Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tone that down! Stop calling them names...

Digby has THE reply to those who don't like "name calling" when calling someone a fascist is simply apt.

Occasionally, I get taken to the carpet for my angry tone. Occasionally, the person complaining is right, but most of the time they're not. And here's why.

The unprincipled fuck in the video at the link gets paid to compare a Vice President of the United States to a Nazi propagandist (and notice: no one tells him he's gone "too far," no one tries to interrupt what he's saying; this is considered reasonable discourse on Fox News). And why does this shithead get paid to do such a thing? It's not because he believes it. He knows he's spouting bullshit. No, this asshole gets paid to say things like that because he knows Gore's argument is good and he can't attack it on his merits.

Now, you may respond that calling this unprincipled fuck an "unprincipled fuck" simply perpetuates his sin or worse, that I don't have any way to attack his position on its merits.

You're 100% right about your first objection. It does perpetuate a pithecanthropic level of discourse for a very good reason: there is no possible way to avoid doing so without being a total fool. You think you can "politely engage" someone who compares an American vice-president who served his country honorably for 8 years - not to mention his previous services to America in government - to a Nazi? You can't, or rather, you shouldn't. Nor can you ignore it (although the vice-president should). The terms of engagement have been set by this slimeball - the rhetorical battle-field must always be level. There is no higher ground and attempts to claim it will lead to your destruction (see Daschle, Tom for details).

As for that second objection you could make, well I gotta admit it: you are right once again. I do have no way to attack his position on his merits, again for a very good reason. What he is discussing is not Gore's ideas or global climate change. No, what he's talking about, the only subject is, "how exactly comparable is Al Gore to Josef Goebbels" and I will not dignify this scumbag's comparison by explaining in measured, avuncular tones why such a comparison is, and I hesitate timidly before saying it, "unfortunate?" There is no way to attack his position on the merits because there is no merit to his position. And he knows it.

That came to me as I was watching a woman from a progressive organization against the Bill O'Reilly and Ron Luce. O'Reilly is complaining "why are you calling them fascists?" And of course Luce is claiming to speak for an entire generation of American young people, and that the only alternative to "young people being shaped by the culture" is to "be shaped by" his ideology.

And this is not the essence of the denial of personal freedom?

To be free is not to be bound. Or to be bound if one so chooses.

I prefer not to be. Certainly not to such ideologues.

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