Rebuttals of the week! #4: How do you drive ‘progressives’ crazy? Ask them to prove their point.

One thing that seems to catch ‘progressives’ completely off-guard is asking them to support their opinions and assertions. You often get the impression that the necessity of basing opinions on things you know to be… well, true – is just something that never occurred to them.  It’s as if expecting them to be able to prove their point is some kind of atrocious breach of ‘progressive’ etiquette or something – and all the language of compassion and tolerance is very quickly dropped when they are confronted with the fact that they really don’t know why they believe the things they espouse.

You will see in this exchange with ‘DE‘ an example of how quick ‘progressives’ are to get their backs up when you have the temerity to politely ask them to justify the definitive assertions.

The context for this exchange was a question in a survey distributed by Canadian MP Kellie Leitch to her supporters. The questions was, “Should the Canadian government screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants?”

The National Post published a column by Matt Gurney about the inevitable controversy that arose, called  : Is it unCanadian to worry that some would-be Canadians may be unCanadian?

Here was DE‘s take on the subject:

Doug EarlDE

 Canadian values change over time, and immigration has been one of the factors contributing to that change. Stagnant values, or the quest to somehow freeze the values of a country in time, only leads to intolerance because it codifies one set of values over all others and it is usually the values of the dominant class that get so codified.

It was that first sentence in particular that caught my attention. It’s the kind of bland, generically ‘progressive’ platitude that is easy to agree with. But does it really mean anything? Is his assertion about the world connected to any actual knowledge or information? And if not, then why offer it as an opinion or hold it as a belief?

So I asked….

How has immigration “been one of the factors contributing to that change”?

“only leads to intolerance because it codifies one set of values over all others”
Are you suggesting that there are not values that are better than others?

Doug EarlDE

 Because new people bring new ideas and values to a situation and for a society to progress both sets of values must be reconciled. And yes there are values that are better than others, but which are which is subjective. Generally speaking, people who think their values are 100 per cent superior to everyone else’s have at least one glaring flaw in their value system–a gross and misplaced sense of their own moral superiority. That’s not a value that needs to be perpetuated. In fact, it’s a value that often leads to aggression, and, on a societal level, to war.

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly

That all sounds very nice …. but you didn’t answer the question. What ‘new ideas and values’ did Canada gain that it had lacked and which immigration brought and improved us?

Doug EarlDE

Obviously you feel that the continuous immigration to Canada over the past 400 or so years, including that of your own ancestors, has added nothing of value to the country. In your case, I’m afraid I am forced to agree.

Whoa! Where did that come from? Like I said, as is the case with most ‘progressives’, it didn’t take much for DE to drop the facade of tolerant, non-judgemental, compassionate pluralist and reveal the nasty, vindictive nature just below the surface.

And notice that he responds to a request for evidence by inventing an unflattering opinion for me that I have never expressed but which he asserts I “obviously feel”. He then attacks me for the opinion that he just made up and projected onto me.

It’s important to pause and think about that response and what it says about the character, the intellect and the reasoning skills of the person. It’s important because once you are aware of it, you will see that ‘progressives’ resort to this over and over again. And the purpose of ‘Rebuttals of the Week’! is to build a case that objectively demonstrates that people who are attracted to and who embrace ‘progressive’ concepts, ideals, politics and policies are inherently poor thinkers.

Here is how I responded to DE‘s ‘straw man’ argument. As you will see, he just kept digging himself deeper into the same hole:

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly

What is obvious is that not only have you made an assertion that you can’t support… but one which you don’t actually believe. If you did believe it, you would have answered the question without hesitation the first time… let alone the second time. Of course, this is precisely why I posed the question: To highlight the fact that people such as yourself like to say things that make you feel very pluralistic and superior….but which have no connection to anything you actually know to be real. This is nothing but a self serving pose that you have adopted.

