Klavan On The Culture

The Left's Con Man Logic

"If I could just remember where I left my pants..."

I have a question for all you leftists out there: are you stupid, or what?

Here’s the reason I ask. Approximately 127 years ago, when I was a young man just starting to make my way in the world, I was approached by a con man with an “investment opportunity.” He was plausible and I was, as I say, young, and I began to think of giving him some of my very hard-earned money. Finally, I said, “Okay, let me think it over, talk to my wife, and get back to you.” To which the man replied, “Oh, well, sure, if you need your wife’s permission….”

On the instant, the scales fell from my eyes and I knew I was being conned. Since my towering virility leaves me impervious to this sort of insinuation, it was immediately plain to me that the only purpose to the man’s remark was to get me to stop thinking and give him what he wanted. Why else would he try to make me feel bad about seeking the advice of the crown jewel of my heart, the partner of my fortunes and, let’s face it, the smarter half of my marriage?

And yet it seems to me that the twenty or so percent of the American population who see themselves as “liberal” or, in fact, leftist, fall for this sort of con man logic on a daily basis.

Take their hysteria over man-made global warming as a perfect example. After Al Gore’s dishonest documentary An Inconvenient Truth started the drumbeat, a liberal friend asked me what I thought of the situation. I told him that I had only just begun to seek out the facts and didn’t yet know the truth, inconvenient or otherwise — “But when a man tells me to turn over unprecedented amounts of power and money to him and his kind or the world will end… then tells me I’m like a Holocaust denier if I seek to confirm his facts… then assures me that ‘the debate is over,’ because there’s a ‘scientific consensus,’ (a wholly meaningless phrase)… well, look, I get suspicious!” My subsequent research confirmed me in the belief that the emergency is a fraud.

Or consider the finely crafted argument, “You’re a racist!!!!” (or a homophobe or a sexist or Islamophobic or whatever you like). What purpose does such a comment serve besides silencing the opposition? And what purpose is there to silencing the opposition except to obscure the fact that it might be in the right? If someone says behaviors in the black community are destroying black families and increasing their generational poverty… or redefining marriage is dangerous to the social structure… or women are less rational than men or Islam is a degrading philosophy… these statements are either true or false, useful or not useful, important or unimportant. The character of the person making them is largely irrelevant — but the fact that someone resorted to the argument ad hominem should make a warning light go off in your mind.

And as a final example of such cons: “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.” The Wall Street Journal this weekend had two writers of opposing opinions address the question: Has the sexual revolution been good for women? The feminist who answered yes began her argument with this masterpiece of disingenuousness: “Here’s the thing about revolutions — you can’t take them back….If you feel that the sexual revolution destroyed the American family by giving women power over their reproductive choices, and that power turned daughters and wives… into a bunch of wanton hussies, well, stew over your feelings all you want, but you might as well give up thinking that it is possible to herd us up and drive us back into the kitchen….”

Do lefties really fall for garbage like that? Why? Everything about that argument is meant to make you stop thinking. I need hardly point out that the relative chastity of the Victorian era in Britain followed the relative promiscuity of the Restoration period and was in turn followed by the roaring twenties which were followed by the fifties — so that, while, yes, there’s no going back, one can always go forward in a new direction. Nor need I point out that some of us who feel the Sexual Revolution hurt women may have our fellow creatures’ good at heart. The only thing you really need to know is that the writer is trying to obscure, not illuminate, the situation. That alone should make you start asking questions.

Like this one: Are you stupid…  or what?