Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Correction: It's Richard Simon, not Roger L. I had confused the two names. I apologize to Roger L.

No...not to be married. I'm engaged in debating Jay Rosen, Richard B. Simon, and others, including Steve Lovelady (who accuses me of being (snicker) "another in a long line of apparatchtiks and sycophants who toe the line on Iraq - an errand boy sent by grocery clerks."

At issue: Rosen's claim that the Bush Administration is marked by something called "A retreat from empiricism."

Really, I'm taking issue, as usual, with the assumptions underlying much of Rosen's argument.

Your thoughts?

I think that I can only read that smarmy smarter-than-thou-because-I-think-the-right-way garbage only so long before it just makes me sick.

As others have said, for a bunch of guys who mostly deny the existence of God, they certainly have found their religion. And those who do not believe will be met by the Inquisition.
My thoughts? Rosen is a putz. Lovelady is a boob. And you are wasting your time casting perls before swine.

That was as much fun as falling through the floor of an outhouse. Thanks, Jason.
Second to Big D.

It's my philosophy that one can meaningfully debate only three things: premises, logic, and values. Certainly as Rosen agrees, you and he are working from completely different sets of premises or factual assumptions.

But I think the real difference is one of values - all the things Rosen accounts as sins, you and I consider virtues, and conversely. There really isn't much point in trying to debate under those circumstances.

It looks like you are arguing with Richard B. Simon, not Roger L. I really doubt that Roger considers Jay Rosen worth defending while there are PJ Media tasks to look to.
Well, you certainly have quite a windmill to tilt at.

I would not have engaged in this forum, and admire your pugnacity here. The reason I wouldn't have engaged is that I wouldn't have much of an effect on the discussion--I don't know if you are changing any minds, and can see that you're not getting traction because the hill of wrongheadedness to climb is so steep.

On the other hand, you've illuminated some items in doing so:
--A journalist should not consider facts mutable, and some things are provable binary go-no go facts. The crowd over at PressThink seem pretty deep into the deconstructionism for erstwhile ink-stained wretches.
--Your list of "these are facts" is pretty damning.
--The gap of agreement is so far between you and the other commenters that I don't think you're going to be able to have an argument in terms of changing minds; you'll get some yelling from opposite sides of the room, but that's about it.
--That the gap in agreement is between journo types and military types might indicate something to Rosen and company that's rather unpleasant. The set of stipulated assertions certainly indicates a mindset that I would not want all my journalists using.

I didn't like the PT original post at all, actually. I've done some writing on these exact subjects, and Rosen's done some very strange things to them that don't match my logic. "Realism", for instance, didn't come from where he implies; neither did "reality-based".

Your list of facts, though, is a real key. The mindset that made those facts disappear causes the gap; the process by which those facts became denied and assumed false is the real corruption that must be dealt with. Truth should not be mutable, particularly in very falsifiable, very easily proven statements that don't require contextualizing or complex understanding. Either there were Sarin-loaded IEDs or not; it is possible that we don't know because the report was by Captain Jamil Hussein, but we know how we can advance our investigation to determine it.

Okay. My humble recommendation. If you want to change minds, then I recommend you engage with Rosen and company in person--at a minimum a Bloggingheads, or a telephone conversation that gets edited down, but better a long conversation with facts and assertions identified and a clear debate subject. I don't know how you can do that with the difference in status, but it might be worthwhile. This is cultural change and the press didn't get that bad overnight, so set goals.

Good luck.
I read those comments and was absolutely amazed at the regulars there. They were playing ping pong with their accepted facts and just batting it back and forth as if it were totally true. When you stepped in and questioned their comments they all got very seriously upset and refused to answer your questions really. Just kept repeating more by Ricks and Hersh. How anyone can accept anything by Hersh any more is beyond me. The man is a delusional self-important little putz.

What I did appreciate is that you were speaking from the standpoint of one who had been there in the thick of things for an extended period of time and could speak from actual knowledge. You were also able to speak as one who had though and learned about the science of war policy and that is something the other group could not begin to argue about with any authority. Steve Lovelady struck me as most of his editorials sound like an apologist for the liberal media. They can do no wrong and if you question them you are an idiot. I had expected more from some of the others but not much.

I think what this reminded me of is your commenting on the white phosphorus situation. You spoke as someone who understood what it was used for and when you would use it. The other people I read on the subject just assumed that white phosphorus and napalm were the same thing because that is what the LLL crew wanted them to think.

To sum up I think you did as well as anyone could when arguing with close-minded propagandists.
I found it amusing Mr. Richard B Simon tried to "disprove" your claim that no one said Iraq was an imminent threat by dragging out that quote about an imminent threat to Turkey. Except, of course, the story being used was that the Bush Administration claimed Iraq was an "imminent threat" to the USA, not a nation bordering Iraq.

Amusing in a "boy, what a slimy not-very-clever bastard" way. Par for the course, for these guys, I'm afraid.

You are indeed tilting at windmills... if you're trying to convince your opponents. You might have some effectiveness upon people lurking in the background. They might actually go look up what you are mentioning and see what the PressThink bunch is up to.
I left some covering fire over there. I've not read words so empty of meaning since college sociology. Those boys are all lexis and no logos, all form, no content. And the form is hollywood movie set, just fronts. In their flaming zeal to take down the "Big W", the five small w's were used for fuel.
What amused me to no end was that the "reality-based community" - you know, the one that demands attention to "facts" - held out as its standard bearers the likes of Suskind, Ricks, Woodward, Gordon, and Hersh. All these journalists relied on anonymous sources for their most important claims. Whatever else they are, the verbal claims of anonymous sources hardly count as "facts".

There was a whole separate issue that didn't even get touched on in that thread, which was the ISG Report. The PressThink creeps seem to think very highly of the so-called "realists" in the ISG, but in my view, the ISG Report was utterly astonishing in its total LACK of realism.
Captain, you're only reinforcing failure over there. (That is, the failure to change those people's minds one bit).

I decided that they were pretty much a bunch of clowns before the 2004 election. They have not changed, nor will they ever.
I think anybody that accuses a soldier of being an 'errand boy sent by grocery clerks' is overindulging in both the gin, and masturbatory fantasies about baby killers and burning villages to save them.

I'd simply spray them indiscriminately with rhetorical White Phosphorous Exploding Chemical Weapon Machine Gun Shells, were I in your shoes. How can you rhetorically machine gun dull witted, fat, slow moving leftists? Easy. You don't lead 'em as much.
In fairness to Mr. Lovelady, I believe he was referring to my rhetorical efforts, not to my military ones.
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