Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When Stumped Call Names

Here's a clip where Ron Paul considers the motivations of the terrorist action in Detroit recently. It's pretty hard to deny as far as I'm concerned. He tells us what motivated him. U.S. bombings in Yemen which killed innocent people. This is not that hard. It's an obvious truth, but a truth that kind of can't be acknowledged anyway according to present orthodoxy. So in the linked clip after Ron Paul makes this obvious point that needs to be denied despite the transparent truth of it, Ben Stein is asked to reply. Notice the long pause. He's stumped. How to deny this obvious truth which can't be acknowledged. In the end he resorts to name calling. Paul is using an "anti-Semitic" argument. Pathetic, but what else can you do?


Ben said...

Is it right to allow terrorists to be bullies? It's not like they are innocent in regards to the friends we are protecting, right? Granted our friends like Israel and Yemen aren't innocent either, but no one is, and Ron Paul's talking point seems a little simplistic. What do you think?

Jon said...

Not sure I'm getting your point. You say that it's not as if terrorists are innocent with regards to the friends we are protecting. Are you saying that the populations are responsible for the dictators imposed on them by the United States?

Ron Paul's point is simple, but not simplistic as far as I can tell. He says that we ought to pay attention to the motivations of those that are attacking us. That's pretty obvious, whether you're dealing with a middle school bully or a military adversary. What if the bully is upset that every day you throw spit wads at him in class? You can complain that he's beating you up. But if you're really interested in solving the problem consider holding off on the spit wads.

Ben said...

To use your analogy, it seems the bully is mad at the teacher for stopping him from being a bully to other kids. Then the bully turns on the teacher and expects the teacher to just back off?

Jon said...

I'm lost with your analogy. We have two people. The bully (that's the terrorists) and the kids (that's America, who the bully is attacking). Where does the teacher fit into this analogy? Ron Paul isn't defending the bully, but saying to the kids that if they would rather not be beaten they should stop throwing spit wads. So he's not excusing the bullying, but on the other hand he says that if the kids would really like to solve the problem they should be able to figure out how to do it.

Ben said...

Oops. Sorry.

Teacher = USA

Bully = Terrorists

kids being bullied: our allies in the Middle East

Jon said...

Ron Paul is talking about Americans being attacked, not our allies in the Middle East. The Nigerian terrorist attacked a plane in Detroit. OBL attacked the towers, etc. Also your analogy doesn't make sense because to make sense the teacher has to be acting aggressively towards the bully.

Stick with my analogy. The kids are Americans being attacked by the bully terrorists, but the kids are likewise doing things that aggravate the terrorist. If the kids want to solve the problem, shouldn't they stop aggravating the bully?

Ben said...

Well we can't stick with your analogy because its more complicated than that. In my version of the analogy the bully is attacking the teacher. The reason I don't take Ron Paul seriously here is because ceasing to occupy the Middle East is the equivalent of the teacher giving up on helping her students deal with the bullies.

Now, I'm not sure I buy my analogy completely, but that does seem to be the "other side" of the story and RP's talking point doesn't address it. He presupposes there's no cost (in terms of morality or otherwise) to simply leaving.

So the real issue is a weighing of the costs. Soliciting terrorism vs betraying our allies. If the discussion isn't at that level, we're not getting anywhere, imo.


Ben said...

I'm having this discussion over on my blog, too, btw.

Jon said...

OK Ben, I'll try to work with your analogy.

But to complete the analogy you have to have the teacher being aggressive towards the bully somehow. To be accurate we need to say that the teacher attacked the Bully (the Nigerian boy says he was motivated by our bombing campaigns in Yemen) and the teacher is also providing the students with the spit balls and encouraging them to throw them at the bully. Do you think this is a fair presentation? So far for you the teacher is not involved in aggravating the bully and I think this is a key ingredient for Paul's analogy.