Monday, September 27, 2010

What desperate debating tactics tell us about the American right

I've just had a peek at Kevin Baker's blog for the first time in a few months, because I was slightly curious to discover whatever had become of that latest killer "√úberpost" we were promised back in June. I didn't really think it could have come and gone without me noticing (I usually get a brief, tell-tale influx of American traffic) but I just wanted to be sure. As it turns out, not a trace of it, nor of any explanation as to its mysterious ongoing absence (he did say it was going to be somewhat delayed but I didn't think he meant four months) but it seems Kevin has been keeping his beady eye on the British media all the same. In a short post entitled "What Vapid Editorial Comments Tell Us About the UK", he gleefully seizes on the words of Lucy Jones, the amazingly liberal-sounding Assistant Comment Editor at the Telegraph. In a comments thread on the case of Teresa Lewis, a woman with an IQ of just 72 who was put to death in the US state of Virginia last week, Ms Jones had said this -

"I think it's morally, absolutely, categorically wrong to take another person's life. The details of the crime aren't going to make a difference."

Which any reasonable person would take as a fairly straightforward (and scarcely untypical) explanation of why she feels judicial murder - like any killing committed in cold blood - is morally abhorrent regardless of circumstance. But not Kevin. No, he somehow divines in her words - not quite sure where - the denial of the right to self-defence for someone who is actually being attacked...

"So, Lucy, if someone makes an attempt on your life, you should just lie back and think of England?"

Perhaps as a fond tribute to our old friend Ed "What The" Heckman I should at this point supply Kevin with a tutorial series of Wikipedia links on the subject of logical fallacies to help him understand where he's gone so spectacularly astray here, but I think on this occasion one word will more than suffice.

Desperate, Kevin. Desperate.

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