Glenn Reynolds puts it perfectly

Glenn Reynolds writes:

You know, to me Wal-Mart is a lot like George W. Bush. It’s not that I’m that big a fan in the abstract, really, it’s just that the viciousness and stupidity revealed in its enemies tends to make me view it more favorably than I otherwise would.

Thank you, Glenn, for expressing my feelings about both George Bush and Wal-Mart perfectly.

53 thoughts on “Glenn Reynolds puts it perfectly

  1. Heh. I know what you mean, Eric. I’m not personally a fan of Mr. Bush’s, but the utter shitheadedness of the people who have appointed themselves “the opposition” – the Sheehans, the Arundhati Roys, the inexplicable journalists who think that these are examples of mainstream thought – makes me cringe whenever I have to defend my own position. It’s an unfortunate fact of life – when one side is out of power, their public voice always skews toward the extremists – but it still makes me wish I could get them to stop including me in their supposed support base.

  2. You allow the negative actions of Y to favorably influence your otherwise negative view of X?

    Many may defend such twisted thinking as “human fallibility”, but that’s simply insane. If the mind is going to be swayed in such a way, it is no wonder we live in a world marked by “viciousness and stupidity.” Such lackadaisical thinking is a sign of fear.

  3. I’ve got mixed feelings here. Neither WM nor GWB are without flaws, but likewise, neither is the embodiment of Satan that their respective critics paint them to be. (Though I suspect there’s a lot of overlap between the respective groups of critics.)

    I happen to have voted for both Bushes (as opposed to voting against Gore the way I voted against Clinton), but that doesn’t mean I like him.

    Just as an idea can not be discredited by the types of idiot that propose it (I”m sure someone can provide the correct quote and attribution there), we shouldn’t give credit to anyone simply because of the caliber of their enemies. On the other hand, some of the enemies I’ve seen lately sure make it tempting…

  4. > You allow the negative actions of Y to favorably influence your otherwise negative view of X?

    Since Y influences/provides the alternative to X, that’s entirely reasonable.

    The alternative to Bush isn’t perfection, it is some Democrat. Kerry? Gore?

    The alternative to Walmart isn’t perfection. Walmart beats the alternatives provided by its detractors.

  5. Certainly Peter is correct with respect to logic…such reasoning is highly fallacious. Yet, if one is simply considering ways to efficiently constrain a set of viable alternatives, such reasoning, however ‘fuzzy’ it may seem, is reasonable.

    I don’t want to spend hours contemplating the veracity of every facet of criticism towards WalMart…the imbecilic objections of the seething pile of cunts protesting their ‘monopolistic & exploitative’ existence is enough for me to give them my trade.

  6. Peter hit the nail, squarely, on its pointly little head. The truth of an assertion is
    not relative to the political status of its asserter. An example: Al Gore, recently,
    gave a speech, in which he referred to the Constitution, to the supremacy of the
    Constitution over the executive, to balances of power, enumerated within this document reigning the executive in, and to negative consequences flowing,
    from whenever maximal power is concentrated into the hands of an executive,
    which is then later severely regretted (Palmer raids, internment of Japanese
    Americans, etc.). The immediate and predictable reaction from ‘conservatives’ was to dismiss Gore as a loon, not insofar as the content of his assertions,
    but that he lacked a proper political status to express it, ie. truth is now
    relativized to all non-Gores. Ironically, it was as though Gore was channeling some old-time conservative. Whether Gore, cynically, committed himself to
    originalism to make some political hay is quite besides the point. My guess
    is that he believes not one drop of his little speech. However, the Constitution,
    the supremacy of it over the executive, etc. is true or false independently of
    Gore’s asserting it. Truth must be nailed down, correlated to reality, not relativized to some attributed status of some speaker, else there is no truth.
    Peter refers to this making truth speaker-relative as ‘human fallibility’.
    It is more like a herd madness.

  7. Andy Freeman says:

    Since Y influences/provides the alternative to X, that’s entirely reasonable.

    The only viable “alternative” to X is clear thinking – not Y.

  8. Unfortunately, clear thinking is not a political option. Either Bush or Gore, or Bush or Kerry, was going to be in office. We had to choose.

  9. Clear thinking didn’t generate a viable Presidential candidate that was neither Kerry nor Bush.

    I voted libertarian, as I usually do. But I knew my candidate was going to lose. If you are in a situation where you must vote a winner because it’s survival-important not to be on the losing side, voting for Bush because the people behind Kerry are barking moonbats isn’t a bad heuristic.

  10. I do the same thing. It’s interesting to see how many layers of “meta” there are in various societal scenarios; at first, people associate themselves with an idea. Then, people associate themselves with those people. This proceeds through multiple layers until you’re associating with people (Bush) who associate with people (Republicans) who associate with people (right-wing conservatives) who associate with people (conservatives) who associate with an idea (limitation of government) that you admire. (All examples relevant to my own views, and YMMV.)

    The problem is that the observer frequently gets lost in how many layers there are. To someone who dislikes right-wing conservatives, it’s difficult to tell the difference between someone who actually *likes* the right wing, and someone who simply happens to be at one remove from the conservative group with whom he actually desires to associate. (Life is like an onion. You peel off layer after layer, and then you find there is nothing in it.)

    I blogged about this sort of thing last week ( http://www.darklock.com/blog/?p=51 ). Just because you associate yourself with a label doesn’t mean you do it for the same reasons OTHER people associate themselves with it.

    A reasonably fresh observation, however, would be that this is a prime example of mathematical theory being brought into the empirical world (oh no, it’s that guy again!) – a negative of a negative is a positive. If you don’t like someone’s dislike of X, the double negative turns into a positive and gives you some degree of like for X. If Bob is anti-X and you are anti-Bob, you are anti-anti-X and thus pro-X. I frequently have to explain to people that not liking something isn’t quite the same as disliking it, which seems like pretty much the same thing we’re doing here; it is, in fact, possible to be anti-anti-X and still be anti-X.

    This is possible because it’s not a two-valued system, so we once again face us the fallacy of the excluded middle, because even though we KNOW there are other choices than X – we’re not looking at them. What fascinates me isn’t so much that this happens to the ignorant public who just doesn’t get it, but that it happens to people who *know* about these things and can readily explain why they are inappropriate and fallacious foundations for an opinion. It’s almost like the human brain actively encourages ignorant behavior even in the absence of ignorance.

