Fat Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pot, Meet Kettle


        A man in the grip of strong emotions says that "extremists" are all motivated by strong emotion.

At Length:

        I'm not sure who John Shirley is, but I came across an essay by him:

                What Extremists on the LEFT and RIGHT Have in Common
                        by John Shirley

        What all extremists have in common is the way they came by their ideology: via emotion. My thesis is that all extremists start with hot emotion, and add the cool rationale later. Their thinking on the "why" of the extremes they advocate will seem organized and structured and reasonably logical only because they have constructed it as an externality around their core reasons for their position. For many people, their reasoning is a mask, a disguise for the fury, the mindless emotionalism behind their extreme political direction.

        I have no argument in principle, but look at this later paragraph:
        Ask a neocon why he holds an extreme rightist position on National Security, or why he's so adamantly opposed to regulations designed to protect the health of children but remains hard-core against allowing abortion, and he will have a sort of maze, a protective baffle of reasoning set up to protect this hypocrisy.  Penetrate that maze far enough -- mostly we aren't given the time to penetrate it -- and we come to the secret at the core of the maze: it's an emotional decision.  They are angry about foreigners, about immigrants, about 9/11 -- that is the real source of their unbridled support of the Patriot Act and torture at Gitmo.  But to get to the simple, core motivation behind neocon thinking -- anger at anyone restricting their greed with environmental laws, anger at people who doubt the absolute authority of their religion -- you must get past the construction of self-serving logic, whether fallible or strong, that they've erected around it.

        Note the lack of definition of "neocon."  The first neoconservatives were people like Norman Podheretz and Irving Kristol, mostly secular Jews who had no particular religious convictions.  Note that no criterion for distinguishing either "neocons" from paleocons is offered, or any conservatives from non-conservatives.  Apparently, neocons smell funny, or wear distinctive clothing, such as an armband with a yellow star.  As for the neocon's political position, you don't have to actually ask him what he thinks — you know they all stick together.  Of course, the neocon's position, whatever it is, is "extreme," and "rightist," rightist being another undefined term.  Whatever these mystery positions are, we can assume that the neocon will be:
        adamantly opposed to regulations designed to protect the health of children but remains hard-core against allowing abortion.

        And, due to the reliably evil nature of neoconservatives, Shirley won't have to explain what these child-health regulations are, or what they are designed to protect against.  Most especially, he won't even consider asking whether they will work, or how much they will cost.  The regulations must be beyond rational debate.  They're for the children, after all.  They're "designed to protect," so they must infallibly succeed.

        But evil neocons oppose this beneficial regulation, because they are religious true believers motivated by greed, angry at foreigners, and thus desirous of torturing people, apparently by inflicting paper cuts with copies of the USA PATRIOT Act.

        Being in a good mood, I find Mr. Shirley's lack of evidence and failure to reason hilarious.  Keep up the bad work, John.  Your ignorance, factual errors, illogic, baseless assertion, lack of evidence, and sheer malice will help my cause immensely.

        But I must admit, Shirley is the superior of people like us in one way.  He isn't at all angry at the murder of 3,000 people on September 11th, 2001.  He confines his anger to people who refuse to share his politics.

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