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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Battle Patriotism - Iron Blogger Republican - First Rebuttal

I guess the first rebuttal is a great place to start with snark. I know that you feel let down by the lack of hot "girl on girl" action, I do too. I read a lot of PG's stuff and I was concerned that I'd come across as a pedophile if I went at it with her.

Her Opening Statement was almost enough to alleviate that concern, unfortunately her rebuttal cemented in my mind that my instincts were correct. If I came across like a lecturing schoolmarm, it is only because my challenger isn't too far removed from school. How is summer vacation going, PG?

The challenger is upset that I gave her little to rebut. Perhaps there isn't much to rebut in a winning argument. Fortunately, the challenger has given me plenty to rebut.

Her position is that patriotism is indefinable, she's essentially arguing that no debate is possible. But this is absurd. People can demonstrate their feelings. For example:
A man who rapes women is by definition not someone who shows love for women.

A woman who kills her own children is not acting like a loving mother.


If you hate America or the American people you by definition cannot be a patriot.

Unless you love Nazis or Stalinists, anyway. I suppose under some perverse form of love, like the woman who says she loves a man who beats her every night, we could say that such an attitude may be based on love. But that seems rather strained.

The challenger suggests that there's documented evidence of violence toward people who are insufficiently patriotic but none of her links show any such violence, just one link about a mosque being vandalized. The Dixie Chicks exercised their right to free speech and the fallout was ordinary Americans doing the same. Americans made their voice heard. Protesting is as American as apple pie. If a group wants to counter protest, it is every bit their right to do so. This is still America.

No one is required to be a patriot. The first amendment guarantees freedom of speech. You can believe whatever you want. You can think America's evil. You can think most Americans are idiots. That's your right as an American--you can treat your country with all the contempt you want. But you don't pretend you're practicing patriotism if you believe such things.

Dictionary definitions are not "fruit of the poison tree." That is a Non-Sequitur. Patriotism is love of and devotion to one's country. You can't measure that mathematically but you can certainly demonstrate that you have love and devotion, and you can also demonstrate that you have contempt for your country. Many people do.

Bringing up the Iran-Contra Affair as an example of treason is specious and an apparent effort to bring up a red herring: this debate will turn into a debate over that affair if I say too much about it, but I'll just note that what amounted to a loud argument between the Executive and Legislative branches of our government over the best way to free hostages is hardly a clear-cut example of treason. You can think that if you want, but many others would find that to be just plain stupid. But this isn't about Iran-Contra, it's about love vs. hate.

Her second part was mostly hysteria but some of it was too good to pass up:

Since September 11, our elected officials and their minions and yes-men have used the specter of anti-Americanism to browbeat those who would question their choices. This is practically the definition of argumentum ad hominem, the logical fallacy of attacking one's character instead of their actual position.

Karen Hughes talking about the President's pro-life position is "brow-beating"? Unless you are referring to those nasty women that took her remarks out of context and demanded an apology and her head on a platter? If you are, I agree: those horrible Women's Groups were definitely attempting to "brow-beat" Hughes to fall into line.

No actual link proving our "elected officials" have committed the offense you speak of so you use Rush Limbaugh. That's a little desperate. I swear liberals must be the only people that actually listen to Rush. I know I don't. If I want to hear a clown, I go to the circus.

In her third part, she quotes an opinion piece where Cheney supposedly questioned people's patriotism by saying their rhetoric was irresponsible. Funny part is, nowhere did Cheney question anyone's patriotism, he criticized people for irresponsible and divisive rhetoric. It's rather irresponsible to accuse a man of saying something he never said.

Indeed, she gives not a single example of any elected official questioning anyone's patriotism. It's impossible to rebut something that never happened. Indeed her whole piece reads like this. She talks about documented evidence of violence by the right and gives us no evidence of violence by the right. She talks about elected officials openly questioning people's patriotism but then provides not one single example of any elected official doing so.

It must be interesting to live in a paranoid fantasy world. But the subject here is patriotism, not fantasy-demons on the right.

Now to cover her fourth point.
"To question why we are at war in Iraq, and whether we were sold a pig in a poke by the Bush administration to get there, is not unpatriotic. One thing George McGovern nailed in one was his statement that "[t]he highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher standard."

Americans are now calling. Our leaders don't get to ignore -- not by silence, media oppression, obfuscation or insults."


No, dissent does not make one a patriot. If it did, members of the KKK or the Communist Party would be automatically considered patriots just for being who they are. It is how that dissent is expressed. A moonbat who compares terrorists killing our troops in Iraq to minutemen even as our troops die trying to bring democracy and human rights to that nation, a moonbat who thinks most Americans are stupid and need God and the Iraqis to forgive us is pretty much by definition not acting like a patriot.

