Sunday, October 2, 2011

Conservative debating tactics

I recently entered into an online Facebook discussion over the recent Supreme Court Insite decision. This person (whom I don’t know personally - a friend of a friend) opened with “Promoting illegal drug use and the spread of disease ..... are you kidding me?” And it kind of went downhill from there. She claimed Insite was “giving them fixes” and eventually stated that “the police and the mayor are against these places” (which they aren’t, not in Vancouver at any rate).

Each time a patently false statement was repudiated she would come up with something else until, eventually running out of so-called “facts” to support her position, she reverted to the tried and true Conservative technique of when faced with a reasoned, rational response to go on the attack: “I gather you don’t believe in rehab.”

That totally missed the point, and intentionally so I suspect. This has been an effective technique, honed to a keen edge by the Harper Conservatives. If you question the economic and social impacts of tossing someone behind bars for several years for growing a few pot plants, you’re “soft on crime”. If you express concerns over Canada’s treatment of prisoners in a war zone you’re a “Taliban lover”. If you question Israeli government policy you’re an anti-Semite. In other words, when you no longer have an ethical, legal, or factual position go on the offensive, no matter how specious or irrelevant the counter argument.

Which probably explains why, whenever I get drawn into one of these facts versus ideology discussions, I think of this clip and the Black Knight, no longer with a leg to stand on (pun intended), finally resorting to simply name calling: “You yellow bastard.”


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