Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Example of How the Right Loses Credibility... Or Why Personal Attacks Usually Backfire

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
berty -vs- Tyranny

The story behind Liberty’s construction and the visionaries who made it happen Liberty Rising

For many years yours truly prided himself on being a principled conservative. One who believed in the notion that the individual could achieve anything they set their minds to achieving. I guess that is the old Horatio Alger theory for those old enough to remember exactly who that was.

My grandparents and parents, I only have one left now, brought me up to believe in fiscal conservationism. In other words not spending more than you were earning. Of course that meant after all expenses were met for the month and you were saving somewhere near 10% of your gross income.

I guess that sort of died the minute we all be came Keynesian converts. Sixteen trillion in national debt and still growing. With no end in sight. President Obama is doing the best he can given the mess he inherited. And no, I am not bashing GWB, the mess started long before he took office. His ill fated Iraq war merely exacerbated the situation.

Something else my grandparents and parents tried hard to teach me, although I didn't always heed their lessons, even in adulthood, I suppose many of us could say the same. Yes indeed, there are many times I miss the wisdom of my grandfather and grandmother. They would be 112 twelve and 106 years old respectively were they alive today. What deep and profound insight they had. They are in a better place now.

I know I'm sorta rambling, and before I lose the interest of my good readers I suppose I better get directly to my main point for penning this post. If you'll just bear with me for another moment.

Another thing my grandparents and parents instilled in me (and again I didn't always adhere to their example) was to always extend the right of free speech to the other individuals engaged in discourse before exercising my right to free speech. They always said that I wouldn't learn much by talking but that by listening to others I stood a great chance of learning. Throughout my business and personal life I found this to be true.

So, my point is why is it so difficult for conservatives, libertarians, and liberals to learn to listen. Our wonderful internet (again for purposes of this post specifically left and right political blogistan) is replete with educated, intelligent, and successful individuals that are willfully refusing to actively listen (read) to their opposition. Not only do they not listen they trash, without thinking or having any demonstrable justification for doing so, sincere and honorable individuals who are merely expressing their opinion and thereby exercising their FREEDOM of SPEECH. For this they are called all sorts of names and characterized unjustly simply because someone, usually a non thinking someone, disagrees.

As I have oft said I am a fiscal conservative and a social Libertarian. Perhaps a more accurate description of my philosophical and political beliefs would be to say I am a Classical Liberal in the vein of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. As such, certainly with respect to this post content, I find it necessary to criticize the failings of those who are supposedly most closely aligned with my view of liberty and freedom of speech and expression. IE: Lets clean up our own back yard before criticizing the backward of others. Or - I may disagree with what my political opposition is saying but I will defend their right to hold and state their vies. WITHOUT MALIGNING THEIR CHARACTER and GOOD NAME.

Over the past couple of weeks there has been what amounted to a feeding frenzy by conservatives on one individual that operates a liberal blog and consistently holds progressive views. Some which are perfectly rational and therefore bear serious consideration and thought. However, certain conservatives have found great sport in criticizing and attacking the person and their character rather than dissecting the views and arguments put forth by the blog author.

Attacking the person and their character as viciously and unjustly as some conservatives did of course says much more about THEIR OWN CHARACTER and LACK of INTEGRITY than it does about the progressive blogger who they choose to attract personally.

Rational Nation USA strongly, and on no uncertain terms condemns the classless activities of certain so called conservative commentators on sight A and site B. Scrolling back to older posts will be necessary. However, to aid in the search look for Hate Week on sight A and Nincompoopery on site B.

It is way past time to return to the civility all political partisans should extend their opponents and stick to attacking the idea and the issue, NOT the MESSENGER.

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Above Quotes: Thomas Jefferson


  1. Well Rational, you do a better (much) job than most letting leftists at least define what they believe without resorting to stereotypical labels.
    Tough to do and I'm certainly not much of a practitioner and get on the defensive too quickly.

    Left and right do an absolutely lousy job probing to find where they intersect and kind of expanding from there. Take Keynesian economics. You really can't define the fiscal policy of the comptroller of the world reserve currency as you would a household budget. That's far to simplified.
    However, what we MAY BE ABLE to do is agree that government fiscal policy and deficits has been more a matter of spiffing campaign contributors than utilizing Keynesian principals for broad growth.

