This is not how rhetoric works.

I recently came across a relative in my facebook linking this article

http://gizmodo.com/this-is-not-how-science-works-1797232302

And I simply could not resist addressing it. As before, I’ll assume here that you’ve already read the Gizmodo article.

“and carried a laughably transparent goal: undermining support for renewable energy, and boosting support for fossil fuels. ”

He starts very early on, while claiming to be the voice of rational and neutral science, by poisoning the well (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well). He presents the case as though it is fundamentally incorrect or improper for someone in Perry’s position to try and completely honestly prove that his methods are more effective. This is no different whatsoever from people going out of their way to promote a renewable energy agenda, as many public officials do to which he presumably has no objection. He just changes his standards of neutrality here because he doesn’t agree with Rick Perry.

“This is a risk when you do science backwards, when you put conclusions before data: observable reality might not agree with your predetermined conclusion.”

He mockingly states this, but this is precisely the argument that those who oppose climate alarmists make. That the objective data of the earth’s temperature do not match the computer generated models based on popular scientists’ hypothesis. He makes this very good point and then IMMEDIATELY disregards it in his own article.

“But the DOE study gives us a glimpse into an emerging Trump Scientific Method that places predetermined conclusions front-and-center. ”

The entire premise of the new administration, and I’m not saying that they’re correct, is that the existing scientific elite were doing precisely this. Obviously no one can defeat them rhetorically this way because they agree with it. They merely believe his side to be the one placing conclusions before process.

“Though the DOE study has already highlighted the absurdity in this approach,”

How? It tested a hypothesis, the hypothesis was shown to be incorrect. That the hypothesis was shown to be incorrect is showing that the process is working, not that it isn’t working. The success or lack therof in a scientific study isn’t determined by whether or not the hypothesis was proven, but whether or not useful data was obtained. He knows this of course, but those goal posts must move as often as is necessary for maximum ridicule of his opponents.

“the most egregious example to surface of late is EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s idea for a “red team-blue team debate” on climate science. ”

The contention here is that the scientific response is that you must agree with whatever the most popular idea is without dispute? This isn’t a scientific argument anymore from Mr. Levitan, it’s a religious one. The argument is that disagreeing with the most popular scientific view is heresy and can be dismissed out of hand. I’m sure I disagree with Scott Pruitt on a wide variety of issues, but this isn’t how you defeat them. This is how you convince an entire generation of rational thinkers that absolutely everything about climate change is a hoax because your defense of it is so irrational.

“He is apparently already staffing up toward this goal.”

Heaven forbid that the public could get to see an open debate where both sides defend their ideas. If there’s one thing the obvious objective truth should fear, it’s open discussion then, isn’t it? Now personally, as a far right conservative, I’m skeptical of major climate change claims, particularly the comically melodramatic doomsday predictions, but I’m far more open to the idea than most. I admit to not knowing the science well enough to come to an educated opinion. So what is being advertised here, when one side of the argument declares itself above open and honest debate? What does the truth have to fear from light? It suggests rather strongly that you don’t think your own ideas are as bulletproof as you’re suggesting. Let’s look at how honest apologists behave. How did Christopher Hitchens approach Atheism, a truth he felt was rather self-evident? When he wrote books attacking religion, did he sit back at a traditional book release tour and pat himself on the back for his ideas being above reproach? No, on his book tour he openly challenged any and every religious apologist of every kind to come and refute the ideas presented in his book in an open and public forum. This is how someone behaves when they are truly confident that the facts are on their side, and I say that as someone who disagrees with Hitchens about God. However unnecessary you personally feel the argument, refusing to have one makes it appear as though you have something to hide.

“Even more scientists—like, thousands and thousands of them—could study the climate over a period of decades, submit their findings to journals and subject them to robust peer review, and then collect those carefully reviewed findings into massive, thorough documents summarizing all the available knowledge on this incredibly complex topic. Just spitballing here.”

He rolls this out as though this same process doesn’t result in wildly inaccurate conclusions all the time, or that this process is immune to massive political interference. From benign examples like Pluto’s status as a planet, or the existence of any number of dinosaurs we were taught as kids that didn’t actually exist, to more substantial issues like the constant political corruption of American nuitritional organizations, science must constantly and forever be critiqued and corrected.

Ignoring all other examples, just taking climate change theories themselves, this argument gets even weaker. It was accepted science that we were going to hit peak oil 40 years ago. It was accepted science that by the time of the 21st century, we would be covered in a new ice age, not debating an increase to our temperature. For every correct statement the scientific community has made on climate change, there are twenty embarrassingly inaccurate ones they’ve made. So now, after a century of being wrong on the issue in every conceivable way, now after Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” has had nearly all of its predictions fail to pass a scant ten years later, now he argues that people are being irrational if they don’t take the popular science as absolute truth which cannot be questioned?

There’s no point in time where the truth gets to stop defending itself with a hand wave. No, there’s no rational reason to believe vaccines cause autism. No that doesn’t mean you get to avoid having the debate.

” Just to reiterate, there is zero such debate on the reality of human-caused climate change going on today in science.”

Now he’s just overtly lying. While there’s not much debate on whether or not it exists *at all*, there is constant debate over the degree to which these things are the case, or what are sensible measures, if any, to take to respond to them. Not to mention what I consider the most important part of the debate which he simply takes as assumed, “what is the role of government in forcing these policies on the public?” It is virtually impossible in a world with access to Google to tell a lie like this and retain credibility. It takes mere moments to disprove the statement.

“The EPA has put off a regulation making it harder for power plants to dump toxic metals into public waterways, ostensibly to “reconsider” the rule’s cost and feasibility—though, like every EPA reg, its costs and benefits were studied before it was finalized”

“Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior is “reviewing” some National Monuments, in what some fear is a smokescreen for an inevitable sell-off of public lands”

Here he lists some “sins”, but he does so with a false premise. That the people he’s criticizing would, if honest and agreeing on the same facts, agree with the proper role of government in the situation. He does this in spite of constant and extremely public rhetoric every single day on the internet, on television, and on radio, that a large portion of the country wants to limit governmnet’s involvement in just about everything. If you ignore this fundamental difference on governing philosphy, it is much easier to paint the other side as snidely whiplash twirling their collective mustaches. This is a very common tactic with the left though. On any charitable program of the day, the left wants more government involvement, the right wants less. The left responds by judging the right as though they *really* secretly did want government involvement though, and just didn’t care about whatever the charitable cause of the day is. There are versions of this from right to left of course, but they aren’t as relevant to his article.

