Monday, February 20, 2006

On Things Hanging Out

My Soon-to-be-Ex-Sister-in-Law sent me this editorial, written by literary theorist and law professor Stanley Fish, and asked me what I thought about it.

I figured I'd share my opinions with the class:

As much as I hate using a man's name to make a point, you can tell Mister Fish is old, because his thinking stinks.

Who the hell am I kidding? I love doing stuff like that!

The first clue is the title. "Letting it all hang out?" Wow. I was so surprised about that that I almost dropped my Hai Karate aftershave, man.

Seriously, though, this guy's setting up liberal straw men, but he's not even doing a good job knocking them down."The first tenet of the liberal religion is that everything (at least in the realm of expression and ideas) is to be permitted, but nothing is to be taken seriously."

Umm. It's not a religion, dude. That you think it so shows not the failure of liberalism, but your failure to grasp basic concepts of freedom in society. Not every expression is to be permitted. Inciting a crowd to riot is not permitted under freedom of expression; nor is yelling 'fire' in a movie theater. And as far as taking things seriously--who is he to decide who does and does not take any particular point of view 'seriously?'

Then he goes on to denigrate the concept of 'respect:' "The thing about respect is that it doesn't cost you anything; its generosity is barely skin-deep and is in fact a form of condescension: I respect you; now don't bother me."

If anyone's doing any condescending, it's you, Mister Fish. Respect, to me, means a deferential regard towards something. If I have a deferential regard towards someone's religious views, it means I accept that this person has a specific viewpoint, and (assuming he or she is not being hypocritical,) has just as much a right to that viewpoint as I do to mine. It does not mean that I have to agree with it, nor will I feel the need to make him or her agree with my differing view. Where is there condescension in that?

If, however, I espouse respect, yet my actions towards you and/or your beliefs show a lack of respect, now that's some condescension. I would contend that this sort of behavior is more in line with the current Neocon way of doing business. Perhaps Fish is doing a bit of transference here, no?

I also find it fascinating that he has the power to read minds. After all, he knows that "the editors who have run the cartoons do not believe that Muslims are evil infidels who must either be converted or vanquished. They do not publish the offending cartoons in an effort to further some religious or political vision; they do it gratuitously, almost accidentally."

Hold on there, Kreskin. You must be losing something in the telepathic transatlantic translation. Jyllands-Posten is one of the most conservative of Danish newspapers--sort of the Manchester Union-Leader of Denmark, not some moonbat bastion of liberal causes. And did you know that the very same Flemming Rose who ran these cartoons had previously rejected a series of cartoons lampooning Jesus and a host of other Christian icons on the grounds of being too offensive? Rose explained that he used the term 'too offensive' because it was more polite than saying the cartoons were just plain bad. In what world is 'too offensive' more polite than 'just plain bad'? And have you seen the cartoons they did run? They make the guy who draws 'Marmaduke' look like the love child of Rembrandt and Mark Twain.

Just for fun though, let's follow through on his way of thinking. Let's assume that he's right when he says: "The belief in the therapeutic and redemptive force of dialogue depends on the assumption (central to liberalism's theology) that, after all, no idea is worth fighting over to the death and that we can always reach a position of accommodation if only we will sit down and talk it out."

I guess that means that there are ideas worth killing over. So, in his view, it's OK for us to kill Muslims because of our differing belief system? That must mean then that, since they believe differently than us, that it's OK for Muslims to kill us.

Or does he espouse to a double standard?

And what is wrong with believing that we should sit down and discuss our differences? In the end, when everyone's tired of killing, isn't that what we do anyhow?

From where I sit, dude is just using this incident as a launching point for another typical Conservative swipe at the First Amendment. Which, of course, is a bit strange, seeing as how none of the players in this story happen to be from the US. Typical.



Blogger dus7 said... can tell Mister Fish is old, because his thinking stinks. Say what?

That's a logical fallacy called Correlation implies causation

1:09 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

That was supposed to be a play on the phrase 'stinks like old fish.' That's why I mentioned his name in the first part of the sentence.

Nevertheless, even though it may be a poorly-written simile, I do not think it implied a logical fallacy.

Apologies for the confusion, and to any who considered it an ageist slam.


1:57 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Right wingers live by the false cause.

Liberals oppose shrubco.
Terrorists oppose shrubco.
Therefore, Liberals support terrorists.

It's simple and works with limited mental activity. It doesn't matter that it is a logical fallicy and flatly untrue.

With little efrort they can turn on Fox News, turn their fear into anger and focus it on someone. It's their security blanket. Now they can enjoy a nice cozy sleep. Sweet dreams...

2:06 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Logic is overrated.

4:34 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

"I thought you could tell Mr. Fish was old because his role in Barney Miller dates him terribly." Okay, bad joke, but excellent post. Another great example of conservative thinking that is righteous at the cost of reason and hateful in the guise of a condescending analysis. Neoconservatism is now officially dead, hasn't he heard? The neocons killed themselves off by screwing up so badly in the most spectacular fashion - by putting their very own really bad ideas into action and crippling our country and other parts of the world.

3:42 AM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Dead? Not hardly. It may be wounded-perhaps mortally--but it's still alive, and as dangerous as any wounded beast.

Problem is--the Dems had nothing to do with the wounding. It was all self-inflicted. And the Dems--at least the inside-the-beltway variety--suffer from self-inflicted wounds, too. Except theirs is from the political equivilent of a BB gun. It's like Barney Fife is running the party.

Again I say, grow some stones, donkey!


4:50 AM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

UWL: logic is forever tainted by that knob UL.

9:05 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger United We Lay said...

That was my point.

4:06 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Every 7th Day said...

I'm glad the rest of you can be so witty and droll. I'm still reeling from the mental image of Rembrandt and Twain in the act. And then there's the question of which one gave birth to the Marma-dude. I'll be recovering for days. (In other words, thanks.)

11:01 PM, February 23, 2006  
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9:39 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger dusty said...

This guys logic just had my head I said..WTF?

My first question was..what type of meds is he on and is he over-medicating?

It reminded me of a convo I saw on a couple months ago..arguing with the right...its a perfect match.

9:20 PM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I think Mr. Fish is suggesting that we should honor religious belief to the extent that we allow his religion to control our actions and influence legislation. I suspect that his ulterior motive is to pass some of his own desired legislation, perhaps rolling back a certain SCOTUS ruling. I think he would be very surprised at the amount of violence which can be released when any religion is given that kind of clout. The problem is that religions do not concur 100 percent, and the differences are all absolutely non-negotiable.

This trouble is exactly what the founders planned for, that dealing with people from different religions is a very tricky business unless you can establish some ground rules. Liberal ideas about free expression were meant to prevent violence as much as anything. First rule: Anyone can say what they think without retribution. No mocking is a rule of politeness. OK. Generally we try to be polite. But no intimidation either. And by the way, no killing. Mocking is not grounds for killing.

5:33 AM, March 08, 2006  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's all gone quiet here?

6:50 AM, March 09, 2006  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

I'll fix that.

3:48 AM, March 16, 2006  

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