    My suggestion is not to attack an issue so much as try to at least find a small area of agreement. On right wing blogs I have been called everything but a child of God and wonder what drives it. Not that i don't understand i play the game.

  2. I agree with you, Les. I've always allowed folks who are not liberal to comment on my blog, and they have done so without any attacks or name-calling from me. I certainly challenge the ideas and information coming from them, but I do not attack them personally. I know that in the beginning of my blogging that did happen, but I've seen how destructive and senseless it is and do not allow any of it on my blog.

    Let me just say this about Mr. FT's blog on Hate Week: He did not state that Hate Week was about me, what he did was hold up a mirror to see what would happen. That opened the gates for commenters (whom Mr. FT would otherwise have deleted) to have their say. Unfortunately that meant people who have no imagination or self-awareness attacked me, instead of "getting" what Mr. FT was trying to demonstrate. I'm pretty sure that's what the purpose was, even if it did attract unsavory people whose only aim was to slander me.

    And you are correct, Les, what was demonstrated by the attackers on FT's and AOW's blogs says more about their character than it does mine.

    I thank you for your support and kindness. And the troll who frequents my and your comment moderation will become enraged and leave me more vile comments just because you and I do not tear out each others' throats.

    But seriously, aren't those sad little minds the sort we hope to anger? LOL!

    1. I concur with you on Free Thinke's "Hate Week", which is why I was careful in my wording. FT and his mirrors apparently had little to no effect on some of his commenters (or AOW's).

      Was a rather gallant idea that, well, you know.

      It is sad the minds to which you refer will very likely be angry for a lifetime.

  3. You, Ducky, are a child of God.

  4. I just want to know just what exactly is "Keynesian" about this country over the past two generations???


  5. I call it Anonymous Phone call Syndrome.

    There's a Spiteful Silly Little Child in most of us just dying to get out and do it's darndest. Caller ID has made that impossible now, so these types -- many of whom might be bank presidents, college professors. medical doctors, or high-paid business executives in "real" life -- have found the net -- and various blogs and websites an easy outlet for the little demon within.

    None of these people would ever DREAM of acting this way in any face-to-face business, social or professional context.

    We like to THINK we are above such behavior, but most of us really are not when given the chance to "act out" with impunity.

    Frankly, I don't think it's anything to get too excited about.

    Here's my favorite proverb:


    An' ain' DAT de troof? ;-)

    Keeping your sense of humor in good shape is a great help, believe me.

    I rarely go into Comment Moderation, but I do feel free to delete "garbage' whenever I find it.

    I'm so glad Ms Shaw, whom I regard as a friend, understood what I was driving at with the experiment I called HATE WEEK. I just wonder how many looked in that mirror I set up, and recognized THEMSELVES?

    Anopther favorite proverb -- this from Horace Walpole:



  6. I hammer people on my blog but I at least try and be even-handed about it. Yes, I stick it to people like Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher but I also dish it out pretty good to Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Hannity. And I guess that that would be my only criticism of Shaw. She lambasts Fox completely (never minding that it also has some reasonable people working there; Shep Smith, Harris Faulkner, John Roberts, Ed Henry, several others) but doesn't lay a glove on any of those gutter-snipes over at MSNBC. That, and with President Obama - the dude is doing 80-90% of the same garbage that Bush was doing (rendition, drone strikes, unlimited detention, warrentless wiretaps, etc.) and she never seems to criticize him beyond a mild chastisement. I mean, the dude (or at least his attorney general is by signing that search warrant pertaining to James Rosen) is going after the press now and he even has a frigging kill-list, A KILL LIST!

    1. You and I Will stick it to both right and left when we belive t is needed, something many either are unwilling or unable to do.

      The larger point is the character assaination some seem incapable of controlling. When done as it was by many commenters on site A and site B with respect to Shaw (or anyone for that matter) it is simply unacceptable IMNHO and deserving of criticism.

    2. On the latter point, I concur. Shaw seems like a decent egg and it is inappropriate to excoriate her based strictly upon her politics.

