A Confusion of Party

In the US, Democrats (liberals) and the GOP (conservatives) are confused. Liberals fear jingoism, patriotism and enthusiasm for the country, yet prefer and support big government. Studies show Conservatives want to belong, are patriotic, and demonstrate enthusiasm for their country yet they are the anti-government party. The Democrats affirm support for the “little guy” against corporate and government abuse (not unrelated … this weekend Mr Obama held a 50k per plate dinner in which he spoke (apparently not ironically) against income inequality. Those conservatives that doubt Mr Obama’s oratorical skills should note that somehow that was delivered and received without a pause or for laughter (or an expectation of same)). Idiots of course abound on both sides of the aisle, partisan flacks somehow manage to only remark on those on their side. Mr Schraub, old time blog neighbor, for example manages to notice dumb statements regarding Ebola from the GOP, apparently missing almost identical stupidity from members of his party. Democrats claim to support those without defense, yet a party de facto requirement is that to be a Democrat one must support abortion. A fetus is without question one of the most vulnerable points of the human existence. Conservatives on the other hand, struggle to reconcile their “don’t tread on me” with desiring crack downs (by government) on illegal aliens and enforcing restrictions on marriage. Liberals drive their big SUVs to “green” global warming affairs and lay claim to be the “party of science” (on global warming) while at the same time speaking out against the “dangers” of vaccinations.

The point is that the neither side of the aisle is the least bit consistent in either their choice of ideals or their application of same. So, this consistency thing, is it of any value at all? Is expediency and power for its own sake the only priority? Sides have to be taken so the party leaders divvy up positions on a first come first served historical basis? Must the non players be always forced to choose party and pol by principles of which is the “least worst”. Is consistency of principles possible?

So what next? Well, the task (for tonight) seems to be as follows, first is an y consistent policy/ideological stance possible? This might follow several steps, first can one make a “toy” internally consistent stance (the analogous Maths thing would be a trivial solution or an existence proof). If not, then perhaps the only solution is to follow Eastern church’s solution to doctrine in contrast to the Western (western tends to go by Catechisms and statements of faith, the East in place of statements patterned after law points to a large body of poetry as to define their beliefs). If a toy solution is possible, then the next step would be to search for a realistic one.  Then finally if realistic solutions are possible, we might try to find some realistic consistent ideals to which one might desire to hold for oneself.

One of the fundamental problems with “being consistent” and not contravening known features of governance is that there are tensions. Government is, currently, by definition “top down”, the government dictates to the governed. Yet, as Hayek pointed out asymmetry of information points to an essential flaw of the top down approach. In some sense, having any government at all runs against the informational asymmetry. But of course, having no government (as Hobbes pointedly assures us) leads to nasty, brutish, and short lives, which is not at all conducive to life, liberty, and the pursuit of eudaimonia (happiness).

(to be continued)

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87 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    At this point I think it is safe to point out that Tanner’s only deviation from his policy of euthansia is when it concerns the white American cameraman. I predict now that the focus is on two 20-something nurses that have a lot of public affection he will remain silent on his call to kill them all which belies your new attempt to paint this as a hyperrational man of science telling us a hard truth.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I didn’t call him hyper-rational. However the belief that 21st century government bureaucracies will fail is less irrational than the belief that everyone who disagrees with you is lying. You still need an alternative explanation.

  3. Boonton says:

    However the belief that 21st century government bureaucracies will fail is less irrational than the belief that everyone who disagrees with you is lying.

    How is this an either or? You’re showing your tribalism here. If God comes down tomorrow, offers to answer any questions you may have and he tells you yes indeed CO2 does cause global warming and humans are doing it and the costs over the next century will be very high, that truth would not tell you anything about government bureaucracies being good or bad. Yet you seem to think it does. You seem to think if climate change advocates are right about CO2, then they must also be right about government bureaucracies. Since you think you know about government bureaucracies, you think that gives you an answer about global warming. What a collossal logical blunder you’ve stepped in.

  4. Boonton says:

    And sadly since you care more about your tribal vision than reality, you miss the fact that most advocates of responses to warming are not relying on gov’t bureaucracies. For example, the key feature of everything I’ve been saying about pricing and about using either cap-n-trade or carbon taxes is to *avoid* gov’t bureaucracies trying to dictate how to control carbon burning.

    What do you, Mr. anti-Bureaucracy, offer in response? You’ve spent days now defending a man who supposedly doesn’t trust gov’t bureaucracies because he is a Republican but appears to trust the gov’t to implement a program of mass euthanasia as a preferred public health response. Instead of letting a market response find a solution you’ve advocated lifestyle nitpicking (glaring at people driving around in SUV’s). This is all a really sad end to what started out as a possibly insightful argument.