“Congress is also getting in on this approach, with the HONEST Act, a bill that would require the EPA use only publicly-available science and data to do anything at all. It basically presumes government scientists are concocting fakeresults in underground lairs”

This is getting to the point of self parody. He just wrote several paragraphs elaborating in great detail about how spectacularly one administration has politicized science in just half a year, and is now mocking the notion that a dozen administrations over decades could possibly have politicized science even a tiny bit. Virtually every presidency, in spite of his clearly biased set of examples, has politicized science to push one social agenda or another. Being skeptical of the data being given you is a PRO science stance. Even if you assume his facts are correct, this is still something of a ridiculous position to take. So he’s saying that the Trump administration is taking over the scientific community to falsify results and implement whatever policy he wants, and his solution is to allow this set of Trump directed scientists to have the ability to do whatever research they want in total secret and free from scrutiny? It seems he’s just being contrarian now. Even a position that would help him defend his agenda from Trump must be opposed if someone on the right is the one presenting it.

” Those same scientists have said it would hamstring the agency to a damaging degree. ”

The scientists who are suspected of giving dishonest politicized results protesting that their science shouldn’t be open to the public is perhaps not the MOST convincing argument for someone who doesn’t already believe you. Just a thought.

“Scientific advisory boards have been disbanded, the Office of Science and Technology Policy remains drastically understaffed and without a director, and scientists in various corners of government have been so dicked around that they’re starting to blow the whistle on some shady practices.”

The Trump administration has actually been extremely lax on lower level staffing across the board. This isn’t a problem unique to science.

“Ronald Reagan failed to mention the AIDS crisis until 1985, in spite of clear scientific and public health imperatives to act. ”

There objectively, measurably, was not an AIDS “crisis”. It’s a completely preventable disease which effected, by disease standards, an absolutely tiny portion of the population. It’s tragic when it effects someone of course, but it is nowhere near the scale of say, diabetes which isn’t completely preventable and kills in dramatically larger numbers. Being an obvious left wing writer though, I’m sure he simply couldn’t pass up a chance to take a shot at Reagan, no matter how much of a stretch the argument is to relate to the topic at hand.

“George W. Bush’s team famously tried to mangle an EPA report on climate change in 2003, but in that case, the EPA administrator wasn’t on board with the project: Christine Todd Whitman, who was appointed by Bush, called that interference “brutal,” and resigned not long afterward.”

And nowhere to be seen are any of the examples of people mangling EPA reports to further the agenda Mr. Levitan happens to like, such as the 2015 report on fracking which, after years of study and tens of millions of dollars could find no evidence of fracking impacting drinking water, altered its conclusions due to outside political pressure https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/epas-about-face-on-fracking-report-science-or-politics Again, This man isn’t the objective voice of scientific reasoning he presents. He’s doing precisely the same thing as he’s criticizing the Trump administration of doing, ignoring all the facts that don’t conform to his narrative.

He ends his article by openly calling his opponents anti-science zealots, mostly just for disagreeing with him and requiring that his conclusions be debated. I don’t mean to make any statement about climate change here. The more I read on the subject, the more clear it is that I don’t have anywhere close to the time necessary to research it properly. What I can make time for is speaking against this bigoted nonsense. You’re trying to argue that your side has a moral authority to rewrite the structure of government to give itself the power to make grand sweeping decisions that effect the lives of every American. You don’t get to do that without making your case. Yes, every single day. The environmental lobby, factually correct in their point of view or not, have been given sweeping anti-constitutional powers to get their job done. They don’t get to sneer and look down at people for questioning how they use that power.

Progressive Ignorance and Bigotry Pt. 2

A few days after my previous post, we have another example of the kind of ignorance fueled slander I wrote about before. In a conversation on precisely the same topic, a friend of a friend on Facebook attempted to list why she thinks pro-life conservatives don’t truly care about all life. We’ll take it line by line.

 

“Their pro-gun and pro war stance for one,”

Regarding guns and the 2nd amendment, I assume the only question at play here is whether or not restricting fire arms is a positive decision that will save lives. She assumes that it will. Conservatives disagree. Conservatives don’t disagree without cause. While gun crimes are down in, say the U.K. which by-and-large doesn’t allow personal firearms, overall violent crimes are much higher than the U.S. You are 2.5x more likely to be the victim of a random violent crime in the U.K. Similarly in Australia, since their forced gun confiscation, they brag about how they haven’t had a single additional “mass shooting”, but don’t bother mentioning that their total homicide rate has been unaffected, making the distinction meaningless. Meanwhile, other places like Switzerland have very high gun ownership rates and very low crime rates. Globally, there isn’t much of a correlation between legal gun ownership and overall levels of violence. We can argue the point, but that’s not at issue. What’s at issue is that the reason conservatives oppose gun control legislation isn’t because they don’t care about people getting shot, it’s because they don’t think the proposed solution is effective, but will violate constitutional rights. Here, she is morally condemning someone not because they hold different values than her, but because they have a different analysis of the facts.

As for being pro war, I would ask exactly how she is measuring this? There are huge portions of conservatives who are isolationists on foreign policy and insist we almost never get physically involved in conflict. Ron Paul, modern cult celebrity of the far right, is quite well known for this. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is the first president in history to be at war every single day of his 8 years in office. He bombed 7 countries, funded terrorists, toppled governments without provocation, and attempted to interfere in the election of the leader of one of our closest ally nations. Foreign wars, it seems, are of deep interest to the left……..when they can blame someone else for it.