  7. "And I guess that that would be my only criticism of Shaw. She lambasts Fox completely (never minding that it also has some reasonable people working there; Shep Smith, Harris Faulkner, John Roberts, Ed Henry, several others) but doesn't lay a glove on any of those gutter-snipes over at MSNBC."

    Will, your criticism of my blog would be valid if I had stated that my blog was politically neutral. It isn't. Just as Western Hero, Alway On Watch, and Free Thinke blogs are not neutral, they are unabashedly conservative, and they, on a daily basis, criticize the president and liberals. So?

    That YOU choose to be neutral on your political blog and criticize both sides is YOUR choice. Why do you expect ME to be like YOU? I've never pretended to be like you or like RN, who criticize both sides of the aisle.

    My blog is titled "Progressive Eruptions." And I make no excuses for my liberal/progressive views. It is a political view I believe is better than the conservative view. So I stand up for that view.

    Your criticism of my blog is misplaced, since I've never pretended to be what I am not. But you will also notice, if you examine my blog, that I seldom, if ever, refer to MSNBC. In fact I did a search on P.E., and found no reference to Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz or Melissa Harris Perry. I have exactly TWO references to Rachel Maddow, whom I admire. You will not find any reference to Michael Moore on my blog either.

    I leave the criticism of President Obama to folks like Les, and the conservative blogs named above. I choose to find the positive things to counter-balance what is written on those blogs.

    I'm not a political agnostic. I believe in the basic philosophy of liberalism, classic liberalism, and the liberalism that brought us the end of slavery, women's suffrage, the end of child labor, and civil rights for all Americans. Those were ALL liberal ideas. And conservatives, Republicans AND Democrats, were against all of those progressive ideas.

    I would have been a Lincoln Republican in the 1860s, most of his administration and he were all liberal. In fact, many of the men in his cabinet didn't think Lincoln was liberal enough! They didn't believe he was as strong an abolitionist as they were. Those were LIBERALS who served under Lincoln--Seward and Chase, and many, many others.

    1. And Mr. Obama's crony capitalism, surge in Afghanistan, sextupling of the drone attacks (in 4-5 countries now), continued use of rendition and warrantless wiretaps, and his development of a kill list are liberal how exactly?............And I'm not at all saying that you can't be a liberal (I actually share your views on social issues and am apparently to the LEFT of you on foreign policy and civil liberties), Shaw. I just find it troubling that you refuse to hold people accountable and base it strictly on their ideology. Yes, Sean Hannity uses sleazy tactics and I applaud you for criticizing him on it. But MSNBC and Media Matters routinely lie and doctor footage, too. The ends justify the means? Is that what it all boils down to.......As to what type of Republican I would be (I'm a registered independent), I strongly prefer Ike over Lincoln. Lincoln was a corrupt tyrant and a crony capitalist who got us into a war that killed over 650,000 people AND WHICH WAS AVOIDABLE (every other country in the hemisphere was able to get rid of slavery without bloodshed and so could we if we had bought the freedom of the slaves and helped the south with their adjustment to a non-slave culture).

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Well said Shaw. I agree with everything you said, although in Mr. Will Hart's book that makes you a "partisan stooge". I do not believe he's ever actually called Shaw a "partisan stooge", however... but he's probably thinking it. I have had that distinct honor... even though I have criticized Obama for the reasons he lists (with the exception of Benghazi. On that topic I strongly disagree with Mr. Hart). But the stuff Obama is doing that is similar to what bush did? Yes, I criticize Obama for that and have said so on Hart's blog. But despite my agreement he called me a "partisan stooge" on multiple occasions and ended up banning me. Certainly this is proof that Mr. Hart isn't as "consistent" as he claims.

  8. Yes, some like WD take the wrong, indefensible side on Benghazi. Just as I am sure there were some who patted Nixon on the back and said "Atta boy Dick" on the Watergate break-in. The powerful in any era will always have uncritical yes-men like this, enamored by the glamour of power.

