Rhetorical Alchemy #Fail

With astounding cynicism, Democrats rushed to capitalize on dead teens, while ineffectually dragging out the same fatigued arguments they’ve been making since the Clinton era.

(Kimberly Strassel, The GOP’s Gun Temptation, Wall Street Journal)

Braun’s ad was a shock to the Uber driver’s widow, Deb Monroe. She told The Washington Post in a phone interview on Thursday that Braun did not seek permission to use her husband’s photo or politicize his death.
“I would never let anybody use my husband’s name that way,” she said. Regarding the accused man, she added: “I don’t think his immigration status had anything to do with my husband’s death.”

(Samantha Schmidt, Widow says Republican candidate’s immigration ad politicizes her husband’s death, Washington Post)

The parallel is imperfect. Deb Monroe presumably is not a pro-immigration crusader. But the take-homes are the same:

  • People exploit tragedies to promote their goals.
  • Proximity to tragedy doesn’t transform a leaden argument into gold.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Where I glean stuff.

Courtland Sykes, Republican “conservative”

[O]ne of his opponents for the Republican nomination, Courtland Sykes, … criticized feminists and career-focused women as “nail-biting manophobic hellbent feminist she-devils” and said he expected his fiancee to make dinner for him every night.

A shameless alpha-male fornicator wants Republicans to vote for him because he expects his live-in girlfriend to make him dinner. That’s Republican conservatism today, folks: inadvertent parody of tradition.

The main focus of the WaPo story, though, was candidate Josh Hawley’s theory that there’s a connection between the sexual revolution and human trafficking:

“We’re living now with the terrible aftereffects of this so-called revolution,” said Hawley, according to audio of the event. “We have a human-trafficking crisis in our state and in this city and in our country because people are willing to purchase women, young women, and treat them like commodities. There is a market for it. Why is there? Because our culture has completely lost its way. The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined.”

The Post, doing its journalistic due diligence while pearl-clutching, found a sort of countervailing voice:

Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, a human-trafficking expert, told the Star that there is “absolutely no empirical evidence or research to suggest there was any uptick in human trafficking in the 1960s or ’70s, or that that’s when it started.”

Note that the countervailing voice doesn’t refute Hawley’s claim since Hawley neither claimed empirical evidence nor engaged in a simple post hoc fallacy.

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We develop heart and mind in parallel, that the mind will protect us from the wolfs, and the heart will keep us from becoming wolves ourselves. (Attributed to Serbian Patriarch Pavle)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Where I glean stuff.

How to get what you want

[I]n a world of fluid, flexible rules, the people who get what they want are the ones who possess the aptitude and education that allow them to manipulate concepts and talk in nuanced ways. [Karl] Barth bullied his wife and some of his concerned friends with his intelligence [into giving him a free pass on his open adultery with his “research assistant and theological muse”].

Barth [wrote]:

It might be possible that it is from here that an element of experience can be found in my theology, or, to put it a better way, an element of lived life. I have been forbidden in a very concrete manner to become the legalist that under different circumstances I might have become.

This silver-lining exculpation amounts to an appeal to divine providence. God led him into persistent adultery in order to make him faithful to the gospel proclamation of salvation by grace alone!

(R.R. Reno, First Things, January 2018, whose paywall crumbles over the course of a month)

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Where I glean stuff.

Don’t let your dogma mess with my dogma

It fell to Sen. Dianne Feinstein … to explicitly declare Barrett part of a suspect class. “Dogma and law are two different things,” Feinstein lectured. “And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. . . . When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Translation: Don’t let your dogma mess with my dogma.

[T]he deeper problem is a certain type of liberal thinking that seeks to declare secular ideas the only valid basis for public engagement. A neutral public square, in this view, must be a secular public square. Because religious ideas and motivations are fundamentally illiberal, they must be contained entirely to the private sphere.

This is a thin and sickly sort of pluralism. It is permissible, in this approach, to advocate human rights because John Locke says so, but not because of a theological belief that the image of God is found in every human being. If your views on a just society are informed by John Stuart Mill, they are allowed to triumph in politics. If your views on a just society are informed by your deepest beliefs about the cosmos, you can never prevail, because this represents the imposition of religion. This is hardly “neutrality.” It is a conception of pluralism that silences millions of people and reaches back into history to invalidate the abolition movement, the civil rights movement and many other causes informed by boisterous religious belief.

In effect, Feinstein would make her secularism the state religion, complete with its own doctrine and Holy Office. A judge is bound by the Constitution, not by any creed — as Barrett has affirmed again and again. But having a conscience and a character shaped by faith is not a problem; it is part of a rich and positive American tradition. Someone should inform the grand inquisitor.

(Michael Gerson, Senate Democrats show off their anti-religious bigotry)

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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.