Monday, September 20, 2010

On Tone and Substance

Glenn has a post up about false equivalencies which is characteristically good, but I especially liked this bit added at the end:
One other point about this fixation on the "tone" of our politics. Political debates are inherently acrimonious -- much of the rhetoric during the time of the American Founding, as well as throughout the 19th Century, easily competes with, if not exceeds, what we have now in terms of noxiousness and extremity -- but far more important than tone, in my view, is content. For instance, Bill Kristol, a repeated guest on The Daily Show, is invariably polite on television, yet uses his soft-spoken demeanor to propagate repellent, destructive ideas. The same is true for war criminal John Yoo, who also appeared, with great politeness, on The Daily Show. Moreover, some acts are so destructive and wrong that they merit extreme condemnation (such as Bush's war crimes). I don't think anyone disputes that our discourse would benefit if it were more substantive and rational, but it's usually the ideas themselves -- not the tone used to express them -- that are the culprits.
Thank you, Glenn. I'm sick to death of the "civility" directed by Serious People toward George W. Bush and members of his despotic administration. They are war criminals who should be in jail. It's like having to be polite to that wife-abusing murderer, O.J. Simpson (not that I've ever been called upon to be polite to O.J. - I wonder if anyone has? - but if I were, that is how I imagine it would feel. Bleh!)

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