Sunday, November 13, 2011

upset about the mote in his brother's eye

gary welsh is frothing at the mouth because a democratic politician said mike pence "is like a rabid dog" in his pursuit of an immigration law for indiana.

gary himself is well-known for using laughably over-the-top language such as his claim last month that "The entire Obama presidency is based on a series of forgeries", so it's odd that he is so upset about the words rabid dog, which are pretty tame as far as political insults go. but perhaps he's not so upset by the words themselves, but by the unforgivable rhetorical offense of name-calling.

People can disagree on the answer to any problem with which we are confronted without resorting to name-calling, but if you are a liberal, it's much easier to resort to the demonization of your political counterparts than debate the merits of your argument.

he concludes his post with this:

If you can't win on the merits of the debate, let the name-calling begin. It takes much less effort to name call than debate the substance of your arguments.

indeed, name-calling takes way less effort than rational debate, which is probably why gary routinely uses it in his own writing. just in the past three weeks, gary:

  • wrote that county clerk beth white is "totally unethical" and "can't be trusted to run impartial elections"
  • in the same post, called lobbyist greg hahn "a highly partisan [...] sleazeball attorney"
  • said of city-council candidate kostas poulakidas, "What a total sleazebag!"
  • wrote that "the [Indianapolis] Star is the best friend the corrupt politicians in this state have" and columnist "Matt Tully is just a tool for the corrupt political insiders in this town"
  • complained that "the Star's editors and reporters are too stupid to realize" that poulakidas was guilty of a felony for sending out a mailer that gary didn't like

to be sure, sifting through gary's blog for ad hominem insults and fallacious reasoning is like picking fleas off a rabid dog—it's easy, but the longer you do it, the more likely you'll end up getting sick.

so when gary complains about name-calling as if it's not his bread and butter, is he being deliberately hypocritical, or just demonstrating his typical lack of self-awareness?