Thursday, March 28, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: Verbosity

Debating with liberals, as we've discussed in our Liberal Rhetoric 101 Series, is fraught with tricks to hide the fact that the average liberal has few actual arguments to back up their arguments.  One of the biggest tactics is verbosity...simply shouting down your opponent.

It's happened many times in my own debate life. I remember one time when I was in high school I attempted to explain the conservative opposition to abortion to a girl I worked with at my part-time job.  We'll call her "Stella." I tried to explain to Stella that my concern that it may be a human life, and that human life was sacred, and that it wasn't ok to just destroy a human being for personal convenience. Her response? She shouted at me "Keep your laws off my body!" That was her ENTIRE ARGUMENT. Stella completely ignored the fact, central to my entire point, that the baby's body ISN'T her body.

Actually, I tried to explain that point. Stella simply repeated that it was her body and I had no right to say what she could do with it. She had no intention of engaging in a discussion of whether or not what she was saying held one ounce of water, which is particularly important since my argument centered entirely upon the idea that the unborn child, while residing IN her body was not in fact PART of her body, and she was in fact destroying SOMEONE ELSE'S body.  She had no intention or desire of discussing this topic with any level of logic, facts, or even hearing my opinions. She just wanted to shout me down.

(This person also felt she was a crusader for free speech, but had no problem with pulling my "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Democrat" bumper sticker off my car. I bring this up because I want you to understand the level of none...she was working with when debating me.)

I tried very hard to explain that I had a deeper concern than her tropes about "a woman's body," specifically ensuring that no human being is destroyed indiscriminately.  I tried to explain my firm belief that it was not acceptable to destroy an innocent human being. Her response? "You're not a woman, so you don't have a say in this issue." Except it was more like "HOW DARE YOU! YOU'RE A MAN! YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW A WOMAN WOULD FEEL SO SHUT UP!"

Right. In an issue pertaining to human life, only women get a say.  If I have a child and my wife wants to smother the baby with a pillow, I have no say, because I'm not a woman...because reasons. This is the logical equivalent if one is assuming that an unborn child is human. That's my concern. That is my reason. Stella, however, had nothing to argue with except for yelling catchphrases.

Unfortunately, the only way to combat verbosity is to simply refuse to debate if they don't stop with the first point they make without letting them change the point of the debate.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: The Fallacy of Consensus

This rhetorical fallacy is better known as argumentum ad populum. What it means, in layman's terms is "everybody knows X is true."

Examples the Left loves to trumpet:

- Everybody knows man-made Global Warming is a fact.

- Evolution isn't just a theory, it's a fact. There are no legitimate alternative theories.

Actually, neither are proven facts. Yes, there is widespread belief in both, largely due to the fact that they are taught unopposed in schools and due to significant Group Think amongst the scientific communities who support both.

For the record, I am not a scientist, nor do I have any intention in engaging in a debate on either topic. They are simply not my area of expertise, and to attempt to argue for them would do nothing but set back those who have studied them in their goal of entering into a legitimate discussion on the topic. (So don't try to debate them with me in the comments or on the Biblical Conservatism Facebook page. I'm not going to do it. I'm no more qualified to argue these points than President Obama is to argue Economics, and unlike the POTUS I'm wise enough to recognize my shortcomings.  Offense intended.)

Any questioning of these ideas is met with ridicule from their colleagues. Ask Michael Behe.

When Behe began to argue his Theory of Irreducible Complexity the Biology community, specifically the Evolutionist wing, began to jump down his throat and pile on against him.  Combining that piling on with Appeal to Ridicule and you have many other members of the scientific community refusing to even consider the potential validity of Behe's argument.

The scientific response would be to conduct opposing experiments in an attempt to disprove Irreducible Complexity by demonstrating that the cells that Behe argues are irreducibly complex could in fact be functional at a lower level of complexity. Instead we get ridiculing of those who dare to question the Group Think.

Furthermore, true science should always be called to perpetually question it's own findings. The two above branches of Biology (Evolutionary Biology and Climatology) have shown a complete lack of desire to question their current positions. Instead of doing what most other branches of science do (continuing to perform experiments to check the validity of their current hypothesizes) they instead continue to argue that everyone agrees, therefore they can simply conduct experiments to further prove the existing "fact."

