Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eyeless in Left Blogistan

I stumbled upon a delightful collection of bloggers in my travels in Left Blogostan, but alas, it all turned sour and descended into a crescendo of name-calling and aspersions.  They insulted me five ways to Sunday all the while insisting I was the rude one.

It ended as all left-right encounters seem to end nowadays.  They called me a nazi, but in an oh so clever way:
You wanna know what else I think, Fiddlestix? When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom! 
Why must every liberal inevitably prove Godwin's law?  Insults like this disrespect the memory of the murdered souls and their families and diminish the horrors of an historic evil.  Screaming racist, nazi and fascist at every turn trashes our language and liberates those words from their freighted, bloody past.  For this reason, I use "statism" rather than "fascism" to describe what our government is turning into.

This is what I think set them off.  I criticized the person who wrote the article they blogged about:

This article is lopsided, lefty skewed and unbalanced.   The author of this intellectually flaccid propaganda piece should be ashamed of himself.  "footnotes available on request" doesn't cut it.  Quigley has done the blogosphere a great disservice by crapping noisily in the echo chamber.

And I meant every word.  He plucked random facts out of all context to show how crappy things are here in America.  He cited no sources, saying readers could e-mail him for the footnotes. 

In return, the bloggers threw every weapon at me:  Attack the messenger, smear by implication, call me uneducated, insult my writing, put my sources out of bounds because they don't meet the lefty litmus test, control the dialog by mischaracterizing what I say, go off on any tangent to avoid discussing the issue...

My conclusion is that most people want to hear information that reinforces their world view.  Blogs serve such a purpose, and contrarian trolls are not welcome.

I was disappointed to see intelligent, articulate self-avowed liberals collapse into a klatch of indignant, self-righteous, dogmatic, scolding, control freaks.  All because a free-thinking libertarian stumbled into their midst and dared to suggest that there may be another side to the story.    

There's probably an ironic stereotype in there somewhere...

Here is the original article they posted, followed by the back and forth in the comment thread.  It's quite a study in just how prickly, dogmatic, and quite illiberal today's American liberals have become.

Socialism in America, or Much Ado about Nothing

Being called a socialist is the gravest, most wounding insult in America. Everyone and Glenn Beck knows that socialism is pure evil.

Or so Americans are led to believe, just in case they would get into their heads some dangerous ideas about social justice, equality and other such silliness. As it happens -- and not surprisingly so -- socialism, as defined by Tea Partiers and right-wingers, is none of those things they believe it is.

Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor atLoyola University New Orleans, looks at the 9 most pervasive American myths about socialism and debunks them, one by one, below (via ICH).

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and therich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual incomethan any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind
since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

Myth #4. The US is generous in its treatment of families with children.  The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low-income, or one of the parents is unemployed.

Myth #5. The US is very supportive of its workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers.

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of 8 paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers.

Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic
countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the
OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spendingon social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries inthe OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

Myth #9. The US generously gives foreign aid to countries across the world.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007 the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan.  Despite the opinions of right wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path towards socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies,our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

There is a version of this article with footnotes for those interested.

For dessert, a reminder from Noam Chomsky about what socialism is and isn't (mostly the latter):

And to round up our already rich meal, a quiz from inquiring minds at Ironic Times who wantto know what is so socialist about Obama, exactly:

Which of the following has prompted Republicans to call Barack Obama the “most liberal
President in our nation's history?”

A ) Calling for an end to the moratorium on construction of new nuclear plants.

B ) Calling for an end to the moratorium on new offshore drilling.

C ) Reforming healthcare along insurance industry guidelines.

D ) Escalating the war in Afghanistan.

E ) Ignoring abuses of power by his Republican predecessor.

Hint: Please tell us, we'd like to know.

Posted by Squilliam at Monday, April 12, 2010

Labels: Noam Chomsky, President Obama, Socialism


Here are the comments.  For clarity's sake, my comments from the exchange will be in conservative blue.  The lefties' comments will be in communist red.

To further confuse you, my commentary on their comments will be in parentheses in black text.

There was some random blather before I got there.  Fasten your seatbelts, it's a descent into madness.

Silverfiddle said...

This man has written an unbalanced, one-sided selectively aggregated or disaggregated (depending on his need) collection of statistics

The purpose of class warfare is so the ruling oligarchy can keep us divided so they can line their own pockets, not to improve the lot of the poor.

Infant mortality is not the only measure of healthcare quality.

We have the richest, fattest poor people in the world. If you have ever been to Latin America or South Asia and seen real poverty, you'd realize what a joke this is.

Only the Western European Poor are lavished with more aid than our poor, and our poor still have more luxuries (air conditioning, more living space, cars...)

#4 & #5 are a straw men. Nobody says that. It's a ridiculous claim.

I'd like to see the source on the social mobility unsubstantiated assertion. The constant importation of poverty via illegal immigration skews these and all poverty numbers.

"Myth #7" I love it! The author inadvertently admits that there in no correlation between spending and educational outcomes

#8 is obvious! We've blown trillions on poverty but the percentage of poor has barely decreased. The money must be sticking to community organizer fingers...

Foreign Aid?

Charitable giving was over $300 Billion in 2008.

"The United States gives almost 1.8 percent of our GDP each year. Canada and England are second with around 0.7 percent of GDP. France is close to the bottom with charitable contributions around 0.15 percent of its GDP."

You know what works every time to combat poverty? Work!

This article is lopsided, lefty skewed and unbalanced.

The author of this intellectually flaccid propaganda piece should be ashamed of himself.  "footnotes available on request" doesn't cut it.

Quigley has done the blogosphere a great disservice by crapping noisily in the echo chamber.

Why are people fleeing Cuba and other third-world socialist hell holes for the US, and not the other way around?

Why does the flow of human beings go from enlightened, superior Western Europe to the US, and not the opposite direction?

Apply a little common sense and logic, and this flimsy house of cards collapses.  We do agree that socialism is not the word for what's going on here.

It's crony crapitalist statism, brought to us by 100 years of bi-partisan progressivism.

Squilliam said...

You know what works every time to combat poverty? Work!

Ohmahgawd, SF... Where does one start? You're serious, right?

Sigh. Forgive me, but I will need some time to get over your response and will try to write more when that happens. You make so many unsubstantiated or half-baked assertions (including

the one about that flow -- imaginary? -- of human beings from Western Europe to the US) that it kinda takes one's (OK, my) breath away.

Meanwhile, maybe someone else can take a stab at it until I recover. Ay.

10:14 PM, April 12, 2010

Squilliam said...

First, SF, about your claim that the best defense against poverty is work -- it sorta sounds good, doesn't it. But it does not quite chime with (the American) reality.

