A columnist in Australia reports on some of the vitriol directed at Sarah Palin. I'm wondering if some of the hate-mongers who attack her know they are alienating people,
arousing sympathy for the ones they attack.
Since I don't live in the United States, it's not my place to say who the nation's elected leaders should be. That is for Americans to decide. What I'm talking about is the spite involved in a bumber sticker saying 'Abort Sarah Palin', or the comment from one Australian feminist that Sarah Palin was 'very, very dangerous. There's something wrong with her....she's post-feminist'. The point here is, the people who say that would no doubt insist that they support freedom of speech and belief; rights and freedoms for all; and then savagely attack those who exercise their freedom to believe something they disagree with. It's as stupid and obvious as a person calling themselves a vegan and then eating a beef-burger.It makes mockery and hypocrisy of the fine words they speak when they want to win friends and influence people. One feminist hard-liner was quoted as saying 'My head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull,' when hearing what Palin had to say.
The same sort of thing goes on in Australia. A certain Professor Wayne Sawyer apparently said that English teachers in Australia were not teaching critical thinking, because John Howard kept getting re-elected Prime Minister. In other words, he claims that anyone who thinks clearly would not vote for Howard's party. That is straight out argumentum ad hominem: attack the person instead of their argument. It is an intellectually dishonest way of contesting with someone. Rather than present arguments that rebutt their arguments, attack them personally. When being taught about flawed ways of contesting an argument, that was one of the classical examples shown to me. You can't beat their argument fairly, so attack them instead. A professor of English of all people should know that. And here's the irony. The people calling Sarah Palin dangerous are themselves dangerous. That they harbour such vicious spite against her for saying what she thinks, reflects on them. That a senior academic can forget all his own training to lash out at those he disagrees with, shows the frailty of human learning, and the unreliability of education as a way of making people 'good', whatever you consider that to be.
I've seen this before, too. The political left throw terms like "fascist" at people whose views are unlike their own. In so doing they exhibit a fascist attitude themselves: they deny freedom of thought and demand obedience to their own ideology, which is the classic tenet of fascism with its demand for complete obedience.
Some time ago now, I realized that one reason I looked to Christianity for answers was that the humans who most loudly claimed to be good were often the ones with the most hatred inside them. And there goes that irony again! A frequent attack directed at Christians is that they pretend to be better than they are. Nothing beats a 'progressive' political activist, with all their self-righteous claims to social conscience, for harbouring malice while claiming to care so much about humanity.
I've forgotten who it was who said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him", but that says it all. When human beings try to run something relying entirely on their own wisdom and supposed goodness, the results are like disastrous. Feeling that they must get their own way, people resort to the bitterest rage when opposed. God and Jesus Christ be with us. We're doomed otherwise.
Speaking of words, which is the title of this post, here's an example of the misuse of language. A person is a traitor if they pretend to believe or do something, and then do another to attack those they pretended to side with. Sarah Palin has been called a traitor to women, by feminists (claiming to speak for ALL women, which is an arrogant presumption) because they say she is letting them down. Did she in fact ever claim to believe the things the feminists believe? Or was she always right upfront about what she believes? If so, she is NOT a traitor, she is an honest advocate of her own beliefs, which she has a perfect right to. Misuse of a term is the classic example of intellectual dishonesty - and betrayal of the principle that we should all speak the truth. The attackers are condemned out of their own mouths.
It must be a bitter disappointment to put your hopes in politics and politicians. They will always only be human. The more I hear angry people demanding my support or obedience, the more I know I can not trust or aid them.