Archive for Mind Games

IRS behavior and the Lerner problem

“Lerner apparently believed the Obama administration needed to do something to undermine the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, that wonderful pro-First Amendment ruling that drives left-wingers into fits of apoplexy by opening the door to corporate campaign contributions.”

Famously, President Nixon tried to use the IRS as a political tool but the IRS wouldn’t go along. Things have changed. Lois Lerner’s Lies and Cover-Up Revealed describes a Congressional report on IRS behavior about targeting right of center 501c4 nonprofit advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycle.

The defense against proper action on such evidence is awsome, unified, and horrific. Consider, as one instance, Elijah Cummings well publicized stunt after Lerner plead the fifth, again. Massive corruption, the abuse of political power, and other threats to proper governance are on display. The effectiveness of the defense will be seen and the prognosis is questionable.

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Reed thinks they are evil: delusion and denial

John Hinderaker wonders if it is A New Low for Liberal Haters. David Koch gave the New York-Presbyterian Hospital $100 million toward construction of a new outpatient facility.That effort has generated all sorts of protest.

“A rational person would wonder: if David Koch is opposed to affordable health care, why would he donate $100 million to a hospital? Won’t his contribution help to make health care more affordable?”
“David Koch is a cancer survivor who has given hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research and to improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases, out of love and concern for his fellow man. Liberals try to block improved health care because they are consumed by rage and hate. This episode tells you, really, all you need to know about modern liberalism.”

What is it that drives one to such self destruction.

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It is a country with massive natural resources in terms of oil and gas yet its citizens are suffering the plague of the left. SHTF Lessons From Venezuela, by CSR provides an inside view from the perspective of a survivalist. A survivalist is one who prepares for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) while the prepper is one who prepares for a week or so of natural or man made disaster disrupting the benefits of civilization. In Venezuela, it is the survivalists who have the edge.

“The news media here in the U.S. have completely missed the boat on the Venezuelan situation. Suffice it to say at this point that the conditions over the past 15 years have deteriorated so much that between one and two million out of 30 million citizens have fled the country. Violence has spiraled out of control. Some estimates indicate that during the period of 2003 and 2011(the same period as the Iraq war) the number of murder victims reported in Venezuela rivals the number of people killed in Iraq.”

“So the people of all classes now find themselves in a situation in which electric power is no longer reliable, blackouts are common, and diseases that were eliminated are returning. Inflation can run up to 50% per month, rendering the Bolivar fiat currency nearly worthless. Since the government had forcefully expropriated (through the Venezuelan socialist version of eminent domain) huge tracts of productive domestic livestock and then given it “to the poor” who didn’t know how to farm it, domestic food production crashed.”

CSR provides a number of observations from Venezuela. He notes that “foolishness is the norm in the faxe of slowly advancing tyranny.” It seems people have trouble realizing just how abnormal things can get. They want “normal” and expect “normal” and anything very far outside of that is almost impossible to imagine or accept.

Social Chaos can be a tool applied for the organized groups that want to prey on individuals. Once the social structure is torn apart and there is no organized social structure to enforce behavioral norms, smaller organizations from gangs to organized crime can act with near impunity and further terrorize the citizenry. The means that creative community defense is vital. This is where the U.S. 2nd ammendment debate comes in. Food, water, and power become weapons. Communications become vital to avoid panic and rumors.

“Faith is Key to Survival. I will wrap this up by pointing out that the majority of Venezuelans are devout Catholics, and their devotion to their faith has been inspiring. They have been far more patient and peaceful than I can fathom. In most cases, when their children have been murdered, they respond not with violence but with a peaceful gathering, holding open-air masses and prayer. Their faith gives them optimism and strength. Not surprisingly, because Venezuelan women are typically the ones who instill religious faith in God to the children, they are absolutely key to keeping the community morale high, and make up greater than 50% of the people marching. It is quickly becoming a nation of “Mother Grizzlies,” who are on the front line of the struggle.”

