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06/10/2006

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Ann Coulter, class act.
Must be one of those "compassionate conservatives" we've all heard about, but never seen. I've always heard the maxim,"the truth will out", and finally, FINALLY it looks like that is happening in America. The tapestry of the Bush administration's lies is coming unraveled.

Noumenon

You can check the full column to see if I took Ann out of context.

Maven and I are doing the same kind of exercise to test if a statement is rational. You should be able to replace the content of a logical argument and still have it remain true, just by its form. Like the old "Socrates is mortal" experiment. "Socrates is a man, All men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal." "A is B, all B are C, therefore A is C." Still true.

So we are trying to show that you can replace A, B, and C in Coulter's argument with other statements (Auschwitz, Nazis, etc) and get a conclusion that's not true (an army that only holds press conferences is fulfilling its purpose). That means the argument isn't logical, and the arguer is being irrational.

Maven

I wrote this yesterday, and then my internet went out before I could post it.

So here it is today, after you both have already responded to each other:
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Dave, I must admit being a mostly independant observer in this matter, inasmuch as I haven't really listened to or read Ann Coulter, but I do consider myself politically and socially conservative.

However, the quote Noumenon shared above in and of itself seems to be a terrible argument for a "purpose" for Guantanamo bay. Rational? Well, yes, in the same since that Nazi Germany could replace "Guantanamo" with "Auschwitz" and "Arabs" with "Jews and Poles" and still have their "rational" reason for the purpose of Auschwitz.

The Guantanamo detention center may serve no other purpose than what Ann stated... that is it's sole "purpose" is to hold Arabs. In this case, it's a TERRIBLE purpose, and should be closed immediately.

If there is a better purpose, wouldn't Ann do better by arguing it, instead of this insane purpose?

Overall, the quotes I've seen do not incline me to read her book. And we're supposed to be "on the same side" politically.

What do you think about the Guantanamo quote, Dave (or Tom)? Did Nuomenon take it completely out of context, or does it represent an entire thought?

Dave Munger

This may not be the proper venue for actually going beyond asserting that A=B and actually demonstrating that it does, but I can't help pointing out that you have not done so. If it is true that certain specific statements are irrational, then there must be reasons why they are irrational, but all I see people doing is asserting that they are, and flailing for equivalencies (like "She's the ____ of the right", or "saying that a person who has been publicly observed behaving as if they're getting satisfaction from playing the role of widow probably is, is the same as saying that a given professional opinion is motivated solely by a similar sense of satisfaction". It could be true, but if so, there must be a reason why it is true.

BTW, I'm half Irish, so I know for a fact that a lot of people do get unhealthy satisfaction from grief. It's a chance to jump up on a table and yell at God. "Ye gave me Da the bloody black lung, ye cheap bastarrrrrrrd!"

Noumenon

I just quoted one. Coulter said that Gitmo was fulfilling its purpose because it has Arabs there and that is a purpose. That is logically equivalent to a claim that the U.S. Army is fulfilling its purpose because it is holding press conferences and that is a purpose.

Similarly it would be utterly irrational to claim that a U.S. general was going on television to criticize the war because he was enjoying his troops' death so much.

These claims are so irrational it's even hard to construct analogies to them. They don't resemble any rational process of thought at all. Kind of like a Maureen Dowd article.

Dave Munger

Has it been demonstrated that any of these arguments are irrational? Is it neccessary to do so, or is it sufficient to assert that they are?

Noumenon

You're saying "It's OK to quote Ann Coulter because elsewhere she makes actual reasonable arguments" (which that is). I say that quoting reasonable arguments from someone who also makes completely irrational arguments calls into question your ability to tell them apart. That's why nobody quotes Osama bin Laden's opinions about anything, even if they want the U.S. out of the Middle East. You would be thinking, "I'm supposed to listen to an argument from someone who thinks Osama bin Laden is a rational human?"

To me, the fact that I can quote Coulter arguing that Guantanamo Bay is serving its purpose by saying,
"There are Arabs locked up at Guantanamo, no? Admittedly, not enough. (And not under what any frequent flier would describe as 'harsh conditions.') Still and all, Arabs are locked up there. That is what we call a "purpose."

means that anything else I could quote from her is like quoting the Mad Hatter or something. Find someone to quote who can produce reasonable arguments without producing one defiantly irrational one out of every five. That'll show you have the ability to recognize the irrational ones.

Dave Munger

I asked this over at Dawn Eden's blog:

"Is what she said about them:

- True in no instances?
- Sometimes true, but not in this instance?
- Out of bounds despite being true?"

I further ask, if you went back in time and prevented Ann from saying everything she said that's supposedly beyond the pale, wouldn't people just go ape-shit over all of the SECOND craziest true statements she ever made?

Tom McMahon

Alan Caruba puts this in context:

While promoting her book on television, Coulter made reference to a group of New Jersey women whose husbands were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center because, these “Jersey girls,” having received huge compensations for their loss, then went public blaming President Bush for having failed to anticipate and prevent the 9/11 attacks. The mainstream media made much of them while ignoring some very key factors that undermined their views. Coulter, of course, did not. ...

Noticeably missing from the press reports was any mention of what Coulter actually wrote. “The 9/11 Commission was a scam and a fraud, the sole purpose of which was to cover up the disasters of the Clinton administration and distract the nation’s leaders during wartime. Not only did the Jersey girls claim credit for this Clinton whitewash machine, they spent most of the hearings denouncing the Bush administration for not stopping the 9/11 attacks from the weak position handed it by the Clinton administration.”

Noumenon

"T)he Democrats hit on an ingenious strategy: They would choose only messengers whom we're not allowed to reply to."

Meanwhile, the Republicans' ingenious strategy is to choose messengers who are so batshit crazy they're plainly not worth replying to. "I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much", indeed. I can't believe anyone would quote her actual thoughts. It's like quoting Mr. Burns.

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