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You misunderstand, and sorry for not responding earlier as now you have two posts harping on a misunderstanding. The bureaucracy remark was regarding our response to Ebola not CO2 only. Not the Kennedy fantastic and untenable notion that all skeptics actually believe but choose to lie.

  6. Mark says:

    Mark
    I guess you’re tabling the “all skeptics are liars” and that nobody who says global warming might not be either as bad as y’all expect or even human caused are lying (and that it is apparently reasonable to ask that people who lie on the Internet should be jailed) .. because it is such a horrible thing to try to defend, eh?

  7. Boonton says:

    The bureaucracy remark was regarding our response to Ebola not CO2 only

    Are you kidding me? You’re telling me now that a man who wants the gov’t to euthanise Ebola patients represents being cautious about trusting the judgement of gov’t bureaucracy! Wow.

    Look Kennedy here is a red herring. At this point you can’t paint the two statements as anywhere near equal in terms of anything. While Kennedy’s statement can be defended, there really is no need too.

  8. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    The only defense of the Kennedy statement on the table that hasn’t been tossed is that he may be severely mentally deficient. Or he is envies totalitarian society, which is also basically insane.

    Let me try that … Look the GOP ex-chief’s statement here is a red herring. At this point you can’t paint the two statements as anywhere near equal in terms of anything. While the GOP ex-chief’s statement has logical flaws under examination (it’s a tweet), there really is no need too … as the Kennedy statement is indefensible.

    (added) Look, I’m not actually arguing one statement makes perfect sense and the other doesn’t. I think they are two of a kind.

  9. Boonton says:

    Let me try that … Look the GOP ex-chief’s statement here is a red herring. At this point you can’t paint the two statements as anywhere near equal in terms of anything….as the Kennedy statement is indefensible.

    You could try that, but no one will buy it. First off you presented the two statements as roughly equal. Second, no one believes Kennedy was either advocating totalitarian society or was mentally deficient (calling people liars is hardly mentally deficient, most people are liars). Third, someone advocating mass euthanasia with white patients mysteriously exempted is going to have a hard time being depicted as the less indefensible side in any attempted comparison.

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Second, no one believes Kennedy was either advocating totalitarian society or was mentally deficient (calling people liars is hardly mentally deficient, most people are liars).

    He offered that People who deny global warming should be jailed and the companies that say the same should be disbanded.

    What did he mean by that? You say he didn’t mean that “liars” should be jailed (as he is not mentally deficient). So. What did he mean? Your first suggestion was that he was mentally deficient. I’m awaiting an alternative, … your alternative apparently is that he didn’t say what he said.

    (calling people liars is hardly mentally deficient, most people are liars)

    He didn’t say people are liars. He said people who say different than him should be jailed. It is your assumption he believes that they are lying but when that means (as it clearly does) that he is mentally deficient, you demur by allowing he is not mentally deficient, alas that means he doesn’t actually think they are lying. Help me out here. What was he saying?

  11. Boonton says:

    He offered that People who deny global warming should be jailed and the companies that say the same should be disbanded.

    And as you pointed out such exagerrations are common. Hence if you feel that Kennedy was really calling for this can you point to any other evidence that would confirm your theory?

    And of course we do have this little problem with your initial statement which tried to paint these two as equal statements. Even if Kennedy wanted people jailed for uttering false statements that hardly is as bad as calling for people to be ‘put down’ (i.e. killed).

  12. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    And as you pointed out such exaggerations are common. Hence if you feel that Kennedy was really calling for this can you point to any other evidence that would confirm your theory?

    OK. If you want to pretend it was an exaggeration, then what we he trying to say (a question oddly enough I’ve asked a half-dozen times and you haven’t given a reasonable answer which doesn’t devolve to “he’s mentally deficient”)? Do you pretend his exaggeration isn’t actually, jail them, he’d prefer house arrest on people with whom he disagrees (and just taxing businesses which state things which he finds offensive)? Or what?

  13. Boonton says:

    Looking for a more detailed transcript of Kennedy’s actual statements but what is reported in the Washington Times (warning sign) by a reporter named Chumley (not really a warning sign but I find it amusing she shares the name of dopy guy from Pawn Stars) who won a ‘Robert Novak’ award for reporting (another warning sign)

    “I wish there were a law you could punish them with,” he said, in the videotaped interview. “I don’t think there is a law that you can punish these politicians under … [and skeptical politicians are] selling out the public trust.”

    This is looking quite like a mock aspirational statement (sort of like saying you wish you could put politicians in jail every time they lie….everyone knows it would be impossible to set up an impartial court to really try to do that). The fact that the quotes are heavily edited is also a hint that Kennedy is being purposefully ‘spun’ for right wing purposes (and of course a google search reveals the usual right wing echo/mirror chamber “Kennedy wants to jail us for speaking” etc.).