It should never get to that point. But it did. There are those who are worried that the U.S. may follow the same path. You can take the survivalist approach to be prepared. Perhaps better is pre-emptive action as that tends to be less traumatic and less expensive in many ways. It starts with politics. That means helping others understand the implications of their views. That means supporting campaigns and voting for political candidates who show an awareness of the problem. It is time to stand up rather than to stand down.

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About public accommodation rules

“When the hardcore logic of the libertarian freedom philosophy collides with the larger emotion-based responses to real world discrimination, arguments sometimes go utterly nowhere. There isn’t a debate that can be had when the two sides don’t even agree on what words like slavery and freedom even mean.”

Scott Shackford says Nobody, Gay or Straight, Has the Right to a Wedding Cake. “Rather than arguing over who can discriminate or why, look at what goods and services actually need government protection through public accommodation laws.”

The issue is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the expansion of its definition of public accommodations. In the process, topics such as historical abuse of property rights and the concept of the government forcing selected behaviors are mentioned. The emotional burden in the debate is described as clouding progress.

“Maybe instead of arguing who should or shouldn’t be exempt from certain public accommodation laws, perhaps we should be looking more closely at what’s included in public accommodation laws. That’s really where the wiggle room is.” … “What we should take from that is that perhaps our public accommodation laws are too broad. There is a place in the American consciousness that allows for respect for property rights and freedom of association even if it leads to behavior many agree is bigoted.”

The question is that of just how much one citizen must bow to the preferences of another. That becomes a more significant problem when one citizen is demanding behaviors that help him confirm the validity of what he knows is likely deviant.


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What was that about insane? Round the Koch bend for HR

“Reid’s delivery today was even worse than usual. In fact, he sometimes was so incoherent as to cause one to wonder whether he had been drinking”

John Hinderaker describes why he thinks Dirty Harry Reid Goes Around the Bend.

“But now let’s get to the main point:

I believe in an America where economic opportunity is open to all. And based on their actions and policies they promote, the Koch brothers seem to believe in an America where the system is rigged to benefit the very wealthy.

This is really what it is all about, and Reid gets the point exactly wrong. It is Harry Reid and the Democrats who believe in a rigged system that benefits the wealthy. Reid himself is a bribe-taking, corrupt politician who has gotten rich on, supposedly, the modest income of a public employee. His sons likewise are on the lobbyist gravy train. Reid and the Democrats are all about cronyism–to take just one example, sliding hundreds of millions of dollars in “green” energy subsidies to billionaire Tom Steyer, who is reciprocating with a $100 million campaign on the Democrats’ behalf. It is the Democrats who have made Washington, DC, the last boom town in America. Washington is now, by far, America’s richest metropolis. Why is that? It is because that is where Harry Reid and his cronies operate. The provinces be damned.

The Koch brothers, on the other hand, stand for equal opportunity for all. The free enterprise system, which they endorse, is the great equalizer. No cronyism, no preferences, advancement based on merit, not political influence. That system is what made America great.”

It seems there is a case of projection being described. That and the obsession with a constructed villain — contrast and compare to the issue with George Soros, for instance — should be enough to cause you to join John “to wonder whether he had been drinking.” And then there’s the crowd that sees nothing strange, what about them?

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Piety in Tinseltown

It’s the context, he says. Michael White is a student of early nineteenth century Americ and wonders Was 12 Years a Slave the best film of the year?

“It is not just the lovely clothes the Northups wear, but a lack of contextual information that might guide the unwary about how slavery operated in the America of 1841: the battle between slave and free states; freedom roads heading north; kidnappers like Northup’s assailants heading south with “runaways”, real or not. Steven Spielberg’s earnest Lincoln, with which it has been compared, makes the same mistake: lack of context meant you needed a degree in the period (I have one) to understand all that was going on.”… “we learn, McQueen and his writer, John Ridley, felt the need to embellish the text to reinforce their point.” … “You do not throw $1,000-worth of property at 1841 prices over the side of the boat simply because he has annoyed you.” … “The film’s depiction of relationships between classes, genders and spouses, as well as between races, also seemed a little out of kilter, too informal, too candid, too egalitarian; in other words, too modern.” … “what convinced me that the film diminished itself needlessly was in its depiction of Christianity simply as a hypocritical instrument of suppression, the Bible routinely cited as justification for enslavement in sermons to the enslaved. It was all that, but it was also much more.”