    It would be interesting if someone were to make a detailed study of whether people prefer to associate with things they like, or disassociate from things they dislike. While I do think both choices are and have always been common, I believe we’re moving into an era where the latter is prevalent.

  11. Eric, what exactly is a barking moonbat?

    I don’t believe in most of the walmart-is-the-antichrst stories, but I don’t shop their much, either. The place is noisy and bright and full of horrible things and obnoxious people. I really empathize with anybody who has to take a job there and who isn’t a barking moonbat.

  12. I’ve worked worse than Wal-Mart. Not a fan off the shopping experience, though. But the ammo prices *can not* be beat. If you want 9mm plinkers, nothing can touch Wal-Mart’s prices unless you live in a state with ridiculous sales taxation, in which case certain internet retailers provide viable alternatives.

    As an aside, a friend of mine has proposed a “Token Wal-Mart Hottie” theory, the gist of which proceeds thusly: on any given trip to Wal-Mart, you are guaranteed to see one and only one hottie. The rest will be varying degrees of ghastly.

    This theory holds up surprisingly well. Also, note that said friend is morbidly obese, and this theory is certainly not a result of any feelings of aesthetic superiority on his behalf.

  13. David: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonbat

    My main objections to Wal-Mart stem from their censorship of media carried there. I have a problem with this because it is done on a blanket scale, and not on a local policy level. I am perfectly aware that in South Dakota, it may not be okay under their community standards to sell an uncensored version of (say) NWA’s “Straight Out Of Compton”, and I’m okay with that. What I have a problem with is the idea that because it isn’t okay for South Dakota, I can’t buy it in Compton, where the community standards would presumably be somewhat more tolerant of this particular recording.

    For reasons I can’t really fathom, I happen to read a lot of blogs by economics majors, and all the major objections people have to Wal-Mart’s economic behavior seem pretty universally pshawed by those who understand economics on a much deeper level than I. Every time I hear somebody say that Wal-Mart is destroying America by not paying high enough wages, four or five very smart people observe that if Wel-Mart REALLY did not pay high enough wages… nobody would work there. Another store would offer higher wages, and people would go work there. But since the companies Wal-Mart damages apparently cannot offer a higher wage, I would be hard-pressed to say that Wal-Mart isn’t making people’s lives better.

  14. I’d say “who gives,” but obviously, you do. Personally, I just don’t by CDs there, but degustibus non desputandem est.

  15. > My main objections to Wal-Mart stem from their censorship of media carried there.

    Walmart’s “censorship” is no different than any retail establishment’s censorship. They carry what they want to sell.

    Willing seller, willing buyer. You don’t have to buy from them and they don’t have to sell what you want.

  16. I repeat: How can a barking moonbat’s dissent from A confer a truth-warrant on
    A, which A otherwise lacks? What logically compels a non-barking non-moonbat to, very publically, affirm A?

    And, since when have any bats ever barked? When moonbats bark, why MUST
    we, then, relativize truth to non-barking non-moonbats? It is a false dichotomy,
    a misplaced application of the law of the excluded middle…

  17. The middle actually is excluded. You’ve got to vote for one candidate or the other, if you want your vote to count.

  18. Bingo. If all of you’re choices suck, this formal logic thing goes *poof*. You gotta pick the one which sucks the least, and given that all the crazies seem to be concentrated in camp (b), I’m going to vote for camp (a).

  19. If under circumstances supposedly imposed on you from beyond or totally outside of your control, logic (formal or otherwise) goes poof, then truth
    escapes in the same cloud of caustic smoke.

    Your decision to vote for a party, populated with the lowest density of crazies,
    is a choice; It is not the outcome of a natural law. Nothing compels this of you. Your choice is the result of a decision procedure, made by you to (re)locate falsehood to those speakers, who hold to a demonized ideology.

    This thread had nothing to do with voting. It was about Glen Reynolds, who
    said of an opinion that he would ‘view it more favorably than (he) otherwise would’, due to the ‘viciousness and stupidity revealed’ by its exponents. Is he
    not giving credence to a position, based on nothing but the blind hatred of his opponents, thus relativizing the truth-content of the position to those with
    whom he, apparently, (Wal-Mart), also, disagrees?
    Ad Hominem in reverse??? Self-refutation???

    So, you are racked by this overwhelming bi-polarity: That, you are so
    beleaguered by 2 imbecilic parties. That, every 4 years, you may select between
    2, damn near equally, moronic candidates. Might not your inability to escape from this diadic trap be due to your own thinking and your own (voting) behavior?

  20. > Might not your inability to escape from this diadic trap be due to your own thinking

    Feel free to demonstrate some “thinking” that would have actually provided a choice other than Kerry or Bush.

    In other words, constructive proofs only. (Not that you’ve actually suggested anything close to an existence proof – “I want” is not actually a proof procedure.)

  21. Andy Freeman writes:

    Willing seller, willing buyer. You don’t have to buy from them and they don’t have to sell what you want.

    In the case of CDs or periodicals, Wal-Mart’s predatory practices may have shut down most or all other retailers in the locality.  What becomes of the willing buyer when there are no other sellers?

  22. > In the case of CDs or periodicals, Wal-Mart’s predatory practices may have shut down most or all other retailers in the locality.

    May?

    If there’s only one retailer in town and it gets replaced by walmart….

    And where did the US mail go out of biz?

    If you have to invent a reality where walmart is evil, you don’t have an argument that applies to this reality.

  23. Interestingly enough, walmart has a much larger selection of cds and dvds than the almost all but the largest retailers.

    Why aren’t the folks with less selection called censors?

    Because it’s not about content. It’s a “walmart is evil” conclusion looking for an argument.

  24. Funnily enough, I’m not a great fan of much of the hard Left (or what passes for it in the English-speaking world); however, the viciousness and stupidity revealed in Bush and Co. tends to make me view it more favorably than I otherwise would.

  25. Holy hell. WTF are you doing nekhbet? You’re building cumstained mountains out of molehills. This formal logic masturbation has got to go — you just don’t touch yourself like that in public.