Do you know people who work two or three jobs just to make ends meet and are always one paycheck away from destitution? No? I do. Work is fantastic and much needed, but work has to be compensated in a way that makes a decent life possible for families.

The purpose of class warfare is so the ruling oligarchy can keep us divided so they can line their own pockets, not to improve the lot of the poor.

---Yes, but that's not how the term functions in the right-wing pop culture. Class warfare is typically used to describe any resentments the have-nots in America may harbor toward the

rich, and any pretension they may have toward such ungodly aims as decent wages, affordable health care, etc.

Infant mortality is not the only measure of healthcare quality.

---Quigley does not say it is. In overall health care outcomes, the US ranks 37 in the world, in spite of spending over twice than other civilized nations on health care. Q has just brought up one index of health care quality and I strongly suspect he uses others as well in his full paper.

We have the richest, fattest poor people in the world. If you have ever been to Latin America or South Asia and seen real poverty, you'd realize what a joke this is.

---Are you seriously saying that our "fat index" (as it were) is an indicator of the wealth of our poor? Really?

There is such a prevalence of obesity in the US precisely because fatty, processed food is the least expensive and affordable for the poor.  (Wrong!  Rice and beans, an excellent source of nutrition, is ounce per ounce the cheapest food you can buy) BTW, I get irk when people preach to me about real poverty -- I grew up with often not having anything to eat, so I know a thing about it (which I doubt you do; not that I want to get into a pissing contest, but somehow I strongly suspect our experiences in this matter differ rather drastically). We were very poor, but guess what, it wasn't that bad, because everyone else was too. (We did have access to good health care and excellent free education, however -- and thank goodness for that.) Which takes me to your next point.


12:08 AM, April 13, 2010

Squilliam said...


Only the Western European Poor are lavished with more aid than our poor, and our poor still have more luxuries (air conditioning, more living space, cars...)

---The poor are lavished with aid...? I admit, English is my second language, but I'm fairly certain that the word lavished does not quite apply in this context. Care to revise it? Oh, well, on the second thought, don't bother.  (Quibbling over semantics to avoid the issue)

I don't even know how to approach this... whatever it is that you're trying to say here. (Notice the scolding, professorial tone?)

Luxuries, eh? Yeah, well, the poor in America have shoes, lucky bastards, and some even have a roof over their head (in fact, most of them do). And, OMG, cars, too, instead of horse-driven buggies. It's a real paradise. Why aren't they grateful, those SOBs?

Sarcasm off.

If you paid attention, SF, you would have followed up on the link (and book, "The Spirit Level" by Wilkinson and Pickett, I mentioned here earlier), which discusses relative poverty, not some arbitrary level of it, as the most damaging to social and individual health.

IOW, what matters most is the level of inequality, not absolute wealth or poverty, (she forgets that the man she is defending uses absolute measures of poverty!) which are impossible to gauge and meaningless, really. In a society where everyone is poor (like the one I grew up in, for example), it does not matter that people have no cars, shoes, or whatever we choose to focus on.

But in a society when some have 10+ homes, etc., while others cannot afford one, even though they have basic survival necessities, poverty is greater, felt much more acutely, and has more detrimental effects on all aspects of societal and individual health.  

(No shades of gray, just black and white:  The rich are bastards for having 10 homes and the poor are in abject misery with no way out)

#4 &#5 are a straw men. Nobody says that. It's a ridiculous claim.

---Is it really? 

I'd like to see the source on the social mobility unsubstantiated assertion.

---Sigh. First, Quigley offers his sources, but somehow you've dismissed them off hand -- you know, as those pointless footnotes (The ones Quigley failed to include.  So I’m supposed to e-mail him to get them?). If you want to see them, you should write to him -- I'm sure he'll be more than happy to provide them.

But what's more irritating, to me, is the fact that you are not paying attention, which makes me think, regrettably, that you are coming here just to waste our time. We've had this exchange not that long ago -- revisit our previous discussions and you'll find the sources on the social immobility in at least one of the threads. (Get your mind right boy!  or we’ll send you to reeducation camp!)  It's rather disrespectful that you'd come here asking that we (generally speaking) provide you, repeatedly, with sources on demand just because you refuse to follow up on them the first time.  (I never demanded any sources from anyone other than just now asking where the author got is social mobility data.  She must
have confused me with another troll…)

The constant importation of poverty via illegal immigration skews these and all poverty numbers.

---Other countries have immigration issues as well, yet their poverty levels are not as dire as ours.  (Once again, she is off in fantasy land with a nebulous statement.  What “other countries?”)

Enough for now.

Squilliam said...

P.S. I should have said in my earlier comment that I get irked.

Irk is the guy who lives in my basement (and I get him, too -- that's why he lives in my basement -- but this is beside the point).

Squidward said...

Squilliam, the debating style that Silverfuddle employs is called a Gish Gallop, which means throwing enough crap on the wall until something sticks (or stinks, as the case may be).

(That is actually what the author if this piece did. The psychological projection is stunning)   

Furthermore, his references are not creditworthy ... mainly conservative think tank stuff from groups like The Heritage Foundation, hardly an unbiased and objective source.

(Only lefty sources are worthy.  Some on the left would call that a "neat trick")

Methinks our friend Silverfuddle is a contradiction in terms. He pretends to hate corporatism yet quotes corporatist literature in defending his positions (or else he is being totally subversive).

Squidward said...

Squilliam, this is a wonderful essay and one the mirrors my thoughts exactly (despite what Silverfuddle says). I had similar thoughts when I wrote about the coalmine disaster in West Virginia last week:

“Vice President Dan Quayle attacked the concept of progressive taxation with this question:

“Why should the best people be punished?” His remark affords us a glimpse into a mindset where the richest people are considered “the best people” at the pinnacle of an economic, social, and moral order (source) while the rest of us are mere serfs and vassals for their self-enrichment. What profits the plutocracy is defined as “freedom;” what benefits middle-class America is derisively termed ‘socialism.’”

Lets look at the pro-business, anti-middle-class agenda of the Bush/Cheney years:

Issued a $1.3 trillion tax cut that benefits the top 0.1% earners;

Starved the government of money for social programs (and even proposed privatizing social security);

Put pro-business, pro-oil heads in charge of Interior and the EPA;

Cut R&D for conservation and new energy research;

Proclaimed an ‘energy crisis’ and framed environmentalists as the ‘problem’;

Freed coal mine owners from environmental constraints;

Loosened controls on levels of arsenic (a cause of leukemia) in drinking water;

Overturned ergonomic standards and worker safety regulations;

Defined labor as a comestible that can be readily outsourced; as examples …

How does Corporate America get away with convincing folks like Silverfuddle that these are worthy public policy goals? Consider “the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, the implicit submission with which men resign their fate to their rulers” (David Hume).