The modern propaganda recipe is all there. That is why “best film of the year? That smacks of piety in Tinseltown.”

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Don’t want to hear it. Shut up, I say!

Ed Lasky provides a catalog: Shut up, they explained.

“The Democrat-Media complex works to in effect silence conservative critics rather than engage their criticisms and debate the issues.  They employ a variety of programs and techniques to ensure that substantive points from the other side will either be ignored, distorted, demonized, or delegitimized.  Shut up, they explained.”

Then, as an example, is Robby Soave: Harvard writer: Free speech threatens liberalism and must be destroyed.

“In a recent column, Korn unambiguously insisted that the university should stop guaranteeing professors and students the right to hold controversial views and pursue research that challenges liberalism.

“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?” asked Korn in her column.

The column’s subtitle was even more direct: “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice.”

but wait, there’s more! … Consider the previous post about how noticing logical fallacies – a lack of intellectual integrity – was denied. Or look at the Mann v Steyn lawsuits. The phenomena is gaining notice. Some are calling it for what it is. A few are perhaps even fighting back.

The problem is that of cognitive dissonance. Honestly working through viewpoints that are not in line with one’s world view is difficult and stressful. The degree to which people will go to avoid such hard work and stress is absolutely amazing. We can only hope it gets to them before the results get to all of us.

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Inductive fallacies

Interesting. In the blog he notes that logical fallacy claims are becoming more prominent. Then he (Stephen Downes) asserts that the observations of logical fallacies are wrong and that awareness of such fallacies should be for personal feedback and not a part of dialog or discussion. He then cites his web site on logical fallacies. One should examine the section he titles Inductive Fallacies and compare and contrast to his own assertions. The ‘missing the point’ section might also be of interest.

The fact is that an observation can be a misperception and that can lead to a spurious accusation. That is why care is needed in describing what one observes. It is also why one needs to consider one’s own behavior when observing others. It doesn’t mean finding fault and then illustrating the fault in one’s own behavior and that is what the author of this fallacy dictionary seems to have done.

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Analysis of tactics

Cathy Young describes why The Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism and much of it is about the tactics in the debate that boil down to symptoms of psychological denial and defense.

“Myerson’s muddled screed might not merit a second thought if it his defense of communism was just a personal eccentricity. Unfortunately, toned-down versions of such whitewashing are fairly common not only on the left but even in mainstream liberal opinion.”

“For all the revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart. Just last weekend, narrating an NBC News segment on the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics and surveying Russian history, actor Peter Dinklage referred to “the revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.” That brings to mind an old-time Soviet joke in which a schoolboy asks his father if Marxism-Leninism is a science. “I reckon not, son,” the father replies. “When scientists do experiments, it’s always on animals, not humans.””

There is the straw man, the diversions, the nit picking, psuedoscience, and “other well-worn excuses.” The question is why it continues to plague society.

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Silence speaks volumens but sometimes time is needed to hear the word

“One might almost think that the antiwar movement was all about politics, not principle. That it was really an anti-Bush, anti-Republican movement. And that once a Democrat was in the White House, its purpose had been served and the protest signs went into the trash. There is precedent for this, as we have written before. The anti-Vietnam war movement, which also was celebrated by the press, wasn’t really a movement against the Vietnam war. It was led mostly by people who were not at all opposed to the war, but wanted the other side to win. The rank and file were not so much anti-war as they were anti-draft. On the day the draft was abolished, the anti-Vietnam war movement ended. Whatever you think of the merits of the Vietnam war, there never was anything noble or idealistic about the anti-war movement.

History may, perhaps, say the same thing about those who protested the Iraq war so passionately, but have been so strangely silent about Afghanistan.”