“Their stance on BLM, immigrants, and LGBT communities”

Concerning Black Lives Matter, suppose I agree with their underlying concern, that too many black kids get shot without consequences for the shooter, but I disagree with their methods? Does that make me pro or anti Black Lives Matter? I’m not sure this is a valid complaint because I’m not sure she quantified it very well. You’ll be hard pressed to find conservatives who are just fine with Chicago’s 18.5% murder conviction rate, but does that mean that we have to cheer when BLM advocates chant “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like Bacon” and then last July a madman takes it to heart and starts murdering white police officers at random? I find it odd that a political movement that is so opposed to Trump inciting “Islamophobia” would find this kind of rhetoric acceptable. Anyway, the complaint is too poorly defined to address, so we move on.

I think she missed a word here. “Illegal” to be specific. The Republican party is exceedingly pro legal immigrant. You’re hard pressed to go to a party event and not find first generation immigrants welcomed with open arms who themselves are quite frustrated with illegal immigrants abusing the system. Claiming that conservatives at large are opposed to immigration in general has no basis in reality. It is a lie.

What about their stance on LGBT communities is inconsistent with their stance on life? Did National Review run an article endorsing the death penalty for gay people when I wasn’t looking? I already covered both gay marriage and transgenderism in my previous article, neither of which are moral stances nor condemnations of any behavior. This really is just open bigotry now. “You don’t agree with me on the nature of biological sex, a purely scientific issue, therefore you’re a bad person and you can be disregarded on everything else you say”. It’s petty, irrational, and has no place in adult conversation.

“Their solution to help the impoverished just harms them”

This is a perfectly acceptable (though entirely incorrect) opinion to hold. If she admits though, that they HAVE a solution that THEY think will work, you can not justifiably argue that they don’t care. It’s just a difference of opinion on the method.

“The only plan I’ve seen to change up welfare is to make it even more strict so that fewer people are able to receive help. If they were to come up with real solutions that actually helped, then I would believe them.”

Here, she admits that she comes to her conclusions based on her lack of knowledge of what conservatives think. She doesn’t find that ignorance to be something to research though, she’ll just jump straight to being holier than thou. I’ve addressed some thoughts on welfare in “Ignorance and Bigotry part 1”, so here I’ll just point her to the life’s work of Dr. Thomas Sowell. I’ll be happy to personally buy her a copy of “Basic Economics” and “Wealth, Poverty, and Politics” on the condition that she read them and have a conversation about them afterward. Suffice to say, there’s a long and storied history of conservative theory about poverty that is easily searchable on youtube to refute her assertion. Conservatives advocate for these policies on a regular basis, and are typically shouted down by the same kind of intellectual bigotry she is using here.

“But right now, I see them trying to force women to have babies when they can’t take care of them, and then not helping them take care of them.”

Conservatives don’t want to force women to have babies. Conservatives want to prevent women who already have babies from becoming murderers. As all Pro-abortion arguments do, she’s sidestepping the real argument by starting out with the presumption that it isn’t a baby. We’re talking about Pro-Lifers now though, who DO think it’s a baby. If it’s a baby, it has rights. If it has any rights at all, the right to not be cut into little pieces is at the top of the list. For two articles now I’ve avoided actually arguing abortion here but since she brought it up, I would like to invite her to a test. If she is reading this and has the stomach for it (and ONLY if she has the stomach for it. Very graphic imagery involved), I would like her to Google image search “Gosnell baby boy A” and give me a reason why that child and other children at exactly the same level of biological development, get to be butchered because they are an inconvenience. Some might argue “What about cases of rape?” or “what about medically necessary abortions?” Ok, let’s set those aside for now. Let’s just talk about the easily avoidable ones. Why should children like “Baby Boy A” be dismembered alive without anesthetic for being a nuisance? Because the person making the argument doesn’t like government handouts? Am I the only one who feels like this argument makes her out to be the bad guy here?

And do you really wanna ask the Pro-Life community “If you give single moms welfare for not killing their kids, we’ll agree to a constitutional amendment against abortion”? Because I think welfare rewarding single parenthood destroys families and creates poverty at every turn but I would make that deal in a heartbeat. It just isn’t a deal that’s really on the table. She’s just pretending like it is to condescend to those with which she disagrees.

“In an ideal world, no baby would ever be aborted. But we live so far from an ideal world and every circumstance is different.”

Wait, hold on, stop the presses. What?

Am I crazy or did she just admit that they’re babies? Babies are the thing that is being aborted, yeah she said it. Ok, so she doesn’t think babies have rights. Babies are, in essence property. She has literally, not figuratively, just joined the side of slavery.

And yet, I’m the bad guy right? I have all these ideas she’s unaware of and blindly assumes must not exist.  I sincerely pray that by the time my children reach the age of awareness at church that we will have exited this dark age of intellectual discussion we seem to find ourselves in.

 

The overwhelming domination of ignorance and bigotry in progressives.

So I came home this evening to my wife showing me a Facebook post from a friend who was linking a blog entry and wanting to start a dialog about it. http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/10/12/fellow-white-christian-friends-i-wish-you-really-were-pro-life/ Is really fascinating in its near magical ability to be so profoundly ignorant and intolerant, whilst complaining so sincerely about those perceived faults in others. My wife was incapable of letting this go without a response but is quite busy so I am relieving her burden by cleaning up this insanity on her behalf. You can read the article itself, but I’ll be quoting much of the content here for the purpose of rebuttal.

The overall message of this condemnation of Christian conservatives, is that they can’t really be considered pro-life at all when they oppose so many other things that democrats are in favor of later on in life. This is a more and more popular argument amongst modern progressives, as “you can’t be pro-life because you oppose government mandated healthcare” is a far more comfortable argument to have then “Let’s talk about the defenseless baby I’m dissecting alive.” So a proper response could just be “you’re wildly changing the subject” but I’ll indulge in the digression because it gives an extremely valuable opportunity, to strike down the constant barrage of slander that has been executed against conservatives for decades. Now, from the content of the blog post:

I actually don’t believe you’re pro-life, I believe you’re anti-abortion, which is a far more selective and convenient defense of Humanity. From where I’m standing it seems as though “Life” for you, comprises a very narrow demographic—one that bears a striking resemblance to you. The unborn are easy to advocate for because you can idealize them into something palatable to you, something benign and comfortable, something in your own image.

You see, it’s not that you’re really pro-life, you’re pro-straight, white, Christian fetuses.”