Doug EarlDE

Yeah, except there’s something you’re missing and that is that your question is so obviously that of a troll. You know as well as I do that immigrants from over 200 countries who have come here over the past 400 years have brought an almost infinite multiplicity of ideas and values that are essential to the character of this country and that one of the foundational ideas of Canada is multiculturalism itself–to your great dismay, I’m sure. So if you want a list, troll, why don’t you make us a list of all the countries that have provided immigrants to this great country, but whose people you believe have made no contribution. Start with the country of your own ancestors, Underabridgeia.

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly

 I’m a ‘troll’ because you’re embarrassed to admit you were just trying to say something politically-correct sounding that you don’t really mean? You say things like “almost infinite multiplicity of ideas and values that are essential to the character of this country” …. but you can’t actually name one. And by the way…. multiculturalism is not an “idea or value” that immigrants brought here. It’s an idea that brought immigrants here. The fact that you’ve made a very transparent attempt to deflect from your inability to answer the question by putting the onus on me to ‘make a list’ to support a claim I never made just shows how desperate you are to salvage your credibility. Sadly, it has the opposite effect.

Doug EarlDE

That all sounds very nice…. but you didn’t answer the question. What countries have provided immigrants to this great country, but whose people you believe have made no contribution?

 

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly

 Really? You think doubling down on a straw man fallacy bolsters your credibility? You’ve had four opportunities now to select a single example from the “infinite multiplicity” you insist supports your claim. And all you’ve done for the last two posts is try and deflect from the fact that you have nothing to offer because your opinion isn’t based on having actually thought about it. Like most liberals/’progressives’ – you choose opinions you think will enhance your self-image rather than cultivating a point of view based on reasoned analysis, objectivity and critical thinking.

 

Doug EarlDE

Nope, that’s not it.

Going to Getugly Going to Getugly

Very convincing counterargument.

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Hillary’s health: final nail in the coffin of mainstream media

 

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The so called ‘credible’ mainstream media not only ignored and suppressed this issue for months… they went out of their way to attack and ridicule anyone in the alternative media who suggested her health was a legitimate cause for concern and discussion.

 

 

Now that they can no longer deny that it is a genuine story – they are struggling to manufacture a narrative that retroactively justifies their total lack of journalistic scrutiny.

It’s too late.

 

 

Rebuttals of the Week! #3: ‘We might be wrong… but at least we’re nicer than you!’

When people who are capable of reason and critical thinking challenge opinions or claims made by ‘progressives’ – they tend to take the approach of presenting counterarguments that they know to be superior. They invoke evidence and logic… operating under the perfectly justifiable assumption that articulating an indisputably more accurate, more rational and better informed understanding of the issue in question will sway their opponent to give the credibility of their perspective fare consideration.

That never happens.

This is because ‘progressives’ do not prioritise or even care about truth. Their only motivation is to insure that concepts that appeal to their egos are privileged to the exclusion of all other considerations.

You will never see a ‘progressive’ say “that’s a good point” or  “I didn’t know that” or “I never thought about it that way”.  The only responses to superior arguments that you will get from ‘progressives’ are deflection, obfuscation, logical fallacies and a repetition of generic ‘progressive’ slogans and memes that they take for granted prove their point for them. They will drag thinking people down their bottomless rabbit hole of  ego self-preservation – literally to the point of absurdity – rather than concede to the possibility that maybe… just maybe they’ve simply accepted a fashionable position before thinking it through sufficiently.

With that in mind, I offer this short example of this very dynamic between a typically self-serving ‘progressive’ – ‘Da’ –  and  ‘BC’… a well informed, rational thinking person.

The context for this exchange is a piece in the National Post by columnist Barbara Kay,  called : How progressives perverted the study of history

Compare BC’s attempt to engage Da’ in debate about the issue with my approach of zeroing-in on Da’s inadequate thinking skills and how this disqualifies his opinion from serious consideration to begin with.

nvnvnvnvnv
Da…

At least progressives keep active by thinking and trying to improve things. Their counterpart, anti-progressives, just sit there and think society will improve and advance naturally, by itself. Well it doesn’t. Now and then it needs a push.

By just sitting there and staring out of the window an anti-progressive world stagnates and falls apart, just like the old Soviet Union did, and the Ottoman Emire before it.