John Hinderaker is wondering what happened to the antiwar movement? He observes that these ‘anti-war’ movements aren’t really that at all but rather a ‘pro-enemy anti-U.S.’ political expression. Hidden agendas, socialism oriented terror and violence, and much misery and death, over and over again. When will we ever learn?

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Blame shifting, the California Drought, and the climate bogeyman

The IBD says California’s Drought Isn’t Due To Global Warming, But Politics. The President illustrates the point.

“His aim, however, is not a long-term solution for California’s now-constant water shortages that have hit its $45 billion agricultural industry, but to preach about global warming. Instead of blaming the man-made political causes of California’s worst water shortage, he’s come with $2 billion in “relief” that’s nothing but a tired effort to divert attention from fellow Democrats’ dereliction of duty in using the state’s water infrastructure.”

The fact is that a system of aqueducts and storage was designed long ago to take care of normal droughts and water cycles. Recent ‘environmental’ policy has been to set aside that system to promote a more ‘natural’ state. That results in misery and poverty as the $45 billion California agricultural business is laid to waste. That, in turns, leads to seeking out a bogeyman to blame the misery on. Human caused climate catastrophe is a much more comfortable excuse than ignorance and stupidity.

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Little (useless) cuts

One tactic for the phalanx of advocacy groups is that of death via a thousand small cuts. The 2nd ammendment brouhaha illustrates this. A Washington Times FoIA request reveals that Current background checks stop very few firearm purchases. Another recent story is about how minor cosmetic changes to an ‘assault rifle’ made it comply with New York law. Then there’s the recent 9th Circuit ruling against San Diego in regards to the rights to carry as well as own firearms.

The fundamental assumption that gun ownership is positively correlated with crime has been shown to be faulty but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on the phalanx. Making it difficult to own a firearm on the pretext of keeping the felons and insane from owning guns also appears to be a worthless effort – unless you consider hassling citizens in expressing Constitutional freedoms a plus. The assault weapons ban has repeatedly been shown to be meaningless, but that doesn’t stop renewed efforts time and again as in New York.

Then there is efforts to restrict ammunition types and access. On and On it goes. Results don’t seem to matter. Neither do effects or implications. That should be the biggest worry.

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The evil demon. Really?

Thomas Lifson takes a look at the Stuff Bush didn’t do.

“In the face of five years of Obama failure, the American Left still invokes the specter of George W. Bush as the all-purpose explanation for everything that has gone wrong. Yet the 43rd president is steadily climbing in public esteem, as his sunny disposition and serious demeanor toward the duties of office sit well in the public memory. So, too, his dignified behavior as ex-president brings credit.

“One good way to force the Left to confront President Obama’s own responsibility for his conduct in office is to compare his abuses of office with the record of President Bush 43, who was reviled by by his opposition as a dictator-wannabe, Constitution-abusing, moronic ogre straddling the line between simian and human. Doug Ross of Director Blue has produced an amusing comic-book approach toward explaining the differences between the two men:

This particular phenomena exposes the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy. The extremes are to place complete blame on one side or the other with the ‘both equally culpable’ as a supposed moderate, in the middle position. Integrity demands a better placement of responsibility for behavior and evaluation of the consequences and implications.

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Must call the lie out

“Nasty, brutish – and false – as was the Progressive assault on George W. Bush: e.g. “Bush lied, people died,” Michael Moore’s “Farenheit 9/11,” etc., was very much part of a free society, in which people freely contest each other’ view of reality. Alas, the Progressive ruling class is instituting a regime in which no one may contest what it knows full well to be false without suffering consequences.”

“This is the sort of thing that one expects from the North Korean regime”

“For ordinary Americans, calling the regime’s lies by their name, deviating from political correctness, carries far stiffer penalties, because the regime has labeled each such deviation as an antisocial pathology: racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, “denialism,”etc., any of which mark you as an opponent of those who count. They may fire you, pass you over, or just exclude you from that to which you wish to be included.

This is new and incomplete. But only in America. It is the very routine, the very constitution, of totalitarian society.”