    Now, hold my hand — er, let me put a glove on first, OK! — now hold my hand and follow me.

    You are building an opinion of two rivalrous parties. Party B appears to be pretty ugly — come-overs and pocket protectors galore. You think “man, these guys suck.” Then you look at party A. The actions of party A reveal them to be vicous and stupid. So then you think, “gee, well, I guess B isn’t that bad, given the choices available.” And there is *nothing wrong with that*. Valuation is always relative. A loaf of bread isn’t jus worth a dollar, it’s also worth two apples, or half a gallon of gas. Likewise, B isn’t just ugly, they’re also not as stupid and vicous as A. If A ceased to exist, that particular quality of B would cease to be relevant, and you would value it less than you did before.

    Or, to put it succinctly, I counter your formally logical wankfest by casting a level 37 Law of Relativity spell. And good luck explaining how I can adjust *my* behavior to radically change the face of the American political climate. This should be good.

  26. My enemy’s enemy is my friend.

    In the 1950s we had anti-anti-communists, who weren’t communists themselves, but who (mistakenly) thought that the anti-communists were persecuting innocent people. I’m anti-anti-Bush.

  27. >Feel free to demonstrate some “thinking” that would have actually provided
    a choice other than Kerry or Bush.

    Judgement is tied up in thinking, and I hope that judgement plays a small role (though I am beginning to suspect otherwise) in voting behavior. If all of those who’d judged both Kerry and Bush unfit for office had voted Libertarian, instead of voting for the lesser goofball, as was self-determined, maybe the electoral outcome would have been altered. But, no-one I imagine, steps into a voting booth and throws levers or pushes buttons, lacking thought processes, as though he were wound up and set in motion by some external agency.

    This was thread was, initially, about a certain logical genius favoring the anti-thesis of a propostion, if asserted by a moonbat, but otherwise, if asserted by a non-moonbat. Here it is:

    A(x)A(y)E(z)[ (( Px ^ Mx ^ Axa -> -a ) ^ (Fz-a)) ^ (( Py ^ -Mx ^ Aya -> -a ) ^ (-Fz-a)) ]

    For every x and for every y, there is at least one z; such that, if x is a person and x is moonbat and x asserts a, then a is false, and z favors not-a, yet if y is a person and y is non-moonbat and y asserts a, then a is false, but z does not favor not-a.

    Assuming ‘a’ is false, musn’t ‘a’ be dis-favored whenever it is asserted, regardless of the achieved or the attributed political status of its asserter? How can the truth value of a sentence shift from one speaker context to another? Truth must be, stuck tightly, to something other the verbal behavior of some party, else there is no truth. Consider what would become of science, if scientists pursued this course of action. Maybe ‘ID quantum-non-relativity’.

    >Valuation is always relative.

    Favoring not-A over A is not ‘valuating’. A person cannot be not said to favor not-A, without making truth-claims about not-A and falsity-claims about A. How can confusing ones dislike of a speaker with the truth value of his sentence be seen as valuating? I may well favor the taste of fig newtons over that of oreos, but I make no claim about their truth statuses. That is valuating. But, embracing
    a political position, by assuming the negation of my opponent’s position, and based, exclusively, on my hatred of them and their ideas, is not valuating.

  28. > >Feel free to demonstrate some “thinking” that would have actually provided
    a choice other than Kerry or Bush.

    The term “actually provided” is important, and missing from the “proof”.

    We can imagine a world where people behave consistently with some ideal, but in this world, they don’t.

    In this world, perfection is not the alternative to “walmart”. The alternative is “worse than walmart”, and giving credence to folks who argue otherwise is supporting said worse.

  29. Good lord nekhbet, here’s the cluetrain, first stop is you. You’ve done the intellectual equivalent of reaching around your ass to scratch your crotch, with a pointlessly complex and off base payoff.

    After all your gyrations, when your results are translated back into English, you’ve concluded that Bush and Kerry could have made the same propositions, and Reynolds et al would still back Kerry. That’s horribly and obviously wrong. Kerry and Bush *didn’t make* the same propositions — how the frag do you think one could be considered vicous and stupid vis-a-vis the other if they were saying the same stuff?!

    It goes like the this: Bush proposes a few things I like, and a lot of things I dislike. Not so good. Kerry proposes only stuff I dislike. Even worse. Makes Bush look good *in comparison*. If you simply *must* have a pedantic, supercilious logical circle jerk, here goes:

    For every X in the universe of discourse of presidential candiates, there is at least one voter Y in the universe of citizens. X makes one or more proposals, upon which Y makes value judgements. The total value of the proposals of X which Y agrees with is A, and the total value of the proposals of X which Y disagrees with is B. Y maintains a vote-threshold Z — in order for X to receive Y’s vote, (A – B) >= Z must hold. However, Y refuses to not vote — therefore, if no X meets Y’s voting threshold, Y will lower his voting threshold to the point where Z = (A – B) for the X with the most positive value of (A – B). Further, Y will vote for the best candidate he can get — therefore, if multiple Xs meet Y’s voting threshold, Y will increase his voting threshold to the point where Z = (A – B) for the X with the most positive value of (A – B).

    In other words, I’d rather not vote for Bush, but because I perceive Kerry to be vicous and much more stupid, I’d really really rather not vote for Kerry. Therefore, I lower my voting treshold so that it intersects with what I perceive to be the best candidate: in this case, Bush.

    You problem is that you’re using the wrong tool for the job. Many people will recognize the above description as economizing behavior. That’s the entirety of whats going on here, in fact — you’re all hung up on truth and falsehood, when the reality is it’s a matter of which party provides the greatest perceived value (platform, chance for victory) at the lowest perceived cost. I perceive the opposition of Bush to be vicous and stupid, and therefore, I spend more of my political capital on him than I would if I didn’t perceive his opposition to be vicous and stupid.

    Now. If you want to get into whether or not his opposition is, in fact, vicous and stupid, that’s another matter. But before you can attain the ninth level of power, you need to understand what’s actually at play here.

  30. I can’t speak for ESR or Glenn Reynolds, but I have to say I was far more sympathetic to the casual Wal-Mart bashing that used to be part of the background noise of my life. Didn’t like what I heard about worker treatment, didn’t like the “censorship” of media, and I didn’t shop there.