The Middle East is full of anti-progressives and look at the mess it is in.

BC

Or look at Africa which was full of progressives that started Marxist marxist governments after de-colonialization. You had Libya, Egypt, the Congo, Angola, Sudan, and let’s not forget the shining star Zimbabwe.

FYI in the Middle East the governments of Syria and Iraq were marxist at one time too and the Iranians were notorious for nationalizing foreign property for the sake of the people.

And how could anyone forget Mao and Pol Pot and their views on reshaping society with their progressive visions of socialism? How many dead in China? 30 million? Maybe 50 million?

 
Da…
B C . Poor argument, and a baked one at that.

Not all progressives are alike. If you have progressivism coupled with democratic institutions you don’t get the ‘killing fields’ you refer to BC.

 

 And here is my approach….

The only thing ‘progressives’ are interested in improving is the sense of their own moral righteousness. People who are truly interested in the betterment of society are invested in objective ‘outcomes’… not the gratification they feel for supporting ‘processes’ that are marketed as the one acceptable choice for the morally enlightened.

You have demonstrated this yourself with your statement: “At least progressives keep active by thinking and trying to improve things”.

Your instinct here is to emphasize the moral grandeur of what ‘progressives’ are ‘trying’ to do… that it’s their lofty ambitions that matters. Whether ‘progressive’ ideas and policies actually do ‘improve things’ or contribute to the problems in the real world is a lesser concern that is left unscrutinized.

Da…

Anyway, I find most of the arguments about progressives in our society, of the Western kind, shallow and trivial. I know things aren’t perfect about progressives. But generally progressives of the Western kind have give us open societies in which we are free to express ourselves, exchange ideas and free to live pretty much as we like.

 

 “But generally progressives of the Western kind have give us open societies in which we are free to express ourselves, exchange ideas and free to live pretty much as we like.”

WHAT????? You can’t be serious. It’s the ‘progressive’ Left that are constantly calling for limitations on free expression. It is ‘progressives’ who advance notions of ‘hate-speech’. It’s the ‘progressive’ Left who drag comedians like Guy Earle and commentators like Mark Steyn off to ‘Human Rights Commissions’ because they feel offended by their comments. It’s ‘progressives’ who are shutting down speaking events by people like Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopoulos, Warren Farrell, Janice Fiamengo and others because they challenge the absolutism of ‘progressive’ ideology.

‘Progressives’ do NOT “give us open societies in which we are free and live pretty much as we like”. They demand that everyone live the way THEY like…. otherwise they are more than happy to elicit the power of the state to force you to comply.

Rebuttals of the Week! #2: Not ‘morally superior’… just a much better person than everyone who disagrees with me.

The context of my debate with S’ – who describes herself as a “bleeding heart” and “leftie” – is UK columnist Brendan O’Neill’s recent article –We must have the freedom to hate: Hatred is an emotion, and the state has no business policing emotion. – and his appearance on the Australian panel show Q&A.

oneill

As is customary for tolerant, non-judgemental, deeply “compassionate” progressives – S’s initial comment is not a critique of O’Neill’s argument…. but a personal, harsh and definitive attack on his character:

Stacey NixonS… You may have the space to be hateful & small, if that is what you wish??? You do not have the right to make us be like you 💕

You gotta love that she included the little love-hearts at the end. Isn’t she adorable? It’s like she’s saying “You’re a thoroughly despicable, insignificant person – and the reason I’m entitled to judge you is because I’m so much better than you….. and I’m saying that with love“.  You see this blindness to hypocrisy and irony from ‘progressives’ over and over again. It’s a standard trait that you’ll see recurring in other Rebuttals of The Week.

Here was my response:

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly With that statement you have perfectly demonstrated the primary motivation for those who support ‘progressive-Left’ policies…. it’s the desire to think of yourself as morally superior. So anything that feeds that desire is reflexively supported. It has nothing to do with truth, reason or the application of critical thinking skills.

Stacey NixonS… Not morally superior, just no desire to compete. The truth is I am better than no one. The application of my skills is in listening, not talking. We seek enlightenment on different paths…but that is ok. You are interesting, I never understood those who separate fact from emotion – we would have some great chats!