    So the only thing we have consistent here is untruth from your side. You seem to spend days doing everything possible to spin a Kennedy statement to the worse possible light despite a serious lack of evidence to support your view and days doing everything in your power to lie about a man whose called for mass gov’t murder to make him look reasonable. This illustrates tribal loyality among conservatives remarkably well. After all, you’ve essentially trashed your own reputation to try to save an almost entirely irrelevant political figure you know nothing about and have no reason to support other than the fact that he is a ‘fellow brother’ on the right. Loyality is indeed a virtue that conservatives tend to do better with than liberals but what is the cost here? You’ve sold out your own respectability, intellectual credibility, and general credibility all in the name of loyality. If it was just you we could chalk this up as an unfortunate character flaw on your part except this is a remarkably consistent problem for the right, not the left.

  14. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Uhm, you know the saying, when you’re in a hole stop digging.

    “I wish there were a law you could punish them with,” he said, in the videotaped interview. “I don’t think there is a law that you can punish these politicians under … [and skeptical politicians are] selling out the public trust.”

    Yah. Let’s see. He knows there are protections on freedom of speech. He just wishes there weren’t. You apparently (as is apparently a ” consistent problem for the left, not the right”, btw) don’t seem to see any problem with that. After all, wishing for the removal protections on liberty and freedom of speech is just peachy. This isn’t a good thing. Your “reasonable interpretation” of what was said was … says nothing about whether he thinks they are all lying or not (assuming he’s not insane or severely autistic he knows they are not) then … there is no reasonable interpretation you can make of his remarks.

    Let me ask you this. You say “you wish you could put politicians in jail every time they lie”. Ok, that is something someone might joke about. But saying “you wish you could put people in jail every time they disagree with you”, see this is not. This isn’t even a reasonable “mock aspiration”.

    I guess honest Democrats these day’s secretly want to propose doing away with all 10 of the Bill or Rights, eh?

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So, let me ask you the following (statement following slightly edited). Would it have been a non-problematic thing for GW Bush to say during the latter period of the Iraqi that “I wish I could jail every Democrat in Congress and disband all the companies that contributed to their campaigns who disagree on how the Iraqi campaign is being executed.”. You’d be fine with that. I won’t ask if you think it would be fine for Obama to wish he could jail all the GOP Congressional members, I figure you’d be on board with that (but I’d hope you wouldn’t be).

  16. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    How about “I wish we could jail everyone who thinks abortion should be legal” and your defense of me is that (a) I don’t really want them to be jailed and (b) that you know I believe that everyone who believes that abortion should be legal are all lying when they say that. Do you think that the points (a) and (b) are defensible? If not, why do you defend that exactly point of view in this case?

  17. Boonton says:

    Yah. Let’s see. He knows there are protections on freedom of speech. He just wishes there weren’t.

    “Ohhh, I could kill you.” Wait, I suppose that will inspire you to call the cops and report an attempted murder!

    Even if we buy your new reading of Kennedy’s remarks (previously you were saying they weren’t to be taken seriously), you still have a problem in that the GOP guy is advocating removing the protection against the gov’t having you murdered without due process! Wow. But then he did say he wanted to killing to be done as ‘humanely’ as possible.

    Ok, that is something someone might joke about. But saying “you wish you could put people in jail every time they disagree with you”, see this is not

    Actually I could easily see how people coudl utter both statements as a form of ‘mock aspirations’. Of course another rhetorical aspect of ‘mock aspirational’ speech is drawing equilivance. Kennedy could be asserting that what climate skeptics are doing is not morally neutral but are in fact quite immoral as they are contributing to harm. This immorality rises to the level of a crime in the rhetoric as a demonstration of how serious it is.

    People use this type of rhetoric all the time. For example, imagine telling your daughter “what you’re doing is killing your mother! Why don’t you just stick a knife in her, it would be more merciful”. Clearly you are not asserting that you would rather she knife your wife to death. Clearly you are not asserting she should be arrested and jailed for murder. Clearly you aren’t even saying whatever you are upset about is actually morally equal to murder. Yet you paint it as such rhetorically. “Mock aspirational” or “joke” or “don’t take what you say seriously” doesn’t quite sound right since if you said such a thing you would be quite serious…yet your meaning would clearly not be literal.

    Would it have been a non-problematic thing for GW Bush to say during the latter period of the Iraqi that “I wish I could jail every Democrat in Congress and disband all the companies that contributed to their campaigns who disagree on how the Iraqi campaign is being executed.”.

    I do think this would be problematic for an Executive to say just as I think it would be problematic for a cop or judge to joke about taking bribes.

