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Nov 27 2013

Prager’s Preemptive Accusations of Hatred

One of the hallmarks of conservative rhetorical strategy over the last couple decades has been the use of preemptive hypocrisy. In order to distract attention away from their own behavior, they preemptively accuse their political opponents of displaying their own worst traits. Dennis Prager provides a classic example:

There are individual haters on the right and individual haters on the left. But there is no large-scale hatred in the United States of America today that compares with the hatred of the left for the right. Whereas the right regards the left as wrong – even destructively wrong – the left regards all those on the right as evil. Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted – these are typical descriptions of the right made by the most respected names on the left.

Imagine for a moment how dishonest or deluded a conservative would have to be to make such an accusation. This bit of mendacity was published in the Worldnetdaily, for crying out loud, where every single day you can read about how liberals are inherently evil, possessed — literally — by demons, and hellbent on destroying America. And that gay people are pedophiles whose desire to be allowed to marry will destroy the family, the church, American civilization and even the human species itself. And that Obama is a Muslim terrorist and a communist deliberately destroying the country to impose a tyranny unlike any the world has ever seen. If you’re looking for large-scale hatred, buy a fucking mirror.

The subject of the article is the spat between Liz and Mary Cheney and he offers his usually terrible arguments in the form of a series of questions:

1. Imagine a person who opposes unwed motherhood (that is, single women voluntarily getting pregnant). Further imagine that this person has an unwed sister who did get pregnant and is now an unwed mother. Do you deny that such a person can love their sister even while opposing unwed motherhood? Or do you believe that if one loves a family member, one must cease holding any conviction that runs against that family member’s behavior? That continuing to hold that conviction means throwing the family member under the bus?

This is a terrible analogy. One can oppose unwed motherhood morally and still support a loved one who is an unwed mother, but that is not what Liz is doing. Liz is proposing that her sister’s marriage be banned, that she have no right to the children they’ve adopted and that her rights be violated. If the hypothetical person opposed unwed motherhood was actively working to undermine the mother’s relationship to her child and deny her equal rights, this would be a good analogy.

2. Do you believe that it is morally acceptable for all gays to stop speaking to their siblings – one of the worst things a person can do to a sibling and to one’s parents – solely because the sibling believes in the man-woman definition of marriage? Or do you only defend Mary Cheney’s decision to cut off relations with her sister because you hate the Cheneys?

But there is nothing to indicate that Mary has cut off relations with Liz. What she did was publicly criticize the political positions that Liz is taking — also in public, by the way — because they do direct harm to her and her family.

When a Jewish or Catholic parent or sibling speaks out against interfaith marriage, should the intermarried member of the family stop speaking to that parent or sibling?

In many cases, yes, especially if they are treating your partner as unworthy of them or a second-class citizen because they are of a different religion. And whose fault would it be? How about the parents for their bigoted beliefs?

This is not only left-wing hatred. It is left-wing totalitarianism: Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient. You must also speak and think as we do.

Or we will destroy you.

Oh seriously, fuck you. Liz Cheney is being criticized. But the only person in this situation who is actually trying to harm someone else is her.

25 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    What left? The left in the USA all but doesn’t exist. What he is calling the left is the center-right.

    Prager is having an all out, fierce battle with his very own strawperson. The strawperson is losing decisively.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    This bit of mendacity was published in the Worldnetdaily, for crying out loud, where every single day you can read about how liberals are inherently evil, possessed — literally — by demons, and hellbent on destroying America. And that gay people are pedophiles whose desire to be allowed to marry will destroy the family, the church, American civilization and even the human species itself. And that Obama is a Muslim terrorist and a communist deliberately destroying the country to impose a tyranny unlike any the world has ever seen.

    But all of that stuff is TRUE! For some, really strange, value of “true”.

  3. 3
    Modusoperandi

    Liz Cheney is being criticized.”

    Ah hah! You admit it! Checkmate, The Left!

  4. 4
    colnago80

    Liz is proposing that her sister’s marriage be banned, that she have no right to the children they’ve adopted and that her rights be violated.

    Maybe I am missinh something here but it is my information that Mary Cheney’s two children are her natural children.

  5. 5
    John Hinkle

    Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient. You must also speak and think as we do.

    Or we will destroy you.

    The scientific name for that is persecutionicus compleximus maximus.

  6. 6
    Michael Heath

    The bigot Dennis Prager writes:

    Imagine a person who opposes unwed motherhood (that is, single women voluntarily getting pregnant). Further imagine that this person has an unwed sister who did get pregnant and is now an unwed mother. Do you deny that such a person can love their sister even while opposing unwed motherhood?

    I reminded of a tyrant in a movie that burns a relative to death while simultaneously asking others for pity because of their supposed love for the person they’re killing.

  7. 7
    yoav

    When a Jewish or Catholic parent or sibling speaks out against interfaith marriage, should the intermarried member of the family stop speaking to that parent or sibling?

    Meanwhile back here on earth it is not unheard of for the religious family to be the one cutting off said intermarried family member, often due to pressure from their priest / rabbi / whatever other wizard they think speaks for their god of choice.

  8. 8
    Gretchen

    Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient. You must also speak and think as we do.
    Or we will destroy you.

    Define “destroy.”

    Are liberals advocating that conservatives not be allowed to marry other conservatives?

