Watch Who You’re Calling Stupid, Stupid

I’ve been wondering what it will take to counter the warblogs that seem to dominate much of the blogging community. When I read these blogs I find their arguments, if they even pretend to offer an argument (see below), amazingly unconvincing because they rely on emotional rather than rational appeals to persuade readers their view of the war is the only possible view.

For instance, here’s an example I found in the process of checking links to my site; it’s called Courreges and is self-described as “A conservative Republican web log hailing from Houston, Texas. The author is a senior at Rice University majoring in political science, and is Vice Chair of the College Republicans. “

You’d think that a college senior, especially one majoring in political science, might have some keen insights into our world. Judging from what appears on her page, though, you’d be wrong. Here’s a sample of the kinds of insight we’re offered into these dangerous times:


Yes, old Jimmy Carter is up to his old tricks with this new column bashing the idea of war with Iraq. I'd go into deal refuting his arguments, but it really isn't worth the bother. I think Carter has been discredited enough over the past year to where screeds like this can neither add nor detract from the negativity of his record. [I’m assuming the young lady actually speaks English as her first language, though this piece doesn’t offer much corroboration of that. I wouldn’t want to make fun of a foreigner’s English, but her picture makes me think she’s probably just a native Texan. Thank God she doesn’t claim to be an English major.]

If that doesn’t give you confidence in the American educational system, here’s another gem:

Another poll, this one from Europe, is certainly not a cause for celebration, although the results shouldn't be too surprising. 55% of respondents from six European nations believe that American foreign policy was partially to blame for the September 11th attacks. This makes it clear that the anti-Americanism of Europe is no urban legend. It is a cultish viewpoint that pervades left-wing groups throughout the continent.

But to those Europeans who feel this way, I hope this well-reasoned retort will alert you to the error of your position:

Yep, that’s certainly my idea of a convincing retort. but maybe that's what Robert Horn describes as an effective combination of text and graphics (this reference will probably make better sense if you read tomorrow's entry).

Rice University and the Young Republicans must be proud to be represented by such an enlightened student.

If this is the best we can expect from web coverage, give me back my media coverage. Despite the scarcity of well-reasoned arguments in five minute sound bites sandwiched between the all-important commercials, it's better than this.

Don't get me wrong, though, I don't think propoganda is any better even when the opinions happen to agree with mine. I've taken blogs out of my link section if I thought they had resorted to name-calling instead of rational arguments, though I rush to reassure you that not all my links are entirely rational all the time. Right, Shelley? After all, I recently used the "shrub" word in a headline referring to the logging controversy, but I didn't use it to directly address the president. Repeatedly referring to President Bush as "shrub," though, doesn't raise the level of your argument and probably shows an unreasoned bias that would make your entire argument suspect. Nor does constantly repeating the mantra that this president was "elected by the Supreme Court not the people" do much to make a rational argument.

The real problem right now is precisely that the majority of the people do seem to agree with Bush's ideas on Iraq, and the rest of us need to convince them that they're wrong, that there are better solutions to the problem. The best way to do this would be to counter flag waving with some sound arguments. After all, the only ones who truly have a right to wrap themselves in our flag are those who died in service of our natiion.

What do you think?