10 July 2010


Why would the Post give this proto-fascist column space?

I blame the publication of the Unabomber's manifesto for such lapses in journalistic integrity as to print the rantings of unhinged antisocial assholes.

Yet, at least the Unabomber had claim to intelligence, even if put to evil use, sort of like a Lex Luthor but without the minions, money, and working plumbing.

However, Rick Barber doesn't have that claim, and his ignorant, insensitive, and downright insulting "slavery" ad should be proof enough of that. Agreeing to release such a tawdry and misguided ad demonstrates both a lack of judgment and a proud disdain for facts, neither of which qualities should be terribly attractive in a candidate, but we are talking about Alabama.

If I'm exceedingly kind to the Post, I can believe that they printed Barber's response to the criticism he's taking over his stupid ad as a way of handing him a shovel the better to dig a deeper hole, and he's certainly risen to that task, proclaiming:
Over the past 18 months, the federal government has sought to seize or has seized control of the health-care industry, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the automobile industry, student loans, broadband Internet and the energy sector through cap-and-trade legislation. With never a crisis going to waste, each new seizure is rationalized by some new emergency.
Sure, the federal government has done all of those things...if you're either too damn stupid to understand what any of that legislation actually did or your definition of "sought to seize or has seized" is so uselessly broad as to include nearly any government regulation or oversight.

Of course, that's where Barber is coming from: the realm of cloud-cuckoo land, where things work magically by themselves and humans involved in business are naturally honest and honorable, seeking nothing but the best for their customers, yet this innate goodness in human nature doesn't extend too far beyond the world of the beleaguered businessman, given that Barber and his ilk seem to fear and distrust nearly all humanity.

Barber, for his part, embraces this fear, arguing that
Those on my side of the aisle seek to move the argument through fear of deficits, inflation, terrorism, socialism and the loss of individual liberty; those on the left through fears of global warming, poverty, racism, depression.
Whose side of the aisle? He's running as a Republican, yet he claims to be afraid of deficits. I suppose he missed the years 2000-2008, where the Bush regime not only dismantled the Clinton era surpluses, but also ballooned the deficit through its illegal war in Iraq and its nebulous and Orwellian call to an undefined and never ending "war on terror." Inflation hasn't been an issue since, well, since the 1980's, so I'm starting to guess that Barber's side of the aisle is the outside, as in outside of reality.

We could get deeper into Barber's rhetoric, but really, what's the point? Barber's arguments, if you can call them such, wouldn't rate a passing grade on a freshman essay in American government, economics, or comparative political systems. In fact, if a student of mine turned in this claptrap, I'd ask for a rewrite, noting that assertions are nothing without support.

Barber fears we're "well on our way" down a "road to serfdom," but he can't actually explain why. Apparently it has something to do with government preventing the good-hearted insurance companies from dropping sick clients for "pre-existing conditions" or minor and irrelevant paperwork errors.

Rather stereotypically, he repeats the time-worn canard that "liberals ... despise freedom of speech when the speech is conservative." I suppose he means liberals like the ACLU, who has consistently fought for the Constitutional rights of obnoxious groups like the KKK. Like most conservatives, Barber confuses two things about free speech: the right to free speech does not mean you can demand to be published in respected circles, and free speech does not mean you don't have to face criticism for your idiocy.

In other words, free speech means a newspaper can print what it wants (although libel law does put some reins on that horse), but it has never meant that a paper has to print the rantings of a lunatic like Barber -- yet they do. By the same token, criticizing your position, pointing out the fundamental inaccuracy of your arguments, and arguing that your speech reveals you to be a complete moron is not the same thing as "despising" freedom of speech.

It's the height of arrogance and blindness for Barber to be complaining about a violation of his freedom of speech rights in a column published not only in a national newspaper, but also in one of conservatism's favorite examples of the "liberal media."

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