    Now that these issues have become a crusade for some very vocal zealots, I find myself actively reevaluating these positions, which wouldn’t have otherwise happened. Still have relatively no incentive to shop at Wal-Mart, so my casual boycott stands.

  31. Making the claim that some voters select a candidate, on the basis, of the ‘least egregious infuriator’ is not, exactly, an earth-shattering discovery.

    What was and remains at issue was a blogger, priviledging the contrary of AN ASSERTION, due to ‘the stupidity and viciousness’ demonstrated by its asserters, where otherwise he would not have so priviledged it. The blogger is saying that ‘I view Walmart more favorably, than I otherwise would, because certain parties say stupid and the vicious things about it, and execept for them saying these, I would not view Walmart as such’. Is he not taking the contrary position to that of his opponents, because of some annoying feature, displayed by his opponents? If the blogger views Walmart more favorably than otherwise, then, by definition, he
    attributes something favorable to Walmart, where his opponents, obviously, do not. Does not ‘taking the contrary’ of a position tie into matters of truth and falsity? Does not the contrary have a truth value pointing in the opposite ‘direction’ from the affirmative?

    To my untutored mind, this has everything to do with making truth claims.
    Sentences, propositions, etc., even political ones, ARE truth-bearers. If a proposition is not true or false, independently, of the political status of those who affirm it, then it seems to me that we are going down a very long and dirty road, ending in the de-objectification human knowledge. Try constructing a consistent axiom system or conducting scientific research, which yields hypotheses, theories, etc. based on THIS premise. For example, ‘I, as a respected biologist, hereby, embrace the ID ‘theory’, based soley on the the stupidity and viciousness shown to me and to the entire world by these damned evolutionists. Were evolutionists, otherwise not so pestilentially stupid and vicious, I would have never considered embracing ID.’

    Ask yourself one stupid question: Did the blogger alter his opinion about
    Walmart because of something Walmart did or did he do so, because those
    whom he detests, said something about this enterprize which he did not like?
    It is not coherent to alter one’s opinion about A, because x said something
    rotten about A. Do you understand that certain claims, by the left, are being
    circulated against Walmart, but the blogger consciously eschewed any attempt to refute them and changed his opinion to the opposite of theirs, simply because those making these claims are stupid and vicious. And on this blog, the more socialized of you into it want to make this method into an heuristic!

    (The only objection I can think of to the aforementioned, insofar as
    truth values are concerned, is that ‘viewing a company more favorably than
    otherwise’ may not be identical to ‘affirming something about that company
    more favorably than otherwise’. Views, according to this line, do not tie
    into anything real. They are entirely subjective. They just hang there, nebulously, like an ectoplasm in a haunted house. Still, why on earth, would one alter one’s views about a thing, merely based on what the stupid and the vicious say about the thing? Are all views logically disconnected from truth claims or just some (political) views? Compare with our hypothetical scientist: ‘I view the ID ‘theory’, due to the stupidity and viciousness displayed on the part of the evolutionists, more favorably than I otherwise would.’ Besides all of this, our blogger was not unwittingly slipped a drug and found himself, after the effects came on, ‘viewing Walmart more favorably, than before the drug kicked in’. He made the decision to view Walmart more favorably, than otherwise, because left-wing goons, who annoy him to distraction, routinely utter stunningly vicious and stupid remarks about Walmart.)

    Why MUST some or all speakers in these DAMNED political discourses cast off
    very rudimentary logical constraints?

    Now, while we are at it: Why do you think that the universe operates deterministically, at least in terms of its ability to provide a range of voting choices for you, that you are so compelled, by forces beyond your control, to embrace pinhead A over pinhead B, or vice versa? When you embrace pinhead A, when you priviledge the contrary of B’s position, simply because it is B’s position, so as to advantage A, etc. it seems to me that you are intimately participating in constricting the range of your possible political choices, and as such, are literally consolidating, by your own words and deeds, the rule, over you, by some strain of pinhead. To delude yourself that you are, somehow, locked up in a bi-valent prison is to attempt a moral and an intellectual escape, from everything but your own self-made prison! What you have given yourself is a long, grinding, self-fulfilling streach in a false prison cell.

    CORRECTION: My little snatch of first order calculus was wrong.
    It should have been this:

    A(x)A(y)E(z)[ (( Px ^ Mx ^ Axa -> -a ) ^ (Fza)) ^ (( Py ^ -Mx ^ Aya -> -a )
    ^ (-Fza)) ]

  32. 1) What assertion was priviledged to the contrary?

    2) Why do you deny the relativity of value?

    3) The probability that a candidate will win is a factor in whether or not to vote for him. Learn what a “public good” is, and why it tends to be underproduced, and why a good candidate is just such a good.

    4) Your prose is effete and orbicular. Simplify, pweeze.

  33. > 1) What assertion was priviledged to the contrary?

    The left disfavors Walmart and spews stupid and vicious attacks against it. The blogger favors Walmart, but would not otherwise, if the left did not spew such stupid and vicious attacks against it.

    I am saying that Walmart should be favored or not, independently, from
    whatever venom the left spews at it. For example, the potential Walmart
    customer has cash. Walmart can provide goods at an attractive price to that customer. A transaction, occurring between the customer and Walmart, is both voluntary and mutually beneficial to both parties. Therefore, because of this fact, Walmart should be favored.

    > 2) Why do you deny the relativity of value?

    I do not deny the relativity in valuing that which can be valued: goods, services, food, music, sexual practices, political candidates, etc. I deny the speaker-relativity of truth, which if universally extended culminates in the de-objectivity of human knowledge. The blogger commits, what could be called an ‘Ad-hominem in reverse’. He makes a truth-claim on the anti-thesis of the position the left takes, because the left takes it, but would not otherwise, if the left did not take this position.

    > 3) The probability that a candidate will win is a factor in whether or not to vote for him. Learn what a “public good” is, and why it tends to be underproduced, and why a good candidate is just such a good.

