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How not to help your cause

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Turns out one of Goldstein’s brood took exception to my previous post and attempted to refute it by making a series of patently idiotic claims.  For example:

But Scott could at least have had the sense to not admit profound ignorance on what Beck ever says. I’m not surprised, though, because I know that for Serious People like SEK, admitting that he pays attention to the likes of Glenn Beck would collapse any credibility he may have among those whose good graces he desires to be in.

Your eyes don’t deceive you: the argument is, in fact, that criticizing Glenn Beck would “collapse any credibility [I] may have among those whose good graces [I] desire to be in.”  Because we all know left-leaning academics who criticize far-right lunatics are shunned by their colleagues.  Further depressing my credibility is my intellectual honesty, which here takes the form of my admission, up front, that I’m not a regular viewer of the show.  Note, though, that the claim is that I admitted a “profound ignorance on what Beck ever says,” which is strange because I did no such thing.  I wrote:

I try not to pay attention to Glenn Beck, but even when I have, I never really paid attention to him.

That’s “passing familiarity,” not “profound ignorance,” and the difference between the two should be obvious, and is, unless your refutation of my post continues thus:

You see, all of the topics that Glenn addresses–the dots that Scott attempts to connect–are topics that Glenn has has talked about at length in the past, so when he mentions this or that, he’s harking back to discussions he’s already had, discussions that most of the people watching have already heard.

Translation: “All the dots Scott connected have been connected in the past, and this refutes his argument somehow.”  How exactly?  Like so:

See, what Glenn has said in the past about the Chinese is that unlike us, they plan waaaaay far ahead. They have contingency plans and stuff. And they’re looking to achieve hegemony in Asia and maybe more. Glenn has NEVER said that the Chinese plan to invade the U.S.

So his fear-mongering concerning the Chinese is related to their desire to “achieve hegemony in Asia and maybe more.”  That’s some non-ominous “maybe more” there, and the fact that it didn’t issue from his mouth only makes my point stronger: he’s inculcated his Fear of a Yellow Planet in his audience so successfully that even when they attempt to claim that his fears are fact-based and rational the fruits of his irrational speculation appear.  To wit:

Glenn has expressed this fear for a long time. He posits that a lot of powerful radicals, financed by Soros cash, are counting on Obama to fulfill their political wish list, but that if he proves to be unable or unwilling to do so, they’ll take him out.

Claiming that he’s “posit[ed]” something sans evidence for “a long time” doesn’t disprove my argument that he engages in irresponsible apocalyptic speculation, it merely extends its provenance.  Put differently: “Glenn Beck can’t be saying crazy things now because he’s said these same crazy things before” is a laughably weak defense because it admits the very thing it wants to deny. The rest of the “refutation” works according to similarly unsound logic.  For example, mind-reading:

Scott has never heard Glenn talk about “Dreams from My Father,” wherein he shows how Obama’s father dreamed of establishing a Marxist government in Kenya, among other far-left goals, and how Obama identifies with those dreams and seeks to carry on his father’s project.

I haven’t?  Doesn’t matter.  Why doesn’t it matter?  Because Marxism isn’t heritable and people who think otherwise think crazy-thoughts.

Nor did Scott see Glenn’s three-part series on George Soros:

10 Nov 2010: The Puppet Master
11 Nov 2010: Five Step Plan
12 Nov 2010: Making of the Puppet Master

I didn’t?  It doesn’t matter.  Why doesn’t it matter?  Because if you follow those links all you’ll find is more madness couched in bed-wetting rhetoric.  For example, Soros

has focused his attention. This isn’t a hypothesis. This has been proven. This is what this man does. He has done it before and now, he wants orderly decline of the dollar—his words, not mine.  If you thought $5 or $4 a gallon gas is painful, wait until Soros devalues your dollar even more. Forget driving. How about eating?

We told you just recently, I told you this for, what, two years now? That they would devalue the dollar and that inflation would come.

“Financial Times” reported it today. It’s about to be added to your grocery bill. And if you’re the one in the household doing the grocery shopping, you’ve already seen it. But, oh, you haven’t seen nothing yet.

As they devalue the dollar, in orderly decline, you will start to see prices like one group—inflation group predicted that it will soon cost
$11—$11.43 for an ear of corn. One ear.

How about going to the grocery store and seeing a price tag on loaf of wheat bread of $23.05?

This sugar, this size, 32 ounces of sugar—$62.21.

For the milk, good old soy milk—I mean, who doesn’t—smooth and delicious, $24.31 for this size.

For a container of this coffee, Folgers, 11 1/2 ounces, $77.71.

For a container of orange juice, not this size but for 64 fluid ounces, Minute Maid orange juice, they are now saying it will be $45.71.

And one thing I couldn’t believe and we called the experts and ask them, OK, please tell me that the institute on inflation is nuts. No. No, no. They’re not, unfortunately.

I couldn’t believe that one candy bar, one Hersey’s milk chocolate candy bar, 1 1/2 ounces, Hershey’s milk chocolate, $15.50.

This, Mr. Soros, is not a game—at least not for the shlubs outside of your world. I don’t know anybody inside the world of George Soros. Well, you’ve got Timothy Geithner. You have Ben Bernanke. You have most of the politicians in Washington.

We are the ones who are going to risk in this game. When he manages the decline of our dollar, him and his minions in Washington, who do think pays the price? Will it be him? Or will it be you?

You see, he knows what’s coming. And because of that, he can hedge. He knows exactly where to go. He knows where the exits are. And he’s done it over and over again.

How is that not fear-mongering?  Because if claiming that food will be too expensive to eat for everyone except millionaires and Washington power-brokers isn’t fear-mongering, then I don’t know what is.  The response will be that it’s informed fear-mongering, which would be a valid defense except for the fact that it isn’t informed.  For example:

And also why he cites the very similar dreams of Jay Rockefeller’s left-wing father.

David Rockefeller isn’t Jay’s Rockefeller’s father, thereby undermining the “logic” of basing a conspiracy on the title of Obama’s autobiography.  That said “logic” was there to be undermined in the first place points to the vapidity of Beck’s associative argument style.  It looks like an argument even if it isn’t informed like one:

Glenn peddles in THE UNKNOWN?

Are you HIGH?

What the hell do you think all that blackboard scrawling was about?

This is a perfect example of what I implied in the previous post: Beck’s convinced his audience that lines on a chalkboard have the force of logic.  Those lines only indicate a nebulous (if even that) connection between the figures dotted on either end of them, but because they are LINES and there are DOLLAR SIGNS near them, his audience is convinced they must be meaningful.  That one of those dots is invariably ACORN escapes notice because he’s convinced his audience that the reach of The Most Powerful Man In The World extends down to small-potato community organization groups and that believing that isn’t a sign of conspiratorial thinking.

Except that it is.  When such thinking is latched to devoting entire shows to canning your own food, you’ve got apocalyptic rhetoric in full-effect.  That’s why this is ridiculous:

Scott also doesn’t know that Glenn frequently telegraphs what he’ll be doing in future shows, and so his stopping short was not to frighten us through omission but to save that stuff for later.

I know what a “tease” is, and in the original post, I was noting the particular synergy at work with this one:

People fear what they don’t know, especially when they’re being told, in ominous tones, that the unknown requires preparation and is connected, somehow, to the “shadowy” or “spooky” forces of the One World Government.

Everything after the word “especially” is, it goes without saying, especially important.  Then again, every word in this post should go without saying, and yet …

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