Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two more rules

The preceding posts and a couple of recent foolish attempts at having a discussion with a righty have prompted two additions to my growing list of rules of right-wing arguing.

#16 - You might call this the "Both Sides Now" tactic: If the behavior of some right-winger is undeniably bad, can't be explained away, airily dismiss it with "both sides do it," even if that means equating people wearing anti-war t-shirts to a Bush rally with people carrying assault rifles to Obama appearances.

#17 - This could be called "I'm rubber and you're glue." Insist, even in the absence of any foundation, that any criticism of your methods or tactics actually applies to your opponent. For example, if someone notes you're avoiding a debate, insist "You're the one who won't debate!" Faced with examples of right-wingers lying, reply "That fits you lefties to a T!" (This is related to the "You're the real racist!"-type argument cited in Rule #10.)

I want to add a point here, an important thing I mentioned along with the original list of rules but which needs to be re-emphasized. I frankly expect many of us have at some time or another used one or more of these tactics in the course of debate, especially if it got heated. That is not the point of this list, which I have very deliberately come to call rules of right-wing "arguing" rather than "debate." This list is not about tactics used in debate, it is about tactics used by right-wingers to avoid debate. To avoid actual, factual, engagement on issues and to substitute accusation and obfuscation for investigation.

It is, that is, a compilation of examples of the right's fundamental intellectual dishonesty.

Footnote: Sincere apologies for inserting Joni Mitchell into such an unhappy and inappropriate place but it's a great song and it was a good opportunity for the link.

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