Vivisecting an Argument

This response to a challenger on a political board (in AOL's "Christianity Online") was so effective that said challenger, hitherto posing as a Christian, was reduced to spewing profanity and insults at me! Sadly, many people online write illogical, blathering diatribes like my opponent here. That's why knowing what you're talking about will make you stand out from the great unwashed masses, who generally reveal their ignorance of issues and their inability to think coherently.

(Note: I have tacitly removed one extra word in the text below in order to keep the user name of my opponent obscured, in line with my already-stated policy.)

Subj: J-----'s Straw Man (part 1)
Date: 95-04-20 22:27:56 EDT
From: BasFawlty

Deuteronomy 25:13-14: Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.

Proverbs 20:10: Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

BasFawlty: But God's dislike for double standards is no barrier to J-----F---'s argument! We see him deftly move from--


(applicable to G.O.P. only)

J-----F---'s demonstration: You would think that Christians are to be "in this world and not of it", yet I continue to find so many Christians that LOVE the sensationalization of the Clinton Administration. (Romans 13? never heard of it!!). Let's all blast our President for the splinter we see in his eye, never mind the beams in our own eyes.



(permissible for card-carrying Democrats without any devaluation of their presumed godliness)

J-----F---: Reagan. . . was truly one of the greatest presidents of all time. He better have been, we'll be paying for his Administration's policies for a LONG time, let's get our money's worth. Maybe we should put him on the dollar bill (uh-oh, irony) . . . . I understand that Bush and Reagan were both more Christian in their endeavors as well. Like the Iran-Contra and Iraqgate fiascoes (fiascos?? ----Dan Quayle). [etc., etc.]

I really do admire J-----'s style of argumentation, which is highly informative. Imagine all the things I didn't know about conservatives! Why, in J-----'s first paragraphs alone, we learn that all conservative Christians--

  1. "LOVE the sensationalization of the Clinton Administration";
  2. "blast our President for the splinter we see in his eye";
  3. slavishly follow the media's "terms and rules of the game"; [Note: all those "Annoy the Media--Re-elect Bush!" stickers you saw on various G.O.P. vehicles in 1992 were an illusion; actually, the average Christian family venerates TV anchors as demi-gods, keeping a brass idol of Tom Brokaw right next to the gold (plated) one of Pat Robertson.]
  4. demonize liberals as "AntiChrist" and the "Evil Communist"; [The big threat of Soviet Communism is, of course, dead, but shhhh! Don't wake J----- with that disturbing info!]
  5. lionize the "God-fearing conservative" who uses "any means necessary" to achieve his ends. [Although fear of God and situational ethics are mutually contradictory, J----- apparently doesn't have a problem with paradoxical concepts (see his exhibition of double standards above).]

And I certainly was informed about how to be a real Christian much more from J-----'s posts than from Bible verses like these:

2 Thessalonians 3:10: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

How much more godly J-----'s concept is:

(Such as Ron Brown, Henry Cisernos, and Ted Kennedy!)

I also enjoyed J-----'s setting up of a straw man rather than debating any of the points addressed on this board. As J----- puts it:

I hope you can refresh my memory here, J-----. Just whom are you refuting in these lines? I must have missed the post on a Communist threat in this folder, as well as the one calling the G.O.P. "pure." Please be specific about where these posts appeared so they can be examined by everyone. Don't be shy!

(continued on next post)

Subj: J-----'s Straw Man (part 2)
Date: 95-04-20 22:30:17 EDT
From: BasFawlty

And I love the scattershot approach exemplified by this J----- quote (not exactly relevant to the topic of Clinton, but we'll deal with it anyway):

Well, as William Kilpatrick points out in his excellent book entitled Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992), the approach of your favored public schools, called "values clarification," causes "a student . . . to think that all of morality is similarly problematic" and "that right and wrong are anybody's guess" (p. 85). And isn't that just the kind of society you'd love to live in, J------? A place where Hitler's ethics are considered to be no worse than St. Augustine's? A place where the actions of Charles Manson and Charles H. Spurgeon were equally valid given their respective moral compasses? I guess a few more kids thinking "Helter Skelter" was a cooler way of life rather than serving God would be a fine thing to keep this "great nation" together, right, JF?

The real "trickle-down" economics is the Great Society ideal: let's give it all to government, then be beholden to its generosity for anything we want or need. Under that scenario, what King David said of God, we can say of Big Daddy Government every tax time: "all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee" (1 Chr. 29:14)!

(continued on next post)

Subj: J-----'s Straw Man (part 3)
Date: 95-04-20 22:31:25 EDT
From: BasFawlty

Actually, J-----, you can beat up all you want to on the Christian Right for your president's troubles. But the real problem is that even your fellow liberals don't believe in him anymore. We can cite not only one "prophet of your own" (cf. Titus 1:12), but three:

  1. "Weakness and vacuity are what we see in the Clinton administration. It moves from day to day, empty of vision, without a design. Clinton himself seems more and more like Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, a dwindling, haunting presence in the White House." (Anthony Lewis, New York Times, as rptd. in "Clinton is running out of time to convince us that he has the will to govern," Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 12/13/94.)
  2. "A far bigger problem for the president is that the more he tries to ingratiate himself with the surly right, the more people like me--moderate-to-liberal voters who elected him in hopes that his 'new covenant' would bring out the best and rid us of the worst in government--are fed up with him." (Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune, as rptd. in "Instead of taking bull by horns, Clinton throws Elders to snorting conservatives," Sun-Sentinel, 12/14/94.)
  3. "[Former Rep. Dave McCurdy, D-Oklahoma] concluded that the president had three basic political assets: his ideology, his character, and the office of president itself. For McCurdy, Clinton had still not settled his ideology and had probably already lost on character. But he still had the office--he could exercise his constitutional power. Now only events such as war, economic depression, urban riots, an immediate and catastrophic threat to health or the environment, or calamities unimagined could provide the moments for Clinton to prove his leadership." (Bob Woodward, "Afterword," in The Agenda, [paperback ed.], NY: Pocket, 1995, p.399.)

Telling the truth about the Clinton administration, especially when its own allies concur, is only fair, your impressive theatrics to the contrary. For does not scripture itself say,

Ephesians 5:13: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Of course there are those who prefer darkness to light (Jn. 3:19), but I prayerfully hope you are not one of them! ;)

© 1996 by T.L. Hubeart Jr.

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