Angelo M. Codevilla says to Live Not by Lies, quotes Solzhenitsyn as one who ‘been there, done that’ and has seen the consequences. The message is that dishonesty cannot be excused, ignored, or let to be without disasterous consequences.

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Recognizing the fight

Rick Moran: Dems Trying to Blame IRS IG for Targeting Scandal

“The Obama administration has well-documented problems with assertive inspector generals, so this kind of pushback is to be expected from Hill Democrats. It’s an attempt to smear the IRS inspector general and only shows how desperate the Democrats have become. It’s a hail mary pass that is going to fall incomplete in the end zone.”

John Hinderaker: America’s Latest Heroine Fights Back. The heroine is Catherine Engelbrecht, President of Engelbrecht Manufacturing, founder of the King Street Patriots, and chair of True the Vote. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she described what she experienced after filing for nonprofit status for the King Street Patriots and True the Vote organizations.

“The more we learn about the rot and corruption in the Obama administration, the deeper it goes. Obama’s misuse of federal agencies to target and intimidate citizens who disagree with him politically is the worst abuse of executive power in my lifetime, by a wide margin. We all need to fight back, at every opportunity.”

It is ugly. It is persistent. It is dishonest. And it is a broad front. Perhaps some are beginning to understand what they are up against, what we are up against, what the country is up against.

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FUD Mongering, Organic GMO

“Using scare tactics and propaganda campaigns, anti-GMO activists are trying to convince Americans that GMOs are dangerous — that they are some kind of “Frankenfood.” This ignores more than a century of evidence that shows that the genetics of plants can be manipulated safely to produce better yields, bigger fruits and heartier products.”

“There are plenty of issues America’s farmers and food producers can focus on to better mankind: increasing food production, reducing or eliminating tariffs that keep the food prices artificially high around the world, and finding better methods to provide food to those who cannot grow it themselves.

“Spending time needlessly arguing over whether foods containing GMOs must be labeled is not one of these most important issues. Rather, it is just a way to make the government a part of an advertising campaign intended to enrich a few at the expense of the many.”

George Landrith: Labeling foods with genetic fears – Shoppers wanting organic products don’t need new warnings.

If this keeps up, pretty soon anything you buy in a grocery store will have a little pamphlet of fine print like prescription drugs do. The effectiveness of such labels and warnings gets to be much like the story of the kid who kept crying wolf (wikipedia). The behaviors are characteristic: big, evil, corporate farming out to kill their customers, the common people, and so on. The fact that modern genetic modification is simply a new and faster way to implement the ages old tactic of breeding for characteristics is swept under the rug and anytime it creeps out, it is attacked with vigor and a plentitude of logical fallacies.

It is just another expression of the Left’s war on the impoverished.

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Fighting tooth and nail

Thomas Lifson says the Dems declare war on Inspector General uncovering IRS scandal. What he describes is a dedicated, unforgiving, no holds barred, effort of defense.

“The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges – in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.”

“Inspectors General are the taxpayers’ best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration’s  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his “they bring a knife, you bring a gun” style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.”

That tends to stimulate positive feedback, the artificially created fallacy that there’s no smoke so there’s no fire and what has got these Republicans upset, anyhow? The scary thing is that the Democrats are working as a solid block despite clear indications of impropriety that need to be repaired. Mass hysteria?

Also see John Hinderaker Barack Obama: The George Wallace of Free Speech

“Bitterly hostile to free speech when exercised by their political opponents, Democrats have done whatever they can to undermine Citizens United, just as they did decades ago with Brown vs. Board of Education.

“The I.R.S. scandal can best be seen in this light. The Democrats are using the levers of the executive branch, particularly the I.R.S., to deter Americans from exercising the First Amendment rights that were guaranteed them by the Supreme Court.”

A fear of inspection of ideas is a danger of magnitude.

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From entertainment media you’d think the entire population was mostly gay and black

Alan Caruba says it’s The Gay Attack on American Values. It would be one thing to ‘live and let live’ but that just isn’t enough for the minority.

