Friday, October 16, 2009


Flaming Straw

Kelly Boggs, a columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, is trying to play the guilt card:

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary and Thesaurus the word "liberal" is defined as: respectful and accepting of behavior or opinions different from one's own.

The dictionary and thesaurus also provides several synonyms for the word. Among those listed are the following: tolerant, unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded, open-minded.

You would think that a person who embraces the concept of liberalism would be, of all people, open to debate, dialogue and inquiry on most any subject. But the new liberals, or as I refer to them, "neo-liberals," are among the most narrow-minded and closed individuals you will ever meet.

Supposedly, those "neo-liberals" flunk the test for real liberals, because they don't gladly let those who deny anthropogenic global warming, Intelligent Design Creationists and those who would deny basic human rights to gays equal time in academic settings or to disrupt those neo-liberals' own activities.

"Acceptance" and "tolerance" does not mean "treating as equal." Fred Phelps and his delusional band of America haters will have their freedom of speech protected in our liberal democratic (small "d") system but he need not be invited to the White House to shout out his views at Presidential news conferences.

Dictionaries may report that common usage assigns "respectful" to liberals but it has never been the case on the ground ... at least as far back as John Hancock and "fat George." Nor should it be. Scientists who were "respectful" of astrology or ID would be failing their duty to educate the public as to what science is. Being unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded and/or open-minded does not entail tolerance of misrepresentations and outright lies. Which is not to say that Expelled truthfully characterized academia's response to ID.

I wonder if Boggs can spell "strawman" well enough to look that up.

So often, when someone begins a speech or an essay by presenting a dictionary definition and then bases an argument upon it, it turns out that person is an ass and has nothing useful or enlightening to say.
... it turns out that person is an ass and has nothing useful or enlightening to say.

Almost by definition!
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