Archive for the category “It’s all politics man”

The Faulty Side Of Loyalty

I wrote this blog last week and planned on finishing it before something happened.  It directly correlates to this thus I am going to preface my blog on what happened.

On Wednesday I was attacked by a dog.  I was working, my dogs kept barking and I looked outside to see a large dog running up the street. Many of my neighbors are elderly so I went outside to help.  The dog saw me and began running toward me.  I was elated at first. But then I noticed something different.  He wasn’t a pup and was not coming to play.  He quickly went for my left leg and luckily bit my pants.  He then lunged and bit my right leg.  I kicked him in the jaw. He was not fazed. He continued to lunge while I kept eye contact, yelled NO and kicked while taking small steps backward.  I got to the front door of my house by the time the owner and neighbor arrived to leash him.  The owner apologized profusely. The other neighbor helping her got angry and told her, “This is the third time your dog has bitten someone. This dog needs a new home.” The dog’s owner dismissed him because she is loyal to a fault.

Back to the original blog:

I have been thinking about the idea of loyalty for the past few months.  Loyalty is an attribute everyone identifies with.  Have you ever met a person stating otherwise? Loyalty is tossed around like most adjectives- Also fun, friendly, outgoing and of course kind.

Loyalty can apply to myriad situations.  It could be in friendships or relationships. It could be family, pets, job, or a political party.  People really like touting themselves as loyal.

The reason I have been thinking so much of this lately is quietly watching others display their loyalty in various areas while not tending to others.

My Dad always spoke about being loyal to a fault.  Over the years I admired this quality and followed suit.  As an adult I found that loyal to a fault is flawed.

When we say we are loyal humans at what point are we not?  Is it when beliefs do not coincide? What happens when friends don’t want the best for us? How long do you stay when your partner continually mistreats you?  Or support a family member making poor choices? Do you stay loyal to a job or person that doesn’t value or celebrate you?  What about the animal you love that continually acts out?  Most recently, what do you do when your political party leaves you unsatisfied?

Do you stay? Do you remain loyal to a fault?

My thoughts are what loyalty really means to you.  Everyone is quick to hold on to the word and describe themselves as such.  But what if being loyal to a fault isn’t the best option?

Mike and I have had time off this past month and we have talked at length about the same questions.  Loyalty is something to be cherished in the right circumstances.  However when does a person decide, “I am not loyal to dysfunction?”

More than anything I am interested in your insight.  What makes you loyal?  When do you decide to NOT be loyal?



I’ve got something against you.

This post is purely aspirational for me because I have a very hard time doing what I’m going to propose. From what I observe, the same holds for a lot of people. So here goes: Be for things. Don’t just be against things. Sounds simple, right? Watch me go off the rails straight away……

The inspirations for this post come from a couple of online personae that I admire.

The first is Cleek’s Law.

Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

Pretty straight-forward, no? It also reeks of the truth. It’s quite easy to sit back and lob criticism at your ideological opposition but offer no solutions. These criticisms don’t need to be true or even make sense. They could be based on perception or potential perception of an issue. They could rely on all sorts of fallacies. Slippery slopes. Straw men. The intent is to invalidate the actions of one’s opponent by making a broad assertion and then force the opposition to defend itself.

Conservatism does not offer solutions. Sure, they trot out supply-side economics (trickle-down theory) and tax cuts that will pay for themselves, but these theories have an awful empirical track record. See, Kansas, State of, for a current example. Restating an ideology that has been shown not to work in the current operating conditions isn’t offering a solution. So we’re trapped in a zero-sum game. Everything that one’s opponent does must be wrong, because it comes from your opponent.

The second is related to Cleeks law and is called Davis X. Machina’s Law.

The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.

As a note up front, I get a lot of pushback when I quote this law. The substance of the pushback hasn’t ever been that people act this way. It is always about whether sparrows can fit on curtain rods to cook them. Whenever I hear this line of objection, I know that the criticizer is giving up on the merits of the law (the actions of the people) and trying to divert attention to the trappings of the argument. Basically, they’re trying to say that since a sparrow can’t fit on a curtain rod (or more accurately, they refuse to admit that they are small in diameter curtain rods), then the conclusion must be wrong. Ummmmmmm…no.