So right off the bat Mr. Pavlovitz is presuming racism on the part of those that disagree with him. He is directly stating here against the facts that pro-lifers only care about unborn white children. In fact, the largest sufferers of the horrors of abortion are in nonwhite communities. Planned parenthood founder Margeret Sanger founded the organization to “exterminate the negro population” (her words, not mine) and she’s been largely successful. Over 75% of black babies in Harlem are killed before birth. Over on the eastern side of the planet, gender selective abortions have decimated the female population as parents in various cultures don’t want to have girls, so they kill them. Now what evidence is here to suggest that Pro-lifers only care about white infants? Is there any? He seems to be concluding that Pro-lifers simply MUST be lying about caring for all the unborn given that they disagree with him on civic policy later in life. In reality, he is directly slandering those he disagrees with completely without evidence.

 

Because if that life you say you so treasure, one day converts to Islam, you label it dangerous, you see it as a threat, you applaud suggestions of its expulsion, you deny it open worship.”

Citation needed? Where exactly does anyone see a prominent Christian conservative voice or political group denying Muslims open worship? I mean, it’s a big world. I’m sure you can find someone, somewhere, but absolutely nowhere near mainstream conservatism. This is a direct lie to give his other assertion more credence. As for labeling an adherent to Islam “dangerous”, that is either true or false depending on what exactly you mean when you say “labeling”. You would be hard pressed to find a conservative, or anyone at all really, who refers to someone as dangerous JUST for being a Muslim. Even the disgusting, boorish, and idiotic Donald Trump (Who I would argue is not Christian, and he’s CERTAINLY not conservative) only labels Muslims coming from specific regions without background checks dangerous. Where a conservative might label Muslims dangerous is in analysis of their actual doctrine. There is more than enough aggressively violent behavior not just shown, but advocated for in the Quran to lend merit to the opinion that on some level it isn’t a healthy ideology. At no point though do conservatives advocate for any rights that are in the commonality of man to be denied to a Muslim. Mr. Pavlovitz is confusing disagreement, occasionally strong and emotional disagreement, for a disregard of humanity. He is doing so, presumably, because he can’t empathize with those who disagree with him.

If that life eventually comes out as LGBTQ, you condemn its soul, harass it in your workplace and church, try to prevent its marriage, tell it where and when it can use a public bathroom. You bully it and drive it to suicide.

This is the pettiest kind of gross generalization. I’m a Christian conservative and I haven’t done any of these things, neither have most all of Christian conservatives. Social conservatives don’t prevent its marriage, they argue that by definition it can’t be married under the terms it wants because that isn’t what marriage IS. If a man wants to declare himself a moose, that’s his business. I don’t care. If a man wants to legally declare himself a moose, suddenly everyone gets to be involved in the argument over what a “moose” is considered by the united states government. Personally, I and many other Christian conservatives don’t want the government to be involved in marriage at all, but if the government is going to be enforcing some people’s views over others (they still don’t recognize bigamy, polygamy, or incest, why not?) then why shouldn’t everyone get to argue their perspective? He’s twisting a difference in definitions to hatred of the person purely because it’s necessary to promote his bigoted rant. As for public bathrooms, Conservatives are only arguing that the exact same rules that apply to everyone else, also apply to Transgendered people.That is literally the exact opposite of discrimination. As for bullying and driving them to suicide? Another gross generalization just to vilify his opponents, but one showcasing the general ignorance he has on the topic. The CC (Christian conservative, I figured this would be easier) position on Transgenderism is that it is a mental disorder. This is why they have so many different policy descriptions. When treating a mental disorder, you do not indulge the delusion. This is why CC’s are unmoved on issues like say, bathrooms. When dealing with people with mental illnesses, indulging them is hurting them. We don’t want to hurt them. Anyway, one of the major reasons for concluding Transgenderism is a mental disease, is the suicide rates. The suicide rates amongst TG individuals is high, astonishingly high. His argument that bullying is the cause is blown away when you compare the rates to the most oppressed people in modern history. Black slaves had dramatically lower suicide rates. Jews during the holocaust had dramatically lower suicide rates. In fact, there’s only one demographic on planet earth that shares a similar suicide rate to TG’s, the mentally ill. In the end, 100% of the disagreements on this issue are a disagreement on the facts, not policy. If Mr. Pavlovitz agreed with the diagnosis, he would agree with CC’s on policy. It’s much easier to just slander your opponents as uncaring though isn’t it?

 

“If that life has brown skin and wears baggy pants and gets gunned down during a traffic stop, you not only have little grief over its loss, but readily blame it for its own execution.”

He’s not being specific enough here to respond with a great deal of content, but I assume he is criticizing CC’s for not immediately assuming racism in response to a questionable police shooting. I would respond by questioning why he’s so astonishingly racist as to assume who is at fault in scenarios with little to no evidence based solely on skin color. I’ll give an example.

Ramarly Graham was a young black man who’s apartment was raided by the police and during the raid, he was shot and killed. That’s basically……it. The police claim they thought he was reaching for a gun. No gun was found, but in order for it to be a valid shoot the officers need only to have legitimately believed he was going for a gun. There’s no evidence to support or contradict their claim. The grand jury found there wasn’t enough evidence to even indict (a very low burden of proof). Still, numerous organizations assuming the officer to be a racist murderer because he wasn’t black and shot a black man have demanded “justice” and by justice they mean “persecute him and ruin his life completely without evidence.”

Situations like this happen in the age of global media not infrequently and every time they do, CC’s say “wait and see. Let’s look at the evidence.” and friendly tolerant men like Mr. Pavlovitz shout in response (many in my Facebook feed) “You’re a racist if you want to weigh the case on objective facts!”

Assuming someone to be guilty or innocent of a crime based on the relative skin colors of the people involved is the height of racist ideology, and Mr Pavlovitz should be utterly ashamed.

 

If that life is strapped to a prison gurney and pumped full of drugs that will cease its lungs from expanding while its terrified mind comprehends it all, you celebrate the occasion as justice being served—after a last meal you resent having to pay for.