The same observation is made by Chomsky: “the more free and popular a government, the more it becomes necessary to rely on control of opinion to ensure submission.”

Let us not underestimate the power of the PR industry, bought and paid by Corporate America, to control the public mind. Yes, the PR industry employs shadowy groups like “Freedom Works” that organized hooligans to disrupt town hall meetings, and PACs such as Americans for Progress that astroturf Tea Party events.

Some contemporary attitudes:

80% - believe government is run for the benefit of the few;
80% - believe the economic system is inherently unfair;
70% - believe business has gained too much power over all aspects of American life;
20:1 – believe corporations should sacrifice some profits for social improvement [fat chance!].

Yet, many voters, especially conservative ones, are held in thrall by those corporate messages which state: Anything that benefits the rich is called ‘freedom;’ anything that benefits the middle-class is called ‘socialism.’ And the corporate PR industry has name-calling down to a science.

boob said...

Great post Squilliam.

The problem with the right is that they don't know the difference between Socialism, Fascism and Communism. They were too busy bullying and calling people names in school so they fell into the poorly educated category.

Silverfiddle said...

I don't quarrel with his thesis, it's how he gets there that I have a problem with.

This is cotton candy for big government statists who think paternalistic government solves everything. A great sugar high, but devoid of substance His real agenda seems to be show in a backhand way that our inadequate safety net is a detriment to our society.

That is debatable and he should have explored that issue further.

An objective comparison with Venezuela or Cuba is no contest. Living conditions are better here. Stats may show Cuba better in some obscure medical category, but look at the overall living conditions, and let's not forget the political prisoners.

Venezuela's moneyed oligarchs have been replaced by Chavez's kleptocrtic Boligarchs, the store shelves are bare, and their oil infrastructure is crumbling.

This type of writing, like Ann Coulter, servers no one. It is left wing porn. More useful would have been a comparison between the United States and Europe. They have more safety nets (and are more open about their statist crony capitalism).

Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.

Example: The infant mortality statistic. A little research shows the medical community generally attributes that to three causes: Inadequate pre-natal care, fertility drugs that produce octo-mom scenarios that often result in some babies not surviving, and Women giving birth at a later age.

How does this prove our medical system is not "the best in the world?" One could make the case that the government should provide pre-natal care for all. Throw in a ban on fertility drugs and prohibiting women over 40 from getting pregnant and the problem is solved. (I'm not advocating that!)

I'm surprised he didn't use longevity to further indict our medical system. Maybe because that has been debunked. When you control for accidents and murders (we are an adventurous and violent nation) we outlive almost everybody. These two factors have nothing to do with our health care system.

We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies.

Squidward said...

No offense, Silverfuddle, but your scholarship is atrocious, and I ought to know (MEcon, London School of Economics). Such statements as “cotton candy” and “left wing porn” plus references to Cuba and Venezuela (raised by you but off topic to this post)  (The post is about accusations of socialism in America.  How can mentioning Cuba and Venezuela be off topic?) approaches the hyperbole of trollishness. Perhaps you should read this Swash Zone article, HEALTHCARE REFORM: MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH FROM AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE, which cites the Central Intelligence Agency as a source:

“Has the most expensive healthcare system in the world reduced infant mortality? Not according to the 2009 World Factbook, published by our own CIA. The USA ranks below 45 nations: USA 6.26, Cuba 5.82, European Union 5.72, Canada 5.04, Switzerland 4.18, Germany 3.99, and France 3.33, as examples … In short, the most expensive healthcare system in the world is not making us healthy, wealthy, or wise.”

And BTW, longevity statistics (also furnished by the CIA) are similar. Your comment is devoid of attributions and substantiation to support your rhetoric. My suggestion: Do your homework, then get back to us.

Your comment grade: D- (and that’s being generous). 

(This is why I got my degree in science, so I didn't have to put up with this crap from arrogant liberal professors)

Rock Fish said...

For what it's worth in my entire life I have yet to meet anyone in these United States who believed anything remotely akin to 'paternalistic government solves everything'. 

And speaking of ideological 'porn', used in it's various incarnations that single overused, one size fits all cliche is the XXX of the right wing.

Mr. Crabs said...

Oh jesus, isn't it over yet?

"the debating style that Silverfuddle employs is called a Gish Gallop, "

I didn't know anyone else had a name for it. I always called it the Star Shell technique 'cause some part of it is going to fall on you before you can address it. but whatever, I'm an old man and don't have time to address a small part of it. Too many assertions, not enough time.

SilverFiddle, I like you but really. It's not fair to ask someone to provide references for a hundred assertions and provide none for yours. Do you really think we rank 37 in infant mortality because of those reasons or because so many people can't afford decent medical care. That's just lame. Someone tolld me it was because American women were too fat but these are excuses, not statistics.

It's easy to say something is "debunked" but we both know a political explanation with little behind it other than partisanship is more bunk than debunk.  (I  used the word "debunk" once and so did the author.  I guess only liberals are allowed to use that word...)

"We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies."

Yes, sure, but just what is a good business climate -- good for whom? That's what I mean --that's vague and deceptive and even captious, like the Republican attempt to blame the Great Depression of lazy American workers.

To me it's just another support of something really nasty "on principle"

We both know that job opportunities don't apply to someone who has no insurance and has to take care of a dying child or spouse. Nature and economics are ultimately cruel and uncaring and in nature and unfettered capitalism, life is only good for some and for a time. It seems you're on the side of "it's good for me now so why should I care" and would you be so happy with cruel nature when nobody is willing to make the smallest sacrifice to help you when you're old and sick or if your children are hungry? Yes, it sure as hell can happen to you no matter how comfortable you feel.

Why is it for instance, that in my youth we asserted that a young male had the responsibility to his country to go and die at the whim of the President, but we don't have the responsibility - any of us, to pay a small amount into a fund to help someone hurt, sick or disabled and unable to get one of those good jobs?

If you don't think we all need to help each other out at some times, we really are never going to have a conversation.

Sea Horse said...

Unhistoricized, false-individualist notions about unemployment are easily set aside with a two-word phrase: structural unemployment. At some points in the economic cycle, there just isn’t going to be a job for everyone who wants one or who has the requisite skill set.

Sometimes there is an excess of available labor chasing too few jobs. In such a job market, people who don’t find jobs aren’t lazy – there just aren’t any jobs for them to do.

Capitalism isn’t perfect. Surprise! I know that comes as a terrible shock to some folks – especially ones who bought all that ahistorical-as-a-squirrel free-market laissez les bons temps rouler hokum during the eighties, but it’s true.