There are political implications as well. As most uniformed voters: "Everybody knows that Democrats are more compassionate than Republicans." (This is both a great example of a political meme and of the Neighborhood Liberal trap of compassionate intentions with no concern for results.

The bottom line is this: Consensus is neither science nor reality. It simply means it's either been repeated several times or group think has set in. Don't accept (and therefore be silenced by) consensus.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101 in Review

Back in January, I started a series here at Biblical Conservatism on Liberal Rhetorical Tactics called liberal Rhetoric 101. Today, I want to briefly review what we've learned so far:

In our first topic, we discussed The Fallacy of the Single Cause, specifically discussing how liberals like to attribute the economic boom solely to President Clinton's 1993 tax incraese.

In Appeal to Ridicule, we talked about the liberal practice of insulting their opponent and making them feel stupid for daring to disagree with liberalism.  As if my examples within the article weren't sufficient, two liberals actually felt the need to prove my point for me!

In Political Correctness we talked about the liberal practice of controlling how people talk and think by saying certain words/ideas are off-limits because they're "offensive."

In False Equivalency, we discussed how liberals incorrectly compare something a liberal politician wants to implement to something that a historic conservative did that was successful.

In False Cries of Racism we talked about how liberals just cry "racist!" to stop debate.

In Memes we talked about liberal repetition of catch phrases that have no basis in truth so people begin to believe they are reality.

Finally, we discussed Compassionate Intentions (No results required), the liberal practice of focusing only on the intentions of a program and not the results of it.

We will continue our series Liberal Rhetoric 101 later this week. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: Compassionate Intentions (No results required)

For the most part, our Liberal Rhetoric 101 series was focused on moves by Activist Liberals.  This particular move is generally one by good-meaning Neighborhood Liberals. Unlike the rest of these liberal tactics, this is most often pushed by our Neighborhood Liberal friends. They mean well, they just miss out on the logic of the situation. Then the Activist Liberals use their well meaning (and easily manipulated) counterparts to push their plans.

Let me give you a classic example: Raising the minimum wage. I spent the last day having a debate with a liberal friend on Twitter who keeps arguing the point that raising the minimum wage somehow helps workers. While it is often bothersome to spend your time trying to explain Economics to a Neighborhood Liberal, it's also a fine showing into their logical thinking.

(Normally I'd insert the quotes from this person's argument. I'm not going to, mostly because I actually like this person. He means well. He seems like a good guy. Just blissfully unaware of the lack of positive results of liberalism.  We'll call him "Jeff.")

"Jeff" believes that raising  minimum wage helps workers because it "gives them a 30% wage increase." I'm paraphrasing "Jeff" here but that's the gist of the statement.

I've attempted to explain to "Jeff" that this 30% increase as only in nominal value and not real value. I further tried to tell "Jeff" about the reactions that predictably will occur when minimum wage increases like employers cutting down on hours for their employees as well as the increases that will follow in prices of such inflation-triggering products like food and gasoline (since grocery stores and gas stations pay their employees minimum wage) meaning that in short order, while the nominal value of a minimum wage paycheck will increase the real value will not.  "Jeff," bless his heart, responds with lovely platitudes about how employers "should want" to pay their employees more and essentially ignores the realities of real value and focuses on only nominal value. "Jeff" remains blissfully unaware of the realities.

"Jeff" means well. He doesn't bother looking for the results of liberal programs. All he knows is he wants to be compassionate and he believes the liberal platform is compassionate. "Jeff" believes liberal programs "help people" and that's all that matters. Results don't matter, because the liberal media sources "Jeff" consumes never discuss the results of those policies.

Too many Neighborhood Liberals fall into the same trap "Jeff" does. I have a friend, a pastor, who believes that liberalism is fulfilling the Christian mandate to care for the poor. (I've asked him time and again to show me the part where the Bible tells believers to give their money to the government and let the government care for the poor...he can't do it. Yet he can't wrap his head around the fact that Jesus told US to care for the poor DIRECTLY.)

It's difficult to reach these Neighborhood Liberals. They've been taught to think only on the compassionate intentions of liberal programs.  With Activist Liberals, our goal is to defeat them in the Arena of Ideas. With Neighborhood Liberals, our goal is to win them over.  It can be done. We must, however, ensure we are focused on showing them that conservatism is more compassionate in our results. It's a slow process, but with the Neighborhood Liberal it's a winnable battle.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: Memes

No, not that sort of meme.

