-Medicare and Medicaid policies, have “got to go.” Wait, there aren’t any Republican attacks on Social Security or anti-Medicare or Medicaid policies, at least not by any credible Republicans and certainly not from the Romney/Ryan ticket. So Rudolf Rocker says they’ve got to go, and they’re gone! Wow! That must make Rudy one very happy sack of hair.

And on it goes.

I am happy to engage with anyone on this blog offering up real positions, even if they’re positions with which I passionately disagree. I do not, however, have any interest in wasting any more time with people who tell me they know better than I do what I really think as they proceed to pound the stuffing out of a Stallion made of straw, all the while bemoaning the real Stallion’s unwillingness to get involved.

Why should I step into the middle of something like that, Rudolf Rocker? You and that scarecrow guy are getting along quite nicely without me.

Oh, now HERE'S a good plan.
Carter on Reagan

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  1. …a call to arms to “completely destroy” the environment…

    Personally, I’m pro-environmental destruction. Gaia is a real jerk, with all her/his/its hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. It’s about time someone taught this jerk a lesson, and we’re just the species to do it.

    Death to Earth!*

    *Collectivist Fist upraised in defiance is implied.

  2. Paul Ryan did kinda say that rape was just another form of conception. He said it in a sort of “gotcha” moment of journalism, and he didn’t dwell on it or push it as his platform, and he even said it as he was condemning Todd Akin and agreeing with the party that Akin should resign. What he said, exactly, was “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life” and that he is very proud of his pro-life record. Again, he didn’t dwell on it, but you can see how his words could be pretty inflammatory.

    • He did, indeed, say that, in the context of telling the interviewer that he was signing on to the Romney ticket where he would make abortion exceptions for rape. To hear Rudolf tell it, Ryan was waxing eloquent about the God-given joys of rape, which he was not.

    • I can’t really see how they are inflammatory – Ryan didn’t in any way justify rape in any way. All I heard him say was that in spite of the way a fetus is conceived — which, yes, is absolutely heinous in the case of rape — doesn’t diminish the intrinsic value and worth of the fetus / baby / person. I think it’s a pretty far stretch to interpret his comments any other way. So to say that Ryan “did kind of say that rape was just another form of conception” is wholly misleading. That is not what he said at all.