Friday, July 8, 2016

A little more wacky feedback

I reprinted this three years ago, from The Joy of Curmudgeonry, but given some of the comical feedback I've gotten lately, it's time to reprint it.  Here it is, and I'll comment afterwards:

Thermippos — The Complete Dialogue

The scene is the agora, outside the office of the magistrate. Socrates is on his way to answer charges of impiety. There he meets Thermippos holding forth confidently amidst a gathering of young men. Naturally, since death is on his mind, Socrates seizes the opportunity to discuss the subject with a man who seems certain of everything.

Socrates. You agree, Thermippos, that all men are mortal.
Thermippos. I do.
Socrates. And you agree furthermore that I am a man.
Thermippos. I have no reason to doubt it, Socrates.
Socrates. Surely then you agree that I am mortal.
Thermippos. I didn’t say that. You did. Don’t put words in my mouth.
Socrates. I beg your pardon, Thermippos, but I have simply drawn what follows.
Thermippos. Strawman.
Socrates. But no true reasoner could fail —
Thermippos. Ah, the no-true-Macedonian fallacy.
Socrates. But, Thermippos, given the logical form . . .
Thermippos. Define “logical form”.
Socrates. . . . you must either accept the conclusion or reject at least one of the premises.
Thermippos. False dichotomy.
Socrates. I see, Thermippos. You’re an idiot.
Thermippos. And that’s an ad hominem.

Socrates ad-hominems Thermippos with a brick. The charges of impiety are dropped.

Heh. I've just been dealing with a Thermippos type on the net. Not this one here [link], but another one reacting to this same quibcag. This one I'll call "Disingenuous."

Disingenuous: Thats got to be the most ridiculous thing ive heard in a long while....
Pull your head out of your ass...

Pythagoras: Well, I can't hope to compete with your incisive debate tactics.

Disingenuous: Well...
At least we agree on one thing...

Disingenuous: Although you CLAIM to be libertarian your rhetoric indicates otherwise..
Can you seriously post a statement like that and keep a straight face?

Pythagoras: No, you see, I'm one of those libertarians who doesn't believe that you have to accept the liberal narrative in order to be a libertarian. It's a minority view, I know, but it has the advantage of being realistic.

Disingenuous: Your statement that only white men can run a libertarian society is absurd...
Let me guess..
You are an anglo man with above average intelligence..

Disingenuous: I know women who would run circles around you..

Pythagoras: "Absurd"? You have a list of libertarian societies run by anybody else? Real ones, I mean, not examples from SF novels.

Disingenuous: Define Libertarian society..
Lets see your list

Disingenuous: Lets start with the group you posted in..
Does that qualify as a libertarian society..?

Pythagoras: A group on the internet? No, groups on the internet aren't "societies," unless you're using it in the 19th century sense as a club of some sort.

Pythagoras: And we're not talking about clubs, are we? I assumed you meant sovereign states of some kind.

Disingenuous: I assumed you could back YOUR statement up.
You asserted it...
You provide the data to support it.....
Not aware of any libertarian society..
So yea..
Your statement is ridiculous

Someotherguyus: So how come the Libertarian movement is led by Celt-Iberians?

Pythagoras: You know this guy, Disingenuous? [this is a link to the first reprint]

Disingenuous: So you are saying greece was a libertarian society?
Is this guy cool or what?  He's almost as funny as Thermippos. You find such tactics all over the net, overwhelmingly used by leftists. The most common tactic is the "define" demand, which can stop the flow of an argument in its tracks, without having any validity whatsoever, but sounding like it does, if you see what I mean.

Teacher: "Johnny, are you peeking at your neighbor's test paper?"

Johnny: "Define 'peeking.'"

It's amazing how easy it is to be tripped up by the "define" tactic, because people very often quite validly want a term defined in the middle of a discussion.

And of course, among libertarians, the "you're not a libertarian" gambit always can obfuscate the discussion. It implies that you're trying first of all to be a libertarian, rather than trying to get to the truth of the matter. If you're right about a given issue, but your position is not the usual libertarian one, so what? We're discussing the issue, not my libertarian credentials. So, if your opponent doesn't argue against your position, but instead asserts that your position is not a libertarian one, he's essentially admitting that either A. he can't refute your argument, or B. libertarians are wrong about this issue, or C. both.

Using phony and misleading debate tactics of this sort is almost inevitably a leftist practice, because those of us on the right have a gut reaction against obfuscation and unfair tactics. So when you encounter such tactics, you're almost certainly dealing with a leftist of some sort. That's why neoconservatives and the flakier variety of libertarian are best classified as leftists, leaving us paleoconservatives and libertarian nationalists alone to defend the concept of rational debate.

1 comment:

  1. Another failing of the modern educational system. In the not-too-distant-past, the definition of "peaking" would have been physically explained to Little Johnny using either a supple length of hickory or a thin board applied to the seat of his trousers. He would have immediately grasped the concept as well as some of the finer points of debate and even a few societal niceties of respect for personal space and private intellectual property.