Yeah, we’re crazy!
E.D. Kain asserts that “many neocons and movement conservative types are suffering from a total break with reality.” This gets him linked by Andrew Sullivan, naturally, since the Trig Truther loves nothing better than this armchair Adorno trick of treating conservative dissent as a symptom of psychopathology. Kain’s implicit syllogism is this:
- All reasonable men of good will are liberal;
- This person criticizes liberalism;
- Ergo, this person is either unreasonable or has malevolent motives.
The syllogism is valid, but the primary premise is flawed. It is a species of ad hominem, with a bit of bandwagon psychology and argumentum ad verecundiam thrown in for good measure. Please notice how cleverly Kain, a liberal Democrat, plays the game of pretending that there is some other conservatism he might be willing to respect:
I can only hope that the conservative movement stays the course, and continues to run this thing into the ground. Total self-destruction is necessary for it to be replaced by any viable, honorable, or intellectual conservatism.
Right. Kain hereby asserts that conservatism, as developed as an American political movement since the 1940s, is neither viable, nor honorable, nor intellectual. Having wielded the stick of abuse (You’re nuts!), Kain next dangles the carrot: If you will adopt a “conservatism” that does not fundamentally contradict the liberal agenda, you will be credited with being bien pensants — just like them!
And such is Kain’s arrogance as to imagine that conservatives are too stupid to see the game he’s playing.
(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)
Robert Stacy McCain