Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ted Byfield: Being Nice is a Bad Thing

I've always considered Ted Byfield to be a basically unpleasant sort of person. His writing has an irritating tendency to come off as sneering, Alberta Report (and its various spawn) engaged primarily in the politics of spitefulness. His attitudes are echoed by Ezra Levant, Ted Morton and Stephen Harper - not exactly a crowd I hold in high esteem.

In the Sun publications, Ted Byfield's latest column decries the notion of being nice.

Sez Ted:

"Niceness," in other words, is not the same as "goodness."

You could make a point of being "nice" to somebody, while bilking him of every nickel he possessed.

In the classic straw-man argument style that the right-wingnut crowd so often relies upon, Ted puts forward a completely invalid set of suppositions, and then knocks it down with this:

By contrast, the guy who told you that you drank too much last night and made an ass of yourself certainly wasn't being nice to you.

But maybe he was being good to you, by telling you exactly what you needed to hear.

In fact, niceness could be a mask for wickedness.

Coming from a man who has argued for the death penalty, going to war in Iraq and vehemently against civil rights for people, I think Ted needs to re-examine his lexicon.

Someone who creates a facade of being "nice" about something and then does something malicious is _NOT_ being nice - they are being, politely, shysters.

However, Ted Byfield doesn't see this. Instead, he argues that being a generally miserable, unpleasant person towards others is in fact "doing others a favour" - and coming from the conservative side of the spectrum as he does, this shouldn't come as a surprise. It strikes me that as Dana over at The Galloping Beaver observes, there is an underlying nastiness in today's "conservative" world that few have come to fully appreciate.

Ted Byfield railing against "niceness" only serves to underscore that suspicion.

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