The lengths some people will go to “come ahead” in arguments rarely cease to amaze me. Well … perhaps not “amaze”: many times, I probably should’ve seen such things coming. There are times when I wonder whether such people really desire to be taken seriously by those who don’t already agree with them. (But then — when one espouses “true” limited government a la Ron Paul, one moment, and advocates a government-overseen health care structure, the next … I suppose such expectations, again, shouldn’t surprise me.)
Look, folks — I shouldn’t be in the business of picking fights, or “settling scores”. Still, the fact that Time Magazine itself notes how a major part of President Obama’s success involves his ability to appeal to (their words, not mine) “low-information voters”— frankly, it speaks volumes about the depths our culture has gone, in regards to who and what many people trust without much question.
It’s the old adage about how a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth puts its pants on. After all, those who regularly employ the art of lying by nature don’t play by the rules — they cheat any and every way they can get away with. And so, we get out of context quotes and straw men arguments. (Who’s using religion to justify murder, on the professional Right? Also, for every time Star Trek exposes mythology as … mythology, there’s another time when Kirk and Co. admit to each other that there are some things they can’t pretend to explain, in the universe. It’s a big reason Deep Space Nine is my favorite series in the franchise — its fair treatment of legitimate faith.)
Add to that a willingness to make personal attacks with no basis whatsoever — and we have our work cut out for us. Opponents drop things like “misogynist racist” while ignoring blatant facts. (Rush Limbaugh’s second-in-command, James “Bo Snerdly” Golden, is black — not that the Left is above labeling him an “Uncle Tom”, or some such nonsense….) They brand spokespersons on our side as “hypocrites” (again, twisting facts and re-arranging chronology to suit the argument), and overplay personal issues (like numbers of marriages — which, to the best of my knowledge, the spokespersons of the Right rarely — if ever — invoke against the Left). All the while, the real issues that should matter are thrown out the window, to be neglected and trampled upon. Anyone who dares challenge the mindset of the establishment is singled out, smeared, and mocked — by those who so laughably claim to be “independent” in their voice.
But, see, it’s base emotion that gets the most notice — the squeaky wheel getting the oil, the loudest screamer who’s heard by the most. And so, content means little — style triumphs over substance, regardless of how pathetic and frankly childish said style may be.
There has always been hope, of course. There’s a reason Fox News has enjoyed the success it has, for so long — it and talk radio were the alternatives to a widespread news media mindset. Those tired of having their opinions treated as nonexistent/irrelevant were finally given a voice on the table — the sheer number of them counted in ratings alone. So naturally, those voices are smeared as illiterate, incapable of “critical thought”— or worst … racist, sexist, xenophobic, or just plain bigoted. Such, to be blunt, says more about the attackers than the attacked. When one cannot argue (however passionately and entertainingly) with ideas, one resorts to childish personal attacks without any backing argument whatsoever.
Dennis Prager put it best: “Granting the exceptions that all generalizations allow for, conservatives believe that those on the left are wrong, while those on the left believe that those on the right are bad”— or stupid, take your pick. (I’m speaking of movements, not necessarily individuals — I’ve had good friendly relationships with self-proclaimed Leftist students of my university.)
In our case … observe what back-and-forth occurs between myself and ideological opponents, here — and observe which has been far more prone to personal attacks, as Jon Stewart would say, “as hominem as they are nauseam”. Rush Limbaugh at his worst never even compares to the likes of his would-be counterparts on the Left— Mike Malloy, who recently suggested that John McCain got what he deserved at the Hanoi Hilton, comes to mind.
One can only hope for the objectivity of observers. To them, I leave judgment.