Over at Discover Institute blog Uncommon Descent, I pointed out that the central claim of Barry Arrington’s post “Further to ‘When You Scratch a Progressive, You Will Find a Fascist Underneath’” is a lie. In response, Arrington calls me and several other commenters “fascist apologists.”
In the original article, Arrington takes issue with the proposals advanced by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee:
The Democrats’ platform committee says they have a “Final Draft To Advance Progressive Democratic Values.”
Among those progressive values, criminalizing scientific dissent. A plank calling for criminal prosecution of anyone who dissent’s from “the scientific reality of climate change” was adopted with unanimous consent. Progressives do not tolerate dissent even from calling for the persecution of dissenters. [emphasis in the original]
Commenter wd400 pointed out that the draft doesn’t actually say what Arrington says it says:
and I agreed:
So to this point, Arrington has made a claim, that the draft calls for “criminal prosecution of anyone who dissent’s [sic] from ‘the scientific reality of climate change’,” and wd400 and I have pointed out that the claim is false. It simply is. What the draft actually says is that the Department of Justice should “…investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.” Those two things are not the same, and so the claim is false.
Neither I nor wd400 have, to this point, offered an opinion about whether the proposed plank is a good idea, the reality of anthropogenic climate change, or the nature of securities fraud (this will become relevant). What we did was to point out that the proposed platform does not say what Arrington says it does.
In response, Arrington published another post, “Scientific Dissent Can Never Be Securities Fraud“:
Over at the Progressive Fascist post, progressives wd400, FierceRoller, rhampton7, and Seversky have emerged as apologists for the attorneys general’s fascist efforts to quash dissent from climate alarmism. What if the climate research really did amount to securities fraud they ask?
Well, I didn’t ask that (nor did I say anything progressive). I pointed out that Arrington lied; that’s it.
I have litigated securities fraud cases for over 25 years. I know what it takes to make a securities fraud case, and I can tell you that the fascist apologists’ question is like asking, “What if that circle really were square?” [emphasis added]
So because I pointed out that the draft platform doesn’t say what Arrrington claimed, I am a “fascist apologist” defending “brown shirt tactics.”
What the new post doesn’t address is my actual claim: that Arrington misrepresented the proposed platform. I could have gone further and questioned Arrington’s motives in misrepresenting the proposed platform, but I didn’t. If I had, I might have pointed out that “…prosecution of anyone who dissent’s” sounds a lot more ominous than “…investigat[ing] alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies.” I might have speculated that “…prosecution of anyone who dissent’s” is a straw man designed to make an opponent’s position out to be much more extreme than it actually is.
Arrington could have argued that his version is not meaningfully different from what the proposed platform actually says. I would disagree, but at least he would have been engaging on the arguments. Instead, he escalated straight to the nuclear option: when someone points out that you’re lying, call them a “fascist apologist”.