    How about “I wish we could jail everyone who thinks abortion should be legal” and your defense of me is that (a) I don’t really want them to be jailed and (b) that you know I believe that everyone who believes that abortion should be legal are all lying when they say that.

    I would probably assume A. but I would also assume the idea you were trying to express was that wanting abortion legal is something seriously wrong. Maybe you have the legal right to want that, but it isn’t a mere preference thing like wanting Columbus Day to be an official holiday again or your town’s garbage pickup moved to Thursday. I don’t really get what you mean by B.

    Now if that was the only statement I had, I probably would assume A is the meaning. If someone said you literally want to jail those who simply disagree with you about abortion, then I would ask of them what I asked you of Kennedy, produce additional proof. If that seriously was your belief it should be easy to find additional statements from you that reinforce that reading.

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I don’t really get what you mean by B.

    I don’t either know what I mean by (b) as it is drawn from a parallel defense you had of Kennedy (to whit, you said “liars” (meaning those who don’t ascribe to his climate alarmism) are not actually stating what they believe but instead, do believe as he does about global warming, but for other motives (presumably bad) are lying about what they “actually” believe. This I held was akin to autism. You did, for quite a number of posts, hold that position. I was bringing it forward.

    Clearly you are not asserting she should be arrested and jailed for murder. Clearly you aren’t even saying whatever you are upset about is actually morally equal to murder. Yet you paint it as such rhetorically. “Mock aspirational” or “joke” or “don’t take what you say seriously” doesn’t quite sound right since if you said such a thing you would be quite serious…yet your meaning would clearly not be literal.

    Ok. Let’s go that route. He is saying this as mock aspirational. What you want your daughter to do is to stop doing that thing she is doing as it is driving her mother to distraction. What on the other hand does Kennedy want? He (apparently) wants those who disagree with his belief to shut up. Is that a reasonable request? I don’t think you believe it to be. I still see no evidence you might find Kennedy’s remark to be reasonable. You still haven’t found a reasonable interpretation of what he said unless you think, “I wish those who disagree with me would shut up and go away” is a useful sentiment.

    I do think this would be problematic for an Executive to say just as I think it would be problematic for a cop or judge to joke about taking bribes.

    Apparently you have the same opinion of persons who once upon a time held a position of influence to suggest euthensia too. Why that is unreasonable … remains a question unanswered.

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Sorry missed one.

    “Ohhh, I could kill you.” Wait, I suppose that will inspire you to call the cops and report an attempted murder!

    Yet oddly enough it is likely what I am doing is something you might reasonably wish for me to stop. Having a different idea about something is not one of those reasonable requests.

  20. Boonton says:

    What you want your daughter to do is to stop doing that thing she is doing as it is driving her mother to distraction. What on the other hand does Kennedy want? He (apparently) wants those who disagree with his belief to shut up. Is that a reasonable request?

    Who cares if it is reasonable? If you yell at your daughter she is ‘killing her mother’, presumably you mean that whatever she is doing is causing her mother a lot of grief. Is that fair or reasonable? Depends on what she is doing. If she’s doing drugs yea, if she’s dating a Jewish guy…well no that’s not so reasonable. But what you are NOT saying is that she is literally doing something equal to matricide…even though that is the literal meaning of her words.

    How would we know this? Well because we are humans and we have a lifetime of conversation context. If your belief was that she was literally doing something really equal to murder, that drastic statement would be supported by a lot of other contextual statements. This may trip you up if you’re an AI program whose trying to understand language by running through predefined definitions and grammer rules, but since you’ are presumably a human that should not present a problem here.

    Apparently you have the same opinion of persons who once upon a time held a position of influence to suggest euthensia too.

    Once upon a time? Do you have evidence that he has changed his mind about killing ebola patients?

    Here as I pointed out about context, we have multiple statements which seem to reinforce the view that he meant to be taken literally…we should kill people with ebola. The blogger you cited who said “let’s nuke Dallas” had statements in the same context which clearly indicated that was not his literal wish. Kennedy we are missing any context to reinforce the more radical reading and the reporting is suspect as it is a right wing source which put a lot of ‘…’ in their direct quotes.

    So simple rules here:

    If a position sounds strange, outlandish, radical there’s a high chance it is not meant to be taken literally but instead as exagerration, ‘mock aspiration’ or whatever you want to call it. So we should presume that such statements should be read with the less radical context unless other evidence can be marshalled to support the literal/radical reading.

    Some examples of evidence indicating the speaker is taking the more radical meaning:

    1. The speaker tells us he is to be taken literally.

    2. Speaker repeats the assertion multiple times.

    3. There’s not a very convincing non-literal reading (note for example your earlier attempts to assert the ebola comments were a joke or a plea for additional aid to Africa).

