I must confess, I’ve more or less gotten over trying to each leftybloggers how logic works, except in the odd individual case (and I have to admit that’s more a matter of rhetorical endzone-ball-spiking, bordering on intellectual sadomasochism, than actual interest in education).
I say that partly because today’s subject isn’t a blogger (although he certainly packs the intellectual gear to be a Twin Cities leftyblogger), and partly because, well, I’m at that stage of my life when I question a lot of my own motivations, and sometimes find my answers sorely wanting.
Not as wanting as I find my opponents, naturally.
Like most conservatives, I’ve long since given up reading the Star/Tribune for anything other than material to mock.
And as that last that last weekend’s “Counterpoint” – “Liberals are Right, Conservatives are Wrong“, from retired math teacher David Perlman qualifies.
And today’s liberal rhetorical stunt? The incredibly-difficult “Double Circular Question-Beg” from a Rolling Start!
The rolling start? A smarmy dollop of that other crutch of the liberal “thinker”, smug entitlement:
In “Based on recent rulings, it’s the court’s liberal wing that’s rigid” (June 29), D.J. Tice observed that the liberal members of the U.S. Supreme Court constitute a more lockstep group than the conservatives do.
I think he’s right — but Tice presented this as a criticism of the liberals.
I did say “smug entitlement”:
Here’s the arrogant part: Liberalism is correct and conservatism is wrong.
Perlman follows with some puffery that I’m sure he intends to be self-justifying – math and science are objective, doncha know! – before making with the Big Truths:
The law, unlike mathematics or science, attempts to be based on logic, but it is strongly influenced by interpretation. What, for example, is a “reasonable man”? Reasonable men can disagree.
But the “Reasonable Person” in the sense of the legal theory doesn’t actually get into arguments; it’s a standard, not an anthropological model.
But I digress – but to be fair, Perlman keeps digressing, too.
The purpose of the legal minds who sit on the Supreme Court is not so much to apply logic as it is to interpret the Constitution.
And there, I’ll let my lawyer friends have at it.
And now we come to rigid blocs and the miracle that is the Supreme Court. I can well imagine the behind-the-scenes conversations that go on among the nine justices. I envision congeniality and also heated debate, and I have come to believe that the liberals tend to sway the conservatives far more than the other way around.
And Mr. Perlman seems to have “come to believe” this in much the same way that I “came to believe” in Santa Claus when I was six; I really, really wanted to.
I am, of course, stating Mr. Perlman’s conclusion for him. But as we read onward – and we will, damn the luck – Perlman returns the favor with noxious interest.
I’ll add emphasis here and there throughout the rest of the piece:
Justice David Souter comes to mind right away. Even Justice Sandra Day O’Connor moved to the left in the end. I think the reason is that they are all intelligent people, and intelligent people tend toward liberalism.
It’s a conceit that drives many liberals – and virtually all of them, near as I can tell, who get past high school.
Conservatives decry the liberal bias in the universities. It is true that most college professors are liberals, but I don’t think it has anything to do with bias. It is because college professors are intelligent people, and intelligent people tend to be liberal.
College is where smart people are, so liberals at college must be smart!
I have had many conversations with colleagues about why so many people vote against their own best interests, and the only conclusion that is ever reached is that those people are swayed by emotional arguments, not by intelligent thought.
Liberals are at college; smart people are at college; smart people know what’s in their best interests, and liberals are smart people, so voting liberal is in everyone’s best interest (whatever that is!)!
But it’s in the next bit that Perlman shows his true mastery of the form; he not only sticks the “Double Circular Question-Beg”, he does it with style!
So, in the end, despite Citizens United, and despite Republicans’ putting extreme conservatives on the Supreme Court, the constitution of the court itself (pun intended) has a tendency to move to the left.
College is where smart people are. Liberals are at college, so they must be smart. Judges when to lots of college, so they are by definition smart, ergo liberal!
Why don’t all you morons understand this? It’s as logical as any circle!
This piece is proof that:
- Minnesota Liberals never really learn how to question, much less debate, conservatism: Growing up in a school system that trains youth to be “progressives”, coming of age in a university system that (sorry, Mr. Perlman) hangs out a “no conservatives need apply” sign, then spend decades in a system – public ed, civil service, any public employee’s union – that would never dream of second-guessing any of those preconceptions (but does have a very strict definition of “voters’ best interests”, yessirreebob) with a big helping of Minnesota-bred “we’re all strong, good looking and above average” larded on top, let’s be honest; it’d be a miracle if Mr. Perlman could be anything but smug, entitled, and not nearly as bright as he thinks. His argument, full of circular question-begging (formidable as that is) would have embarassed a modestly bright ninth-grader when I was in school.
- The Strib is trying hard to buck up liberals’ self-esteem in what could shape up to be an awful election year for them, apparently showing them that anyone can be a Big Thinker That, or they are almost out of commentary writers.
- American public education is screwed blue, presuming Mr. Perlman really was a teacher.
Mr. Perlman: hang out at college some more. You may not get any smarter, but you won’t be inflicting what passes for your “logic” on people via the Strib, anyway.