The point is that people will act against their interests as long as it hurts the “right” people. But why is this? As discussed above, it’s easy. It’s the path of less resistance. It is much easier to “punch down” on the people one wants to be disadvantaged than it is to “punch up” against the powers that be to obtain something for one’s benefit. Personally, when I see someone acting against their own interests in order to harm others it screams to me that the primary motivator for that person is hatred. It’s not a very good look. For anyone.

So what to do then? Try to make positive arguments and bolster those with negative arguments. By this I mean be for something, not just against things. I’m not saying one should never use a negative argument. Pointing out the deficiencies of your opponent is not necessarily a bad thing. However, over-reliance on negative arguments can be and is a bad thing because it is extremely difficult to find common ground. Only negative arguments is not a persuasive technique. I sometimes find myself painted in a corner and taking pot shots at an opposing viewpoint. I may even be making valid points about the weakness of the viewpoint. But in the back of my mind I know I’m not being constructive or persuasive.

Shuffle up and deal

NOFX — We Called it America

Love it when a punk song comes up on the shuffle and this song is appropriate for the dark and dreary times we’re struggling through. Saw some great NOFX shows back in the 90’s. Good times. Accordingly I’m more of a fan of their 90’s stuff but this song is a good piece of their later work (2009).

The song opens with a quote from Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross.

The leads are weak? Fucking leads are weak? YOU’RE weak.

The vinyl version of the song uses a different quote by Jack Lemmon instead of the Baldwin one. I’m not really an Alec Baldwin fan (I find him to be quite insufferable), but his work in Glengarry Glen Ross is his best.

The song has the usual strong guitar interplay and lightning fast tempo from Fat Mike and the boys. The lyrics paint a bleak (but accurate) portrait of where America has been and where we’re going. Some lyrics:

Remember when America had a middle class
And an upper class, that was way before the exodus
That was the America that we thought was number one,
Thought would overcome, thought would never die
That was just our pride and faith, two shitty deadly sins
I know faith isn’t one of ’em but it should have been
Cuz when things were crumbling, we had no camaraderie
Just a faith someone would save us from despondence

Seems like they’re onto something, no?

I need a fix. I need a front. I need a new approach, a new approach.

The mid-2000’s were a high-water mark in contrarian thinking.  “Out of the box” approaches dominated the business, policymaking, writing, and personal arenas.  2005, in particular, stood out for writing that advanced this phenomenon.  Malcolm Gladwell’s follow up novel Blink and Leavitt & Dubner’s Freakonomics were runaway best sellers.  I eagerly read them during that summer and noted a shared theme about thinking differently.  For Freakonomics, it is thinking differently about economics/culture and for Blink it was thinking differently about, well, thinking.

After I read those, I had a new arrow in my quiver.  I started to try to approach thorny issues by looking at them in a “completely new way”.  It’s not easy to do.  I found myself coming up with fantastical rationales (because they had to be different than conventional wisdom) to reach what was 99% of the time the opposite to the established understanding.  I was essentially picking an outcome and backfilling the justification with fluff and “thinking differently”.  I’m not saying that Gladwell, Leavitt & Dubner, et.al. do this same thing.  They’re far more rigorous in their investigation and methods.  They picked specific issues that lent themselves to the application of a different approach.  But I only applied their conclusion that thinking differently was beneficial and led to results.  Once I realized this my excitement was tempered.  Contrarianism can work but doesn’t always work.  The Freakonomics bunch went on to form a cottage industry based on the book.  There’s a movie, a radio station, and a blog that churns out more examples of how going against the grain of “mainstream” understanding can open one’s eyes to the “right” answer.  Over the years I’ve noted that they’re falling into the same trap I did.  I admit it’s got to be tough to keep coming up with subjects that prove their beliefs.   But sometimes (not all of the time) I suspect that they’re starting with a preferred conclusion and backfilling.

The legacy of contrarianism-mania is that we all have a convenient scapegoat if we see a conclusion that we don’t like.  “Yeah that’s the conventional wisdom, but have you read Freakonomics?”  I get that sort of argument quite frequently in the odd corners of the interwebs I visit and in good old meatspace as well.  Things really crystallized for me on this when I saw the following (paraphrased) comment in one of my online haunts in response to the assertion that contrarianism is a “brand”:

Contrarianism is not a brand. It’s more a business model to pitch that you can bash an egghead without doing the learning. It’s like gold ads for the willfully ignorant and conspiracy minded.