I'm talking about the Republican "War on Women." Or how about "Republicans want old people to die."  How about when Bill Clinton was being impeached, the story that Clinton was "on trial for having sex" (rather than for committing perjury). Or the argument throughout Election 2012 that "the economy was way worse than Obama knew...and if he hadn't acted it would've been much worse."

The list can continue on and on. The liberal tactic is to repeat these memes over and over and over again.  Eventually, the less intelligent amongst us begin to believe these stories and repeat them as facts. Eventually, after months of repetition from Democrats with the willing participation in broadcasting from the Drive-By Media, the unintelligent amongst us start to believe this is true.

How about this one: In the late 90s, Bill Clinton was being impeached for having sex.

Actually, here's what really happened. In 1994, Paula Jones alleged that then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had sexually propositioned her. She filed a Civil Suit against then President Clinton. In that suit, President Clinton was called to testify about his relationship with Jones and other women.  The name Monica Lewinski came up as a result. Clinton was asked if he had had sexual relations with Lewinsky, which he famously testified that he had not. He was later proved to have lied in that testimony, committing the crime of perjury.

(For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, perjury is defined as willfully giving false testimony under oath in court.) 

It was for this crime of perjury that he was under investigation and it was for that same crime of perjury (which is a felony).  It was for perjury, not sex, that Clinton was impeached. The US Constitution provides for a trial by the United States Senate, known as Impeachment, in Article II Section 4 of that exaulted document:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors.

(For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, "high crimes" equals "felonies.")

Clinton was impeached for committing a felony. Perjury. Not for having sex.

These two memes are but a few of the many employed by liberals. Who can forget "Republicans are mean spirited" and "Republicans want old people to die quickly" in recent years?

Or how about the latest favorite of the Left: Conservatives take actual issues that the President impacts (i.e. higher gas prices) through his policies: "Gas is $4 a gallon...thanks Obama!"  This is a legitimate criticism because the President's policies of minimal drilling, refusing the Keystone Pipeline and continuing to push his fantasy "Green Energy" have caused the prices to go up, at least in part.

Liberals, however, are using this as an opportunity for ridicule. You'll see on social media statements like "My coffee maker broke today and now I can't have coffee...thanks Obama!" The goal of this meme is to suggest that blaming Obama for high gas prices is as illegitimate as blaming Obama for Mr. Coffee dying after ten years. Except it isn't. It's a false equivalency in meme form.

Much like pretty much everything in the Liberal Playbook, it's all based on falsehood repeated...and repeated...and repeated. The answer for conservatives, as always, is fight for the truth. Fight as hard as is needed to win this war of words. Our message is logical and clear. Sometimes we just have to fight through the foolishness.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stewardship Good, Environmentalism Bad

What's the difference, you ask?

Simple. It's a recognition that the resources on our planet are there for humans to use. God gave us this planet, and it's resources, to use. That includes natural resources like oil and natural gas.

It's important that we are careful as we can reasonably be, no question. There's a great line from a favorite classic movie called Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It tells the tale of three men who go into the mountains of Mexico to search for Gold. At the end of their mining operation, the experienced old miner in the group speaks of the importance of closing the mine after they have exhausted the gold from it,

"We've wounded this mountain. It's our duty to close her wounds. It's the least we can do to show our gratitude for all the wealth she's given us." 

This, my friends, is an example of proper stewardship. It wasn't about "protecting the fragile mountain" after taking the gold out of it. Environmentalism would suggest we should not go get that gold in the first place. Ditto for oil, coal, and so forth.

The same kind of environmentalist baloney that suggests we shouldn't (responsibly) go get the oil in the ground. Take the BP Oil Spill in 2010. British Petroleum cleaned up the oil it could. The reason I use the word "could" is not because BP was unable to clean up the remaining oil, but rather because the Earth took care of itself before BP could complete cleanup. It turns out there is actually bacteria that eats oil. You heard that right: it essentially eats oil. The oil was gone before BP could finish removing it.

This is an example of the brilliant design of this planet. There is actually a bacteria present that breaks down oil. Earth is able to heal itself, much like the human body is able to heal itself. In the case of oil, these bacteria act for the planet the same way white blood cells act for the human body.