I’m pro-death penalty, I don’t celebrate it, and I have no problem paying for the last meal. This is 100% straw man. I will note however that on average conservatives aren’t very pleased with how the death penalty is executed in the US.

 

If that life has to endure its formative years in overcrowded, grossly underfunded public schools, you tell it to “pull itself up by its own bootstraps”, while nestled in the cloistered, privileged gated community of a Suburbia where bootstraps come with a birth certificate.”

CC’s don’t argue that they should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, they argue for school vouchers. They argue for school vouchers because they give impoverished students, especially minority students, the same opportunities as the wealthy. That is they get to go to a school they want to go to. It’s the left who insists that they be FORCED to go to those overcrowded underfunded schools because they care significantly more about protecting the jobs of incompetent teachers who couldn’t survive in a market with competition than they do about educating children. I suppose that’s not entirely fair. I assume Mr. Pavlovitz is only taking the position he is here out of deep seated ignorance, not a lack of caring. Assuming someone doesn’t care about a problem because they disagree on policy is a pretty lousy thing to do to someone.

 

If that life has working parents who can’t make a living wage, you label it a lazy, unproductive drain on society always looking for handouts and trying to work the system to its advantage.”

Again, point to any notable conservative mind or organization that has put forth this idea? What we can say fairly objectively, is that (according to the Brookings institute, a liberal, not conservative think tank) You only need to meet three criteria to avoid permanent poverty in the United States.

  1. Graduate High School.
  2. Don’t have kids before you’re married.
  3. Get a job, ANY job, and hold it.

The objections most CC’s have to the liberal approaches to poverty is they incorrectly assume three entirely different principles.

  1. That there is a predestinate amount of poverty. The above criteria cannot be expected to be met and any efforts to propone those behaviors are hateful.
  2. That any program is fundamentally helpful to the poverty equation so long as it spends a lot of money.
  3. That it is acceptable to take charity money for these people by force from the general public at gun point in the form of taxes.

Now I give more than the average American to charity. In fact, studies show that CC’s on average are more charitable than liberals (https://www.amazon.com/Who-Really-Cares-Compassionate-Conservatism/dp/0465008232/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485323253&sr=8-1&keywords=who+really+cares). Even if that weren’t the case though, the willingness to give to charitable causes isn’t at issue if I don’t believe the charity is helping or that the charity is violating an important moral on the way to achieving their goal. The welfare state in the US does both. Poverty is extremely highly linked to having an intact family and since the Johnson administration literally went door to door telling impoverished women (mostly black women) that they would be given free money from the government on the condition that there’s no father in the home, single parenthood has skyrocketed. 25% of black families were raised by a single mother at the time, the number is over 75% today. It isn’t physically possible to raise the inner cities out of poverty until that problem is fixed, and he’s telling me I don’t care about them if I don’t support it? This is astonishingly ignorant of the facts of poverty in America, and CC’s are being attacked for leftists being unaware of them.

If that life needs healthcare because its undeveloped heart can barely beat on its own, you’re suddenly empty of empathy and low on generosity—unless it can pull its own weight and pay the premiums.”

Again, Mr. Pavlovitz is either completely unaware of what conservatives actually think, or he’s just lying to slander them. To make a painfully long and dull argument unjustifiably short:

  1. Universal government healthcare is a disastrously ineffective system. It gets people killed.
  2. Even if it were perfect, it requires slavery, violating the constitution. A “right” isn’t a right if it infringes upon other people’s rights and a right to healthcare must by necessity mean that healthcare workers must serve you even if it is against their will.

The consistent theme of this response has become clear hasn’t it? Disagreeing with a liberal on solutions does not mean you are a more sinister person than the liberal.

If that life doesn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables because it lives in urban areas where such things are scarce and financially prohibitive, you ridicule its obesity and sickness as signs of cultural overindulgence and gluttony.”

For the 800th time, who says this? The National Review? Ted Cruz? Mark Levin? Ben Shapiro? The Federalist? The Blaze? Does anyone at all? It seems you’re just taking crude comments you hear in passing and placing the responsibility for those statements on conservatives in general. Personally, the most vile, hateful, racist, bigoted, evil things I’ve ever heard in my life have all come from liberals. Would it be fair for me to plant the responsibility for those things on all liberals?

If that life is sexually assaulted you want to blame it for its promiscuity and immodesty, and wonder why it didn’t just keep its legs closed and why it can’t just move on and why it is so easily offended by “locker room banter.””

The “what was she wearing” question to a rape victim is a straw man. Nobody of note (or anyone not using anonymity to troll message boards near as I can tell) on the right has ever suggested that promiscuity in the victim justifies rape. What they DO require, is some sort of evidence before they pass judgement on someone (as they should). Rape victims, as horrific of a crime as they have suffered, can’t be able to end the lives of others on accusation alone. The ability for a simple accusation to end someone’s life without evidence is not something a civilized society can stand for, hence the need for trials. What many CC’s are responding to though, is the political profiteering of rape that has become commonplace on the left. Have you heard the “1/4 women on college campuses are raped” statistic? Do you know how they arrived at that number? They gave a survey to college women, and any time a women had had either drunken consensual sex, or regretted the choice to consent to sex the next day, they counted that as rape. They then run ads promoting this fake number (the real number is about 1/40, which is more than bad enough) to fund either their own salaries or other political aspirations depending on who’s using the fake data. If the internet can find me a notable conservative belittling rape as a crime, please, inform me of it.

Regarding the “locker room banter”, Christian conservatives were consistent in being rightfully appalled and disgusted with it, just as they were consistent in being rightfully appalled in Hillary Clinton’s grossly unethical behavior. It’s easy now that Trump’s won to pretend those that voted for him did so in absence of a comparison, but that’s not honest or fair to Trump voters (I am not a Trump voter, for the record). Save for one, everybody I know who voted for Trump did so while mostly hating Trump, purely because they felt the alternative was even worse.

If that life is one day sent overseas to defend liberties here; separated from spouses, children, and parents and placed directly in harm’s way, you’re far more cavalier exposing its vulnerability and far less concerned about whether or not it is sacred.”

