In this week’s column, Mr. Keillor offers more examples of how he attempts to a straw man off as a legitimate argument. A straw man is where someone paints an untrue representation of their opposition in order to not have to address their actual positions. Here’s an example:
…one-sixth of our population is without health insurance, and Republicans have decided that defeating Mr. Obama is more important than the welfare of 50 million Americans: Let them die and decrease the surplus population and be quick about it. That’s the long and the short of it.
I would like to use Nancy Pelosi’s response tactic. When asked a legitimate question by a reporter if the health care legislation was constitutional (which is isn’t), she simply responded, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” As the reporter, I would have loved to respond, “Yes, yes I am. You are the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America. I’m asking you Madam Speaker to demonstrate your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and please point out the specific language in the Constitution where Congress has the power to pass this legislation.”
But, I digress. Back to Mr. Keillor. Mr. Keillor, Are you serious?
First, he starts off by creating a false choice: defeating Obama hurts the welfare of 50 million Amercians. Then, he tries to pass off his next sentence as the actual stance of Republicans: “Let them die…and be quick about it.” Right.
Mr. Keillor just doesn’t seem to want to understand or consider that Republicans want what’s best for the citizens of the United States and peaceful people in general. We want them to live their lives with minimal coercive edicts from folks like Mr. Keillor and we want them to have affordable access to any number of things that help make our lives better.
If Mr. Keillor could use his “open-mind” to consider this, maybe we could get past the name calling stage and get to the point where we are actually discussing the relative merits of different ways of achieving the same goal.
Furthermore, if Mr. Keillor was nearly as concerned for these 50 million people as he wants you to believe, it would seem that he would be more open to considering alternatives that might actually produce better results toward achieving his goals.
Thinking back to my long transition from liberal to conservative thinking, it was the likes of the Mr. Keillors – the people who seemed to promote their way no matter whether it worked or not – that turned me off to the liberal thinking. Over that transition period, my intentions didn’t change. What did change was how I thought those intentions could be best accomplished.
I’m not saying reflexives such as Mr. Keillor don’t exist on the conservative side, but on the conservative side I do tend to see people who incorporate the results and are willing to admit when something they supported doesn’t seem to be working. They seem more willing to think in terms of root causes and honestly evaluate the results of an action or policy.