    4. Absense of phrases to indicate unreality (i.e. “I wish”, “Wouldn’t it be nice”, “Suppose”….these evoke the idea that the staement is taking place in a fantasy world rather than the real one)

    5. The speaker presents a reasoning for why the more radical meaning is, in fact, what he is trying to communicate (for example, with ebola the idea that there is no way to treat a single patient without creating at least 2 new patients regardless of precautions used).

    Some evidence that the statement is NOT meant to be literal:

    1. ‘Fantasy’ qualifiers (see #4 above).

    2. Speaker would be expected to be familiar with how radical sounding the literal reading would be. For example, Alan Derchowitz, famed lawyer, once wrote a book defending the use of torture by the gov’t. The fact that he is a lawyer who has done a lot of work on Constitutional freedoms tells us that he would know how radical it would sound to endorse legalized torture…hence the fact that he wrote a whole book explaining himself indicates he meant to be taken literally.

    3. Non-literal readings make plausible sense.

    Since the presumption is in favor of not taking it literally, supporting evidence is not needed to maintain a non-literal reading. For example, the ‘let’s nuke Dallas’ statement doesn’t quite follow into a sensible non-liberal reading….nuking Dallas sounds like someone is trying to say something like “let’s not go overboard with quarantines and so on” but the additional comments he made were about ‘the system’ blaming nurses and dodging accountability.

    I don’t think you’ve presented sufficient evidence that Kennedy’s statement should be read literally.

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Who cares if it is reasonable?

    That is the crux. The question is your statement reasonable. If you say your daughter is “killing your wife” and she is doing something benign or innocuous … or if you are complaining about something which bothers you and not your wife, then your statement is unwarranted. Your request to change your daughter’s behavior is not a reasonable request. If on the other hand she is doing something wrong or truly annoying, then it is a reasonable statement.

    You’ve pointed out that the GOP (I forgot his name) former leader said something unreasonable. I’m willing to grant you that, because Mr Kennedy also said something unreasonable. You’ve established he’s making a mock exaggeration for effect, we’ve used various terms for it. But the underlying message is unreasonable. He wishes to silence those with whom he disagrees. This is not a reasonable desire (akin to your request through analogy or exaggeration that your daughter refrain from what she is doing is judged based on the reasonableness of the underlying request).

    I don’t think you’ve presented sufficient evidence that Kennedy’s statement should be read literally.

    I agree. What I don’t see is how you think the underlying message he is trying to convey is at all reasonable. So I’m repeatedly asking for what you think he said. I’m pointing out that the non-literal request is unreasonable and horrific. He desires those with whom he disagree with should shut up. You said it’s because he thinks they are lying. This is even more unreasonable (we’ve established it’s either wrong or a sign of severe mental deficiency). You have yet to offer the (allegedly) reasonable. Apply your preferred hermeneutic. Tell me what you think he meant when he said that. Your first response (recall) was that he thinks all who disagree with him on climate are liars. This has been set aside as incorrect. You have not offered an alternative. I’ve suggested he “wants them to shut up” which is why I made allusions to wishing everyone against abortion should “shut up” and whether you think that is a reasonable thing to offer in a public interview or speech as well (with abortion) I reminded you of your original hermeneutic in which you suggested that he thinks those who differ in view are lying by asking of you think all pro-abortion activists are lying (they really believe that abortion is evil but they say it is necessary because of personal ulterior motives … in the way you suggested Kennedy thought climate alarmist dissenters are lying and why).

    Actually (as you probably know) the “nuke Dallas from orbit” was a movie quote from Aliens. One possible message from the movie quote is to figure out who the speaker would identify as the corporate dweeb and that as in the movie, perhaps the situation is likely to get far worse before this blows over ultimately.

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Oops. One more thing.

    Once upon a time?

    Uhm, the “once upon a time” refers to the point that he is not at present in any official position. He is a former state GOP leader. Once upon a time (formerly) he was a state GOP leader. Not currently.

  23. Boonton says:

    Your request to change your daughter’s behavior is not a reasonable request. If on the other hand she is doing something wrong or truly annoying, then it is a reasonable statement.

    Yes but whether the speaker is reasonable or unreasonable, right or wrong to be giving his daughter a hard time, the fact is he almost certainly does not mean she is literally doing something that is equal to killing her mother.

    You’ve pointed out that the GOP (I forgot his name) former leader said something unreasonable. I’m willing to grant you that, because Mr Kennedy also said something unreasonable.

    Misplaced tribalism here. Did GOP guy say something unreasonable or not? Why do you need to find a counterpart from ‘the other side’ before you’re willing to grant that? Imagine if a jury member said “I won’t convict a black person for murder unless I’m assured on the same day there’s a white person who is also convicted for murder”….

    You’ve established he’s making a mock exaggeration for effect, we’ve used various terms for it. But the underlying message is unreasonable. He wishes to silence those with whom he disagrees.