    A candidate, who has the probablity of winning, is not, by this fact, a good
    candidate. To maintain otherwise is a descent into radical pragmaticsm. If
    Stalin can accumulate more electoral votes than Bush, he should not be
    preferred over Bush because of his, probably illegal and genocidal, predilection
    in acquiring votes.

    I deny that a candidate who is, microscopically, less repellent than his
    opponent is a good candidate.

  34. Eric, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only ancap who votes. The “don’t blame me, I didn’t vote” mentality prevalent among ancaps is almost as annoying and irrational as the various isolationist rants on lewrockwell.com.

    nekhbet, all things being equal, someone who causes people you despise to foam at the mouth will tend to be more likable than someone who doesn’t evoke such a reaction. Even if said person is, in all other respects, only marginallly less worthy of your disgust than those whom he/she causes to foam at the mouth, the fact that he/she causes such a reaction is a huge plus in his/her favor. As Matt Stone (co-creator of South Park) said “I hate conservatives, but I really f*cking hate liberals”, and I think that pretty much sums it up for most libertarians, though I’d add, “and I thoroughly loathe moderates”. Now if there are genuinely only two options, neither of which is desirable, but one is worse than the other, even if only slightly so, the one which is least undesirable is the rational choice; for example, if you have gangrene in your leg, and you can either lose the leg or lose your life, losing the leg is the better option. This can of course be extended to more than two undesirable options, which is why I vote for the minarchist “doves” of the LP even though I’m an ancap “hawk”.

  35. You’ve all missed the point. The fact that George Bush and Wal-Mart possess a great capacity to reveal the viciousness and stupidity of leftists is a *virtue* of Bush and of Wal-Mart; a virtue not expected of either. (Would a hypothetical President Kemp have inspired such partisan bitterness from the left wing of the Democrat Party? Does Target or KMart?) We do not like Bush or Wal-Mart because the left hates them, we like Bush and Wal-Mart because they possess the magic power of reducing the left to sputtering, impotent, incoherent, mindless rage – in other words, they possess the power of forcing the left to reveal its true soul.

  36. > It is not coherent to alter one’s opinion about A, because x said something
    rotten about A.

    It is extremely coherent if you understand how the world works. (The problem isn’t nekhbet’s “logic” but the mapping/model is wrong.)

    (1) If x succeeds in the anti-walmart campaign, they are more likely to succeed in other campaigns. Past performance is no guarantee of future results but it is at least as likely. Therefore, opposing the anti-walmart campaign because of the characteristics of the anti-walmart folks is extremely reasonable.

    (2) Few of us have time to go into every possible detail. Maybe there are good anti-walmart arguments, but the popularity of the bad ones suggests otherwise. The non-moonbattery on the other side has the opposite effect.

  37. The blogger favors Walmart, but would not otherwise, if the left did not spew such stupid and vicious attacks against it.

    This statement is incorrect: the blogger views Walmart and Bush more favorably than he normally would because their opponents — being either the alternatives, or ambassadors to such — are vicious and stupid.

    This statement also doesn’t answer my question: what assertion was priviledged contrary?

    A candidate, who has the probablity of winning, is not, by this fact, a good
    candidate.

    Then you deny that the probability a candidate has of winning is a factor in whether or not to vote for him?

  38. > (1) If x succeeds in the anti-walmart campaign, they are more likely to succeed in other campaigns. Past performance is no guarantee of future results but it is at least as likely. Therefore, opposing the anti-walmart campaign because of the characteristics of the anti-walmart folks is extremely reasonable.

    Even if you think you know that x can utter nothing but falsehoods. It is logically possible for x to utter a true statement. Walmart’s business practices are to be favored or not, independently, of any of x’s verbal assults.

    What if I belted out a line like this?

    ‘For 27 years, I favored Creationism, later ID, but when I witnessed my scientific heroes hurl stupid and vicious remarks at the Evolutionists, I, from that time forth, disfavored Creationism/ID and favored Evolution!’ Would not someone say, ‘You idiot! You do not understand how this science thing works! It is incoherent of you to shift your assent from one theory to another, due to the moronic verbal behavior of that theory’s opponents.’

    When I say coherent I mean logically coherent. I would never deny that one
    might turn the idiocy of one’s adversaries into one’s political advantage. The
    blogger is not evaluating x’s remarks. He is favoring x’s adversaries, simply
    because x made certain remarks, which he finds disgusting. There is no truth
    value here. No personal characteristic of a left-winger is a proxy for a truth
    value.

  39. > This statement is incorrect: the blogger views Walmart and Bush more favorably than he normally would because their opponents — being either the alternatives, or ambassadors to such — are vicious and stupid.

    Then why not hate the vicious and stupid, because they are vicious and stupid? Why favor the target of their vicious and stupid attacks, because the vicious and stupid made such attacks against them? Can you not seperate the speaker from the
    truth content of their speech? Why not, pull your sleeves up, think, and try to refute the claims the vicious and the stupid utter, which may or may not lead you to favor the target of their insensate wrath?

    > Then you deny that the probability a candidate has of winning is a factor in whether or not to vote for him?

    Yes. Unless there is an extreme case, where if I do not vote for Bush, the
    probability of Stalin’s winning the election is certain.

  40. > Even if you think you know that x can utter nothing but falsehoods. It is logically possible for x to utter a true statement.

    Yes, it is possible that moonbats will not be horrendously destructive in the future if they get their way with Walmart. However, that’s a stupid bet.

    We don’t have infinite resources to spend on anything. So, we must take shortcuts. Discouraging moonbats by supporting what they oppose is an effective shortcut. Assuming that folks who offer bogus arguments have no better and thus are a useful counter-indicator is another.

    Note that the moonbat data isn’t the only data. It might well be that other data overcomes it; I might choose to oppose walmart even though the moonbats also do. The fact that that support would have unfortunate consequences does not mean that I wouldn’t do it, just that the benefits would have to overcome the moonbat costs.

  41. Then why not hate the vicious and stupid, because they are vicious and stupid?

    Dislike of the vicious and stupid is implicit, and goes without saying. If such was not the case, the alternatives would not look good by contrast. This was a stupid question.

    Why favor the target of their vicious and stupid attacks, because the vicious and stupid made such attacks against them?

