New York Values

The Cruz item about “New York Values” is providing a good example of tactics, behavior patterns, and counter-tactics. The issue came up as a way for Cruz to highlight values differences between himself and the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Instapundit cites two essays that illustrate this. Alex Griswold says To All Those New York City Journalists Horrified By Cruz’s Jab: Get Over Yourselves. The other is Todd J. Gillman saying Cruz sorry/not sorry for ‘New York values’ barb. First, from Griswold:

First of all– and most importantly– note that Cruz points out that Trump himself said once he had different “values” than Iowans simply because he was from New York City. That alone ought to make the attack against Trump a legitimate one; the notion that all New Yorkers think the same is a vast oversimplification, but that is how Trump framed the issue sixteen years ago.

Two tactics are noted here. The first is the attempt to delegitimize the argument and the second is using the all-or-none fallacy to impugn the assertion. Griswold also notes the lack of consistency, lack of honesty, in the outrage.

The notion that it’s somehow outrageous to say New York has different values than the rest of the country is, to put it bluntly, stupid. No less than the public editor of The New York Times recognized this fact a decade ago, when Daniel Okrent said in a column that “of course” the paper had a liberal bias. He argued that the bias didn’t derive from any vast left wing conspiracy or intentional malice. Instead, he noted that the paper’s editors, reporters, and columnists were all New Yorkers, and they simply have a different “value system” than the rest of the country.

Countless polls have proven the truth of his and Cruz’s words. Generally speaking, New Yorkers’ political and cultural views– read: their “values”– do not resemble those of America at large. That’s not a good or bad thing (the same could be said of Liberty University), it’s just a fact.

What is also interesting is that Griswold is going to great lengths to join the equality brigade in asserting ‘neither good nor bad, just different’ mantra. The key item with values is that there are good ones and bad ones and much of the ‘rage’ in current politics is exactly about which values are good and which are bad. His description illustrates this. Folks in New York think they have good values and the rest of the country don’t — and vice versa.

Southerners and Westerners and Midwesterners have spent their entire lives shrugging off these affronts. But as soon as one person insinuates that something’s rotten in the Big Apple, the same people who guffawed along to all those NASCAR and country music jokes are aghast. Please.

Gillman describes the Cruz response to the hubub. It serves as an illustration about how to handle manufactured outrage based on a false premise (a.k.a a straw man).

Ted Cruz is sorry. He’s so sorry about taking a shot at Donald Trump’s “New York values” that he apologized six times on Friday — kind of.

This wasn’t the apology Trump and others demanded. But it did neatly lump Cruz’s main rival for the GOP nomination with the leading Democratic candidate, and the governor and mayor of a state and city Cruz depicts as a font of social and cultural corruption. It was Cruz’s way to finesse the fallout from Thursday night’s debate, which featured a running battle with Trump over whether someone born in Canada can become the U.S. president.

“I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who’ve been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking,” Cruz continued. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He went on in that vein for two more minutes, apologizing no fewer than six times to New Yorkers for Mayor de Blasio’s antagonism toward charter schools and police, and for the “crushing taxes and regulations” in New York City.

Cruz, in his lengthy faux apology, promised “good news to the good people of New York” — an election in which “people are waking up, and just like millions of New Yorkers, they’re fed up with policies that don’t fight for the working men and women of this country but instead further the elite liberal views that have taken this country down a path that is not working.”

In other words, treat the demand for apology with an illustration of its absurdity by providing a like response and, in the process, clarifying and emphasizing just what the debate is all about.

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