December 5, 2012

Ceding rhetorical ground

I’m promoting this Ernst comment into a post of its own because I think it shows a clear understanding of what we are fighting structurally, not only culturally, when we take on the left. Borrowing from Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt, which quotes a number of bloggers and Tweeters (though not me) on the Jovan Belcher – Jason Whitlock – Bob Costas triumvirate of evil and stupid, Ernst writes:

More on the general topic that I think is crap. This time from [Ace] (again, lifting from Geraghty):

[D]ifficult to discuss is the very violence implicit in football itself — violence that leads to concussions and brain injuries (and brain injuries of course may well lead to defects in thought and judgment).

This is especially difficult to discuss because you can’t have football without this [emph. orig]. You cannot have what we know as “football” without the very real risk and frequent incidence of serious brain trauma.

Football is not a violent game. It is a physical game. The injuries that occur in football are incidental to rather than the point of the game. Now granted, there’s a lot of gray area, but if causing injury to the players for the entertainment of others was the point, Drew Brees and the Saints wouldn’t be having the season they’re having, would they? This false equivalence between physicality and violence is more [feminist-induced] new castrati claptrap.

This is precisely correct, and it bothers me (though it doesn’t surprise me) that many of what I not unflatteringly call comic book geek-conservatives cede this ground, largely without realizing what they’re doing. Except perhaps making up for those years when the jocks made fun of them for collecting Star Wars figurines or throwing up after their first flaming Ouzu shot.

By shifting the focus from guns to football, all that taking place is a shift in where to place external blame — which reinforces the leftist message that nothing you make is your own, including your mistakes, or even the crimes you commit.

I don’t think Ace or Geraghty necessarily mean to make this point (in fact, Geraghty’s Jolt was titled “Enough with the ‘We’re All Responsible for Individual Acts of Horror’ Nonsense”) — and granted, what Ernst excerpted was but a portion of what Ace wrote — but it remains the case that a superficial shift between the argument that guns are responsible for criminal violence and the argument that football can’t exist without violent behavior is precisely in keeping with a leftist worldview that removes responsibility from individual actors and/or re-categorizes what is accidental as somehow culpable. Guns have no consciousness. They are mechanical devices. And in all but the most rare of instances, they don’t shoot by themselves. And football being a physical sport can lead to injury. But injury is not the purpose of the sport, just as criminal murder and suicide are incidental to the fact of guns.

What is accident? What is intent? How do they differ? And why is it important to make the distinction, particularly from the perspective of conservatism/classical liberalism /libertarianism?

These are not idle or fundamentally unserious questions. And though I use them here rhetorically (having elsewhere and often answered them in just about every way I can), they are crucial to disentangling pragmatic “conservatism” from the structurally institutionalized progressive assumptions that have invaded contemporary epistemology, and so forever move us toward tyranny, even when we can’t see it happening.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:46am
34 comments | Trackback

Comments (34)

  1. Right now, Rush is lamenting that Boehner’s pragmatists have conceded the premise that deductions are loopholes in the tax code, another rhetorical concession which sets up the premise that all money is the government’s money.

    Losing more slowly indeed.

  2. Rush has been talking up the left’s theft of the language the last few times I’ve listened to him.

    Jeff has a longer reach than he supposes. I mean as a rhetorician, not in the way you filthy minded buggers think.

  3. Central to the rhetorical battle is the intent of those arguing for gun control. Some of them are genuinely terrified of being shot, but like the cat who runs from the broom leaning against the wall because it’s been swatted a couple-three times when it was wielded, they confuse the agent with the tool.

    Others just want to disarm the populace to better gain control over it. Unfortunately, both motives lead to the same end.

  4. If an autopsy reveals an externally induced lesion in the dude’s brain in exactly the area that would impede his ability to make a moral decision or to control himself, then we’ll talk about football injuries as the cause of the crime.

    And then we’ll discuss whether we ought to bring back the leather helmet, which would encourage players to be more careful with their noggins.

    But not before then, plzkthx.

  5. I’m more interested in seeing the results of his tox screens.

    How wasted was ol’ Jovan? How much booze does a 6’2″, 228 lb guy have to knock back to pass out in his Bentley? Aren’t the cops liable here since they woke him up and told him not to drive, but didn’t lock his football tossing ass up for DUI?

    If he was on painkillers/muscle relaxants, what were they and was he taking them as directed? It is contraindicated to take painkillers and alcohol together since you put your confused mind at risk of the Big Sleep. Was he also smoking weed or something else? Doesn’t the NFL do random drug tests on these overpaid clowns? If not, why not?

  6. it depends on what he’d eaten

  7. Belcher was a nasty piece of shit, as least as far as women are concerned, for a very long time. That’s the cause.

    What caused Belcher to be Belcher? Ace references “three cultures” and completely misses the important one: gangsta culture. “Gun culture” is a white Republican thing? Only if you have absolutely no familiarity with hip hop and gangs. Which, oddly enough, also devalue women as a matter of course.

