Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yet more "Liberal Fascism" talky-talk

Yesterday I wrote about John Scalzi sniping at Jonah Goldberg. Today, I'm going to follow up on it sort of tangentially. This is as a result of reading this essay about fascism in general from Michael Ledeen.

Part of what I want to talk about is why this irritated me so much that I had to write something about it when I so easily ignore the vast majority of the BDS political rhetoric that Mr. Scalzi occasionally poops out. It irritated me because I have noticed that progressives scream "fascist!" or "fascism!" when what they really mean is "I don't like that!"

Now, it's perfectly okay to not like things. In fact, there's lots of things I myself don't like, such as progressives and other self-selected elitists screaming "fascism!" when they really just mean "I dispprove of this good and/or service!"

So I believe that progressives are trying to demonize their opponents in order to avoid having to actually debate against opposing arguments. And here Mr. Scalzi does exactly that, by wandering off to wave a word, "right" in this case, while loudly sneering at Mr. Goldberg instead of dealing with the proposition. Sneering at the opponent instead of the opposing proposition is our old friend the ad hominem argument, and is just preaching to the choir; it may get your fellow progressives to whistle and high-five each other, but it doesn't convince me to take you or your position seriously.

If you think Mr. Goldberg is full of crap, and he might well be, then point out how he's full of crap by refuting his argument. In this case, that would probably entail showing how the good and/or service in question fits the "fascist" label by referring to the characteristics that "fascist" entails. If it turns out that your definition of "fascist" is "anything proposed by a conservative and/or Republican," then we have all learned that we really don't have to take your objections seriously since you aren't really thinking very much about what it is you're objecting to.

In contrast, Mr. Ledeen constructs a much more valid refutation, by taking the argument seriously and responding to it honestly. Well played, sir.