There’s something to that. I started to think about the people in real life that advanced the “did you read Freakonomics quasi-appeal to authority arguments to reach their preferred conclusion. Maybe you know these sorts. The guy who in his online bio states that he’s “Doing stuff better than you” and for education says “At the public library” but hates socialism with a white-hot intensity. Or the guy who never showed any interest in learning much about the world that got way into talk radio and now is a geo-political expert. I also noticed when and how they unleashed the argument. It essentially concedes the argument and asks to ignore all of the established evidence. It’s a suspension of belief argument. I’m extremely wary of those sorts of lines of thinking–just as I’m wary of appealing to “common sense”. But I’m still willing to be convinced. The existence of one “looking at things differently” or appealing to process just isn’t determinative in every case.

So if you hear this sort of appeal to the authority of “thinking differently”, have some pause. Is this the sort of issue that lends itself to the new approach? Are there some significant leaps of logic required to get to the proposed conclusion? Or are you being asked to forget what you know to be true just because that approached worked on another separate issue? Or are you allowing someone who doesn’t want to do the hard work of learning and knowing a subject to pretend they’re an expert?

And he is not one of us. He has never been one of us.

It’s fallacy exploration time again and today we’re going to tackle the No True Scotsman (“NTS”) fallacy. Generally, it occurs when a member of a group attempts to disassociate herself from the actions of a fellow group member by claiming that the other group member wasn’t ever really a part of the group. Basically it means that a person re-defines the group to exclude the “undesirable” actor leaving themselves and their precious narrative free from consequences.

The most common usage of the NTS fallacy is a Republican deeming a fellow republican to be a “RINO”, Republican in name only. Another common usage is the saying, “Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.” Here are some quotes from a serial abuser of the fallacy:

“Republicans lost last night but conservatism did not, and that is, to me, one of the fundamental elements of last night’s results. Conservatism did not lose; Republicans lost last night.” – Rush Limbaugh, 11/8/2006

“Conservatism did not lose last night. Conservative was not on the ballot.” – Rush Limbaugh, 11/5/2008

“Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.” – Rush Limbaugh, 11/7/2012

I use El Rushbo as an example because it is my belief that the epistemic closure of conservatives in general as enabled by their preferred media does not allow conservatives to honestly and objectively analyze or understand why conservative ideas sometimes fail. I understand the incentive for the conservative media to abuse this fallacy. They are invested in a narrative and gain financially by doing so. They do not have a duty to accurately inform you contra their narrative. The rank and file conservative has a different incentive. They just don’t want to believe what their lying eyes and ears are telling them. I get this as well. It’s not enjoyable to be wrong. However, the lazy NTS fallacy severely diminishes your ability to be “right” going forward (if that’s something you care about). Would you run your business or family this way? In my business if there is a mistake or outcome that we don’t like, we perform a root-cause analysis. We don’t make up plausible excuses that conform to our narrative and then quit investigating.

There is no ideology or belief that is correct or “right” every single time. People that have that sort of expectation or belief have to delude themselves to maintain their narrative. When you see people use the NTS fallacy, you should be (rightly) skeptical of their motives. They have crafted what they think is an unassailable position. They are just aping their media sources/heroes by painting themselves in a corner and lashing out/playing defense. That demonstrates someone arguing in bad faith and they should be roundly mocked. Why? Because it is very likely that they would have cheered the actions that they are decrying if they produced results that furthered their narrative.

One thing leads to another


I hate the slippery slope fallacy. It is greatly overused and can be effective even though it is an informal logical fallacy. Many times I find myself itching to advance a slippery slope argument and it is difficult to stop myself. Recently I was discussing this issue online when a commenter that obviously went to a better school than I did said, “My law school professor said that a slippery slope argument is the type of argument one uses to divert attention while thinking of a legitimate argument”. I think that is spot on and remembering that piece of wisdom helps me to avoid using the slippery slope (for the most part–sometimes I have nothing else).

