Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday rules!

Rule #108: An Unfortunate Truth
Al Gore is no longer an argument against environmental protections. Cast aside the dumb argument that he is the Pied Piper of manufactured ecological outrage (as if man-made pollution isn't obvious all over the place); the profit motive is also a weak accusation, because the Gores were wealthy before the Internet was even a twinkle in Al Jr.'s eye. If Gore wants to invest and possibly profit in something that he's been fighting for his whole life, something that helps the world survive, then more power to him. Does that make his campaign any less correct? No, it does not. And it's certainly a better use of his riches than most of the people who criticize him would ever risk. It also doesn't help that Gore's critics have been pronouncing his name derisively for years. Apparently, it's all they've got.

Rule #109: Exit Stage, Right
The Republican National Committee does not get to criticize Barack and Michelle Obama's date night on Broadway. Not only is that excruciatingly petty of a major political group, but they seem to have forgotten all the trips that their boy George W. Bush took to Crawford to clear brush. And anyone who dared suggest that Bushes or the Reagans were putting on airs in a time of economic crisis was branded as promoting "class warfare." Now, however, we're supposed to be outraged that the President of the United States and his wife, who have millions of their own money and work untold hours every week trying to save this country from Republican economic policies, went out one night in New York. Yeah, God forbid the Obamas take a break from work for one night and spend some time together as a married couple. Man, that family values thing sure is selective! And so is that socialist outrage: apparently, Obama isn't allowed to spend money in a weak economy either. No wonder he wants to bring down capitalism. Such false outrage from the Republicans is rapidly ceasing to be outrageous. Apparently, this is all they've got.

Rule #110: Con Descension
The more likely you present something as gospel, the less likely I am to trust it. This classic street-preacher tactic relies on two assumptions: 1) the recipient is uninformed and misguided and 2) that, simply by reading something, they will magically come around. Lately I've seen a lot of this from several avenues, by otherwise smart and engaging people. I appreciate informed debate, even if it gets heated at times, but there's a certain paternalistic condescension to some of it. Nobody knows all the answers, so it's always a bad idea to start the debate on the premise that you do. Conversely, it's also a bad idea to suggest that someone is ignorant just because they don't agree with you. Awareness is not always the same thing as approval; to suggest that it is actually makes me less inclined to consider your idea.

It's disingenuous to deride someone for being a clean slate, only to base your pitch on the hope that they actually are a clean slate. It's not something you do when the evidence speaks for itself. Engage on an intellectual level, not an evangelical one. Maybe then I won't think, "Is this all they've got?"

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6 comments:

Tjenkins said...

Any other far left liberals we aren't allowed to criticize?

It's funny how after 8 years of nothing but whining and anger from the left it's now suddenly time to stop all this damn whining! How convenient .

Ian McGibboney said...

I've always been irritated by the dismissal of environmental issues simply because of Al Gore. Oprah is another example; I know right-wingers who HATE her because they think she has too much cultural influence. As opposed to, say, Rush?

It's not a new issue, but one that is long overdue in needing to stop.

NOLA Progressive said...

I'm with you here. Criticize him all you want, just get behind aiding the cause he champions. But, the problem is most of his critics simply don't believe that man is impacting global warming. They actually think there is some sort of credible science behind the idea that global warming isn't a concern. I spent a little time on this topic myself recently.
www.informedsoutherner.blogspot.com

Tjenkins said...

Global warming is a sham, and Al Gore is nothing but an opportunist.

It's certainly weird how it's gone from "global cooling", to "global warming" to now just "climate change". It's amazing how everytime it's shown to be nothing other than normal cyclical weather patterns it gets a new, menacing name to scare people.

Ian McGibboney said...

If Al Gore were an opportunist, Teej, don't you think he'd go for something more lucrative, like oil or tobacco? On the scale of opportunism, cap-and-trade seems like a pretty risky, very-long-term niche.

It's a fact that human practices are wrecking weather patterns as we know it. Some choose to do something about it and some dismiss the issue altogether out of both petty partisan politics and greed. Guess who I side with?

NOLA Progressive said...

The bottom line is if you call Global Warming or man-made climate change a "sham" you are either woefully ignorant or laden with greed.

There is no middle ground here.