As for the idea that the American poor are well fed, well, as I believe Squilliam pointed out, being stuffed full of junk food will make a person fat, but not healthy. Good food costs good money – it’s easy for those of us who have a few extra bucks (and some cooking time) to spare to follow Michael Pollan’s excellent advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.

But a lot of poor, harried people follow the desperate and ultimately fatal strategy of chomping down cheap, pre-fab high-calorie meals just to keep body and soul together. It’s better than starving, to be sure – but hardly a sign of genuine American affluence. Not to mention the horrible toll it takes on our health-care system: all those people with diabetes, heart conditions, and so forth.  (So let's get government into people's kitchens now...)

Anonymous said...

The real reason for the US having a higher infant mortality rate is because even when a child is stillborn or barely alive we do everything to try and save them whereas other countries do not due to less resources as in hi tech equip due to lack of federal funds. So we count those as being born alive as opposed to being born dead already.

Unlike Canada who has has limites beds for high risk pregnancy patients so they send them here.  Like they say when we have Univeral Healthcare where will Canadians go?

Of course the P can still come here for heart surgery as will people with money still have access to quaity care and the rest of us will be lucky to get the same.

Squilliam said...

I've put Irk back in the basement, although he was adamant about helping me write a response to you, SF. But then he saw what others have said already today, and I've managed to persuade him to disappear. For now.

So Irk-free (mostly), here is what I have to say to your latest comment:

I don't quarrel with his thesis

Oh, yes, you do, you say as much below.

This is cotton candy for big government statists who think paternalistic government solves everything.

Who thinks that? Quigley? Anyone we know? Like Rock Fish, I too have yet to meet anyone holding this particular belief.

His real agenda seems to be show in a backhand way that our inadequate safety net is a detriment to our society.

I don't think he has "real" and "pretend" agendas. He sounds pretty straightforward to me.

Not sure we are reading the same thing, frankly. And, btw, our inadequate safety net, but even more so our inequality, is a huge detriment to the well-being of our society and its individual members.

That is debatable and he should have explored that issue further.

It's been explored, pretty exhaustively. Once again, see "The Spirit Level," for one.

An objective comparison with Venezuela or Cuba is no contest.

Wait... What? Where does a comparison with Cuba or Venezuela enter here? How is it relevant to Quigley's points? You're the one introducing it, and for what exact reason -- to shoot down Quigley? You know that what's they call "straw men," right?

This type of writing, like Ann Coulter, servers no one. It is left wing porn.

You're seriously flattering Coulter, I'm afraid. She'd never make it in porn. Moreover, I also suspect that anything showing the extent of social injustice in the US would be considered "left wing porn" by you, which pretty much exposes YOUR real agenda.

More useful would have been a comparison between the United States and Europe.

Which is what Quigley does. So what's your point?

Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.

Pot, kettle, concern troll.

I'm going to skip your take on the health care stats and implied conviction that we are the best in the world, after all, in health care, since it's tiresome to repeat the same ol'.  (Skipping over what she can't argue against)

We help the poor by creating a good business climate so they can get a good job and take care of themselves. That is where true happiness lies.

I won't touch the true happiness. But creating good jobs via creating "a good business climate" sounds, again, like a reasonable idea -- except that in the American practice, a good business climate and good jobs for the poor are more often than not in direct opposition to each other, as you may have noticed. Or not.

As Captain stated, "If you don't think we all need to help each other out at some times, we really are never going to have a conversation." Amen.

Something else to ponder, since I've entered the religious territory (by accident, but still), is the Christian approach to social justice and work. You are a Christian, as you have said, so I suppose teachings of John Paul II would have some sway with you. I'd recommend his encyclical letter, Laborem exercens where he talks, at length, about the importance of combining work AND social justice as necessary for upholding dignity of all human beings.

Then, after you read it (the whole thing), we can get back to our conversation, which, I expect, should include, on your part, "debunking" JPII's socialist assertions.

Squilliam said...

I love Geisha, Squilliam.

And this, Captain, qualifies for a quote of the day:

It's easy to say something is "debunked" but we both know a political explanation with little behind it other than partisanship is more bunk than debunk.

There is often a very short distance indeed between bunk and debunk (LOL).

Squidward said...

No sooner does our friend, Silverfuddle, say this …

“Cherry picking statistics and selectively using information is manipulative, divisive, and actually makes people who ingest it dumber.”

… when he recites his own narrative based on self-described “free-market” and “libertarian” sources (as if such literature were scripture).

So where does Squidward get his facts? From the The World FactBook published by the CIA, which compiles data from the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, as examples … all liberal-pinko-communist-socialist-fascist-Maoist-Jihadi sources of biased, intolerant, and narrow-minded data. In other words, the U.S. Government.

So who is being manipulative, divisive, and making people dumber? Silvermuddle or me?

Curious to read what Silverhuddle says on his own home turf, I mudsquiggled to his weblog and found this:

“Liberals work themselves up into a purple rage, shouting red-faced rants, shaking their little fists … They have placed their faith in political charlatans instead of in themselves and God. That is a recipe for unhappiness.”

Gee whiz, thanks for telling me how I am supposed to feel or what I am supposed to think.

Further down the post pile, I found this ….

“So the slobbering leftwing wackadoos keep shouting bullshit into the echo chamber; a cacophony of hooting loons and cawing boobies exchanging hysterical calls into the dark night of ignorance… ”

For one who insists on unbiased, impartial, unvarnished, fair, and balanced research with unquestionable statistical validity, I found it surprising that he would stereotype all liberals with the same broad brush. (Wrong!  I did not stereotype all liberals.  She snatches a couple of quotes to make here point.  But in fairness I don't expect her to comb my entire blog)  Even worse, Silverbefuddle finds us humorless. HUMORLESS!

When I read this, I laughed so hard my camouflage flashed periwinkle green, ultramarine, and purple mountain majesty.

Silverfiddle said...

Quigley takes a defense lawyer approach. America is on trial, and the charge is socialism. He cherry picks a bouquet of facts isolated from any context to defend his thesis.

This is a great approach to defend a client, but it does a great disservice to those seekinga more in-depth view with some context.

If you want to unquestioningly ingest his writings, that's your right. I like to look arounda little and see what others have to say. Call me skeptical. I do the same to conservativeand libertarian stuff I read.

My only point was to point out that things are not so black and white, and there are two or more sides to every story.

My writing unscholarly? Egad! Perhaps because I am not a scholar, and this is not a term paper, it is a blog post written before work.
If you had mudsquiggled my blog the day before you would have found this:

"As many of you know, I've been traveling around the left side of Blogostan, engaging in dialog with the native liberals there. Some are sincere and articulate--but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

I did not accuse Quigley of inventing statistics, I accuse him of presenting them shorn of all context or balance...