One source of consternation for me regarding the slippery slope is how the definition of the argument has changed over time. A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant effect, much like an object given a small push over the edge of a slope sliding all the way to the bottom. Traditionally, there had to be some sort of causal effect between the first step and the subsequent events. In modern usage, there does not need to be a causal effect. The first step and the subsequent events just have to be related somehow. Let’s look at an example of modern usage using some statements from perhaps the dumbest person ever to be a member of the United States House of Representatives, Louie Gohmert, on restricting ammunition capacities and same-sex marriage/polygamy/bestiality:

In fact, I had this discussion with some wonderful, caring Democrats earlier this week on the issue of, well, they said “surely you could agree to limit the number of rounds in a magazine, couldn’t you? How would that be problematic?”
And I pointed out, well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?
There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.

Let’s unpack this statement to get at the fallacy. He almost gets to the fallacy on ammunition capacity but pivots to a popular argument on same-sex marriage to demonstrate a slippery slope. His argument is that allowing same-sex marriage will “make it easy” to allow bestiality and bigamy. He doesn’t demonstrate how this would happen, however. There is no causal connection between allowing same-sex marriage and bestiality/polygamy. These issues are just related in his mind. The slippery slope glosses over the fact that the justifications for allowing same-sex marriage are completely different from the justifications of allowing bestiality/polygamy. It also completely avoids the fact that there is very little support for bestiality/polygamy compared to SSM. In Gohmert’s world, a proponent for bestiality/polygamy would only have to argue, “But but we allow same-sex marriage, why not polygamy/bestiality????!” Do you really believe that the proponent’s argument would carry the day? We criminalize both polygamy and bestiality. We do not criminalize (with some exceptions) homosexual behavior. We treat these issues differentially. By using the fallacy, Gohmert gets to appeal to nihilism by changing the debate framing from same-sex marriage to the other two categories that are completely different. The merits of the arguments about SSM become immaterial. An SSM supporter would ostensibly have to support polygamy and bestiality in Gohmert’s world. That is ridiculous. Each of these issues should be taken individually.

So, what would be a proper use of the slippery slope? An argument where one can demonstrate the causality between the discreet steps. A leads to B which leads to C and so on to the end point of X. Gohmert’s example is that A leads to X but he doesn’t demonstrate how each step will do it (because he knows it won’t but wants to pivot to something that would scare people). The intervening events between A to X have to be factually based, not just alleged.

Keep an eye out for someone who uses the slippery slope in a fallacious manner. They’re deliberately and in bad faith misleading the argument. Ask them how the initial step leads to the end result. Make them get granular on exactly how the chain of events works. You’ll see that they have to make some sort of assumption or leap to tie it together.

Pragmatism not idealism

Since the election, I noticed that quite a few conservatives asked for their liberal acquaintances or anyone to explain why they voted for Obama or what the appeal of liberalism is. In the broadest sense this is a good thing as it could represent a move away from epistemic closure and tribalism. It is great that some conservatives thought they would win and thought their platform resonated with a larger portion of the electorate and want to understand why things did not turn out their way.

I saw some people on Facebook and elsewhere try to talk about why they feel the way they do and engaged in some of these discussions myself. Only one of these discussions went well for me (Thanks Brad J! You restored my faith in humanity). I began to wonder why these sorts of conversations are so difficult.

I noticed that a few of the Facebook conversations were proceeding in the same manner. A fairly staunch conservative would ask why liberalism is better and go to great lengths to say that they truly wanted to understand and that it wasn’t a trap, but as soon as someone tried to advocate the liberal position they began to attack it. I see that as a gigantic exercise in confirmation for the conservative and a waste of time and words. To really understand another position, a person needs to exercise intellectual empathy. Anderson describes it thusly:

the decision to enter into a person’s way of the seeing the world and look along with them. It is, in a sense, an imaginative exercise that goes beyond the “willing suspension of disbelief” toward the granting of principles and premises that we may very well like to reject in order to see how the whole framework holds together—if the whole framework holds together. Intellectual empathy is a form of seeing how. As in, “Oh, I see how you could think that. It’s wrong, but I can see how it might make sense.” It is an act that is aimed, first and foremost, toward the good of understanding, a good that persuasion may flow from but can never precede.

