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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Michael Harris

Michael Harris is an oil painter, photographer, song writer and blogger from Toronto Canada. Michael's work is influenced by his interest in psychology, media, consciousness studies, politics and philosophy.

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