  8. it remains the case that a superficial shift between the argument that guns are responsible for criminal violence and the argument that football can’t exist without violent behavior is precisely in keeping with a leftist worldview that removes responsibility from individual actors and/or re-categorizes what is accidental as somehow culpable.

    If I may, likewise all this talk about averting Fiscal Cliffs. There either is no fiscal cliff — this moment in time being differentiated from previous moments in the post-market market only by the expiration of artificial tax cuts to an artificial income base — or it’s all been fiscal cliffs, again, here in the post-market market.

    Injecting four billion a day of QE ∞ into central banking is not what you do when you’re looking to avoid cliffs. It’s what you do when you’ve already gone over one.

    This is why (economically) the GOP is doomed to playing weak middle roles. This is why Boehner cannot win save for growing a pair and, in effect, firing himself by his own pro-constitutional, pro-sanity actions, actions that will likely never come for if they do they point to the not at all inconsequential end of something very, very big.

  9. Central to the rhetorical battle is the intent of those arguing for gun control. Some of them are genuinely terrified of being shot, but like the cat who runs from the broom leaning against the wall because it’s been swatted a couple-three times when it was wielded, they confuse the agent with the tool.

    Others just want to disarm the populace to better gain control over it. Unfortunately, both motives lead to the same end.

    In my view the entire earnest anti-gun movement hews to another path. It fancies fancying itself moral and good and right and enlightened.

    Progressivism is a head-nodding collective religion all the better implemented when proggs control the law thereby to end-run messy little issues and discussions like this one.

  10. PS: fiscal cliffs, it pains me to see the Aces and other (“libertarian”) bloggery luminaries going on about The Fiscal Cliff ™ in this era of endless monetary, fiscal, and economic artificiality where, indeed, it’s been one fiscal cliff after another.

    It’s a f*cking brand name, boys. Don’t buy into it. Consider who’s wielding it and for what effect.

  11. Newt says the ‘fiscal cliff’ is made up bullshit. That’s good enough for me.

  12. The fiscal cliff is way up there at the first trillion dollar deficit. We’ve been free falling ever since.

  13. We haven’t been falling at all. We’re suspended mid-air like Wile E. Coyote, feet spinning furiously as we try not to look down.

  14. Ernst, that’s where we were November 2nd. Now Wile is half way down holding up the little sign saying “the end”.

  15. Until either hyperinflation and/or economic depression become manifest, Lee, I like my analogy better than yours.

  16. Hrumph…

  17. Hey Ernst, you made Governor Lepetomane smile when you got a “hrumph” from that guy.

  18. Until either hyperinflation and/or economic depression become manifest

    That’s the little puff of dust when he hits bottom.

  19. So why is the media focused on the Belcher murder and fallout from Costas’ commentary and not covering the story about Iraqi immigrant Abdullatif Aldosary bombing the Casa Grande, AZ Social Security Office? Doesn’t fit any desired narrative (a shame he didn’t use a gun!) and ventures into territory no Obamabot media type wants to go. Apparently some contrived national discussion on guns, football “violence” or teaching men to be betas is more important than what may be/ looks like terrorism.

  20. I hate to disappoint everyone but Obama is Rollo Tomasi.

  21. Now, I’d argue that the little puff of dust is what happens after that.

    Perhaps you think of that as the follow-on anvil?

  22. Rollo Tomasi doesn’t exist.

  23. Unlike Keyser Söze.

  24. - And when the fit finally hits the shan at the bottom of the canyon, thats when he looks at the camera, makes that sorrowful little grimace…..

    ….and the ACME safe crushes him.

    – As JHo says, this is a process of disasters, many ‘cliffs’ in a row, or bolders, or safes, or piano’s, or whatever Obama’s roadrunner economics can find to nudge over the cliff upon Willy E’s sorry head.

  25. Perhaps you think of that as the follow-on anvil?

    Heh, yeah, and then just before the anvil hits, Wile pops open a tiny little umbrella…that’s the Republican party.

  26. All I know is I wish I had more jacketed hollow points squirrelled away somewhere.

  27. Speaking of ceding ground, rhetorical or not, this fiscal cliff thing?

    That’s the hill Col. Custer Boehner and the Republican party are going to die on.

    The fighting’s up to them.

  28. Deirdre McCloskey reviews Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy:
    The Moral Limit of Markets
    . h/t Mike Rappaport at Liberty Law Blog

  29. Ernst, oh? I think of him as the purse snatcher who gets away with it. Ambassador Stevens could not be reached for comment.

  30. Heh, yeah, and then just before the anvil hits, Wile pops open a tiny little umbrella…that’s the Republican party.

    Lee wins the thread. Ima tweet this.

  31. purse snatcher who gets away with it.

    Obama nutshelled, nay?

  32. Too late. Obama was nutshelled ages ago; Michelle took the right, and Valerie did the left.

  33. No wonder m’CHEL is so bitter.

  34. here’s some proggtard language abuse

    This finding recalls a much-discussed 2010 Behavioral and Brain Sciences paper called “The WEIRDest people in the world?” in which the authors argued that far too many sweeping claims about “human nature” are drawn exclusively from samples of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies.

    link

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