Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everyone a Bigot?

This column from Victor David Hansen is a few weeks old, but is still relevant:

One, legitimate public concerns can be attributed to religious, ethnic, or racial prejudice in hopes that the debate will hinge on supposedly bad motives rather than convincing arguments. Ad hominem attacks are always a sign of shaky logic.

Two, in most of these cases, the majority is opposed by a variety of activist groups, government officials, and judges. The charge of bigotry is usually expressed in terms of a sophisticated, liberal-thinking elite reining in the emotional and illogical unwashed masses. [Classist?] We saw proof of that with the release of confidential e-mails from the controversial “JournoList” group, which was comprised largely of influential liberal journalists, one of whom openly advocated defaming their opponents by calling them racists.

Three, these cry-wolf tactics are now stale. A real danger is that when legitimate charges of prejudice are leveled in the future, most will shrug and ignore them.


In other words, there is no simple ideological, racial, or religious divide between a monolithic “us” and “them.” We have devolved to the point where promiscuously crying “Bigot!” and “Racist!” signals a failure to convince 51 percent of the people of the merits of an argument.

It is too often that simple — and that sad.

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