Squilliam said...


Now THIS is just patently offensive. I, for one, am hilarious. Most of the time.

And cawing boobies? Tsk tsk. (A booby is a bird.  A member of the cognoscenti should know that)

It seems that our conservative friend comes here under a guise of civility, seemingly seekingopportunities for a reasonable discourse, only to go back home and smear us  with all the predictable (and some not so much) epithets he can muster, mischaracterizing and misinterpreting what we say to fit his preconceived ideas of who we are. Ay yay.

Say it ain't so, SF. Because if it is, it's just not nice.  (Oh no!  I've criticized liberals!  Horrors!)

(Now, having poorly defended this guy's piece, and obstinately refusing to even consider they may be other sides to the story, they really start attacking the messenger)

Squilliam said...

SF, you say:

If you had mudsquiggled my blog the day before you would have found this:

"As many of you know, I've been traveling around the left side of Blogostan, engaging in dialog with the native liberals there. Some are sincere and articulate--but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

And yet, under that very post, you cheer on -- or rather humorously(?) chide -- a commenter who suggests violence toward liberals, and side with another who calls them liberal leftist morons, while adding your own untrue, broad-stroke mischaracterization to an already offensive remark:

Most Rev. Gregori said...
These leftist liberal morons remind me of spoiled little four year-olds that just refuse to grow up.

4/12/10 8:05 PM

Silverfiddle said...
So true Reverend, which is why they look to the state as mommy and daddy.

TKZ: I'm glad you're joking. I'd have to see you on the evening news as the lib's exhibit A!

In your newest post, titled "Liberal Anger We Can Believe In," you include a doctored photo showing a purported (and made-up) angry "liberal" protest. Is this what passes for humor these days? Or is this really clever irony (since obviously the fake photo negates the title of your post and its thesis)?

(This from a group that is certain that all conservatives are toothless racist klansmen.  This from a group that routinely hurls insults at Sara Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and anyone else who dares to be to the right of Jimmy Carter.  I don't know how they do it with a straight face.  I do think liberals who look to the nanny state are childlike, and I am glad the Knowledge Czar was joking about punching someone, and I think that picture is damn funny--it is the apotheosis of the angry left.)

I hope you realize that your behavior, and that of your commenters whom you encourage in it, mirrors exactly those "angry, unhinged and vulgar" actions of which you accuse liberals. (Although I have shown no anger or vulgarity, unhinged or otherwise.)

And surely you can see, SF, why we would be skeptical of your intentions. You come to our house, as it were, acting sincere and seemingly willing to engage in a serious conversation, but when you go home, you mock and smear your hosts who, in good faith, took you at face value and offered you their hospitality and respect.  (This is control speech.  It's not enough I "behave in their house" I must conform to their standards in my own!  This would be valid if I disguised myself as a liberal or squishy moderate, but I introduced myself as a libertarian-conservative)

At the risk of sounding humorless, I'd say that this shows bad manners (and then some, perhaps).  (tsk tsk!  Scolding me to put me on the defensive)

Silverfiddle said...

I definitely don't consider anyone here in the "screaming lefty" category. I thought I'd already said that earlier. I don't like coming off obsequious.

It's a battle of ideas, my friends. Grammar, logic and rhetoric (sometimes overheated and over the top) are the three legs of the stool.

Once again, my point was to merely point out that there is another side to everything this man said, but I guess that got lost somewhere in the thread...

Silverfiddle said...

And yes, many liberals (outside this blog) are foaming at the mouth angry. Keith Olbermann's self-righteously indignant tirades are funny! Libs planning to crash the tea parties crack me up, and much of the slobbering hatred makes me shake my head...

Of course, you can find such things on the right as well, but others already have that covered pretty well. I'm no GIMP genius, but I thought the picture was funny, in a mad magazine sort of way.

Squilliam said...

It's a battle of ideas, my friends. That it is. But friends?

Friends don't smear their friends, or suggest violence toward them, even in battles of ideas.

(*Sigh*  Once again, I didn't smear anyone, and I certainly didn't suggest  violence.  Talk about a straw man!  They are in full bash mode now, the original thread is forgotten)

Let's just call it what it is: a waste of time.

Mr Crabs said...

Who let the troll in? "the reason is because?" Harry H. Krishna, is this the level of political discourse we have to put up with?

Now wait for it - someone lets a troop of shit slinging baboons in the door and now we're going to be told we're just so angry, we can't be listened to.  (but I'm the angry name-caller)

Why is it that people who write at the Kindergarten level think they have ideas anyone is interested in?  (But I'm the one insulting everyone)  No, Canada doesn't send high risk pregnancies here and none of the other shit about infant mortality has any basis in fact. The truth is that we have people going to Canada and Mexico because the Republicans defend the sanctity of piratical pricing and won't allow a free market - out of high principle of course.

This argument is supposed to be about facts and if it's headed toward another schoolyard brawl, it sure as hell isn't because of the "Libs" now is it? Made up figures, made up scenarios, infuriating and convoluted excuses and blind denial of history and all declaimed in arch tones and all lighter than an air filled skull.

Now -- shall I pick this swollen tongue cretin to represent all Republicans? Of course not and it's time to stop the annoying stereotyping of "Libs" and the attempt at guilt by association. As I've said, I don't know what Liberal means and that's because it describes nothing any more and is mostly just haughty condescending snottiness masquerading as argument.

Can we keep this about what works and what doesn't and what has evidence and what is simply 19th century conjecture masquerading as axiomatic?

Olbermann isn't angry enough and the public isn't angry enough at the seditious and dishonest America bashing that's going on and if anyone is trying to compare him to the gun waving revolution mongers, the outright liars or even to our scarcely human troll with his borrowed phony statistics they're going to be laughed at for good reason. It's a comparison that has me groping for a better word than 'pathetic.'

"but the vast majority just seems angry, unhinged and vulgar."

Same to you buddy. That takes a whole hell of a lot of nerve and some tunnel vision to boot.

It's not me or anyone else but the minority party on the right raving about birth certificates, screaming about the president being illegitimate because the Chief Justice stumbled when reading the oath or didn't salute the anthem or palls around with terrorists or is in cahoots with Pakistani terrorists and is planning to put Republicans in concentration camps and turn the army over to NATO and make the country defenseless and take the flag off AF-one. Democrats aren't running around in the woods with Kalashnikovs and talking about "standing up' to the government or carrying guns to political rallies. It's the Republican in the street and the rabid Republican news ravers like Limbaugh and Coulter and Beck and Bachmann and a dozen others. It's the same people who told me I was crazy and treasonous for talking about the wasted three trillion dollar war and the bill of rights and I'm sorry, I can't say enough bad things about them or stop being angry at the lies and duplicity they're ruining my country with.