Is it just me… or is she adopting a condescendingly superior tone here as she denies any sense of her own superiority?  “The application of my skills is in listening, not talking….We seek enlightenment on different paths…but that is ok……. You are interesting…” 

You are annoying.

The best part is that two responses after this one she acknowledges that she does in fact think of herself as superior…. and that she wants you to think of her that way as well.

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly  We could certainly have some great chats. One thing we would have to address is the necessity for separating objective ‘facts’ from subjective emotional experiences. It is actually very easy to understand why people separate facts from emotions. It’s because they are different things. 

Your emotions tell you something about you. ‘Facts’ tell you something about the world as it exists independent of you. This, I would argue, highlights the fundamental flaw in all ‘progressive’-Left thinking: Progressives do not distinguish between their subjective emotional experiences and objective reality. The word for this characteristic, of course, is narcissism.

Stacey NixonS…  Yeah, i don’t know. I mostly agree up until you say “This, I would argue”. I don’t argue, I discuss. I am admittedly a “bleeding heart” and “leftie”. This does not mean that I cannot separate fact from emotion. I just choose some facts/issues to apply my feelings to. Is there anything that is a known fact that you feel strongly about? This issue is important to me and I will apply my thoughts & feelings to it. I do not believe that when we live a whole life, that we segregate our feelings from our knowledge and experience. This is my choice and I would never wish to impose my views on others.

I am progressive-left. Unashamedly. I respect your clarity of thought, but do not covet it. It is not for me. You may call it narcissism, I see my words and actions as wishing for a better reality for all – not simply accepting but acting for a brighter future for all of us. To each his own 💕

Again with the little hearts. And did you see what she did with the use of my word ‘argue’? S’s priority here seems to be framing herself in the most flattering manner possible….not directly addressing what is being said to her. This is pretty standard fare for ‘progressives.’

Here’s the thing… I think these people are actually very petty, self-absorbed, angry and intolerant by nature. But those qualities don’t jibe with the way they would prefer to see themselves – with their personal ‘persona’. So they default to a classic psychological dynamic and they project those undesirable qualities outward onto convenient targets… papering over the truth with sentimental bromides, ‘progressive’ slogans and other superficial declarations designed to signal to the world and to themselves their desired self-image of enlightened benevolence.

The trouble is that their true nature hasn’t actually gone anywhere. So they are constantly reinforcing their virtue-signalling to keep acknowledgement of their undesired traits at bay.

Notice how often in my exchange with S’ she finds an opportunity to declare how high-minded, altruistic and magnanimous she finds herself. This is truly odd behaviour. But as you will notice in the series of ‘Rebuttals of the Week’… it is a common characteristic of ‘progressives’.

Here are the final three posts of my debate with S’:

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly  S’, you do in fact “argue”. You are ‘arguing’ your point. With respect, it is a bit disingenuous to imply that someone who uses the word ‘argue’ in this context is engaging in some kind of negative behaviour…. in contrast to yourself who is engaged in the more virtuous act of ‘discussion’.

It is like your initial comment – with which you implied that Brendan O’Neill is ‘hateful and small’… and that he doesn’t have the ‘right’ to ‘make’ you be like him. You seem to have a reflex when encountering opinion you disagree with to frame your response in terms of your opponent’s morally inferior status relative to your own. And as I said in my original response, this is a fundamental characteristic of people who embrace ‘progressive’-Left opinion and policies.

 

You say “I just choose some facts/issues to apply my feelings to.”  Exactly. You start with emotion… then you “choose facts” to validate that subjective impression. That’s the exact opposite to the process that people who privilege reason, rationality, objectivity and critical thinking engage. For these people, their focus is not on their personal, subjective impression about something (which,as I mentioned above only informs you about yourself) – but on what is objectively true. For them, the fact that our emotional reactions can occlude our capacity for impartiality and objectivity is a fundamental and active principle.