As Anderson discusses, the trick to intellectual empathy is that you don’t have to abandon your first principles. He posits that someone who is confident in her principles should be better able to engage in this type of discussion. However, he notes that chipping away at one’s opponents beliefs through this sort of conversation should not be the goal, it should only be a byproduct. This is exactly the point that I saw the Facebook conversations fail. The conservatives wanted to enter a point by point battle/refutation of liberalism, not understand it. The ones that swore up and down that they just wanted to “hear the other side out” were the ones that pushed back the most. They made the byproduct the goal. I view that as bad faith as there is no intent to agree or understand.

The larger problem for me is the framing of the issue. It presents a classic false choice: conservative or liberal? Most people don’t fit into those ideological boxes. It also presumes that liberalism and conservatism operate in the same ideological manner. They don’t. Conservatism by definition and in practice requires a preference for idealism over pragmatism. Liberalism is rooted in the pragmatism of philosophers like John Dewey and others. The focus is on results, not process. Avoiding being ideologically rigid is baked into liberalism. That makes it difficult to have a purely ideological argument, for me.

There are some things we can’t control which serve to define us. The movement of a political party on the ideological scale changes where an individual sits on the scale in relation to the party. A nominal conservative can find herself outside of mainstream conservative ideology but not change her core beliefs in any way. For this reason and others, I don’t intend to be a “liberal” for the rest of my life. I don’t intend on outsourcing the totality of my vision or belief to any ism. I have my core beliefs that over time are challenged and sometimes changed. In a two party system I try to make the best choice I can. I think most people do the same.

So next time you really want to know someone’s opinion, just listen. Try to reap the benefits (as Anderson discusses in the above link). The goal should be solely to understand. Ask questions to further understanding, not to poke holes or refute the position. You may still change their mind by asking them to clarify or explain. When someone has to reduce abstractions into words, they may realize the holes in their beliefs themselves. Or maybe you’ll learn something or see things in a different way….

When two tribes go to war, a point is all that you can score

nice mullet!

So, I haven’t been posting much. Honestly, I wanted to wait until after the election. Our collective behavior in the run up to the election and the aftermath has been both fascinating and heartbreaking to observe. Time to start processing, I suppose.

A while back I wrote a piece about epistemic closure. Today I want to talk about tribalism, which can be seen as a result of epistemic closure. The self-selection of media and information creates a “bubble” in which people nurture their tribalism.

The type of tribalism that I am referencing is when a person acts or behaves in ways that are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, their family, their country or other social groups. Over the past week I have read some amazing examples of tribalism advocating treating family, friends, customers, neighbors and society in less than kind ways because they didn’t vote “properly”. You may have seen this conservative-libertarian’s rant after the election. I also recommend reading this interview to get some color on how far he intends to take things. Elsewhere I read about a mother cutting off her daughter and another gentleman drastically reducing assistance to his “mentally handicapped” uncle due to his uncle’s vote for Obama. Here’s another person who demonstrates her tribalism by calling for the President’s assassination and then wonders why it was such a big deal.

I readily admit that I’m engaging in some “nut-picking” here (and I readily admit that this behavior isn’t confined to only one tribe), but the above stances seem a bit harsh, no? Also, it seems to undercut the whole idea that each person can vote how ever the hell they want to. There are less egregious examples of tribalism. Some people will only do business with “red” or “blue” businesses. Some people purged their facebook friends of their “enemies”. Some friendships fall apart for a political reason that had nothing to do with why they were friends in the first place. The interesting question to me is why this is happening.

Tribalism is hardwired in the primitive areas of our brains. We no longer have tribal societies, but tribalism still exists. In an evolutionary sense, tribalism is beneficial because humans by nature need a social group to survive. Tribalism bonds an individual to the group. When a member of a group starts to disagree or wants to leave, the traditional countermeasure from the group is bullying to keep the member in the group. “Bullying” is a pretty good analog to the examples I linked to above. Those people want their “opponents” to know that there are consequences, dammit, for their actions.

Tribalism manifests itself in (mostly) benign ways. The easiest example is the sports fan. I think this is a healthy way to indulge our tribalistic instincts in a way that usually does not result in harm. There are some rather large differences between sports and governing. Sports have definitive outcomes and the winners and losers do not have to work together going forward to achieve goals.