“It is 3% of the population demanding that 97% toss aside their faith and their values to accommodate the aberration called homosexuality. And, yes, it is an aberration because homosexuality cannot be interpreted as “normal” in any species.

MassResistance correctly says “This is madness and should not have any legal leg to stand on.”

If the homosexual assault on values and practices that have existed for centuries in the Catholic Church and in other religious faiths succeeds, the whole of our society will suffer for it.”

It is a campaign of lawsuits and selective targeting. The persistence in these efforts is enough to make one wonder what would happen if that effort was turned towards more productive ends.

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A tale of compounding droughts

“The wages of both nature’s drought and human folly are coming due. Unless it rains or snows in biblical fashion in the next 60 days, we could see surreal things in California — towns without water, farms reverting to scrub, majestic parks with dead landscaping — fit for Hollywood’s disaster movies.

Instead of an adult state with millions of acre-feet stored in new reservoirs, California is still an adolescent culture that thinks it has the right to live as if it were the age of the romantic 19th-century naturalist John Muir — amid a teeming 40-million-person 21st-century megalopolis.

The California disease is characteristic of comfortable postmodern societies that forget the sources of their original wealth. The state may have the most extensive reserves of gas and oil in the nation, the largest number of cars on the road — and the greatest resistance to drilling for fuel beneath its collective feet.”

HANSON: A tale of two California droughts – water for everything but people, farming and commerce, it seems. The natural climate cycle and anti-human ideology make for two droughts.

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Reduce to the absurd and create a straw man

Rick Moran wonders: Is It Possible to Love the Artist, but Hate His Politics? in regards to “the culture clash over Pete Seeger’s legacy.”

“Communist activist and troubadour Pete Seeger is dead. The outpouring of vitriol on the right and hagiography on the left is entirely predictable and, with few exceptions, entirely banal. Turning Seeger’s death into another clash in the culture wars somehow seems tiresome, like two old boxers coming out of their corners for the 12th round. Battered, beaten, bloody, all they have left is the instinct to try to destroy each other. Whatever art and artifice they possessed disappeared long before the bell clanged for the last round.

Must we reduce everything in America to a right vs. left Armageddon? One longs for a more complicated, less knee-jerk combative analysis of people like Pete Seeger. Actually, there has been no one like Pete Seeger, and future historians will brush aside most of the shallow, venomous assaults on his memory — as well as the one-dimensional paeans that whitewash his execrable politics — and look at the totality of his life and judge his monumental contributions to American society.”

What is the ‘reduce to the absurd?” That is what you do when you assert a generality about an “outpouring of vitriol on the right and hagiography on the left.” Yes, vitriol does exist and so do hagiographies but that does not mean that those characteristics are symptomatic of the sides in the culture debate.

What is the ‘straw man?’ That is the creating of a battle where the outcome is a desire to “try to destroy” the other side with the “battered, beaten, bloody” boxer standing in for the straw man.

There is a call for context of the times but then there is a judgment — “at a time when companies were still hiring thugs and sometimes working with local police to physically assault strikers and labor organizers” — offered to ‘excuse’ communist leanings.

“His was an immensely consequential life. But what does it say about us that we judge that life based solely on the fact that we violently disagree with his politics? If a man is made up of many layers, do we, when the time comes to judge him, strip away the facade layer by layer and judge him in all his marvelous complexity and contradiction? Or do we take the one-dimensional track and declare him a failure based on his political beliefs?”

That assumes the extreme, that disagreement is violent and that political ideology trumps any other consideration for the general populace. There is no evidence that Seeger is considered a failure as failure is not the topic under discussion.

The need is for discussion that is not laced with logical fallacies. There is a need to balance the image of heroes with their own integrity and honesty in their ideologies – especially in matters of how belief and practice fit together. The tale of the Pied Piper is one caution about this. If we cannot examine modern day’s Pied Pipers without being accused of extremism, vitriol, and intemperance, it will be difficult to shed any light on avoiding the same fate as the childrem of Hamelin.

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