    Or he wishes they would be silent? Or at least more honest? Or maybe no one pays attention to them regardless of how loudly they speak? If you are now admitting that he probably didn’t mean he literally wanted laws against them I’m unclear what you now mean by the verb ‘to silence’? If he doesn’t want force or laws used against them then he really isn’t silencing them since success on his part would require voluntary cooporation from them or others.

    What I don’t see is how you think the underlying message he is trying to convey is at all reasonable. So I’m repeatedly asking for what you think he said. I’m pointing out that the non-literal request is unreasonable and horrific.

    Errr no it isn’t. Go back to the ‘killing your mother line’ and imagine the speaker is saying it because she is dating a Jew (and he doesn’t like that sort of thing). Wrong, stupid, incorrect, yes I agree and in that sense you can also say unreasonable. But horrific?

    Well suppose the guy has another daughter who actually kills her mother and he literally is no more upset with that one…he literally finds himself equally upset with both his daughters! That IMO would be pretty horrific and would cross the line from just being wrong to being something else.

    You however have just admitted again Kennedy was probably not being literal. So you can’t have your cake and eat it too by pretending nonetheless a wish that some advocates would ‘shut up’ is equal to a literal wish to shut them up with law.

    I’ve suggested he “wants them to shut up” which is why I made allusions to wishing everyone against abortion should “shut up” and whether you think that is a reasonable thing to offer in a public interview or speech as well

    Well again there’s a world of difference between a law banning speech for or against legal abortion and saying something like “I wish those people would just shut up about X”. Granted the latter is usually not of great rhetorical value in a debate or speech but rhetoric is a bit like sports, players fumble the ball quite often and that’s hardly remarkable.

    Actually (as you probably know) the “nuke Dallas from orbit” was a movie quote from Aliens. One possible message from the movie quote is to figure out who the speaker would identify as the corporate dweeb and that as in the movie, perhaps the situation is likely to get far worse before this blows over ultimately.

    Good catch, I missed that possible meaning.

  24. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Or he wishes they would be silent? Or at least more honest? Or maybe no one pays attention to them regardless of how loudly they speak? If you are now admitting that he probably didn’t mean he literally wanted laws against them I’m unclear what you now mean by the verb ‘to silence’? If he doesn’t want force or laws used against them then he really isn’t silencing them since success on his part would require voluntary cooporation from them or others.

    Uhm. Ok. I say “I wish I could jail everyone who utters a pro-abortion statement”. This is exaggeration. It is however, not reasonably a request for those who are pro-abortion of their own free will to shut up. What is this request? How to read it?

    Or he wishes they would be silent?

    Not likely. As noted, this requires action on their part when the exaggerated phrase indicates action by other than those speaking.

    Or at least more honest?

    As noted, this is the autism route, and has been rejected.

    Or maybe no one pays attention to them regardless of how loudly they speak?

    I see. The party of diversity wants voices they dislike ignored. Is that how you read his statement? Do you find that a reasonable sentiment?

    I’m unclear what you now mean by the verb ‘to silence’?

    Uhm. You’ve said it’s exaggeration, not to be taken literally. I’ve asked you how you read what he says. You’ve offered three suggestions. I don’t see any as reasonable, and from the point of view of a person in a democratic community … the sentiment that voices which counter your own be silenced or silent I find very objectionable. You should too.

    Again, you claim you can’t compare two statements, one a statement that opposition voices be ignored, shut up, or silenced the other and the other you’ve decided is horrific (forced euthenasia if taken literally). Why can’t you compare these? I fail to see why? Both are probably exaggeration, both are unreasonable. See. Compared.

  25. Boonton says:

    I’m not really seeing what justifies your obsession at this point with the Kennedy quote. It seems like since you admitted Kennedy doesn’t want people jailed, you are strugging to find some way to back out of that so you can bash him for wanting people jailed. Yet you realize I’m going to call you out on backing up, so you’re struggling here…

    When it comes to ignoring people with annoying opinions, though:

    I see. The party of diversity wants voices they dislike ignored. Is that how you read his statement? Do you find that a reasonable sentiment?

    Actually that is quite reasonable. For example, the “Obama wasn’t born in the US so he isn’t a citizen” crowd IMO should be ignored. Trying to engage them at this point is not worth the effort, either they suffer from incurable ignorance or they simply do not care about the truth and will not admit the truth no matter how much proof is provided. So yes, ignoring them is probably a good idea. I think some climate deniers are at that point but I’m not yet at the point of writing all off.

    Likewise in our society there’s a broad consensus that Holocaust deniers are to be simply ignored rather than engaged in debate. I agree from a diversity angle a policy of ignoring opinions can be dangerous since it leaves us potentially blind to insights, yet some opinions are held by people who are essentially trolls.

