Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Five Questions

Here are five questions I hope the Democratic candidates for president, or indeed, candidates for any federal office, get asked over and over again before the 2008 elections:

  • If it looks in September as though the administration's Iraq policy is working would you support it? If not, why not?
  • Would you favor sending combat troops to Darfur to stop the genocide there? If not, do you believe we have no business interfering with genocidal tyrannies?
  • Would you permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons rather than employ military force to stop them? If not, why not?
  • If it could be conclusively demonstrated that lower tax rates actually stimulate the economy and produce more revenue for the government would you nevertheless favor rescinding the Bush tax cuts? If so, why?
  • Do you think that among the qualifications for the office of president should be experience with having actually governed and/or run an administration?

I'd love to see these questions asked, but they won't be, of course.

Maybe if you have a liberal friend you might pose them to him/her to see what sort of response you get. My guess is that the reply will consist of lots hems, haws and circumlocutions.


Racist, Bigot, Xenophobe

Ruben Navarrette, evidently unable to engage the arguments for sealing our borders, resorts instead to ad hominem. It's a time-honored technique for persuading the uncritical of the justness of one's own position, and Navarrette employs it deftly. He attacks not only the motives of those with whom he disagrees but also insults them personally.

In a recent column Navarette strongly suggests that opposition to open borders is due to racism and nativism. His evidence consists of surveys which show that Hispanics tend to feel that there's been an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment.

He also cites some of the hostile e-mail he's received as if this proves that the objections to the recent immigration reform bill were invalid.

He acknowledges that it wasn't "just hate" or only hate that drove the opposition, thereby cleverly implying that hate played a substantial, if not solitary, role. So that we don't miss the implication, he relates the story of a racist assault on a 16 year-old Hispanic American.

He finishes by demonstrating how he thinks political discourse should be conducted by essentially calling his opponents xenophobes, demagogues, and bigots. Nice. Never once in his column did he offer any reason why we should not seek to control our borders. He simply insisted, or implied, that those who believe we should are racists.

Should Mr. Navarrette ever decide to actually argue that our borders should be open, perhaps he'll answer the question at the end of this little thought experiment:

Imagine that Mr. Navarrette and I are neighbors. Imagine, too, that my children are constantly running into his house, breaking in through windows, jimmying doors, and availing themselves of his refrigerator, bathroom, bedroom, etc. Suppose that despite his complaints, I do nothing to stop this. So, in his exasperation, he decides to build a fence around his property and put secure locks on his doors and windows.

I am outraged. I call him up and demand that he allow my children to enter his house any time they wish. I point out to him that the children sometimes wash his dishes and mow his lawn. He should have the decency to allow them access to his home when they want it. I suggest to him that the only reason he doesn't want my kids in his house is because they're of Irish descent, and that his fence and locked doors are proof of his xenophobia and racism.

Which of the two of us in this little vignette is acting irrationally?


Higher Truths

The New Republic has come in for a lot of criticism for running anonymous reports which eventually turned out to be written by a soldier named Scott Beauchamp. Beauchamp's stories were alleged to be eye-witness accounts of various acts of callousness, coarseness, and insensitivity that reflected poorly on our troops.

The Left lapped it all up, of course, but it turns out that investigations have failed to find any substantiation for Beauchamp's reports and he has subsequently admitted to having essentially fabricated most of them. This is very disappointing for the lefties eager to believe the very worst about our soldiers and Marines, but one crest-fallen individual who goes by the name Artista merits special mention. Artista writes:

While Beauchamp's claims were not factually true, they illustrated a greater truth about the American military and the insidious effects that Bush's illegal war has one [sic] the troops.

This is perfect. It doesn't matter what the facts are, Beauchamp's allegations conform to the Left's preconceptions and prejudices and are therefore true in a more transcendent way. Artista's comment reminded me of an incident during the Clarence Thomas hearings when he was alleged by Anita Hill to have made a vulgar remark in her presence. No one could be found to substantiate Hill's claims of impropriety, but that didn't deter Catharine McKinnon, a feminist law professor, from intoning that the charges against Thomas didn't have to reflect any actual facts. They are illustrative of the greater truth that men frequently objectify and sexually harrass women. Thomas, according was guilty not because of what he did but because he was a male.

The far left worldview is completely impervious to falsification. Facts don't matter, truth doesn't matter. All that matters is that one embraces the Left's higher "truths" which serve as the Rosetta stone by which all of life is to be interpreted.

BTW, here's an irony. The Left is smearing the blogger who has done more to expose Beauchamp's fraud than anyone else. According to Hot Air Huffpo has dug up that this Marine was at one time a gay porn star and are bashing him for it. What relevance this has is beyond me, but apparently some lefty bloggers think his past completely discredits the guy's work. It sounds to me like some people are just trying to hurt the guy for the sake of punishing someone who doesn't share their "higher truth." Typical stuff.


Neuhaus on Dawkins on Behe

Richard John Neuhaus has an excellent essay at First Things on the odd decision of the New York Times Book Review to assign Richard Dawkins to review Michael Behe's Edge of Evolution.

Neuhaus doesn't say this in his piece, but the weakness of Dawkins' "argument" against Behe's book is telling. Behe puts the materialists in a real pickle. He grants that evolution has occured and then uses the evidence of molecular genetics to argue that it couldn't have occured through purely mechanistic processes. The Darwinians are left to show that he's mistaken, but they have no empirical evidence to support the claim. All they have is their faith that there is nothing other than mechanistic processes at work in the world. Since there is no God, or He's uninvolved in the creation, physical processes like mutation and natural selection must be the whole explanation for the diversification of life.

Dawkins offers little else, beyond copious insults, in his review. He sputters about Behe being a creationist (he's not). He scoffs that Behe stands against the accumulated wisdom of many Darwinian worthies (so what). He misrepresents Behe's argument in Darwin's Black Box (and also overstates the success of the responses to that argument), and he ridicules Behe for the fact that his colleagues at Lehigh don't agree with him (Of course, many of Darwin's colleagues didn't agree with him, either). The only scientific argument Dawkins musters is the embarrassing claim that the many different breeds of dogs proves Behe wrong, which, of course, they do not.

Behe doesn't argue that there's no variability among living things, rather he argues that there's a limit to how much variability can be produced by genetic mutation. This argument Dawkins steers clear of and for good reason. He has no answer to it except a derisive sneer.

Check out Neuhaus' essay.