There’s a distinct difference between being Pro-National Defense and not caring about those who serve our country at their own jeopardy. Consistently, no group is more pro-veteran benefits and respectful for the armed forces than conservatives, this is shown pretty glaringly at nearly every conservative event ever as well as the military voting statistically around 2/3rds republican.

If that life doesn’t reside in the continental US or speak English and comes here fleeing oppression, poverty, and war you’ll never understand, you ask it to go back and “go through the proper channels”, instead of the barely sea-worthy makeshift raft or the stinking, stifling storage container it nearly died in trying to get here.”

He seems to be mixing his metaphors. Is this person a political refugee or the average migrant worker? Generally, the “proper channels” argument isn’t used for refugees. The VAST majority of illegal immigrants to the United States don’t fit your melodramatic description. For refugees that do, you’ll be hard pressed to find many traditional conservatives who want to turn them away……on the condition that they aren’t opposed to the fundamental American principles of individual liberty. Syrian refugees, the current hot button issue, have the distinct problem of containing both with us having no way to properly screen the difference between the two. As for the typical illegal migrant worker, I don’t see why it’s such a horrific thing for a law-abiding tax payer to expect his neighbor to also be law-abiding and tax paying. Illegal immigrants are by definition not the former which renders them incapable of honestly doing the latter. In either case, they don’t have anything to do with respecting their base right to exist, something the pro-choice movement denies.

From here, his article devolves into a list of generically positive things he blindly asserts conservatives must not care about. I won’t rehash the sheer ignorance all over again because he’s mostly repeating himself. There is one thing left worth paying attention to however.

I don’t celebrate when a woman terminates a pregnancy (I honestly don’t know anyone who does), but my advocacy for life also goes well beyond the womb, and includes a far more diverse swath of Humanity than only those who look, speak, or worship the way I do.”

He doesn’t know anyone who celebrates, but he certainly knows OF people who do. The biggest abortion advocates all treat it as something to celebrate. Lena Dunham (if you don’t know her, don’t google her. You’ll be sad) recently stated that she wishes she’d had an abortion. Naral and Planned Parenthood regularly give out buttons to people to brag about having an abortion. #shoutyourabortion was a trending topic on twitter. He’s better though right?  He advocates for life beyond the womb. He doesn’t stop caring or being empathetic towards people who don’t look or speak or worship the way he does. He CERTAINLY would never be an intolerant hateful bigot against anyone who disagrees with him on civic policy. Lies and slander to promote ignorance of his political opponents is beneath him.

 

 

HuffPo, White Privilege, and Intellectual Honesty

This morning I woke up and checked facebook and found an article linked by my Aunt in-law Claudia with the comment “Well worth the read.” It lead here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-i-said-when-my-white-friend-asked-for-my-black_us_578c0770e4b0b107a2415b89

I started writing a response in Word and when finished it was 6 full pages, so I dug out this wordpress account I made years ago to copy/paste it here because it seemed rather rude to dump that much on a Facebook post.

Claudia, I have a lot to say about this so please bear with me. Since her article is fairly long, my response is also going to be lengthy for a Facebook post. Anyone who’s interested but doesn’t want to read the bulk can skip to my final paragraph for my point without the supporting reasoning.

I would like to make sort of a disclaimer here at the beginning. You know me well enough to understand my intent, but that is unlikely to be true for your entire friend list. First, I’m about to discuss her personal experiences. I am in no way trying to invalidate them or say that she’s incorrect in her assertions. I am going to assume that her portrayal about her personal stories are all correct, and if any doubt arises in my analysis, she’ll get the benefit. The only point at which I’m going to openly disagree with her is in her concluding paragraphs which aren’t personal experience. However, I am going to be calling into question the specific way she presents her story and how I believe it negatively effects the black community, her movement in particular, and the critics of her movement. Please don’t confuse the two. Secondly, at the core of her point, I don’t disagree with her. Racism exists, black people suffer from it more than most, we should work together to fight it rather than be opponents. Where we disagree are in the details of specific issues, as well as what is and isn’t an acceptable approach to dealing with the problem. Again, please don’t confuse “She’s wrong about this detail” for “She’s wrong and America is a racial paradise”. Also, I’ll try and rewrite here as little of her article as possible for the sake of length. I’ll keep the order of her numbered points so if you want to double check to what I am referring, it should be quick and easy.

Her article starts with an open letter from a Facebook friend. This is notable in two regards. First, that her friend felt the need to write a letter in defense of himself in the first place. I make a note of it here only because it will become relevant at the end. Second, that he’s specifically asking for examples of “institutional racism” which is a very specific kind of racial argument currently being employed in the public square. It is very popular and being employed precisely because it’s virtually impossible to prove and requires no evidence to convince people to support you in whatever your goal is at the time. Absolutely zero of her examples qualify for this designation. The only one that comes close isn’t her personal story, but her talking about a date she had being harassed by police, so I’m forced to take it with a grain of salt because it’s hearsay, true though it probably is. As such, she’s unfortunately failed at her goal before she’s actually begun. Nobody who doesn’t believe in institutional racism in 2016 is going to be changed by these, because she’s changing the topic to something much more provable, individual racism. None of this is to say necessarily that institutional racism doesn’t exist, merely that these types of arguments support confirmation bias in her opponents. “ah ha!” they say, “None of these show institutional racism, therefore it doesn’t exist!”. She’s already being counterproductive to her cause by not answering the question that was asked.

She then gives a few reasons why she’s never really talked about these before. I don’t take issue with any of this, except for her assertion that (paraphrased) “I was taught by my community and society at large not to rock the boat or make a big deal out of it.” I assume this is true for her. Where I take my objection is that “Society teaches us X” has become a consistently used cop-out argument that never requires any evidence. When black conservatives like Thomas Sowell or Larry Elder come out and disagree with this assertion, they get called slurs like “Uncle Tom” or “Oreo” (white on the inside) and told they aren’t “black enough” as though their experiences are somehow less valid, again with no more or less evidence than the popular opinion in the black community. She’s not wrong here per se, it’s just not a phrase I think should be used lightly.

 

So, here she tells several personal stories. I’ll respond to them point by point assuming you’ve read them already.