Part of the allure of tribalism is the ability to glom onto the identity of the tribe. Oakland Raiders fans seem to believe that they are “tougher” than other fans. Democrats believe that they have more empathy. Broadly, one could argue that those perceptions are true. On an individual level it may not be the case. Tribalists are appropriating the “coolness” of the larger group, whether it is true about them personally or not. Put another way, a relatively poor person can still feel superior to an abjectly poor person or minority. That superiority makes them happy and allows them to look past their troubles.

I hope that we can agree that tribalism taken to the extent of shunning family, friends, customers and neighbors produces bad results. Personally, it does not compute at all. I do not “hate” 50% of my fellow Americans because they do not share my views on governing. Even if I were inclined to, I must interact with my “opponents” each and every day. I love my friends and family in spite of their flaws and sometimes because of their flaws. Honestly I like some of them more because they feel differently than I do because there are opportunities to learn about myself and others from them. To promote effective government, the people need to provide the template for our elected officials. We need to talk to each other and at least try to understand our respective positions if we expect our representatives to do the same. We don’t have to sacrifice our principles to talk to each other. The first thing we need to do is to recognize tribalism and reject how it can be a substitute for actual thinking and understanding.


I am new to the definition of Mansplain… I read about it in an article I stumbled upon and found this gem..
Mike and I both like to use quotes from others to preface a topic… He finds great political minds- I tend to think Clueless and Legally Blonde(LB) are obvious choices. I guess, it is where we differ.

Elle: Did you see him? He’s probably still scratching his head.
Paulette: Yeah, which must be a nice vacation for his balls

Urban Dictionary explains Mansplain as:
“Despite claims of superior strength in avoiding over-emotional reactions, when a man encounters even one iota of criticism of men on the internet, he must then mansplain why women suck by comparison or must be radical feminists. Mansplain–to put women down in response to criticism.”

I have been working diligently to stay away from political issues, but I CANNOT stand aside and watch mansplaining happen without my retort.

The most abominable mansplains I have seen, as of late are:

“Want contraception? Put an aspirin between your knees.”

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape.

The newest graph is my personal favorite:


I am aghast at the ass backward ideology of people in a position of power. What is happening?? At what point did women’s rights need to be put back on the ballot? I thought the female counterpart was working toward equality, not backpedalling to a time when a law will prevent us from owning our own bodies. Dirty Dancing back alley abortion comes to mind…

Unlike Mike, I am not watching the economic plans, or the military decisions. I should, but it hasn’t incited a passion, so it isn’t a priority. My mom recently said she is excited to vote this year, because it “hits home” and is “in her own backyard”. I feel the same. How dare someone decide what is rape or not? How disgusting to think we could live in a world where a woman would need to prove rape in order to receive an abortion.

I abhor the thought of us poor little ladies needing to protect the laws in place. Some men don’t want us to worry our pretty little heads. After all, they know what is right for us, and we should appreciate how they can watch out for us simple minded creatures.
Apparently, we are all potential sluts, with no virtue, using abortion as a means of birth control.

Does a man know what a woman goes through for an abortion? Does he have any idea that the process will haunt a woman for her life? The majority of women don’t take an abortion lightly, and to make an example of the small percentage that do so is ridiculous. The women I know who have had abortions knew it was the right thing to do, but it weighs heavy on them. They will never forget every moment, and will always remember. Right or wrong, it was their choice. It was what was best for them, and not a decision made lightly.

I am disgusted at the debate over Women’s Rights- AGAIN. Haven’t we been through this?

Here we go again. Same old argument.

I absolutely love the rhetorical technique that Pastor Phil Snider uses in the above video. He illustrates how easy it is to fall back on previously rejected arguments but pretend that somehow a new context rescues the flaws of those arguments. The line about “being on the wrong side of history” is very powerful and caps off the performance.

I don’t necessarily believe that facing up people who oppose equal rights for LGBT people with the fact that they support the same failed rationale that failed in a segregation context will change everyone’s minds. That would be an unreasonable goal. If it heightens self-awareness with only a few people, I think it would be a success.

The other thing that makes it work for me is that it is a Pastor saying this. A while back I wrote about “deceptive resolution” here and this is a similar concept. When the Pastor started speaking and I heard the subject matter, my mind immediately filled in a conclusion for me that this would be the usual religious take on the issue. The “surprise” shattered my expectations.

Good for you Pastor Phil. Good for you.

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