    Again, you claim you can’t compare two statements, one a statement that opposition voices be ignored, shut up, or silenced the other and the other you’ve decided is horrific (forced euthenasia if taken literally).

    Except you said that Kennedy wasn’t advocating opposition voices be silenced. If the opposition feels ashamed of their statements and changes that’s not silencing. If others decide that the opposition is so hopelessly wrong that they should be disregarded, that too isn’t silencing. Hardly horrific. It would only be horrorific IMO if you demonstrated Kennedy was either advocating gov’t or mob violence against those with the different opinion. But you’ve already admitted he wasn’t, so what’s your point?

    On the other hand your attempts to initially defend the euthanasia statement failed. So again what is the point of all this effort to paint the two as equal?

  26. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Your two examples of when it is reasonable to “silence by ignoring” are telling. These are both lunatic fringe elements, a description which might describe the climate alarmist better than the other side.

    yet some opinions are held by people who are essentially trolls.

    OK. This doesn’t apply here. Those who don’t believe climate a threat (follow the Krugman syllogism for example) are not trolls, not liars, nor few in number.

    On the other hand your attempts to initially defend the euthanasia statement failed. So again what is the point of all this effort to paint the two as equal?

    Well, so far your attempts to defend Kennedy have likewise failed. Your latest tack is to identify when “ignore” (if that is what he meant) is reasonable. Alas, this doesn’t apply. You have yet to paint a reasonable interpretation on what he said, your continued failure indicates that is more likely his statement was not reasonable … which means as noted, the two statements are comparable, i.e., both unreasonable.

  27. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    As an aside, I was wondering if groups most likely to opt to ignore these people” because they have “incurable/unshakeable” opinions overlap with more likely to label others the same way.

  28. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You are not being honest.

    Hardly horrific. It would only be horrorific IMO if you demonstrated Kennedy was either advocating gov’t or mob violence against those with the different opinion.

    You’d be horrified if he was advocating excluding from the public square the opinions of blacks, gays or women. This is a correct impulse on your part. The desire to exclude from a group based on creed, color or belief is horrible.

  29. Boonton says:

    Your two examples of when it is reasonable to “silence by ignoring” are telling. These are both lunatic fringe elements, a description which might describe the climate alarmist better than the other side.

    Perhaps, nothing is stopping you from saying you will simply ignore or refuse to engage some or all advocates of climate change.

    OK. This doesn’t apply here. Those who don’t believe climate a threat (follow the Krugman syllogism for example) are not trolls, not liars, nor few in number.

    I recall surveys showing a rather high portion of Republicans claimed to bleieve Obama birther stories. I don’t see why numbers should make them any more credible.

    You have yet to paint a reasonable interpretation on what he said,

    Doesn’t really matter. You’ve already asserted it is quite reasonable to assume he did not really mean to arrest or otherwise abuse people just for what they say. So I don’t have to demonstrate he was right.

    You’d be horrified if he was advocating excluding from the public square the opinions of blacks, gays or women. This is a correct impulse on your part. The desire to exclude from a group based on creed, color or belief is horrible.

    Errr no, I would say excluding based on color is pretty horrible. Creed is probably also horrible in many but not all context and certainly not belief.

    At the end of the day you don’t choose your color and we all mostly agree color is of no intrinsic importance. You do choose your creed and belief so it isn’t wrong to judge others based on that.

  30. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Perhaps, nothing is stopping you from saying you will simply ignore or refuse to engage some or all advocates of climate change.

    Be that as it may, that is not a reasonable interpretation of either the quoted piece as linked or the quote you produced (as a reminder, “I wish there were a law you could punish them with,” he said, in the videotaped interview. “I don’t think there is a law that you can punish these politicians under … [and skeptical politicians are] selling out the public trust.”). This is not a impolitic way of saying “I’m going to ignore these people”.

    I don’t see why numbers should make them any more credible.

    Uhm, you are right in thinking numbers doesn’t make a thing true (see climate alarmism), but it does matter when deciding if an idea is fringe or not. On the other hand, your continued reliance on not-very-credible cricket races (polls) is amusing.

    You’ve already asserted it is quite reasonable to assume he did not really mean to arrest or otherwise abuse people just for what they say.

    This is a logical fallacy. Because I said it was reasonable to believe he did not say one particular is not the same as stating that what he did say was reasonable. For example, it is not a reasonable interpretation of his statement to interpret his statement as implying he believes that purple chickens live on the moon. Establishing that it is not reasonable to interpret what he said was X is not to say what he said was reasonable. You have not offered a reasonable interpretation on what he actually did mean.

    You do choose your creed and belief so it isn’t wrong to judge others based on that.