    It’s not because the attacks were made against them, it’s because the alternatives are making vicious and stupid attacks. Being vicious and stupid makes you look bad, and makes the alternatives to you look better. This, too, was a stupid question.

    Can you not seperate the speaker from the truth content of their speech?

    Truth content of what speech? Be specific — I want to know what is on the table that you see that I cannot.

    Why not, pull your sleeves up, think, and try to refute the claims the vicious and the stupid utter, which may or may not lead you to favor the target of their insensate wrath?

    Where did you get the idea that we don’t do this? How can I know a claim to be stupid unless I can refute it? Are you thinking before you type this stuff up? Are you even trying anymore?

    I think you’re paralyzed by your own logic. You’ve read Glenn’s post so pedantically that you can’t see the forrest for the trees. The point is not that an entity is to be liked because it is on the receiving end of vicious and stupid attacks — the point is that an entity is to be preferred because the alternatives have nothing going for them but viciousness and stupidity. Get it?

    Unless there is an extreme case, where if I do not vote for Bush, the
    probability of Stalin’s winning the election is certain.

    No, you lose. It’s one or the other — either the probability of a candidate winning an election is a factor in your decision to vote for him, or it is not. If you posit that it is a factor, how much it matters is a matter of personal opinion — the above is your individual preference. You’ve only proved my point: that different people have different criteria by which they choose how best to spend their vote. Good luck proving beyond a shadow of a doubt what the “correct” criteria is.

  42. > How can I know a claim to be stupid unless I can refute it?

    Easy. You may only say you know. It is just name calling. Einstein’s theories
    were called stupid. Did those physicists, who feared Newtonian mechanics
    going down the drain, really refute Einstein mathematics before declaring his
    take on the physical world stupid? (This was never at issue.)

    > Truth content of what speech? Be specific — I want to know what is on the
    table that you see that I cannot.

    It is not as though I were the first person in the history of civilization
    to point out that Ad Hominem arguments are logically flawed.

    Ad Hominem Circumstantial:
    He is so stupid and so vicious, that the truth contents of his assertions cannot
    be other than false.

    Ad Hominem Reynolds:
    He is so stupid and so vicious, that the truth contents of the assertions, made
    by those whom he attacks, cannot be other than true, ie. viewed more
    favorably than OTHERWISE.

    If he views a party more favorably, than he otherwise would, he is favoring
    at least one attribute of that party, which, by his own words, he would not
    have favored OTHERWISE and which his opponents obviously do not favor.

    Let me try, yet again, to test this, as indexed to time. Generally, it
    easier to spot a flaw by doing this, than otherwise.

    Suppose that whenever a person makes a vicious and stupid remark against
    another, the other person’s agenda MUST become favored. Further suppose that
    I make a stupid and vicious remark against you at T1, then your agenda becomes
    favored over mine, at or shortly after T1. Finally suppose that you make an
    even more vicious and stupid remark against me at T2, than I made against you.
    Then, at or shortly after T2, my agenda becomes favored over yours, but even
    more so favored than yours was favored over mine, because your remark against
    me was more stupid and vicious, than mine was against you. Does my agenda
    become favored, if not the favorite, forever from T2 onward, if I never
    release a more stupid and vicious attack against you, subsequent to T2, than
    the one you released against me at T2?

    If a spokesman for Walmart makes even more vicious and stupid remarks
    against the left-wing agitators, than the left-wing agitators made against Walmart, should not the blogger, by his own fallacy, favor the left-wing’s
    agenda over that of Walmart’s, and even more so than he once favored
    Walmart’s agenda? (NO! Because once you embrace fallacious reasoning, you,
    as it were, give up any expectation that you can be trusted to follow any reasoning or unreasoning, even your own.)

    If one can pursue the contrary of a defamatory speech act (Wallmart is to be
    favored, because their opponents are stupid and vicious and because they
    disfavor Wallmart) as a proxy for truth, then why can we not pursue the contrary
    of clear thinking, ie. an hallucination, a delusion, a dream, etc. as a proxy for
    truth?

    > The point is not that an entity is to be liked because it is on the
    receiving end of vicious and stupid attacks — the point is that an entity
    is to be preferred because the alternatives have nothing going for them but
    viciousness and stupidity. Get it?

    No. Then why did he use the word ‘otherwise’? This word more than just implies
    that he only favors Wallmart, because the left attacks it. Why did he not just
    conclude, after some analysis of their political philosophy, ‘The left has
    nothing going for it, except viciousness and stupidity’? Not even the John
    Birch Society maintained that about the left! They feared that its ideology
    was extremely seductive and it was penetrating and uprooting the liberal
    institutions in the West. The left has always attacked property rights and
    private enterprize, and continues to do so.

  43. Easy. You may only say you know.

    This doesn’t answer the question: “How can I know a claim to be stupid unless I can refute it?” Know. That’s the word. That you are dodging this question indicates, perhaps, that you wish to shift the debate to whether or not the opponents of Wal-Mart and George Bush truly are stupid — that may be a worthy endeavor, and we can switch to that arena later, but the current discussion hinges on said parties actually being vicious and stupid. Stay on target.

    It is not as though I were the first person in the history of civilization
    to point out that Ad Hominem arguments are logically flawed.

    And you’re also not the first person I’ve met to try to hop out the back door when the kitchen gets too hot. Remember what we’re doing: debating over the proper interpretation of a very specific passage. Two sentences. 48 words. You seem to think it’s important to be able to separate the speaker from the “truth content of speech.” I want you to tell me what speech Glenn Reynolds was making a truth valuation on in the above passage. If you can’t do that, your argument crumbles. You might want to put some effort into actually answering this question.

    If he views a party more favorably, than he otherwise would, he is favoring
    at least one attribute of that party, which, by his own words, he would not
    have favored OTHERWISE and which his opponents obviously do not favor.

    What part of his words do you deduce this from?

    If a spokesman for Walmart makes even more vicious and stupid remarks
    against the left-wing agitators, than the left-wing agitators made against Walmart, should not the blogger, by his own fallacy, favor the left-wing’s
    agenda over that of Walmart’s, and even more so than he once favored
    Walmart’s agenda?

    This goop is only at all plausible if your previous ridiculous supposition held true — the problem is that you plucked it out of thin fraggin’ air. Stay on the topic at hand.

