Monday, May 19, 2008

Extremists: get out of my party

There is a rhetorical strategy you can play if you are a child or adult. The child's goal is this: she does not want to eat any vegetables of any kind. The child is smart, and knows if she announces her true goal the parent will see the extremism of the stance and deal directly to nullify that goal. So the child sits passively waiting on a series of sub-issue questions from the parent: "Do you want carrots?", child: "no"; parent: "Do you want spinach?", child: "no". The parent figures out the brilliant rhetorical strategy of the child very quickly, and moves on to new methods to implement the oppressive hegemony of healthy eating.

Political activists have the same rhetorical tool. It is called "starving the issue". If the activists oppose the death penalty, and attempts at outright banning it failed, then they can change tactic to pursue legal courses banning each of the predominant methods of carrying out the death penalty.

Since September 11, 2001 there has been a predominance in the Not-Right-Wing in the USA towards this sort of issue starvation when it comes to The War on Terror. Whether it be jailing of suspected terrorists, executing a war campaign on foreign soil to seek out and kill an enemy, or investigative work on domestic soil to find fund raising for terrorism -various nonprofit organizations provide the sub-issue "no" to specific methodologies in The War on Terror. In simple dialogue itself, I have made statements pointing to the profile of the terrorists we are at war with ( Islamic + Extremism + Violence), and had progressives counter with horror that I did not include a long list of actions by white Americans in the profile of terrorist.

Thankfully, Barack Obama spells an end to the dominance of this class of activists in the progressive identity. He makes a grand and brilliantly nuanced stance not at all in league with the Neoconservative morons who couldn't command a war at their local golf course, and also not in league with the "No War, Ever, and Shut Down the Police Department" crowd of humanistic anarchists. Obama is the best inconvenient truth to hit both the stereotypical right wing and stereotypical left wing in the USA. He is a brown man, and he would send the US military to foreign soil to kill brown people who are threats to Americans.

Obama rocks.

Please read: Source documents:

3 comments:

The Serpent Lord said...

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will"

That sounds extremely naive to me. Al Qaeda is just one of many violent extremist islamist groups in Pakistan. If the US intervenes in Pakistan in a way that undermines the authority of our allies there, it threatens human life and global security in a way that the odd Al Qaeda provocation cannot. The 5 million casualties of the recent African World War should remind us that the stability of nations and economic systems is more important than the occasional toppling skyscraper.

Of course that was a year ago. I much prefer the better researched and politically sensible Obama in the David Brooks article.

Q: What is this "appeasement" crap? Isn't that just the fallacy of reductio ad Hilterum? (i.e. Neville Chamberlain's policy regarding Nazi Germany.)

Somehow I doubt the most naive right-winger thinks anyone is trying to appease terrorists with clean water and voting. Rather they are more worried about not appeasing their other enemy: poor and oppressed non-terrorists.

The methodological extremists (against-all-violence and against-all-diplomacy) must deliberately suppress thoughts that support nuanced or balanced tactics, or they actually want to create a system which undermines global security to bring about their secular or theological apocalypse.

There's an old joke in object-oriented programming methodology circles:

Q: What is the difference between a terrorist and a methodologist?

A: You can negotiate with a terrorist!

Ryan Hawkes said...

so an extremist is someone who choosing an opinion and sticks to it. George W for example. but Obama is willing to use different methods including diplomacy and waging war.

i've always been curious about how one wins a war against terror. its like winning a war against apathy. a kind of amorphous outcome...without specific goals that define an end. there will always be terror, just like there will always be apathy in some form.

of course in the war against terror, the use of fear is a key component. it is perpetual and unending. will obama let the use of a war against an emotional state continue?

LanceMiller said...

This is a reply to Ryan's "Is an extremist someone who chooses an opinion and sticks to it?"

No, an extremist is someone who is for X, for everyone, and for all time. Examples:

always for against communism
always against communism
always against war
always for war
always for spread of Christianity
always for black people in every multiracial scenario.

A complex hybridized world is the most resilient.
The no war, no police crowd are not ready for large scale social design.