Amillennialist contra Vox:
If Day’s argument is that Shapiro seems defensive, and that this defensiveness reveals a lack of courage, then that is the argument he should make. But the intimation of physical or moral defect on the part of his target is childish and inconsistent with Christ’s example.
Amil gets right out of the blocks with a blown reading comprehension test. First, that’s not my argument. Second, the suggestion of the possibility of a physical or moral defect is far from childish, it is absolutely necessary in order to admit the real possibility that the entire argument does not apply. Now, it was vicious, yes, because I’m quite aware of the fact that most people can’t read properly. But this is how we do it….
(When certain self-styled intellectual and moral experts engaged in ad Hominem attacks against Him, Jesus encouraged them to testify to what He said that was false. That’s still good advice, even to-Day.)
I doubt that Shapiro would argue that members of the military cannot use the term (and anyone who serves on the battlefield deserves the highest honors his or her fellow citizens can bestow); his assertion that the use of “chickenhawk” is “a leftist attempt to silence debate” is in most contexts today, true, which is the context in which Shapiro was making it. It is intellectually dishonest of Day to imply otherwise.
I testify to what Shapiro said that was false. His assertion is largely incorrect and is only true in the single context of conservative media commentary, which, ironically enough, features a high percentage of people who many on the Left and Right would consider to be chickenhawks. I took a poll of some of the most extreme right-wing people on the planet – in the last election, Bush came in third behind the Libertarian and Constitution party candidates – and 85 percent believe that the chickenhawk appellation applies to Mr. Shapiro.
And I note that if there is anyone less interested in genuine debate than the conservative commentariat, I have yet to meet them. Malkin was afraid to show even when she was called out in public and asked live on the air to defend her book. I doubt Shapiro has the balls to defend himself or his positions either. Hugh Hewitt won’t even permit libertarians on his radio show. Conservative commentators talk a good game as long as they think they’re dealing with brain-dead leftists, but they’re cowards for the most part. At least the lefties will show up and froth at the mouth for a while. Anyhow, the fact that leftists can’t debate properly doesn’t mean they won’t; you have to remember that to them calling names IS how you debate.
So, Shapiro is demonstrably wrong. My very willingness to debate blows his (and Amil’s) talking points-derived notion away. I’m right here… Shapiro and Lowry and all the other war cheerleaders know where I am. Shall we talk about the invasion of Pakistan? Or do you prefer Egypt? To quote our president, Bring It On. And what debate, precisely, is being stifled? From what I’ve seen, the left seems more than willing to debate the war. President Bush is the one who won’t answer any questions.
But it is dishonest to personally attack someone rather than expose the fault(s) in their argument. And neither is military service a prerequisite to having a valid opinion on the use of military force…. He was not writing of legislation regarding hypocrites, as Day jests. Now that’s silly.
I did both, so why the word “rather”? There’s nothing dishonest about attacking someone, indeed, I’d think the openness would be rather refreshing in light of all the fake Crossfire-style friendliness. An opinion is one thing, a call to action is another. Shapiro wasn’t simply expressing his opinion about the war, he was telling Americans what their duty was and what sacrifices they have to make. And Amil is right, Shapiro wasn’t talking about legislation, which is precisely why that argument was so phenomenally stupid. Why does the Supreme Court so often wrestling with questions of constitutionality? Why? Because it is the judicial branch! (In other words, it usually involves laws.)
An ad hominem attack is intellectually dishonest and therefore immoral. What is immoral is un-American. And Shapiro’s reference to the President’s daughters was in the context of the Left’s misuse of them. He was not misusing them himself.
Amil skips over the small matter of the First Amendment rights. And there is nothing intellectually dishonest about an ad hominem attack, it is merely irrelevant if it is not accompanied by a more substantive attack, as this was. Shapiro’s intellectual sloppiness appears to be rubbing off here, as the attempt to equate moral with American is a monumental failure of both logic and personal observation. Shapiro brought the daughters up as a red herring defense for himself, so my point is not only funny, but appropriate.
Name-calling is almost always an attempt to silence opposition or avoid debate (or to discredit the opposition in the minds of those who are easily deceived). That Day has criticized the War is the exception, not the rule, as most who use such terms have no real intellectually-honest argument to make against the War, they just hate President Bush and/or the military (even if it results in our nation “enjoying” the reign of the Religion of Peace).
Already dealt with this on the blog. Amillenial is only correct about the parenthesized bit, though he leaves out that this group covers 95 percent of the populace so it’s rather important if you have any interest in influencing them. Name-calling is primarily shorthand to harm the target for those casual observers, and the more accurate the name the more effective it will be. Given how panicked the chickenhawks are over getting successfully nailed with the name, it’s quite obvious that the label is both accurate and effective.
The country needs more intelligent, morally-sound young people who can string together a coherent thought. Perhaps he better serves his nation on his current career path. If Vox Day wants to play with words, he shouldn’t do it at the expense of someone who seems to be a decent kid. And liberal use of a thesaurus is no substitute for intellect.
I don’t think “coherent” is the synonym for “obvious” that Amil seems to think it is. If Ben wants to play with the big boys, then he’d better learn to think more carefully and choose his words with more precision. My column today was nothing but a well-earned spanking, perhaps Mr. Shapiro will learn something from it and begin rethinking his asinine calls for empire and sacrifice of liberties.
And Amil, not only do I not use a thesaurus, I don’t even use a spell-checker.