Monday, December 06, 2010

In Reply: Fascist, Socialist, Racist, or Nihilist; Labels get in the way of discussing issues

In reply to: David Frum, Speech Policeman - Stanley Kurtz - National Review Online

I don't know, kids... It seems to me that most of the labeling is done to dismiss others and to avoid discussing the specifics of issues, rather than to further clarify them.

Whether the term is fascist, socialist, racist, or nihilist, it doesn't get anyone any closer to the meat of the issue. I don't care what you want to call the President (whether that President is Reagan, Clinton, Dubya, or Obama). Saying he's a Nazi or a Stalinist or a smirking chimp doesn't really say anything, making it pretty much a waste of time, except as bomb-throwing rhetorical red meat for those who already agree with you.

All I need to know is what you think about some specific thing an elected official is doing, and why you believe as you do. In that regard--and looking at both the WaPo article and the No Labels website, I'm pretty sure their intent is to get past the labeling and onto specifics, rather than to police anyone's words--I believe Frum and Galston are correct. Allusions to Stalin or Marx, Mussolini or Hitler (or the political ideologies they represented) are meaningless, because no one here in the US is advocating anything close to what they once did. We are all Americans, and if we cannot come together at least enough to recognize that 99% of everybody here--including the folks in the "other" party--loves America just like you do, but has different beliefs about what has and will continue to make this country great, we're not going to get anywhere. There's a real difference between disagreeing with another person or group's political views and seeing that person (those people) as an enemy. - 12/06/10, 12:19 PM

Besides, we're all referees of American political debate, and like Mr Kurtz, Frum and Galston are puting their thinkin' into the arena. Some folks'll agree with 'em and some won't (just as with Mr. Kurtz and his ideas), but they're really not doing anything different with their article than Mr Kurtz is doing here with his; criticizing the discourse of those with whom they do not agree.

Kurtz is free to call Obama a socialist, Frum and Galston are free to suggest that such labeling is over the top, and Kurtz is free to in turn label them as wannabe referees of American political debate... It's all speech, and it's all good, just as it will be when someone comes along and says Kurtz's labeling of Galston and Frum is over the top, too.

In short, I don't see anyone limiting anyone else's speech. I just see more speech, which is as it should be... -- 12/06/10, 12:34 PM

William A. Galston and David Frum - A No Labels solution to Washington gridlock?
No Labels
Facebook | No Labels

No comments:

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)