Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Josh Marshal makes a cogent post about the culpability of Bush's stumbling foreign policy in the current Korean crisis--er--"situation". Glenn Reynold's response to it is the definition of clueless:
IN A BIT OF DUBIOUS MORAL EQUIVALENCE, Josh Marshall is comparing the Administration's treatment of North Korea with Ruby Ridge. He's quoting someone else here, but I think he's agreeing.
Atrios' advice to Josh: "If there's one thing I've learned about arguing with conservative assholes - never use analogies. never use comparisons." My solution is to simply not argue with the assholes. Analogies and comparisons are perfectly legitimate tools in logical arguments. If your opponent decides to distort your analogies in order to make it look like you are saying something you are not then that is a mark against them, not yourself. Really, the problem with Glenn's response is not that he criticizes an analogy but that he criticizes the least relevent portion of Josh's entire post and totally ignores everything else that is said. By doing so he makes it sound like the thing he is criticizing was the ONLY point of Josh's post and, since it is bad (according to Glenn's distorted presentation of it), the post as a whole is bad. Glenn never once address the question of Bush's culpability in the present Korean crisis--er--"situation". There's probably a name for this kind of dishonest debate tactic but I don't know what it is. I can remember early in my net life spending a lot of time trying to qualify my statements in order to make sure that people didn't misunderstand what I was saying. I learned quickly that (1) it doesn't matter how much you qualify them, if people want to misunderstand you they will find a way to do so anyway and (2) all the qualifications just obscure your point and confuse those who might otherwise be willing to listen to what you have to say. So, I generally drop the qualifiers and figure that, if there is genuine confusion on a point, I can always clear it up later (at least for people who haven't pre-judged me).

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