    No. Then why did he use the word ‘otherwise’? This word more than just implies
    that he only favors Wallmart, because the left attacks it.

    This is imbecillic. “Otherwise” is optional. Compare:

    “[T]he viciousness and stupidity revealed in [Wal-Mart's] enemies tends to make me view it more favorably.”

    “[T]he viciousness and stupidity revealed in [Wal-Mart's] enemies tends to make me view it more favorably than I otherwise would.”

    Both statements mean that the viciousness and stupidity revealed in Wal-Mart’s enemies — being either the alternatives directly, or ambassadors to such — has caused the value of Wal-Mart to go up, by decreasing the opportunity cost of shopping there (shopping at the alternatives is not worth as much because they have proven to be vicious and stupid).

    So, you can stop trying to wriggle, because the magnitude of your wrongitude is obvious, and your attempts to dodge it are pathetic. BOHICA. Take it like a man.

    Here’s the long and short of it:

    Reynold’s, ESR, myself et al are all talking about the value of Wal-Mart and Bush vis-a-vis the alternatives. You keep coming back to “truth statements,” and yet, you have yet to actually point out where Reynold’s says “the viciousness and stupidity revealed in George Bush’s opponents makes me think his statements more truthful than otherwise.” This is probably because you are horribly wrong, and have no chance at all of making a comeback. If you think all this thrashing around will save face, let me tell that it won’t, and since you’re anonymous, it doesn’t matter anyway. Either prove why your interpretation of the passage is correct, and ours wrong, or pull a ninja vanish.

  44. > ‘How can I know a claim to be stupid unless I can refute it?’ Know.
    That’s the word.

    How, in the blazes, am I to know what you know? You offer no arguments
    refuting the claims of the left-wing anti-Walmart attack dogs, be they
    stupid, vicious or otherwise. A person may reveal a stupidity and
    viciousness about himself, yet the arguments, which he constructs, can be
    sound. I want to know, precisely, which arguments x makes of A are invalid
    and why they are as such, not this bailing-out-of-the-game-tactic by
    somehow ‘viewing A more favorably than I otherwise would’, because of the
    stupidity and viciousness revealed by x, by the left, by the right, by the
    Easter bunny, by Paris Hilton, etc.

    I want to know why specific arguments are unsound. Characterizing one’s
    opponents or their arguments as stupid is simply a term of abuse.

    > ‘Otherwise’ is optional. Compare:

    No that word is the crux. (‘than I otherwise would’)

    > [T]he viciousness and stupidity revealed in [Wal-Mart's] enemies tends to
    make me view it more favorably.

    The above statement is ungrammatical. It has a dangling comparison. It is
    rather opaque as to what is being compared. Reynolds went to some pains, so
    as to make it NOT dangle. He put a splint on his dangler and made it rigid.
    What, precisely, would he have disfavored, had the left not revealed its
    stupidity and viciousness on attacks against Walmart? Walmart’s bad business
    practices, something which the left attests that Walmart engages in?

    > Reynold’s, ESR, myself et al are all talking about the value of Wal-Mart
    and Bush vis-a-vis the alternatives. You keep coming back to ‘truth
    statements,’ and yet, you have yet to actually point out where Reynold’s
    says ‘the viciousness and stupidity revealed in George Bush’s opponents makes
    me think his statements more truthful than otherwise.’

    I have never uttered a word as to Bush’s truthfulness or whether Reynolds
    thinks that Bush has ever been truthful because it would be utterly
    impossible for me to do so, unless I could read minds.

    What the HELL is he ‘viewing more favorably than he otherwise would’? Is
    he viewing George Bush’s smile more favorably than he otherwise would,
    because the left wing had always found his smile to be truely repellent?
    What of Bush’s political ideas? Do NO political ideas inferentially relate
    to truth values and conflict with the truth values of the ideas, embodied
    by its detractors? ‘The detractors cannot reason, because they reveal a
    stupidity and viciousness in their attacks; therefore, I view the detractor’s
    opponent more favorably than I otherwise would.’ What is being viewed as
    more favorable than otherwise HERE, if not political ideas? What does the
    detractor’s opponent stand for, if not certain political ideas? Bush is the
    President, whose political philosophy (For example, ‘I have the right as the
    sovereign to search without first getting a bench warrant’.) has come under
    severe attack.

    Does he view the melon arrangements in a Walmart’s grocery store ‘more
    favorably than he otherwise would’, because the left wing severely dislikes
    these arrangements? Has not this assult on Walmart by the left been,
    EXCLUSIVELY, about Walmart’s business practices? They either exploit workers, pollute the planet, pander to rank commercialism, etc. or they do not.

    The left wing says: ‘Walmart expoits it workers by not allowing its workers
    to unionize and refuses to provide healthcare for them.’

    Walmart insists: ‘We exploit no-one, else why would there be never-ending
    lines of potential employees, seeking employment with us?’

    By viewing Walmart more favorably than he otherwise would, he is taking
    up the cudgels for Walmart against the left, simply because the left hurls stupid
    and vicious charges at Walmart. He could confront the left by dissecting and
    puncturing their arguments, but he defiantly refuses to do this, yet
    reflexively takes Walmart’s side, due to the stupidity and viciousness
    revealed by those who throw out such remarks at Walmart. That is why his
    stance is an Ad Hominem, turned-inside out. Hatred of one’s opponents is
    a false proxy for a truth value.

  45. Wow, much ado about nothing.

    Summary: if A is undesirable, but B is even more undesirable, the value of A goes up because the opportunity cost of doing business with A goes down.

    This is what I keep coming back to. Your response was “Hatred of one’s opponents is a false proxy for a truth value.” That’s asinine.

    If you think there’s something wrong with my summary, let me know where I screwed up my economics.

    If you think there’s something wrong with my interpretation of the passage, let me know what the proper one is.

  46. > Summary: if A is undesirable, but B is even more undesirable, the value of
    A goes up because the opportunity cost of doing business with A goes down.

    Summary: You are making up a straw man argument, based on some analogy
    between business and something else.