 

You say you respect my ‘clarity of thought’ but that it’s not for you. That is a startling confession…although I appreciate your candour. It is precisely this indifference to truth and clarity of thinking coupled with an impenetrable certainty that your conclusions are morally and intellectually unimpeachable that makes the ‘progressive-Left’ such a pernicious force in society.

This is the post where “S” admits she considers herself ‘morally superior’.

Stacey NixonS… Thanks for the free character assessment, I’ll be sure to take it on board based on the long time we have known each other and the fact that we have so much in common 😉.

From my first post I have expressed my opinions only. I did not”imply” that Brendan O’Neil was hateful & small. I flat out stated it as my opinion. If it differs from your opinion (which you still have not stated) big deal. People do not have to agree. Both opinions are still valid.

You claim I think of myself as morally superior, perhaps I do. I would hope others also think my world views to be more considered & compassionate than some “hateful & small” people, hence my original post. When I speak of my opinions they are soaked in emotion. Over time & with experience I have applied reason & objectivity. But, this is facebook not Rhetoric & Logic 101. If we want people to care about the world, build communities that thrive & leave the world better than we found it, people need to be emotionally invested. Walk in another man’s shoes for a day & your “truth” will be very different.

Here comes another opinion, you’ll love it: Only the privileged can sit in their tower & apply reason and objectivity to another’s experience. Pernicious? Bit strong hey? Again, only my opinion

Going to GetuglyGoing to Getugly I’m sorry if you perceived something as an unsolicited character assessment. I’m not sure what you are referring to. What I wrote was actually just observation of specific things you have written. As you point out, I am guilty of using the word ‘imply’ when referring to your first post. I deliberately chose that word because I thought it was more tactful than simply highlighting that you indulged in fallacious ad hominem rather than presenting a valid perspective based on reason or evidence. 

But to your credit, you have again been very forthcoming by admitting that your intention was simply to broadcast your assessment of your own moral superiority and to hopefully elicit validation from an audience: “You claim I think of myself as morally superior, perhaps I do. I would hope others also think my world views to be more considered & compassionate than some “hateful & small” people, hence my original post.”

Your comment that “this is facebook not Rhetoric & Logic 101” is a cop-out. You are commenting on the Facebook page of a major current affairs program discussing a very serious topic and focusing on the perspective of a controversial public pundit of some international renown. It isn’t a cat video. 

Of your own free will, you have posted a fairly vicious personal attack on this individual which you felt no compulsion to support in any way…. while assuming yourself to be the embodiment of some higher moral and ethical ideal. This notion that you get to choose when the standards of reasoned commentary and rational debate can be abandoned in favour of self-congratulatory posturing and name-calling is difficult to take seriously. You write: “Walk in another man’s shoes for a day & your “truth” will be very different”. Did you bother trying on Brendan O’Neill’s shoes before you offered up such an ugly, public condemnation of his character? I think not. 

Furthermore, inserting ‘your’ in front of the world ‘truth’ is insipid. “Truth” pre-exists our opinions about it. Only narcissists think in terms of ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’. 

You referred to the following statement as “your opinion” : “Only the privileged can sit in their tower & apply reason and objectivity to another’s experience.” When people default to invoking fashionable terms and memes like “privileged” instead of presenting a coherent argument of their own… it’s not so much ‘your’ opinion as it is a prepackaged, ‘progressive’ talking-point that you have merely adopted and are now parroting. As for the sentiment behind that statement – that reason and objectivity are only available and useful to the tower-inhabiting ‘privileged’ (by which I think it’s safe to assume you mean ‘white men’ in particular) – well, that’s just a little bit racist, classist and sexist. 

You are entitled to that opinion of course. But I fail to see how the belief that people belonging to certain ethnic backgrounds, a particular gender or lower socioeconomic positions are intrinsically incapable of applying reason to this or any other issue represents a higher level of moral or ethical judgement. You ask if my use of the word ‘pernicious’ is too strong to describe the influence of the ‘progressive’ ideology you exemplify –  which is characterized by an indifference to truth and clarity of thinking coupled with an impenetrable certainty that your conclusions are morally and intellectually unimpeachable. 

The answer is no. Not too strong in the least.