Angry enough for ya? You don't know the half of it.

Squidward said...

Fiddlestix - "It's a battle of ideas, my friends. Grammar, logic and rhetoric (sometimes overheated and over the top) are the three legs of the stool."

Clarification: My stool has 8 legs!

These past few weeks, you have been accorded dignity and respect in this forum. When I visit your weblog, I read this: “slobbering leftwing wackadoos keep shouting bullshit into the echo chamber; a cacophony of hooting loons and cawing boobies exchanging hysterical calls into the dark night of ignorance.”

(Once again, scolding me for what I said on MY BLOG!  And it is clear I was not talking about the people in this blog.  Grasp at any straw, I guess.)

Have you accorded dignity and respect to us in kind?

Then you inform us that this conversation is no longer a conversation but a battle of ideas.

Rather revealing of you to change metaphors.  (Oh no!  I used a warlike metaphor!  Warmonger!!!)

You claim to covet your freedom and think all liberals are conspiring to take it away, and now you are declaring war on us. That speaks volumes to me!  (Quite a leap.  She's really grasping now)

You wanna talk about FREEDOM! In my universe, freedom is treating people with mutual respect, NOT treating them with derision and scorn, nor talking behind their back in terms that reduce

(she's off the deep end now.  This is where I first seriously considered she may have mental issues)

their humanity, nor using terms that reduce them to the status of pests and vermin. In your universe, since you regard me as inferior,   you would eventually oppress and then persecute me. Why? Because I don't attend the same catechism as you! Because I don’t express the same thoughts as you! Or the same group think as you.

The difference between your weblog and this forum is simply this: In my universe, you would be safe. In your universe, I would consider myself in grave danger.  (In her universe, I would be safe, as long as I sat in a corner, shut my face and ingested the politically correct propaganda.  See any similarities with the liberal luminaries and democratic party leadership?)

Yes, Fiddlestix, I feel downright disrespected and oppressed with your arrogant and condescending attitude.

(Sadly, she does indeed have issues.  Oppressed?  I was in the military over 20 years, and I really rode some people hard, profanity, violence, the whole 9 yards.  I never had anyone say I oppressed them)

You wanna know what else I think, Fiddlestix? When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom!  

(THIS pissed me off.  To be compared to nazis, the group that hauled my grandparents in cattle cars and put them to work as slave laborers, is beyond the pale.  She's unhinged)

Something for you to think about before you come back here again ... if ever!

Silverfiddle said...
So the self-righteous indignation rears its head at last...

If you don't realize that this is a much more serious insult than anything I have ever trafficked in, you are suffering from a gigantic blind spot:

"When I read this shit or yours, I hear the sound of breaking glass and smell the stench of burning flesh. So don't lecture me about freedom!"

You're right. I enjoy some overheated rhetoric, but that is sickening. You are right that I used the term friends too freely.

 Silverfiddle said...
People who indiscriminately hurl the "N word" make it harder for people like me to explain to my kids just why the nazis were so bad.

"Hey, the word gets thrown around all the time, it's a joke! You mean they were real?"

Also, screaming "racist!" at everything that moves has taken the sting from the word.

Good job...

 Squilliam said...
Hey, the word gets thrown around all the time, it's a joke! You mean they were real?

Yes, and they have consequences, too, which you well know, so it's surprising that you act as if you were exempt from them.

You joke about violence towards liberals, (Once again, I did not.  I was GLAD TKZ was joking about punching a troll!  And I said so!)  but when told how it makes the intended victims feel, you act offended. So whose blind spots are we talking about, really?

A mention of the sound of broken glass and smell of burning flesh that your aggressive "humor" evokes in people hurts your feelings, but joking about hitting liberals does not?

Where do you draw the line between heated rhetoric and what you call "humor," and genuinely offensive speech and actions? Hitting people you don't agree with, or just supporting those who'd love to do it, is OK, I gather.

Or maybe anything that you would like to do and say is OK -- because you do and say it; yet when someone else responds -- not even in kind, but simply stating how your "humor" makes him feel -- then your feelings get hurt. Curious, that.

Squidward said...
Squilliam, it seems the Fiddlestix can dish it out but can’t take his own crap when thrown back in his face. Fiddlestix regards liberal-bashing as some kind of joke, but I don’t find it funny when I read this:

On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the sanctuary of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church carrying a sawed-off shotgun concealed in a violin case. He opened fire on congregants who were watching the performance of a children's play.

Two people were killed and seven others were wounded, two critically.

In a four-page, handwritten note found in his Ford Escape. Adkisson explained why he targeted this UU church, according to Knoxville police investigator Steve Still. “Adkisson hated the church … "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.”

While searching Adkisson's house, Still collected these books: Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio personality Michael Savage; and Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

According to Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times: "One of the biggest contemporary ironies is that being liberal in the United States of America, home of history's greatest democracy, has become dangerous. That danger is particularly acute for religious liberals, as the recent tragedy in Knoxville demonstrated."

So Fiddlestix thinks I am being over-reactive (but has offered no acknowledgement or apology). I don’t think so!! Notwithstanding the assault on police officers in Pittsburgh and the murder of a museum guard in Washington, Fiddlestix can take his liberal-bashing and shove it up his ass. As far as I am concerned, Fiddlestix has become a troll on our beach.

11:46 AM, April 15, 2010

Squidward said...
BTW, here are SF's true colors:

Yes, we've been sucker-punched!  (Oh no! a violent metaphor!  I catalog the democrats' sniveling cowardice and lies.  How is that a sucker punch?)    

Rockfish said...
Interestingly Silverfidle's posts here are much better constructed than his rants at his own blog. Given the level at which you operate here at your Zone he's been forced to step it up considerably.

Things go downhill quickly at Western Hero. Not a particularly discerning audience.

(Oh yeah!  Rank insults!  And I'm the hating, impolite troll.  Remember?)


It started by me asking them to consider other information beyond their narrowly liberal view, and it descended to this...  

There's more, but it's not worth it.  They stubbornly ignored my point about how abusing certain words demeans the history they come from and instead accused me of being overly sensitive (again, the psychological projection is stunning).


Anonymous said...

It's OK, Silverfiddle. Sometimes it's better to be hated by morons than loved by them, especially when they're brain-dead statist liberals.

TKZ said...

You're a brave man for going there and challenging their ideological group think.
I didn't have to punch any liberals today, nor would I ever, but there was a group of Marxists at the rally feeling sheepish as they were confronted by multiracial tea partiers while holding a racially accusatory sign. Sucks to be them.

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks Anon. These particular bloggers are not morons, just narrow-minded and hostile to a diversity of thought.

