Malcolm has a post up where he marvels at the inane reactions progressives are having to the Hobby Lobby ruling - the suggestion that the justices being male somehow invalidate their arguments, or that an employer not being forced (by the government!) to pay for contraception is 'getting the government in their vagina' and the like. He seems legitimately surprised at the fallout from it all.
I'm more surprised at his surprise, and the surprise of other conservatives.
I've said before that the cultural gains that have been had by progressives were not borne on the back of powerful arguments or reason, or anything close to it. It has been powered, almost exclusively, not just by emotional appeals and rage, but by striving to avoid the very act of sincerely reasoning, of taking criticisms and the possibility of being wrong about one's position (or, God forbid, immoral about one's behavior) seriously. By and large, the modern progressive reasons the way Communists dealt with justice - any arguments or attempts at fairness are orchestrated for show, with the results decided in advance of any discussion. And lately, even the attempts at fairness have been discarded, because that would superficially suggest that at least attempting to understand and fairly represent one's intellectual opponents is the right thing to do.
For a lot of these people - more and more, I'm convinced, the majority of them - it's pointless to try and reason with them. Even the ones smart enough to realize that their slogans are nonsensical and their positions flawed or contradictory also tend to be smart enough to realize that *encouraging* rational, fair discourse will only harm them - so they end up simply encouraging the mob mentality, the senseless slogans, and all the rest.
Keep in mind, I'm not saying there's no room to criticize the Hobby Lobby decision - I'm not talking about mere dissenters here. I'm talking about the people screaming that this is a harbinger of theocracy, that by not forcing businesses to pay for contraception we're getting the government to meddle in "reproductive choices", and how the decision brings us back to the "dark ages". Yes, fine, they're reasoning poorly. They are acting crazy. I grant all that. But crazier still is trying to reason with such people, or acting as if the sort of person who thinks "The majority was MALE therefore they are WRONG" is the sort of person you'd normally expect rational discourse to work on to begin with.
I asked recently how to deal with these people - how to approach and converse with the sort of person who thinks George Will argued women want to be raped, and now how to deal with people who think the Hobby Lobby decision portends a theocracy. That's still an open question, but one thing is clear: reasoning with them is not an option, for the same reason the guys at Monsanto do not recommend persuasive arguments as a way to discourage locusts from ravaging your farmland. It's a pointless, even senseless gesture.