Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby outrage, or trying to reason with a swarm of locusts

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.

9 comments:

malcolmthecynic said...

I'm not so much surprised as amazed. I also think that a lot of the response to this is, from my point of view, especially stupid, possibly because I find the issue such a simple one.

So I'm not blindsided by the response. I expected something like this. I'm more like interested at the extent of the stupidity.

Crude said...

No, I don't think you were blindsided. I admit I was making a little much of your response to make a point with the post, little more.

I guess I'm more cynical than you are. I expect any amount of stupidity from these people in terms of 'making arguments or claims that, when intellectually examined, are idiotic or contradictory', because 'good arguments' and 'consistency' are secondary or tertiary concerns for most of them. They want what they want, and they'll say what they want to get it.

ccmnxc said...

You'd at least hope that groups such as the FFRF, as dubious as they are, wouldn't come across like a bunch of absolute lunatics, but cripes, screams of theocracy are coming from all directions on the progressive-tending front. Guess the inevitable thousand year reich of the secular gnutopia is gonna have to wait a little bit longer. Bummer.

Crude said...

FFRF? Who do you speak of?

ccmnxc said...

Freedom From Religion Foundation. Basically the legal arm of the Gnu atheists.

Their site: http://ffrf.org/

Crude said...

Oh, right. Haha, no, I have no faith in that. I expect them to be out there screaming 'A THEOCRACY IS ON THE WAY' more than most if anything.

ccmnxc said...

Oh, I cannot say it is unexpected, especially considering how they freaked out over the Stebuenville, Ohio city emblem case. It's just sad considering that these guys aren't atheists flocking into Coyne's or Meyers' comboxes (actually, this isn't a safe assumption, but let's roll with it) but are legal professionals as far as I can tell (though, depending on who you ask, the word "professionals" is a misnomer in this case).

Oh well, at least it provides for some comedy value, however misplaced the humor might be.

Crude said...

I am of the mind that there are (at least) two varieties of 'lunatic progressive' - the useful idiot, and the manipulators.

Useful idiots are exactly that. They're stupid, they're parrots, they follow cues from crowds, they're easily worked up and they lash out. Some are craftier, but really, in the end it's some nitwit who will storm around and act practically on cue in a lot of ways. They don't really ever have a moment where they stop and are self-aware that they're being crazy. The realization is buried.

Manipulators know more often than not that they're bullshitting people. They don't really think that a theocracy is on the way - they're just trying to maximize the emotional impact of their yelling. But they will not let that on. So they have to -act- like the world is alternately out to get them or they're delivering a smashing victory for (reason/secularism/whatever.)

My point is only that being intelligent is no guarantee they won't be Coyne or Myers sorts. Not even being aware that they're offering up bad arguments will do that. They'll do what they must, and if 2 + 2 has to = 5 for them to get what they want, well, that's what it'll be for a while.

BenYachov said...

These people are born slaves.

A dark soul, more evil then a mere progressive, could with great ease subjugate the lot of them and grind these plebs under his boot and rule over them like a Emperor................oh they are so lucky I am afraid of going to Hell.

Just saying.;-)