Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An End to Reasonable Discourse

There is no public discussion in the United States anymore. All debate ultimately results in name calling, we can't have an honest discussion of ideas anymore. I take you back to Jonah Goldberg's collumn in the Los Angeles Times two weeks ago. When it took him all of two sentences to declare that opponents of the war are "moonbats".
STOP ME IF YOU'VE heard this already. But there are people out there — honest, decent, sincere people and deranged moonbats, too — who think that George W. Bush lied about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. No, seriously, it's true. "Bush lied, people died" is one of their catchier slogans.

Now, I'm not one of these people, but let's assume they're right.

What if Bush did lie, big time? What, exactly, would that mean? If you listen to Bush's critics, serious and moonbat alike, the answer is obvious: He'd be a criminal warmonger, a failed president and — most certainly — impeachment fodder. Even Bush's defenders agree that if Bush lied, it would be a grave sin. For example, the Wall Street Journal recently accused Harry Reid & Co. of becoming "Clare Boothe Luce Democrats" for even suggesting that Bush would deceive the public. Luce, a Republican, had insisted that FDR "lied us into war." And this, the Journal editorialized, was a "slander" many paranoid Republicans took to their graves.

The question must be asked. Why did the LA Times print this without revision? What does the dismissal of opposing viewpoints as those of "deranged moonbats" do to create an honest open discussion of ideas? Obviously this should never have been printed in that form, but it was, and this has been discussed at great lengths by others with far greater readerships than I. I move now to today's Washington Post, which, in a defense of Wal Mart, feels compelled to call John Kerry a traitor.
Wal-Mart's critics allege that the retailer is bad for poor Americans. This claim is backward: As Jason Furman of New York University puts it, Wal-Mart is "a progressive success story." Furman advised John "Benedict Arnold" Kerry in the 2004 campaign and has never received any payment from Wal-Mart; he is no corporate apologist. But he points out that Wal-Mart's discounting on food alone boosts the welfare of American shoppers by at least $50 billion a year. The savings are possibly five times that much if you count all of Wal-Mart's products.

I ask again, why did the Post feel compelled to print this crap? What does the assertion that John Kerry is a traitor have to do with Wal Mart? Would the (bogus) case the article makes have been made any worse by removing the reference to Benedict Arnold? These send the painful signal that the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times will print anything on the conservative side. Would they print an article calling Republicans "wingnuts"? I hope not, but then again, I would hope that they wouldn't be printing this crap.

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