  9. Benghazi and Watergate have absolutely nothing in common. You'd love it if they did and Obama was impeached, but it isn't going to happen. As I pointed out (apparently dmarks can't read very well), I agree with the majority of criticisms Will levied at Obama. I can disagree that Benghazi is a scandal and not be "enamored by the glamour of power". There is absolutely zero enamouring on my behalf. None. Unlike dmarks who is very enamored of the plutocrats and the power they hold, which is why he always supports polices that give them more money and more power.

    In any case, we know this is just another meaningless insult from dmarks, as I am the ONLY one he has levied this criticism at. Shaw has said the same thing, but did he call her a yes-woman or say she was enamored?

  10. I guess ya just gotta love personal running dog fights for which it appears there will never be an end. DS will be talking about Florida and Al Gorlioni, WMD, EVERYTING else GWB, and Benghazi likely until he takes his last breath.

    Keep on keepin on DS. Sooner or later nobody will listen to you. But I'll keep giving you a forum as long as you keep it civil.

  11. Les, I commend you for sticking to your values and respecting other’s opinions even if they don’t match yours. I’ve always believed people can disagree with dignity.

    I didn’t go into blogging, way back when, with the intention of changing anyone’s opinions/beliefs. But I did like the debating. And I did it with respect and I made friendships along with way. One of them, Shaw. And she was courteous right off the bat.

    If I remember correctly, I commented at a blog somewhere and she politely mentioned I might be mistaken. I checked it out and I came back and admitted that I was. She was very nice about it, didn’t rub it in or anything and even said I was “classy”. I’ll never forget that. From that day on, we forged a blogging relationship which turned into a friendship.

    I don’t understand why people are so darn rude to her right off the bat. Maybe if they showed her some respect, instead of jumping all over her, they’d see the classy, intelligent woman she IS.

    And hey, no one has to agree with her views to respect her. No one’s asking them to. We all have our beliefs and no one has to follow them. They are ours. But the least people can do is be mature, for Pete’s sake. Stop acting like a bunch of little kids with cyber-muscles. It’s just sad.

    I know what it’s like to be the “token Republican”, Les, I've been dubbed that. Got attacked by quite a few Conservatives for being friendly with the Liberals. ;) All I can say is, KEEP IT UP! It ticks them off, because you aren’t a sheeple. You are an independent thinker. Bravo! And Congrats!!

    P.S. Let’s chat soon. I hear you will be near Boston this year and so will I!!

    1. Pam how are you? Good to see you at RN USA.

      There are times I just have to shake my head in amazement at what partisan politics is doing (has done) to this country, the effects are evident in individuals like those who with no basis on which to do so trash good people. It is simply sickenimg. Speaking out against the imbeciles who engage in such behavior is easily done.

      I certainly have pissed off conservatives and progressives alike, but as you said I'm an independent thinker.

      Yes, we should chat soon.

  12. Fact check time: "Benghazi and Watergate have absolutely nothing in common."

    Both are bad scandals. As a political agnostic, I know this fact. As a "person of faith", you will lie and distort and cover it any time your side does something bad.

    "You'd love it if they did and Obama was impeached"

    They do have a lot in common. In real fact. I can't see wanting Obama impeached, I'd not given it a thought, actually,

    "but it isn't going to happen."

    True... because Nixon (the similar person) was not impeached also.

    "I can disagree that Benghazi is a scandal and not be "enamored by the glamour of power".

    This description summarizes most of your views, where you favor policies to give more power to the powerful at the expensive of the ruled

    "There is absolutely zero enamouring on my behalf. None."

    That's all you do.

    "Unlike dmarks who is very enamored of the plutocrats and the power they hold"

    Not at all. It is your who abuses the term "plutocrat" to include school boards who want to pay teachers a fair wage, and mom-and-pop store owners who want to do the same thing.

    "which is why he always supports polices that give them more money and more power."

    I never have, ever. I completely oppose the government giving anything to rich people.

    "In any case, we know this is just another meaningless insult from dmarks"

    The pony-tail stuff is insults. True. But the rest of it is cold-hard fact.

    "Shaw has said the same thing, but did he call her a yes-woman or say she was enamored?"

    Shaw is a decent person. She is not obsessed on Bush "war crimes" which have never occurred. You have also demanded that Bush be murdered over these crimes that never were committed. Never seen Shaw do this. But feel free to hide behind her skirts.


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