Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blaming Philosophy For Virginia Tech

In the days following the Virginia Tech shooting, I've seen two lines of idiocy come out of wingnuttia. Frankly, blaming society - or broad swaths of philosophical thought - for one person's insanity is foolishness in the extreme.

The first, is that Cho's actions have something to do with atheism, which is nicely debunked here.

The second came spewing forth from Paul Jackson's witless mind today.

Jackson's rant basically claims that we are being "far too 'liberal'":

Because rampant liberalism simply demeans traditional values.

Just look at the evidence.

Movies hit our screens with non-stop violence and four-letter words spewing from them.

The pop music -- especially rap -- our teenagers listen to is also full of violence, four-letter words and is sexually explicit.

Pornography is rampant in the publications freely available at any newsstand or bookstore.

Teenage boys have no respect for teenage girls, and teenage girls no respect for themselves.

When some of us object to the demeaning standards evident in today's movies, music and publications, we are called prudes and are ridiculed.

Talk about pure argument by assertion. There isn't a shred of reality in Jackson's hand-wringing accusations. He complains about music, how kids dress today, pornography etc. Gee - I remember hearing the same worries expressed when I grew up about the pop culture of the day. Most people I know that are my age are not licentious, ill-disciplined people - but instead are earnest, hard working folk that grew well past the various things that Jackson worries so much about.

Our educational system is a shambles.

Teachers often dress like scruffy students, and churn out "graduates" who can hardly read, write or do simple arithmetic.

Oh wait, let's consider this for a moment. Who is it that has argued for cuts to public education? What stripe of government has consistently cut teacher's salaries and held back funding to maintain our schools? Oh right - Conservatives - especially in both Alberta and Ontario. In Alberta's recent budget, the funding for public schools isn't even increasing enough to keep up with inflation in the City of Calgary. This is a recipe for successful education how? While I respect and admire teachers, when the pay is 2/3 what I can make in other fields, it becomes pretty hard to attract people to the field.

Understanding the "plight" of criminals, rather than seeking punishment and retribution would cut down on crime, we were assured,

But no, the crime rates soar.

Oh bullfeathers, Paul. Overall, Canada's crime rates have been in decline for years. Recent outbursts of gang violence in Toronto or Calgary do not constitute a global change in crime rate - go learn some basic statistics.

Do the idiots in Toronto that have decided that whipping out a handgun at whim is a good idea deserve to have their asses kicked into jail for a long time? Absolutely. Of course, I've written about just how wonderfully Stephen Harper's government wants to protect our legal and judicial system - stacking it with ideologues instead of judges, introducing laws that violate the presumption of innocence, etc. Yeah - that gives me a lot of faith in the "conservative" idea of justice.

We are killing our babies with "near-birth" abortions in which the baby's head is crushed to get it out of the womb.

A "near birth" abortion is an abortion in which the baby would have been born alive -- if somewhat prematurely -- if its head hadn't been crushed and the womb injected with poison.

Oh brother - as if these extreme abortion cases are common. These are extremely rare, and generally only done when the baby is not viable, or the mother's own health is at risk. The notion of "near birth" is a term that the anti-abortion crowd dreamed up to describe a medical procedure. It is neither accurate, nor meaningful, but is rather part of the political dialogue. Feministe has a good article on the subject.

Jackson winds up his hyperventilating tirade as follows:

A liberal society, a society of licence, that's what.

In real words, a nihilistic society in which so many of us -- a majority of us, or a majority of those in politics, law and academia who set today's standards -- believe in nothing.

Is there any chance to save western civilization?

Not without strong leadership, but strong leadership is mocked.

Those with high leadership ideals are scorned and denigrated.

No Paul - what we have is a society that has grown beyond the narrow-mindedness of the 19th century that you are so in love with. You speak of people scorning those with "high leadership ideals", and yet I would argue that it is in fact "conservatives" like you that dish out scorn and sneering condescension at those who dare disagree with your ideology. Along with your cubicle-mate Micheal Coren, you have forgotten the idea that we live in an open society where disagreement is allowed.

That you get paid for spewing your nonsense is merely a disappointing comment on the price of a liberal society - we have to listen to your stupidity as well as actual reasoned thought.

It would appear that either Jackson's busy parroting Newt Gingrich or vice versa. In either case, the argument's still crap...although it does raise the spectre of Jackson engaging in a form of plagerism...


steve said...

The Blame Game.
In case you were wondering who’s to blame for the Virginia Tech massacre, Cynical-C has created a list. The list keeps on growing and has 55 different items at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Very nice disection Grog!

I do find it interesting that Paul Jackson is basically mimicking the statements that have come out of Anne Coulters mouth. Both of them use the word 'liberal' in a very negative light. In the U.S. it is actually quite an insult to call somebody a 'liberal' (especially in the south), up here in Canada the long term result of using 'liberal' as a negative descriptor is going to make it harder for the Liberals to get there message across to the general public.


steve said...

blame game