Monday, March 17, 2008

I Expected Better

Evidently, Jesse Seymour, the Analogical Wonder from Antigo, took exception with my critique of his recent missive. Here's what he has to say in his defense:

First off, I never accused Barrack Hussein Obama of any crime against humanity - I simply stated that change for the sake of change has always led to disaster.

Let's look at the first clause of that sentence -- "I never accused Barrack Hussein Obama of any crime against humanity". Again, here's what he had written in the original post:

Barrack Hussein Obama has said over and over again that he wants transparency in government, but still has not revealed the recipients of pork projects that he appropriate funds for in 2005 and 2006. Obama keeps saying that he wants change but he will not say what the change is.

In 1942 [Editor note: I misquoted the year here. The year I had intended to quote was 1933] Germany had a major change in government. We all know how that story ended.

So, no, Seymour didn't "accuse" Obama of crimes against humanity -- at least not directly. But that wasn't our beef with the post. What I took exception to was the fact that Seymour was implying that Obama in some way, shape or form resembled Hitler and all that he represents in the historical imagination (which includes, but certainly isn't limited to, said "crimes against humanity"). Such a sloppy display of rhetorical slight of hand has essentially the same effect as a flat-out accusation.

Seymour should understand that. I contend that he is, in fact, well aware of this and was trying to be cute in front of his fellow conservative readers. Well, he got called out and here we are ...

As for the sentence's second clause "I simply stated that change for the sake of change has always led to disaster," let me just loudly respond: Bullshit. I simply can not read this in the original post and know of no possible way of doing so. Here is essentially the logical formation that I arrived at while reading Seymour's grafs discussing Obama:

(1.) Obama is a candidate calling for change.
(2.) However, Obama has not said what that change should be.
(3.) A scenario in which Obama is elected President would resemble the origins of the Third Reich.

Seymour's most recent argument -- that "change for the sake of change has always led to disaster" -- seems here to hinge on point (2.) above: that Obama has not disclosed what this "change" is that he is calling for. I don't know where Seymour is getting this from. Like all the other candidates who have spent the last 14 months running for President, Sen. Obama has released fairly detailed policy positions (most of which are in sharp contrast to the current administrations' -- why, here's a short primer on just his foreign policy views).

What Seymour appears to have done is confuse Obama's neglect for having released his earmark requests for his campaign's general theme of Change. They are not the same things. While the earmark issue may be an inconvenient fact that countervails Obama's call for broader change in Washington, the two are by no means interchangeable because one is simply a part to the other's greater whole.

As for Seymour's argument that "change for the sake of change has always led to disaster" (emphasis mine) -- again, I don't see that anywhere in the original argument. I see an author who makes one historical point of reference, which just happens to be the most extreme (and commonly abused) example cited in online discussion. If "change for the sake of change" always leads to disaster, you're going to have to provide us with a few more examples (like, many more examples) if you expect anyone to buy such a sweeping philosophical statement ...

And next time, do try and make them relevant examples, or at least ones that clearly support you're thesis because it could be argued that the Nazis did not come to power because Germany wanted "change for the sake of change," but because life in the Weimar Republic sucked so badly that Germans were willing to listen to anyone, especially a charismatic charlatan with a proclivity for scape-goating various minority groups, who offered a solution to their problems. Or, in other words, they weren't "changing for the sake of change," but changing because they believed they had no other choice for their own survival. Like I said, could be argued, but that just demonstrates that the example cited by Seymour isn't as black and white as he would have his readers believe.

The rest of the post, which actually makes up the bulk of the piece, isn't worth touching. It's just a shallow and obvious attempt to change the subject. Here's a shorter version: "I didn't call Obama a war criminal, but, boy, is he arrogant!" There. That's basically the whole post condensed into a dozen words. I'm not even going to bother with that part of it because this is exactly how poor Jesse Seymour got in this mess in the first place -- he got distracted, then got lazy, then said something stupid.

See, Seymour started out trying to craft some kind of Conservative Manifesto for the 21st Century, a real think piece full of big ideas on how much liberals blow. Something more along the line of this piece of shit. For a few grafs he succeeded, keeping things on a relatively abstract level, but when he got to the "Liberals will lie to win votes" section he lost focus and decided to bring in a contemporaneous example and somewhere in that transition a few neural synapses must have misfired (or something) and the result was the mess we've discussing here.


And on a final note: you're goddamn right I have the maturity of a 5th-grader, but at least I don't write like one.

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