    So. It is reasonable to not hire a man because of his opinion of whether Christian belief is warranted? I don’t think you believe that. Or let’s put it more pointedly. I doubt the anthropological origins of climate change, I’m not sure that the increase even of CO2 is of human origin, and I doubt CO2 is the primary driver in climate change and I believe that based on the strong evidence that the global temperatures have been stable for about a billion (possibly billions) of years, that there must be very strong feedback mechanisms keeping the temperature right in the region it is located. You have claimed that Kennedy would call me a liar (that I really don’t believe that) and that he would be right to judge (not hire?) me based this particular belief.

    Look. Your quoted statement refers to politicians. Politicians represent people. He would be wrong to think that the (probably) majority of the people who don’t share his belief on climate should have no representation.

    I guess I don’t know exactly what you mean by “Judge”. If you mean exclude me from the public square then I don’t think you have a right to “judge” people in that way based on either color, creed, or belief. This is what a “marketplace of ideas” means. It means there isn’t a single federal gatekeeper deciding which ideas get to play in the playground. If you think there should be a federal (state?) gatekeeper on the marketplace of ideas then you are so wrong that, well, words fail me.

  31. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    And as it turns out, here is more from the same speech,

    “Do I think the Koch brothers are treasonous? Yes, I do.” He added, “I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at The Hague with all the other war criminals.”

    It seems his “wish” that there be laws against speaking what you believe is not rhetorical exaggeration. He actually would like laws jailing those who speak against his religious belief in climate. Put that in your “didn’t mean what he said literally” pipe and smoke it.

    See here. He wants them in jail.

  32. Boonton says:

    Doubling down on an outrageous statement would tend to be evidence that it is purposeful exaggeration.

  33. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Doubling down on an outrageous statement would tend to be evidence that it is purposeful exaggeration.

    I agree. I might be the case, but given his demeanor and tone … I think it is repetition for emphasis. He doesn’t think it’s outrageous. He truly believes the Koch brothers should be jailed for “reckless endangerment” due because of … well he doesn’t say. But given the interview was at a climate rally, pretty sure he thinks they’ve done something akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater. This is errant nonsense. I think he really wishes there was a way to jail politicians who oppose whatever climate legislation he prefers. He’s a nutcase plain and simple.

  34. Boonton says:

    This would tie in with what I put forth above as a piece of evidence the speaker is NOT meant to be taken literally, namely:

    2. Speaker would be expected to be familiar with how radical sounding the literal reading would be.

    see his bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy,_Jr.. He’s worked for the NY DA and is, of course, a lawyer. He would clearly know ‘The Hague’ would not be handling trials for ‘reckless endangerment’ and ‘three hots and a cot’ does indirectly invoke ‘fantasy language’ IMO. If he was serious he would be addressing what would be an unorthodox position for a lawyer with DA experience to be taking.

  35. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    “He’s worked for the NY DA” (DA is a political office). So, you claiming a person who belongs to a family of career politicians gets a job which requires political connections gets such a job and this is proof of competence.

    If he was serious he would be addressing what would be an unorthodox position for a lawyer with DA experience to be taking.

    You didn’t listen to the clip. Listen. Look, when I was reading the transcript I agreed with you, but I saw him. Your claim of irony if his body language and tone of voice lent any hint of that. It doesn’t. He is really earnest when he thinks that the Koch brother’s should be jailed for reckless endangerment. He’s a true believer and from the standpoint of American notions of liberty and civility is a moron and a buffoon.

  36. Boonton says:

    “He’s worked for the NY DA” (DA is a political office). So, you claiming a person who belongs to a family of career politicians gets a job which requires political connections gets such a job and this is proof of competence.

    Not at all but even for a Kennedy you do have to actually pass the bar to be a lawyer and Havarad Law School does actually have a good reputation for legal education. I’m not saying Kennedy is a Lawrence Tribe or Scalia, but it is safe to say he knows enough law to know that if he really felt arguing against climate change was so wrong that it should be made illegal that he would be going against a huge body of legal and political thought and such a position would require a lot of explaining….as Alan Dershowitz did when he argued that gov’ts should make legal provisions for torturing people.

    Your claim of irony if his body language and tone of voice lent any hint of that. It doesn’t. He is really earnest when he thinks that the Koch brother’s should be jailed for reckless endangerment

    You seem to be saying he appeared to be very emotional when he made the statement…that would again speak too not being literal. Irony connotes an emotional detachment and cynicism. A lot of non-literal language, though, is anything but emotionally detached (i.e. “I could kill you!”)

  37. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    he appeared to be very emotional when he made the statement

    I read his emotion as one of emphasis and his being especially earnest. Your notions of legal expertise support the reason why he prefers reckless endangerment as the charge over restrictions on speech for example.