Someone who compares American soldiers to Nazis and Arab-hating murderers, who thinks America is akin to Stalinist Russia and who want the terrorists to win and wants us to be bombed is pretty clearly not acting like a patriot.

In her rebuttal the challenger was confused. I will attempt to sort it out for her now:
"Are you as confused as I am about my opponent's actual case? I don't see anything close to a prima facie argument. The Iron Blogger compares Rebecca the Socialist Teenager to Sue the Mother of the Dead American Soldier. Which is the patriot?"


The Challenger appears to be the only one confused by my examples. While she spent much time reading all about Sue Niederer, she gave little examination to Rebecca. If she did she would NEVER have called Rebecca "the Socialist Teenager". Why? Because Rebecca is not a teenager but a senior at UCSD [University of California San Diego].

I can understand a mother whose son was killed in a war she didn't believe in to speak poorly about the President who took us to that war. But I assume we don't even have to ask if she'd appreciate her son being compared to a Nazi stormtrooper. Where is the confusion? I never said you had to like the President or be kind to him. I said:
"If you are anti-war do your best to support the President and our country by expressing your dissent in civil, thoughtful terms. Because supporting the Commander In Chief is what patriotism demands in the middle of a major war. "


That means you can hate the President's guts but you show your support for the "CinC" by expressing your dissent in a civil manner. Her venom at Bush was laced with the pain of her loss.

You didn't like Rebecca because she seemed too young, how about Gillian?
"The Iraqi people have shown their willingness to resist under great odds. So have soldiers like Camilo Mejia, who was just sentenced to a year of hard labor for refusing to go back to Iraq. Now it’s our turn. We have a huge responsibility – let’s get out there and rebuild this movement, step by step, until Iraqis can determine their own future, and all our troops are home!"

So, according to LT Smash, Gillian is not only supporting the Iraqi insurgents but she is aiming for a U.S. defeat in Iraq. Read the interview it's stunning. I'll note that Gillian is a high school history teacher in East L.A., lots of teachers appear to members of her group.

This was the best part of PG's rebuttal:
"My opponent finishes with something that could be extrapolated to a "position": civil dissent equals patriotism. It's certainly a concept with lots of... qualities. It will be quite interesting to watch whether she is able to add some substantive theory and sourcing to flesh that idea out (I mean, I disagree with that position regardless, but I don't have to do much other than disagree, till the Iron Blogger provides something to actually rebut)."

Do you get the feeling that she just disagrees with me because she feels she's is expected to do so?

I said that there is a way to express your dissent in a patriotic manner, she disagrees with me. But she said this in her Opening Statement:
"To question why we are at war in Iraq, and whether we were sold a pig in a poke by the Bush administration to get there, is not unpatriotic."


Isn't that what I said? Or is she saying that it isn't possible to question the Bush Administration in a civil manner? If that's true, then we Americans have gotten lazy. This reminds me of a talk I had with my 6 year old son. He asked me why people swear. My reply was simple: when people are angry it's too hard to think. They turn lazy and stupid. They are unable to express themselves thoughtfully. Basically, they already have a limited vocabulary and the anger stresses them to a breaking point. They can no longer think clearly. My son understood that why can't the Challenger?

If you can't express your dissent in a civil manner not only are you unpatriotic but you are also lazy and stupid.

I will end with this little ditty from Mitch at Shot in the Dark:
For the ten-thousandth time - yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, dissent can be patriotic. Dissent away.

Yes. Oh, yes, yes, We were a nation born from dissent. We started in an armed, violent revolution - the dissentiest dissent there is, yepper, sho nuff.

Dissent is American. Got it.

But there comes a time - and the point moves back and forth depending on the issue - when dissent becomes no longer patriotic. And then seditious. And then treason.
With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:

If You Believe: that America has problems - huge problems - then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: ...that America's problems make it an inherently rotten concept, then maybe you should think about whether you're living in the right place.

If You Believe: ...that America's projection of power around the world is immoral - then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: ...that any projection of American power is inherely unjust because it's America, then maybe you should be living in, say, Sweden? Just an idea.

If You Believe: ...that capitalism is wrong because its inequalities are inherely unjust, then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: ...that the free market is inherently, irrevocably evil, perhaps China would be a better fit? Just suggesting...

If You Believe: ...that invading Iraq was wrong, then dissent is American.
But If You Believe: ...that our temporary administration of Iraq is worse than Hussein's 30 year reign of horrors, then perhaps you should rot in hell we need to have an attitude adjustment.

Got it?


Respectfully Submitted:

Rosemary Esmay, Iron Blogger Republican
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