The human body serves as a great analogy for the Earth. We do need to care for our bodies. We need to not be stupid with them. Such safety choices like wearing helmets when playing full contact football and not snorting cocaine are reasonable acts of stewardship toward the human body. Ditto for washing our hands before eating and after using the bathroom. 

What we don't do to protect our bodies is refuse to go near another person, refuse to ever eat food at a restaurant, or anything else that can cause your body to contract germs. It's unreasonable to try to do so.

Another good analogy is our cars. The majority of car accidents happen while driving the car (as opposed to when the car is parked). We don't refuse to drive. We put seat belts and airbags in our cars. We design them with crumple zones so the car, and not the passengers, absorb the shock of a collision. Further, we put motor oil in the engine, transmission fluid in the transmission and brake fluid in the brake lines to ensure the car runs smoothly.

What we don't do is we don't stop driving our cars.

Yet environmentalists want us to stop getting resources out of the Earth because they call the Earth "fragile." We're going to somehow damage the planet. The fact that the planet has survived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, meteor crashes, a worldwide flood in the days of Noah, and more makes it clear that the planet IS NOT FRAGILE. Our planet can adapt itself and heal itself.

We should be good stewards of the planet. When we drill for oil we should close the wounds in the Earth. But we should not stop drilling. We should close up the mines we open for coal when we're done. We shouldn't stop getting the coal.

Stewardship, which means taking care of the Earth while responsibly using it's resources. Stewardship is good. Environmentalism, which is treating the Earth as helpless so we don't use the resources God gave us is bad.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Racism" Ad Hominem Delegitimizes Correction of True Racism

It seems like the last week and a half has been dedicated to the topic of false cries of racism.

It all started with last Monday's Liberal Rhetoric 101: False Cries of Racism.   It was then continued when our Twitter friend Watered Down started proving the exact point of Monday's article. But one issue has gone without discussion, and it is important to bring up: There still is SOME legitimate racism in our country.

For the record, this racism goes both from white Americans toward minorities AND from minorities toward white Americans. (The later is particularly noteworthy coming from black Americans toward white Americans.)  This legitimate racism is significantly smaller than it was fifty years ago, but it still exists.

I'd like to address two points on this topic. The first is simple: There is nothing else we can do through legislation to combat racism.No matter how much the thought police try to do otherwise, there is no way to stop people from thinking racist thoughts. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 completed all that could be done via passing a law or a court case. There's nothing new to be added by passing new laws.

Two, by crying "racism" every time somebody argues with a minority liberal it de-legitimizes any attempt to deal with the real elements of racism in the nation. How? (Remember, this cannot be done by legislation.) Education is one key, but largely through the educational forces of NOT constantly bringing up race.

When I was in elementary school, this principle was in full force, at least in my town in Upstate New York. There were students of different races present. We didn't talk about it. We didn't have sensitivity training. We didn't ask those students how they felt being a black student or an Asian student. You know why? Because they were just plain STUDENTS. Just like everybody else. IT WORKED!  We just saw PEOPLE!  Then the PC Police came in and started pointing out race and playing the race card. 

Crying "racism" is now a joke. Nobody serious takes it seriously. That's because at least 98% of the time when somebody calls someone else "racist" it's using racism as an equivalent to "how dare you disagree with a liberal who happens to be a minority!"  The remaining 2% of the time when there is legitimate racism is brushed aside as just another ad hominem. We can't deal with what remains of real racism because cries of racism has become a punchline.

Then again, we are talking about liberalism, aren't we? Liberalism, as I've said before, isn't about results. It's about their own power. The Activist Liberal hierarchy would rather call people who dare to question Barack Obama's policies "racists" whose motivation is anything but race because it solidifies their power. It lets them shut down debate, which is what we discussed last week. What it doesn't do is help the cause of actually eliminating true racism. In fact, it makes it harder.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Twitter Files: Proving the Point from "False Cries of Racism"

It's almost too easy. Yesterday I post a blog called Liberal Rhetoric 101: False Cries of Racism. Today, I get this tweet:

Since I'm kind enough to not give this person's name and potentially subject them to internet ridicule at the hands of readers who didn't see the part in the Rules for Comments about following Wheaton's Law, I'm instead going to refer to give this person another name. To make my friend happy, I will refer to our friend as Watered Down. (For the record, @UpstateMetFan is MY Twitter account, not the Watered Down's.)


