Friday, January 23, 2009

Michael Gerson Hasn't Changed

I've called him names in the past, and I'm not proud of that, but it seems Michael Gerson's still worthy of name-calling. He identifies two strains of Obama support--one that is proud of the racial component of Obama's situation and the other that's proud of his intellect--and pronounces the one good and the other bad.

Gerson's anger comes from a Michael Hirsh, a Newsweek writer, who claims, "there's something else that I'm even happier about -- positively giddy. . . . What Obama's election means, above all, is that brains are back." Geron goes on to write, "Hirsh declared that the Obama era means the defeat of 'yahooism' and 'jingoism' and 'flag-pin shallowness' and 'religious zealotry' and 'anti-intellectualism.' Obama is a "guy who keeps religion in its proper place -- in the pew." Seems to me that Hirsh is spot on.

The funniest part of Gerson's piece is that he claims this attitude is an exercise of "contempt instead of argument," and that it's displayed by college kids or those who haven't outgrown the behavior. The reason this is funny is that Gerson's article displays plenty of contempt and no argument. Plus, he employs something we in the "teaching argument" trade like to call the "false dilemma" fallacy. He asserts that one can use contempt or one can use argument. The option he neglects is that one might use both contempt and argument--and that seems the only reasonable way to treat conservatives.

The wingnuts are going to be at a loss for a while, especially the ones who never had much to say to begin with.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

You're right, wingnuts are lost right now, and they are wandering through the desert looking for someone to lead them. I think their biggest problem is that their product is outmoded. It's like trying to sell cassette tapes to ipod users.

What I worry about is who will come to lead them. A vaccuum like this can be risky. When the public's love for Obama cools--and it will--a segment of the country will return to the Republican party and whatever agenda the new leadershp has made.