  1. I’m willing to assume that she was correct that the neighborhood bullies threw rocks in her pool specifically because she was black. She didn’t give any actual reason in her story though for coming to that conclusion. Maybe there was more to the story that was cut for space, or the subtext was obvious if you were there. In any event, from a logic and evidence based standpoint, her story is “a white person did something bad to a black person, therefore it’s racism.” While it may apply to her story, it’s an extremely dangerous way to start interpreting stories where you don’t personally know anyone involved. I can say with regret that between the ages of 11-14 I was a jerk and a bully. Thing is, at that age I wasn’t a jerk or a bully for any particular reason. If you tried to find a rationality or commonality between the people I was mean to, you wouldn’t find it. So by what criteria do we assume these kids were being racist? Again, I assume that she’s right about her personal story but take this to a national level. When you read the headline “Officer shoots unarmed black man” by what criteria do you determine that the cop was racist or that he was just a really bad cop? Her story, while presumably true, is teaching terrible habits about reading in to the minds and motives of others.

 

  1. I have no problem with her story or how it’s told here, only her conclusion. Aside from only being an example of an individual racist act (which honestly might not even have been racist so much as careless or stupid at that age. I myself used words then who’s meaning I didn’t really understand) it’s a good point. The problem comes with “if you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.” The problem is this. I am white and I HAVE had an experience of finding myself hated for my skin color alone. The assertion here is that this is an experience that is exclusive to some groups of people, rather than simply more common with them. Very typically I find the term “white privilege” doesn’t actually describe anything unique to being white in America, but simply noting the advantages that exist in being the majority population somewhere. Throughout much of history, if you’re a Chinese family living in Japan or vice versa, there was a really significant amount of tension and disadvantage. This isn’t an “America” thing or a “white and black” thing. This is a “people” thing and a “Tower of Babel” thing. Again, this isn’t to invalidate her point but calling it “white” only serves to make white people defensive on the issue and black people to focus more on the color difference and cause hatred. More on that later.

 

  1. No comment here, other than as I’ve pointed out before, it isn’t an example of “institutional” racism and there’s nothing about this situation exclusive to being white or black. I’d go so far as to wager that white kids in Harlem or Detroit have faced similar difficulties. Still, she’s not wrong about her actual point that this is bad and happens so moving on.

 

  1. If you have a problem with people assuming that you gained your achievement through unfair discriminatory affirmative action, you should probably oppose unfair discriminatory affirmative action. I doubt she does as a black writer for HuffPo, but I don’t know so I can’t fairly make that assumption. What I can say is that white students losing their college spots to less qualified black students does in fact happen. Just this June the supreme court ruled in a 4-3 decision that it was perfectly acceptable to discriminate based on race in admissions to college so long as it’s white kids you’re discriminating against. This was in a response to a court case where a white girl was suing precisely because she was the victim of this practice. White people aren’t even the worst hurt by this. While the standard practice in affirmative action in college admissions is to count black applicants as though their SAT score is 200 points higher than it is, Asian applicants get treated as though their score is 50 points lower than it is. Is this because our Asian founding fathers set up an Asian system that promotes Asian privilege that needs to be corrected? No, it’s because the black community is a more important voting block to a major political party, so this injustice gets ignored. Does this mean it’s remotely fair to assume someone’s success is BECAUSE of their race? Of course not, and it’s clearly unfounded in this case. Still, when you rig the system in a racist and divisive way, you can’t be surprised when people get divided because of it. If you want white people to acknowledge the privilege they get in our society, I find it a little disingenuous when you refuse to acknowledge the 250 point advantage you’re getting over the Asian guy standing next to you. If that doesn’t qualify as a racial privilege, what does?

 

  1. Again, I’m willing to assume that she’s correct in her assumptions here of others’ motives and meaning. They are just that though, assumptions. Unlike Princeton, there actually is a well known second school called Harvard, and it’s relatively rare to meet someone going to the ultra prestigious one. Here, she is actively showcasing that it is acceptable to breed hatred in your mind over what you assume someone’s subtext to be. While she may have been correct here this is again a really unhealthy pattern to publicly model for others. One of the major reasons people deny that there’s a real race problem today in America, is that virtually everyone and everything that exists is getting called racist by someone these days. Some of the claims are valid. Many of them aren’t. Using our intuition as the primary determining factor guarantees that we aren’t taken seriously by many.

 

  1. We’ll set aside for a moment that Malcolm X was an utterly vile disgusting racist and it’s horrifying to me that people speak his name in the same sentence as Dr. King because they haven’t so much as googled what that awful man professed (arguing in favor of segregation and against peaceful protest because violence is better as the most mild examples that come to me). EVERYONE has to read authors they don’t relate to in school. How many 21st century students relate to Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure? None? I’ll assume this student said something else that confirmed there was anything remotely about race here that she just didn’t include in her story. Other than that, my only comment is that this isn’t white privilege, it’s majority privilege. If I took my family to live in Japan, my son Simon would have almost exclusively Japanese role models. Personally, I never understood this as a problem. I don’t feel the need to personally relate to a historical figure or fictional character in order to understand the message or enjoy it. Maybe it comes from being a Christian and spending my youth reading almost exclusively about Jewish people. In any event, the point here again is that it’s dangerous to assume too much in someone else’s speech. I don’t think finding a given biography unappealing is exclusive to members of different races.

 

  1. I honestly don’t think there were any racist implications here, just arrogant and narcissistic ones. Still, I promised not to question her personal experiences so she’ll get the benefit of the doubt. There’s absolutely no reason to assume anything racist based on the facts presented except that the cafeteria staff at the time was black. Though it may have been true here, this is a downright dangerous line of logic to present. As a general rule, people find racists to be intolerable in today’s society. Where people get away with it without repercussions is when it goes unidentified. So if we take this story at face value, the message here is that anytime a white person says something mean to a black person, we can fairly assume it to be racist in intent. If all black people thought this way, the ONLY possible result is for them to think that every mean white person on planet earth is racist. This has no alternative but to increase racial divides, as black people will then make faulty claims of racism, which white people will be defensive about, and then nobody pays attention when something legitimately racist is going on. Her story, while presumably true, is a horrible one to use as an example for her point.

