Monday, January 15, 2007

Chickenhawks & Peacemoms

Chickenhawk -- pretty good looking for such a libelled bird, eh?

UPDATE. Last week, I jumped into a discussion started by Dean Barnett at, which generated interesting comments here at this site and over at Townhall. Commenters were generally reasonable and civil, which tends to happen a lot more at right-leaning sites than lefty sites. One commenter, though, adopted a reasonable tone but kept returning to an apparently deep-seated impulse to fling the "chickenhawk" term in the general direction of those who disagree with him without boasting commensurate military service. I discovered that Jeffrey Carr has been using this term not only here and at Dean Barnett's site, but also at his own, where I was moved to respond in a comment that may or may not be posted eventually.

I was going to let it drop there, but late last week we also had the now famous exchange between Barbara Boxer and Condi Rice, in which we heard another threadbare claim -- that somehow mothers carry more moral weight than childless women.

Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush's tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."

Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."


Hence this post. As it happens, I've performed an exercise that no one else has: imagining the government structure that would be needed to accord veterans and moms the official authority liberals imply belongs to them by moral right. Read what that structure looks like here.

No, I'm serious. Read it. Before you continue with this post.

You see, it's an obviously ridiculous model. But it's really the only way of illustrating just how fatuous, absurd, illogical, and downright stupid such posturings are. There do exist points which are too completely idiotic to be refutable. The arguments which can be amassed against such points are too numerous and too comprehensive to formulate logically because there is absolutely no logical content in the position being addressed. One could spend months compiling a thousand-page directory disproving the assertion that there are no phones in New York, but a dumb enough advocate will merely point at the evidence and say, "That's not a phone; it's a directory." And then he will refuse to go to New York to see for himself because he can't possibly visit a place that has no phone service.

But that's the beauty of empty statements and the reason liberals are so fond of them. Reiterating them is always a provocative act that appeals to the gullible and corrupt among their supporters, and the sensible people who understand the fallacies involved don't even know where to begin in organizing their potential legions of rebuttal. So they simply turn away in disgust, and the empty statement echoes in the vacuum, resonating long and loud in the hollow heads of the thoughtless. In the current context, here are some more fun positions the morally astute liberal should be happy to articulate:

1. The residents of New Orleans have no right to an opinion about the Army Corps of Engineers because they've never had to build a dam.

2. Barbara Boxer has no right to an opinion about Condi Rice because she's never been the first black female Secretary of State.

3. PETA has no right to an opinion about cockfighting because they've never been a combat chicken.

4. NBA fans have no right to an opinion about Michael Jordan because they've never played professional basketball.

5. 99.9 percent of Americans have no right to an opinion about firefighters or police, pro or con, because they've never served in a police or fire department.

6. No one should be elected mayor of an American city unless he has been a cop, a firefighter, a sanitation worker, a meter maid, an ambulance driver, a paramedic, a social worker, a prosecutor, AND a school crossing guard.

Anyone care to refute these positions? Be logical now...

My advice: resist the temptation to get mad at them or to respond to their assertions via direct argument. It only confirms their false view of the legitimacy of their positions. The most appropriate response is laughter -- immediate, raucous, and without exception.

Take a moment today to laugh at Barbara Boxer. And if you can spare a moment more, send a chuckle in Jeffrey's direction as well. He's a veteran. He's tough enough to take it.

I can't wait for him to ask us all his one dread question. Then we can make a list of all the areas in which he is entitled to no opinion. I bet it's a pretty long list.

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