    Are liberals advocating against health insurance covering conservatives’ basic health needs?

    Are liberals dismissing poor conservatives as unworthy of government benefits?

    Do liberals blame conservatives for every natural disaster across the globe?

    Do liberals attempt to mandate that any positive reference to conservatives be expunged from school textbooks?

    Because you know, those are all things conservatives actually do to liberals. Who exactly is “destroying” who?

  9. 9
    doublereed

    1. Imagine a person who opposes unwed motherhood (that is, single women voluntarily getting pregnant).

    What exactly does this mean? Like legally? Like if you have child out of wedlock, the government takes your child away? What the hell does it mean to “oppose unwed motherhood”?

  10. 10
    Area Man

    “Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient.”

    Your good and kind behavior is completely nonexistent.

  11. 11
    doublereed

    Because honestly if we’re talking about the legal right to be an unwed mother, than yes obviously it is hypocritical to ‘support’ your sister who is an unwed mother and yet think that she should be forced to marry, forced to have an abortion, or have her child taken away. Which is really the only way I can think of to make this analogy work.

    Because we’re talking about legal rights. Not some weird form of disapproval.

  12. 12
    timgueguen

    Of course what Praeger means by “unwed mother” is “evil man hating (and most likely not white) welfare queen who had a baby so she doesn’t have to work, and will have more given the chance.”

  13. 13
    tbell

    This bit of mendacity was published in the Worldnetdaily, for crying out loud, where every single day you can read about how liberals are inherently evil

    Isn’t it obvious? Liberals are actually evil whereas conservatives are being unfairly accused of being evil by the evil liberals.

  14. 14
    caseloweraz

    Dennis “Pettifoggery” Prager: There are individual haters on the right and individual haters on the left. But there is no large-scale hatred in the United States of America today that compares with the hatred of the left for the right.

    This is not only left-wing hatred. It is left-wing totalitarianism: Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient. You must also speak and think as we do. Or we will destroy you.

    Sure, Denny. We’re coming for you, and we’re going to destroy you — just like we destroyed Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

    /sarc

  15. 15
    zmidponk

    Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted – these are typical descriptions of the right made by the most respected names on the left.

    Well, some of the positions of certainly some of the most well-known names of the right are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist and/or bigoted. You don’t want to be called names, don’t say or do things that make those names seem accurate.

  16. 16
    Reginald Selkirk

    doublereed #9: What the hell does it mean to “oppose unwed motherhood”?

    Obviously, he opposes single women having babies, which means he wants them to have abortions…
    right?

  17. 17
    marcus

    Area Man @ 10 You win.

  18. 18
    howardhershey

    Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted – these are typical descriptions of the right made by the most respected names on the left.

    Hmmm. Would they prefer to be called feminist, foreigner-loving, gay-loving, pro-Muslim, n****r-loving, equality-for-all liberal? Would that be more accurate about their positions and opinions? It certainly would be an interesting use of those words.

  19. 19
    sharonb

    Oh, you mean like this?
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/land-single-moms-selfish-should-always-put-kids-adoption

    Not Prager, it’s from a bigger name in christendumb.

  20. 20
    stever

    Note that preemptive hypocrisy is not an invention of the right-wingnuts. It has been a central feature of almost all propaganda since (at least) the invention of printing.

  21. 21
    smrnda

    In terms of hate, I’d say that for many issues, a person’s stance on public policy says more about whether they hate a group of people than their in person politeness. If one says “I love my sister the unwed mother but I oppose all programs that would help her” then one does not really love your sister – it’s easy to say, but actions matter more than words.

  22. 22
    cry4turtles

    Do they ever use “unwed father” analogies? Or are they victims of the evil unwed mothers? Spose the “two to tangle” analogy is totally outdated.

  23. 23
    robnyny

    He left out corrupt and superstitious.

  24. 24
    sjlohman

    My name for Prager is “The Windbag”. He loves the sound of his voice pontificating about his pet subjects. His term “Leftism” is his concept that anyone who is left of himself follows blindly. It is a incoherent mishmash of his interpretation of general liberal philosophies. Also Prager will use any, and I do mean any, instance of a left leaning person, pundit or dead gnat as another example of why “leftism” is bad for America. Prager is way beyond being poster child for confirmation bias at it’s worst.

  25. 25
    reddiaperbaby1942

    As a lifelong progressive /leftist (now 71), I don’t hate the (far) right; I’d say I despise them. Yes, it’s contempt rather than hatred. And I don’t necessarily think they’re all evil, though some of them undoubtedly are. I think many of them are ignorant, naïve and easily led, and what’s worse they glory in their ignorance — Sarah Palin is the perfect example. But you can’t call that evil — they’re too silly for that. The adjective ‘evil’ can be applied to those who do know better, and who cynically appeal to ignorance and obscurantism to further their own interests — Ted Cruz, anyone?
    Evil generally isn’t found in alliance with stupidity; it requires a certain basic level of intelligence. That may be why the right does in fact hate us and consider us evil; after all, what can be more evil than a latte-drinking, arugula-eating, artsy-fartsy bleeding-heart socialist communist, gay-Muslim-loving East-Coast Ivy-League liberal? (It’s possible my stereotypes may be out of date.) We should all be cast down into the bottom-most pit of hell. Bear in mind that the original embodiment of evil was Lucifer, whom Milton makes pretty smart and interesting!

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