 

  1. No problems here, the guy even admitted it was racial. The only problem is a point I’ve made before, that you can’t jump from “Black people experience this” to “white people never experience this.” I would be utterly stunned if similar situations never occurred with white people working abroad. People tend to be awful to each other, Bosses especially so. The term “white privilege” is one that will only serve to make people resistant to the cause.

 

  1. The hearsay story. The best point if true, the most objectionable if false, particularly in light of the recent skyrocketing number of attacks on innocent white police officers. When the cops charged in the Freddie Gray case, half of whom are black, are charged by a black prosecutor, under a black judge, with a black mayor, and a black city council, and people still label it racism when they’re acquitted, we need to be very careful with the accusations we make against police. Not much to say here, it’s relevance is entirely dependent on how much faith you’re putting into not just her story, but this nameless date’s. Do I think black people get pulled over for no good reason a lot? Sure. Do I also think that many black people use that to misinterpret all kinds of police actions? Yes, I’ve personally seen that many times. I won’t comment on this, because we just don’t know. It’s not directly relevant, but there’ s GREAT video on race here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piwaBO6U43U where white liberal (and all around great guy) Dave Rubin tries to convince black conservative Larry Elder that the police have a major racism problem. Elder seems the most well researched of anyone I’ve ever seen discuss the subject. (Note: I don’t agree with Elder on everything, so please don’t go assuming I do).

 

  1. Her story’s fine. Shoot, I’m a conservative. You won’t find me claiming the media isn’t ridiculously corrupt and built to push personal narratives rather than truth. The objection is to her conclusion. Having to alter the news to get to the truth is absolutely not a black issue. Virtually every group in the country needs to do that to some degree. Similarly, having to deal with vicious hateful trolls on the internet isn’t a black issue. Everyone from every group expressing any idea on the internet has to do that. Host a Christian website? Atheist trolls. Host a Packers website? Bears trolls. Host an Xbox website? Playstation trolls. The only way to avoid it is to write about something absolutely nobody cares about like…..pencils or something. So yeah, I believe her story and agree that it’s wrong but her conclusion tells me that she’s relatively unfamiliar with others’ experiences with the media or the internet.

 

 

So we get to her concluding paragraphs. She makes reference again to institutional racism, which none of her personal stories showed. She then makes the statements that I found appalling enough to write this massive response letter.

“we are excluded from the privilege you have to not be judged, questioned or assaulted in any way because of your race.

As to you “being part of the problem,” trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody.”

I’m sorry but……….what? This is so spectacularly, objectively, and provably false I’m kind of amazed it was said to begin with. I don’t even have to use my personal stories which can disprove all of these except for assault.

Let’s start with that first statement. White people aren’t judged, questioned, or assaulted in any way because of our race? Ok one at a time.

Judged- The author judged people for their skin color in at least 3, arguably all of her stories. Her conclusions that many of these problems were racial in nature were based ENTIRELY on that those who committed the acts were white. It’s disproven using only her own article. It’s incredibly easy to pile on more evidence. Just this past year progressive liberal democrat presidents of Seattle University and the University of Missouri were forced to resign. They were forced to resign because not caving into radical demands by minority protesters was assumed to be because they were white. (Why anyone would cave in to some of these demands, which include things like paid stipends to only black students so they don’t have to work while going to school, I have no idea). People assert all the time that the modern generation of white people should pay reparations for the crimes of white people in the past, regardless of whether or not their families were even in America in the 19th century. That’s a moral judgment based solely on skin color.

Questioned- Remember that letter from the beginning of a man in defense of himself I said we’d get back to? Why exactly might one think he felt the need to write it? He felt the need to write it precisely BECAUSE white people get questioned because of their race. That Lori here would suggest that white people don’t get questioned based on their skin color shows either a startling lack of self awareness, or outright hypocrisy. The very premise behind institutional racism is that we can look at statistics of representation in corporate boardrooms and such, and question who has those jobs based on the color of their skin. Her own worldview requires that this statement be false.

Assaulted- A little less than a month ago, it was well published worldwide news that 5 police officers were murdered by a black man who said he wanted to “kill white cops”. This statement is absurd on its face.

Then we have her other statement. That “Nobody is mad at your for being white. Nobody.” This is where I have no logical alternative than to call her character into question. It so astoundingly easy to see that this is not the case, that I have a hard time believing she isn’t just lying. It takes seconds, seconds, to search Youtube, or Twitter, or just plain old google and find a wide variety of people from multiple races that are mad at white people for being white. Shoot, Malcolm X, to whom she apparently relates, spent his entire adult life mad at white people for being white. A Youtube personality typically reffered to as “Black Hitler” exists. Statistically, a plurality, a majority, of black people consider black people to be more racist on average than white people. I’m not going to say that’s accurate, but the idea that NOBODY does is beyond preposterous to the point that I’m left with an unfortunate logical choice.

Either this woman is a deeply naïve idiot, or she’s a vicious liar. That’s it. Those are the options she’s left me with. The statements in her closing paragraph are so obviously untrue, and so damaging to overall race relations if taken at face value, that she’s either too stupid to see outside her personal experiences to the larger picture, or doesn’t care and is willing to lie to push her agenda. So which is it? Is the Harvard grad an idiot, or is the Huffington Post writer a vicious liar? It’s sad because really I don’t disagree with the core of her moral stance. Racism exists. It is bad. We should fight it. As soon as you start telling lies to progress your position though, you force people like myself who would naturally be your ally to speak against you instead. White privilege and institutional racism, regardless of whatever truth there is to the concepts, are being used across the country like a billy club. They’re being used to blame innocent people for moral sins they have not committed, and demand ludicrous and racist things like segregation (go read the list of demands of groups like Black Lives Matter or these student protest organizations. Even if you agree with their premise, their requests are beyond unacceptable). In this article she is denying that anyone, anywhere, is using the term white privilege in a negative way. That’s an immoral distortion of reality, and to say it only hurts her own cause. You were right though Claudia. This was well worth the read. Regardless of whether or not she’s ignorant or lying, this is a fantastic look into how bias shapes our views and damages our intellectual honesty.