I'm glad you didn't punch out anybody, TKZ. You comment was the source of their accusation that I advocated violence!

Most Rev. Gregori said...

I have some various videos posted on YouTube, and I get a lot of insulting comments there also. It seems that Liberals and atheists are incapable of disagreeing without being rude and insulting.

One rude and ignorant twit left a comment that didn't even address the video in question. All he said was, "Don't you have some little boys to attend to?"

Another smart ass wrote, "You don't know what the hell you are talking about, and besides, you aren't a priest anyway, you just bought a costume."

I have come to the conclusion that it is no longer worth having intellectual and honest debates with unarmed morons.

So, don't feel bad, if those on the left aren't insulting you, then you are doing something wrong.

TKZ said...

Then they accused themselves of being humorless. To me the thought of me hitting anybody is absolutely laughable.
I could never be like them. I'm not a yeller, a rioter, a violent person or an extremist. The left created extremism and now they're just projecting.
I'm exceptionally harmless. That's what's funny about it. It was the comparison of myself to the unhinged violent left that I found funny. Oh well... another joke lost on them. They'll feign shock, but a little lady like myself slapping a Marxist class-warfare inciter around like I'm his grandma saying 'get a job and move out of my basement you worthless leach' with a toddler in tow would be magic. And that's not me advocating violence. It's me making fun of the left for being a violent group in the first place. They started it and had to look to an obvious joke to pretend like they're above it. It's stupid.

But I do apologize for my joke giving them the nerf-grade ammo they foolishly attempted to use against you. I though "(j/k) ;o)" was enough clarification for them to realize that I wasn't serious. Obviously intellectual honesty isn't important to them.

Silverfiddle said...

I am sadly coming to the same conclusion, Reverend. All of you told me before hand that this would be an exercise in futility...

TKZ. They were just grasping at straws. Do not apologize for anything you said. We don't have speech codes here.

Ranch Chimp said...

Good Morning Mr.Silverfiddle!

I clearly understand your posting here. As you know, I am one who is voting democrat, I'm sure, and have actually voted republican most of my life, and mainly because, I actually feel that the "tide" has shifted so to speak.(Bush/ Cheney really disappointed me big time guy)I dont pay much attention on the Tea Bag thing, because I thought they had alternative thought's but seen none basically, I dont think dem's are the Saviour of humanity, just that they may have a lil more sympathy on the working lower income folk's which technically I fall in that category. I have also noticed that on many liberal site's, all Teabag group's are portrayed as "moron" or "stupid with extreme low IQ's" and other "talk", which is also just pop culture thinking amongst the left, because I have heard several teabagger's that spoke intelligent and brought up some VERY valid point's of concern and interest, especially on taxing, and spending by far, they seem to actually realize at least what is to come. Sometime's I feel guy that alot here on this internet is just a bunch of frustrated coward's who dont get much action in life and have to find someone on line to take their frustration's out on. Rest assured Sir .... that regardless if I politically agree with you or not, I will NEVER disrespect you in that manner, especially a man who has served this country. Actually some "leftee's" are just as "narrow minded" or even more in some cases as the rightee's they complain about, sad but true.... in other word's not really as liberated as they may fantasize they are.

Thank You Sir .....

Silverfiddle said...

Thank's RC, and I respect that. We have a good time here poking fun at others, as many all across the ideological spectrum do. However, I do not name call when debating someone, even someone I disagree with.

Your politics tends more towards the Democrats, mine do not, but I don't think any less of you because of that. Maybe it's because I actually pause to understand why someone would think differently than I.

Imagine how boring it would be if we all thought alike!

Snarky Basterd said...

Thanks, I'm now dumber for having read even a line of that ridiculousness (the lefty post, not yours).

You must have been bored to spend so much time with them. I pretty much learned a while ago that there's no use trying with them ... they'd just assume you stopped breathing than have a dialogue with you, once they find out you're not even remotely receptive to their attempts at brainwashing.

WomanHonorThyself said...

oy so sorry for u my friend..what tools!..have an awesome weekend despite it all!!:)

Leticia said...

Brave man! Went into the liberal den and survived!

They sure do know how to twist and twist the facts until it is a huge jumbled mess.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, well, it sure won't wreck my weekend. Woo Hoo!

Lamentably, I see two camps unable and unwilling to converse with one another.

John Edwards is right. There really are two Americas...

Arthurstone said...

"John Edwards is right. There really are two Americas..."

John Edwards is, as so often the case, wrong.

There area a multitude of Americas. Too many in blogoworld find it useful to describe our nation as liberals vs. conservatives but that is a beyond inadequate explanation for how the place really works.

There's an awful lot more than two camps.

As far as your 'treatment' (I speak only of those threads on which I participated) in the 'liberal blogosphere' you were treated with as much respect as you gave.

See you around Silverfiddle.

Endo_2011 said...

Glad to see you survived your trip. As I mentioned before, I gave up visiting the left sites long ago, as it only increased my level of frustration. I have absolutely no problem with people having a different point of view. Actually I welcome it. Unfortunately, in today's society, people use the anonymity of the web to say things that they would be afraid to say to others face to face. Face to face conversations are a much better option.
Last night, I had a very healthy discussion with a lib face to face, and we both agreed that each of us had a few points good points we should consider. Will either of us change our minds after the conversation, probably not, but at least it was intelligent conversation. I just wish we could find more of that here on the web.

Silverfiddle said...

Snarky: I'm afraid I've made us all a little stupider with this post, kind of an anti-intelligence black hole here in the blogosphere.

Arthurstone: Thank you for stopping by. I agree that it is much more than two camps, which is why I ranged out into blogs to the left of me. I see some overlap, and therefore hope that We The People can set things right, rather than 51% gaining control and imposing their will on everybody.

WMUR: I have perfectly civil face to face discussions many time a week. These are good people at this blog, this thread just got out of hand.

What really upset me was their refusal to even consider another side, and they even rejected my disaggregation of some of the data points. A stat is just a number. Unwinding it is where we actually learn something useful.

Arthurstone said...

Speaking of the 51% 'imposing their will'.

As the GOP said endlessly after Al Gore's loss in 2000;

"Get over it."

Octopus said...

Silverfuddle - (THIS pissed me off. To be compared to nazis, the group that hauled my grandparents in cattle cars and put them to work as slave laborers, is beyond the pale. She's unhinged)

For one whose ancestors were slave-laborers during WWII, I should think you would be more aware of and sensitive to the use of language when characterizing an entire group. I should think you would know something about stereotyping and derisive rhetoric (see David Neiwert, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right). Before you leap to conclusions and make broad characterizations, perhaps you should think first …

I too lost ancestors in the Holocaust, such as my great-grandfather who was an academic, a scholar, and a leading intellectual of his time; who was originally interned in Terezin and died en route to Auschwitz; that none of my relatives living in Europe at the time survived the war.

