When the 2016 State of the Union was coming up the guest panelists on one of the news shows enjoyed making predictions on the number of straw-men arguments Obama would resort to, as they chuckled and shook their heads over his infamous penchant for proudly slaying the artificial boogeymen of his own making. It’s quite a sad state of affairs when the President of the United States can be counted on to puff himself up and respond to his critics with lies and false arguments in a national address, but that just so happens to be the reality, and it isn’t funny.
Straw-man arguments and lies are the refuge of those who fear that their arguments can’t stand up on their own, just as brass knuckles and switchblades are the refuge of fighters who doubt their ability to hold their own in a fair fight. As a blogger I’ve dealt with this tactic countless times in my futile attempts to sincerely debate with liberals and libertarians. They predictably accuse me of wanting the poor to starve or of being a cold-hearted war monger in order to avoid arguing with the actual substance of what I’ve said. It often reminds me of a comical scene from the movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” in which the townspeople dress a woman up as a witch, fake nose and all, in order to……wait for it…..… prove that she’s a witch!
We laugh at the absurdity of it and yet it’s not too far removed from realty, which is precisely what makes it so funny (didn’t the enemies of George W. Bush concoct fake documents to prove their criticism that he didn’t fulfill his service requirements?). Why would the townspeople go to such great lengths to make the woman into a witch rather than simply accept that she’s not a witch?*** Answer: Either they have more sinister motives relating to this woman or they don’t want the mental discomfort of invalidating that which they’ve come to believe, because our prejudices are very precious to us. Either way it brings into question both their character and their conscience. Chew on that for a while.
Back to Barack Obama. His leftist supporters would have us believe that he is a man of great intellect, and his patronizing, cocky demeanor suggests that he believes it as well; but his routine and intentional reliance upon lies and straw-men ultimately reveals the truth: he’s an intellectual coward who lacks confidence in his ability to prevail on the strength of his own positions. His fears make it necessary to injure his opponents before the fight by mischaracterizing their arguments and by misrepresenting the facts. As with my liberal and libertarian adversaries, I cannot fathom there being any satisfaction in winning this way, but more importantly Obama’s supporters need to ask themselves why. Why dress your opponent as a witch rather than simply admit they’re not a witch? What darker motive is in play, and should I be worried? Answer: Yes. And you should be scared.
***Note to Monty Python fans: I realize that in the movie the townspeople, through some very convoluted reasoning, conclude that if the woman is a witch she will weigh the same as a duck, and lo and behold it turns out that she does. Please be advised that this does not change my point! :)
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