Dennis Campbell
April 1, 2004
Debating liberals is like grabbing smoke
By Dennis Campbell

Have you ever tried to grab a fistful of smoke? As quick as you may be, when you open your hand nothing is there.

Grabbing a fistful of smoke is akin to trying to make sense of the typical liberal's criticism of a conservative position. Soon, one becomes aware that nothing is there.

Admittedly, bashing liberals is great sport and they make easy game. As Roger Hedgecock, guest-hosting for Rush Limbaugh recently, said, "You gotta love liberals. They have no brain and no logic."

Yet, in spite of that they wield enormous influence over American culture and life and politics. Therefore, it is important that conservatives continually confront liberal dogma, whether through reasoned analysis and criticism, Ann Coulter-like ridicule and sarcasm, or other means.

The difficulty in debating liberals was made manifest to me when a letter-writer in my local newspaper pounded me rather vigorously for a column I had written, also posted on several websites, making the case that Adolf Hitler in some ways would be the ideal Democrat candidate for president.

It was written, in part, because the left for decades has hurled the epithet "Nazi!" at conservatives as we have ground our teeth in frustration, because in fact Nazis were members of the National Socialist German Worker's Party. Yes, Nazis were socialists.

That puts them on the left side of the political spectrum. Their policies were much more in agreement with those of Democrats than with those of Republicans. Yet, liberals portray conservatives as Nazis, and President Bush is caricatured as Adolf Hitler.

Writing that Hitler would make a good candidate for the Dims oops, the Dems is certain to make some angry. One expects a spirited response. But why is it little more than noisy indignation, what William Shakespeare characterized as "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"?

One critic said, "The theme of this story: The 40% of American voters registered as Democrats are radical, vegetarian, Islamist Hitler sympathizers."

Of course, no such thing was said. It simply was noted that a vegetarian like Hitler would appeal to the radical environmentalists and animal-rights proponents who populate the left. It never said leftists sympathize with Hitler they use his name as the worst kind of insult.

As far as Islam goes, are Democrats so uninformed as to be unaware that leftist sympathy for Islam and "Palestinians" is rife on our college campuses, while Christianity is denigrated? Hitler admired Arab society and scorned Christian virtues as incompatible with the German national character.

Another critic said the column was filled with "fallacies and ignorance." Perhaps, but is it unreasonable to expect that just a single example be provided? Still another complaint: The column's "flaws are many and obvious." Not so obvious, apparently, that even one could be cited.

A critic said that "The very premise of the piece is an insult to all who care about our country." This causes one to hark back to Hedgecock's comment that liberals "have no logic." How showing similarities between German socialism and American liberalism insults those who love America is difficult to fathom.

And then: This is "yellow journalism at its worst." That type of journalism has been said to emphasize the scandalous and sensational. How does an analysis of the similarities between the National Socialist German Worker's Party and today's Democrats constitute yellow journalism?

The pattern in all of this is obvious. No substantive criticism. No specific rebuttals. Nothing disputing similarities between Hitler's socialism and American liberalism big government, redistribution of wealth, support of abortion, an insistence that private behavior is inconsequential to fitness for public office, the appropriation of great swaths of land by the government, extensive social programs, and heavy government regulation and control of private business and property.

All smoke. No substance. But wonderfully representative of the debating tactics of liberals: Avoid specifics. Run from facts. Assault the character of the opposition but shun reasoned criticism.

Liberals routinely muster up barrels of outrage, puff themselves up with overheated indignation, smear the opposition, shout a passel of unfounded and undocumented accusations, and scream "hater!" and "racist!" at conservatives who routinely dismantle their flimsy arguments.

But there must be liberals out there who are capable of engaging in reasoned, informed, and vigorous debate or are there? If so, they are bloody scarce and tend not to populate college campuses.

After all of the indignation and smears and tantrums, I take comfort in this: Not a single critic accused me of being a Nazi.

© Dennis Campbell


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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