I am absolutely certain that Amanda Marcotte believes everything she said in the following article:
- But we couldnâ€™t gay-bash and then how would we spend our Saturday nights?
Published by Amanda Marcotte June 6th, 2007 in Crime
As Iâ€™ve mentioned a gazillion times before, the main obstacle with debating a lot of conservatives is that most conservatives rely on so many bad faith arguments. So youâ€™re not really arguing about ideology, but end up mostly trying to get them to admit to come out and argue their actual position. To make it even more complex, while the conservative talking points that get passed around are created in bad faith, they do tend to get their hooks into people who are too dumb or scared to look deeper and find out that their own opinions that have been handed to them by conservative media have been created in bad faith.
Thatâ€™s the central issue in the â€œbut some anti-choicers really do think they care about babies!â€ non-starter of a debate. Yes, some people in non-leadership roles have convinced themselves of their own bullshit, but that doesnâ€™t obligate anyone to play along with it. In fact, as many people here and on other feminist boards will tell you, they used to be â€œpro-lifeâ€, and the only way they started to shift their opinions was to have someone call out the anti-woman, anti-sex agenda of the anti-choice movement until they had to admit that they were participating in a bad faith movement.
Well, isn’t that great? Since Miss Marcotte has decided that we don’t really mean what we say, then she needn’t bother with having to respond to debating points; she simply declares that we don’t really believe what we are saying, and therefore what we have said is simply to be dismissed.
And more: by declaring the pro-life movement to not really being pro-life, but just “anti-woman, anti-sex (and) anti-choice,” she not only dismisses the arguments of the pro-life movement, but assigns pernicious motives to the movement.
Miss Marcotte’s article was not really about abortion, but about opposition to so-called “hate crimes” legislation.
- Easy to remember and tends to shut down the bad faith arguments fairly quickly. If they persist, point out the legislation says prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation, religion, etc. and doesnâ€™t specify certain religions or sexual orientations. If people want to argue against hate crime legislation, they need to be out with it and state openly that they fear that without tacit social approval of vigilante violent oppression of certain people, equality is more likely to flourish, and that is what theyâ€™re against. Or, simply put, if you canâ€™t gay-bash anymore, then gay people are going to be emboldened to walk around freely as if they have a right (which they do), and if they do, people are more likely to realize they arenâ€™t that bad after all and tolerance will spread. And that opposition to hate crime legislation is, at its core, opposition to the idea of this freedom and equality for oppressed minorities.
Which is simply a straw man argument. The argument of those of us opposed to “hate crimes” legislation is that crimes should be punished. If a man gets beaten because he is black, and another is beaten because someone wants to steal his wallet, both are victims, both are equally victims, and both have had their rights as human beings violated in the same manner.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, there were hate crimes legislation advocates criticizing Governor George Bush because the three white men, at least a couple of whom had racist affiliations in their pasts, who murdered James Byrd, a black man, were not being charged with hate crimes; Texas did not have such statutes at the time. As Governor Bush so aptly pointed out, they were charged with murder, were convicted of murder, two of the three were sentenced to death, while the third was sentenced to life in prison.
What more could be done to punish them?
There was no one (certainly no one of whom I heard, anyway) who was saying that the men who killed Mr Byrd, or the two men who beat Matthew Shepard and left him to die of exposure in Wyoming (another sensational “hate crime” that occurred later the same year), should somehow be let off easily, because their victims were black (Mr Byrd) or homosexual (Mr Shepard).
Rather, the murderers were treated as they would have been treated regardless of whom they had killed; the were charged with killing living human beings, not charged with killing a black man or a homosexual. Perhaps I’m mistaken on this, but isn’t that what our friends on the left want in the first place?
The objection may be raised, “Well, the officials in Texas couldn’t ignore a murder.” Perhaps, but if someone is assaulted and that assault is reported to the police, I’m perfectly happy if the crime is treated as an assault — and I don’t know why such wouldn’t be sufficient.
Indeed, it seems to me to be necessary. Our goals, on both the left and the right, are to have people treated as just people; none of us disagrees with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr’s formulation that beople should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I’m neither foolish nor naÃ¯ve enough to argue that we have reached that point yet, but we will never reach that point as long as we continue to set up special classifications for people based upon whatever ethnic or racial or sexual group into which they fall. That is sort of like the guy who tries to cure a hangover with the “hair of the dog” that bit him.
Miss Marcotte’s original was based on her objection to Tucker Carlson’s objections to HR 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, a bill which would provide federal assistance for local or state law enforcement to investigate hate crimes. She correctly points out that the debate in which Mr Carlson participated got off on the wrong track, because Mr Carlson was speaking about added penalties for hate crimes, while HR 1592 does not address that at all.
It seems to me, however, that while I would object to HR 1592 for spending federal money on local law enforcement, based on a narrow criterion of whether something was or was not a hate crime (if local law enforcement is strapped for resources to investigate crimes, why should we think that we should help pay for the investigation of hate crimes but not plain, old rape or murder?), that Mr Carlson and his guests moved onto the tangent of whether hate crime legislation is a good thing, period, does not make his points invalid.
Will Miss Marcotte or our other friends on the left really care to listen? While no one can say for certain what someone else’s reactions in the future will be, Miss Marcotte certainly opened her article by claiming the ideas presented by conservatives were not really their ideas or beliefs, that (presumably) pernicious motivations underlay everything. And near her conclusion, she dismissed all opposition to hate crimes legislation, saying:
opposition to hate crime legislation is, at its core, opposition to the idea of this freedom and equality for oppressed minorities.
It is, I suppose, a good tactic — if you wind up winning — to simply dismiss your political opponents’ arguments as dishonest in presentation and malicious in intent. But it isn’t intellectually honest.
Update: Apparently Sharon was thinking along similar lines, though her article was based on the truly horrible argumentation techniques on display at Echidne of the Snakes’ site.
Cross posted on Red State.