December 22, 2011

My dream of a Bachmann-Paul Republican ticket in 2012 is fading fast. Vain are the hopes of man! My notion was that Ron would educate Michele in foreign aid’s futility and the virtues of minding our own national business, while Michele would enlighten Ron about how a country without well-defended borders and rational criteria for immigration is not a country but merely a place, and not a place in which libertarian ideals are likely to flourish.

Alas, it is not to be. Ron’s dislike of foreign entanglements seems rather easily to slop over into animosity toward Israel per se, and correspondingly into fond feelings toward Arabs, and then by extension toward Muslims. Michele’s evangelicalism, meanwhile, has infused her with such zeal for the Zionist cause that, as Jon Stewart pointed out the other day, this doughty conservative lady boasts of having enjoyed her spell working in a socialist collective.

“Alleging an emotion as strong as hatred in someone with whom you merely disagree is cheap. Worse, it is cheapness with a leftist coloration, with a sneer of moral one-upmanship on its face.”

Politics proverbially makes for strange bedfellows, but there is no bed wide enough to accommodate these two. Ron’s difference of opinion with Michele over matters in the Mediterranean’s bottom-right-hand corner has affected him so deeply it has driven him into left-liberal speech mode. Asked by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show what he thought of Michele, Ron replied:

She doesn’t like Muslims. She hates Muslims. She hates them. She wants to go get ’em.

As sad as the lost hope of a Bachmann-Paul ticket is, it is sadder yet to hear Ron lapse into leftist duckspeak. The cant against “hate” is a low and dishonest kind of moralistic bullying based, as such things always are, on a deliberate perversion of words’ meaning. It allows the speaker to allege that opinions contrary to his own (or ones that are unorthodox or unpopular) are inspired by base emotions and are therefore false.

Any kind of opinion might be inspired by base emotions. It might also be inspired by lofty emotions; or by emotions considered base by some but lofty by others (nationalism, for instance); or it might be the end result of a reasoning chain in which emotion played little part; or it might be the dumb repetition of something heard from an authority figure, without either emotion or reason having much to do with it.

In the case of a passion as hot as the one being alleged, evidence shouldn’t be hard to find. However, “I disagree with what he said” or “What he said is unpopular” are not statements with any evidentiary content. (And even an opinion inspired by base emotions might accidentally be true, so the dishonesty here is twofold.)

For the proper scope of the word “hate,” see any decent dictionary. The one Becky Sharp threw from her carriage window will do. Modern lexicographers have added essentially nothing to Johnson’s definition: “Malignity; detestation; the contrary to love.”


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