Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Further on open-mindedness

Lest anyone think I have made a mountain out of T. Lief’s molehill, all of the Leftists who have said the same sorts of things T. Lief does comprise a mountain. The following is from another such discussion in January of 2007:

You have the chicken before the egg, Lefty. I produced some arguments and have been disgusted, irritated and annoyed because Leftists refused to treat these arguments logically, respond in a logical fashion, or produce counter arguments. They resort to personal invective of some sort – sort of like you are doing now. Note that we have lost site of the issues that began this. Why, because of the Leftist inclination is to attack the writer rather than the issue. You and others are willing to tell me all sorts of things wrong with me. You describe the deficiencies in my character, speculate about how bloodthirsty I am, etc. but you don’t address the issues. Minds change not as a result of the weather but as a result of being convinced by evidence and arguments built from that evidence – at least that is what it would take to change my mind. You describe how defective I am for not being willing to change my mind, but I’ve opened up your assertions and looked inside. There’s a bit of ketchup and a piece of lettuce, but no meat. You expect too much from your empty assertions.

You make me too much like you if you think I am interested in converting anyone. I am not a propagandist. I do a lot of writing and a lot of reading. Occasionally I post a note to clarify my thinking about something interesting I’ve read. Such notes are essentially thinking out loud. I am not attempting to convince anyone of anything. I do take issue with anti-American invective, but typically I produce evidence or arguments to argue that this invective is not supported by evidence. I described why an anti-American assertion was untenable and invited the holder of that view to produce evidence to support his position. This is about issues – or ought to be. It is not about my defective personality. It is not about my missing out on a Pulitzer Prize. After my character has been thoroughly besmirched, I notice that my concern about the unsupported Anti-American assertion, my request that the person advancing that assertion produce evidence to support it has gone unfulfilled. At the end of the day I notice that the assertion remains unsupported. I want it not lost sight of that there is no support for these assertions. Assertions are not arguments. A person cutting you off on the freeway and shouting “you are a jerk” has produced an assertion, not an argument. There are no arguments to support the anti-American assertions we have observed here – there are no logical conclusions that follow logically from evidence for no evidence has been produced. Notice where we are right now in this quarrel (it shouldn’t be dignified by calling it a debate or an argument): We started out talking this morning (yesterday actually) talking about whether it was legitimate to kill Terrorists and ended up talking about what a Schmuck Lawrence is (except for his poetry, thank you for that) – with Polly singing contrapuntally,

No one is doing

What you are saying

Not at all, not nearly at all.

You should give up

And leave us alone.

Go off to the archives

And look for a bone.

You are a bounder,

A dunce and a drone,

Go off and leave us alone.

Well perhaps I shall a little,



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