You see, Fiddlestix, you have no monopoly on such a legacy. I know something about the cognitive linguistics of propaganda and hatred (and either you have a blind spot or you are a very self-centered, self-indulgent person).

Furthermore, it seems this point did not register with you either: The murder at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, and the handwritten note of the murderer who enunciated his hatred of liberals. How convenient of you to gloss over this point. And here you go again … stereotyping liberals for the sheer pleasure and adrenaline rush.

If you dislike The Swash Zone so much, why do you keep returning? Why don't you just stay away!

You are also wrong on two other points. I am not unhinged (another derisive characterization) and … I am a male octopus, not a 'she.' I am the father of a career officer now serving at the Pentagon, and a grandfather. Don't make suppositions about people you nothing about.

Not very clever or scientific of you, this windy, error-ridden post.

Silverfiddle said...

Thank you for stopping by Octo.

I changed the names (and sometimes genders) to protect the innocent. I meant no offense.

Our dialog has coarsened over the years, particularly in the politico-ideological arena. No one group has a lock on "hate" or irresponsible speech.

Maybe you take my blog too seriously? I link to good things written by smart people, and I throw a few of my own comments in because I like to shoot off my mouth.

Perhaps you are too sensitive. Every tea party is not a pogrom and every rightwing blog posting is not Klan propaganda. Treating them otherwise, again, just diminishes history.

Why do I keep returning to your web site? Because I do have blind spots, and I'm trying to fill them in.

I hate slogging through liberal think tanks, although I link to a bunch in "Intellectual Ammo."

Lefty bloggers talk about what is bubbling up to the surface. I then go do some research.

The "Social Mobility" issue raised by Quigley is a good example. I completely disbelieved it when I first read it. A little research removed my doubt. I did find some research showing a brain drain from Europe to the US, but that's another story.

I will be blogging about this in the near future. I am not the stereotypical rightwinger you imagine me to be. I believe in looking at the world as it really is. I readily admit that if we are moving towards socialism, Bush got it rolling.

That doesn't make me a liberal, I am not. So, even "Silverfuddle" can learn something...

All I know is that experience tells me everybody has an agenda, and there are almost always two or more sides to the story.

Thank you again for stopping by.

Capt. Fogg said...

I don't suppose "lefty" is a name then? I do suppose that selecting one out of many and calling him "typical" is a dishonest argument and so I won't be using it against you, or going home and grandstanding to my friends and pretending to be the returning warrior, bloodied, but victorious ( and giggling a bit.)

You sometimes appear reasonable, but apparently that's only one of your faces. I have to say I'm disappointed to see you beating up on straw men while your peanut gallery cheers.

No, I'm not attributing it to you being a "righty" or a nazi or any of the things you wish I had said so as to add gravitas to the imaginative nature of your story. It's all just human nature and tribalism and a bit of ego and of course deep down, you know that.

Capt. Fogg said...

"It seems that Liberals and atheists are incapable of disagreeing without being rude and insulting."

Apparently it seems so to you, but then, since mockery and worse: mockery based on an uncorroborated false characterization by someone else is hardly the mark of a Christian or even someone more concerned with truth than self aggrandizement.

I really had hopes of a dialog, but this place really is about call and response preaching and a bit of gossip as well.

Really sad.

Capt. Fogg said...

"The left created extremism and now they're just projecting."

Well, well. I guess humor does have a place here.

Yes, there have never been any right wing extremists, Nero, Pilate, Torquemada -- LIBERALS!

Anonymous said...

I've known Silverfiddle for two decades now. To paint him as being a brownshirt is the most outrageous thing I've read on this blog!

While libs seem to have the reins of the Nation, they are losing on almost every front. They don't have good leadership or a viable game plan. Frustration, name-calling, and bad behavior are indications of this.

If Obama was intelligent and shrewd as a modern day Lenin, I would be worried. He's not. From a Sun Tzu standpoint, he has all the earmarks of the best enemy commander you could hope for: arrogant, misinformed, and easily provoked. His reign will be known for its mistakes and the reawakening of real America.
Now that's real Hope and Change! Thank you O!

- Hugh

Silverfiddle said...

Well Captain, for the author of such bon mots as "shirtless Joe from Snakeshit Junction" and "shit-slinging baboons" you sure take more than your share of umbrage.

I merely point this out. As I said previously, I think these formulations are funny, and it makes your writing interesting. I believe a blogger should take as much poetic license as necessary. It's blogging after all, not a college research paper. I don't consider "name calling" in a blog post the same as a direct ad hominem against an interlocutor.

As for "victorious grandstanding," I don't think so. First off, I was not victorious, and secondly I did not come back here and talk crap about anybody.

"Thanks Anon. These particular bloggers are not morons, just narrow-minded and hostile to a diversity of thought."

Ctiticism? Yes, but it's hardly granstanding or playing to the peanut gallery.

I offered an explanation, a disaggregation of the data, to explain why our lower longevity was not attributable to our health care system, and you guys told me to pound sand. Fine. That bolsters my assertion of narrow-mindedness.

Extremism is found everywhere, not just in rightwing Snakeshit Junction.

"It's all just human nature and tribalism and a bit of ego and of course deep down, you know that."

If you meant that as a general statement that describes the human race, then we agree.

Also, in my defense, I changed the names and wiped out the links exactly because I did not want to start some kind of childish troll war.

I am not a scholar, I am a lifelong learner. It took me nearly 18 years to get a bachelors degree. Believe it or not, I learn by interactions with those who do not share my ideology or world-view. Such interactions are bound to involve sparks and friction, but I think it's worth it.

I sincerely did not intend to insult anyone or to abuse a sincere dialog for the purposes of grandstanding.

If I notice you are no longer approving my comments over at your site, I will take that as my cue to hit the road and not come back.

William said...

Nietzche said: "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."

There is much truth to that statement. And I wish I had a fin for each time a leftist called me a Nazi. My default retort is: "How can I be a Nazi, when I believe in very small, limited government?" Attacks from these mental midgets have been going on for a couple of decades now. Many of the insults are from people who only judge by my looks, (I guess I look "Aryan" to them) and know nothing about my political philosophy. But to this day, I haven't received one question about what I mean with my statement. All I get is glazed over looks, followed up with "you're a fascist, man!" or the ubiquitous, "you're a racist!" And of course, "you're a homophobe!" All of this despite the fact that my best man at my wedding is black, and as a libertarian, my views on gays are simply, they just are. No more, no less.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah William, but I really thought I was dealing with a higher class of liberal. I really am sorry it came to this. Thanks for stopping by and please leave a link to your blog!

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