Dear Watered Down:

First and foremost, you've just proven my point. You have given no actual argument for the United States being racist.  The closest thing was your claim that "the sins of slavery have never been redressed."

Well, Watered Down, I assume you would like the United States to pay a bunch of money to the descendents of slaves, who, in case you were confused, were never actually slaves. Further, that money would be paid by people who never owned slaves. You know how I know this with 100% certainty?  BECAUSE SLAVERY WAS OUTLAWED OVER 147 YEARS AGO! Nobody is old enough to qualify.

Secondly, it turns out that the sins of slavery WERE redressed. Specifically, they were redressed from 1861-1865, when 364,000 men from the United States lost their lives fighting the Confederate States, in addition to an addition 281,000 who were wounded. That's right, my friend. 645,000 men were killed or wounded on the Union Army side alone to end slavery.  (That, by the way, doesn't include the 312,000 Confederates who also were killed in battle). 

The total number of men who died in a war to end slavery was 625,000 in addition to 645,000 wounded. That's 1.27 million men dead or wounded. From a spiritual standpoint that's 1.27 million men whose blood was shed to purge the sin of slavery from the United States.

So you see, Watered Down, not only is your claim of racism a typical liberal false cry of racism, backed up with nothing, it was also completely wrong.

Oh, but this wasn't the last of ol' Watered Down and his responses! Here was another:

Beginning to feel sorry for Watered Down now. His knowledge of history is so far off. In fact, the Civil Rights Act was passed by 80% of Republicans in the House and 82% in the Senate. Ooops! (Source)

Notice how Watered Down failed to give a really any argument at all? Nope, it's just that somehow racism is in the DNA of conservatives and Republicans. This is backed up by...ummm...nope not logic...nope not science...nope not history...ummm....

Watered Down went on to talk about the filibuster of the Civil Rights Act without mentioning (or likely knowing) that it was 18 Democrats and a mere 1 Republican who performed the filibuster.

Then, when faced with this real evidence over hearsay, old Watered Down decided to bring it home with the old gem that liberals love about how "the Democrats USED to be the Republicans and the Republicans USED to be the Democrats." Because, as we know, Democrats don't like their history so they try to steal the Republicans' history. Those who know the real history of Democrats and Republicans know what a farce that story is...but folks like old Watered Down don't give a lick about facts.


The bottom line is this is just another liberal who is smugly replying to a conservative's words, completely unaware how well he's proving my point. And you truly have to love debating an opponent who is that unaware of reality!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Liberal Rhetoric 101: False Cries of Racism

Of all the liberal rhetorical tactics we've discussed, this one possibly is the most upsetting to me. We've all heard it: "You just don't like Obama because he's black!"

My response, as many of you have heard is this: "You're right! I don't like Obama because he's black.

And I didn't like John Kerry because he was black...wait, no...

And I didn't like Al Gore because he was black...wait...

Oh and I didn't like Bill Clinton and that was definitely because he was black...

Jimmy Carter? Sure didn't like him. Must've been because he was black...

Then there was Lyndon Johnson. Didn't like him because he was black right?"

Actually, for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson all are/were white men. They were also liberals, just like Barack Obama. And that's the real reason I don't like Obama. I don't like liberals (in government).

Yet recently a coworker claimed (with 100% seriousness, by the way) that Michelle Obama "would be the next Jackie Kennedy if she wasn't black."

Right. Michelle Obama is missing out on something because she's black. Of course.

It can't be that Michelle Obama doesn't have the class and mild mannered grace of Jackie Kennedy, right? It can't be that Jackie Kennedy never tried to force parents to feed their children what she says is best for them? Or maybe because Jackie Kennedy didn't look down on everybody and expect us to generally let her run our lives?

Nope, it can only be because she's black. We cannot possibly have another reason for disliking Barack or Michelle Obama but the color of their skin.

As always, this tactic of Liberal Rhetoric is all about shutting down disagreement. Liberal arguments and talking points often have zero basis in fact. There is no history to back up Obama's Keynesian Economic policies or to suggest they would finally work this time. There's no history to suggest raising taxes won't stagnate the economy.  But liberals can't argue THAT point. They have to shut down the debate. So they call us racists.

When they do, just scroll up and ask them about John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon Johnson. All black men who we didn't like. Wait. Sorry. LIBERALS we didn't like (regardless of skin color). Because that's our real problem with the Obamas. They are liberals.