    How does this have anything to do with doing business with anyone? Who is
    buying fertilizer or condoms, and from whom? The ‘commerse’ in ideas cannot
    be ‘transacted’ in this manner. Do you not see a categorical distinction
    between trafficing in condoms and ‘trafficing’ in political ideas?

    One can only put a relative value on ideas, as one puts on acquiring
    market goods, by relativizing the truth content of those ideas to
    speakers. The ‘opportunity costs’ of doing this kind of ‘business’
    with A or B can neither rise nor fall.

    There is no economic symmetry between the blogger and Walmart and the
    blogger and the left. Walmart sells goods; The left does not. The blogger
    can do business with Walmart but cannot do so with the left. If the
    proponents of Walmart and the opponents of Walmart were ‘selling’ ideas,
    what would be the relative ‘opportunity costs’ of doing ‘business’ with
    either? Even, per impossible, one could do something like business with
    the opponents and the proponents of Walmart and the opportunity costs
    rise by doing business with the opponents, because they reveal a stupidity
    and viciousness when arguing, it still does not follow that one must favor
    Walmart, without investigating whether the charges are accurate. The
    stridency in the tone of the opponents is not a sufficient reason for
    favoring the proponents or what the proponents are arguing for.

    Lets say I refute all of the charges, which the opponents of Walmart
    make against Walmart or I cannot refute the defenses, which proponents
    of Walmart make against these charges. Then, I can logically favor
    Walmart.

    Lets say I do not even try to refute any of the charges, which the
    opponents of Walmart make against Walmart and do not even take into
    account that the proponents of Walmart have viable defenses against
    those charges, but I favor Walmart anyway, due to the stupidity and
    viciousness revealed by the opponents when they make such charges.
    Then, I cannot logically favor Walmart.

    I am merely try to elucidate what constitutes intellectual adequacy
    when favoring A over B, in these moronic political circuses.

  47. Blah blah blah — friggin’ paraphrase.

    There is no economic symmetry between the blogger and Walmart and the blogger and the left.

    LOLERSKATES! In the political economy, the blogger has a vote to spend. He also can convince other people that his means and ends are desirable and should be pursued. The cost is the time it takes to research and espouse positions. In the case of Bush specifically, the cost is the amount of time it takes to figure out his positions, whether they are right, whether they are wrong, whether the right outweighs the wrong, etc. What he buys with his time is a “right” vote, which provides a chance at getting the kind of leadership he wants. This is absolutely an economic situation, you are horribly wrong, and the rest of your argument is completely wasted (in more ways than one) because of this fact.

    Please try again.

  48. > Here’s the long and short of it:
    Reynold’s, ESR, myself et al are all talking about the value of Wal-Mart
    and Bush vis-a-vis the alternatives

    > Summary: if A is undesirable, but B is even more undesirable, the value
    of A goes up because the opportunity cost of doing business with A goes
    down.

    > If you think there’s something wrong with my summary, let me know
    where I screwed up my economics.

    Consider our hypothetical biologist, far above. He may dislike BOTH
    Evolution and ID as scientific theories, but for him to throw his
    assent from one to another, because he believes that one party has
    revealed its stupidity and viciousness when attacking the other, he
    would be jeered at universally and should be, for a very good reason.
    Let us not forget, as so many assume, that there are 2 and ONLY 2
    scientific theories, poised to explain the development of life on
    earth which any given biologist may select between. No amount of
    rationalizing his shift away from one alternative towards the other,
    based on ‘economizing the opportunity costs of doing business with
    the other theory’s exponents’, would save him from his well-deserved
    jeering.

    The stupidity and viciousness a person discloses may not relate to
    anything his enemies stand for. He may be stupid and vicious because
    of his upbringing, because of the revolting culture in which he was
    socialized expects such behavior as conformed responses, or he may
    be so entirely for his own idiosyncratic reasons. To take the
    obnoxious verbal cues a fool unleashes, so as to give leverage,
    validating his enemies’ agenda is to join the fool in a mutual
    pursuit of foolishness.

    Let us say that there are 2 universes: One of things favored and
    another of things unfavored, but that even though the sum total
    of things among these universes remains constant thruout the
    eons of these universes’ existences, things may be shuttled, to
    and fro, in and out, and from each to each; that is, a thing may
    be located in the universe of things favored, at one instant but
    found in the universe of things unfavored, at the next instant
    and vice versa. Those who do the shuttling of things between these
    universes are called the selectors, and they are trained to operate
    under very rigid and non-subjective selection rules. Should a
    selector re-locate a thing from the universe of things unfavored
    to the universe of things favored or vice versa, based soley on
    the verbal behavior of those whom he dislikes, he would be slowly
    tortured unto death. Such is how the inhabitants of advanced
    universes rid themselves of their bad bloggers.

    The universes above comprise truth domains: A thing is in the favored
    universe because it is truely favored; that is FU(x) is true, and
    UFU(x) is false. Should x be placed in the FU, by a means, which if
    repeated a significant but a non-infinite number of times, the truth
    structure of and between these universes would collapse.

    > In the political economy, the blogger has a vote to spend. He also can
    convince other people that his means and ends are desirable and should be
    pursued.

    You are confusing what this blogger said, ‘the viciousness and stupidity
    revealed in its enemies tends to make me view it more favorably than I
    otherwise would’, with what bloggers, by your own novel definition of
    them, do. The blogger never desired Walmart until his enemies attacked
    it.

    How do bloggers, insofar as they are bloggers, escape any criticism from
    drawing weird, illogical inferences because they inhabit the culture of
    cyberspace? To go further down this route will ultimately lead to the
    invalidation of cyberspace as a reliable resource. And to insist
    otherwise is to make a special pleading, insofar as NOT holding
    bloggers, but holding all others outside of cyberspace, to minimally
    rational constraints.

    > The cost is the time it takes to research and espouse positions.
    In the case of Bush specifically, the cost is the amount of time it
    takes to figure out his positions, whether they are right, whether
    they are wrong, whether the right outweighs the wrong, etc.

    So, we should give bloggers and all who read blogs a pass because
    they are plain lazy, err.. I meant they are just ‘economizing’.

  49. Something’s missing from all this.

    Apparently ESR never really considered that John Kerry got nearly half the votes in Murka precisely because four more years of G-Dub was too horrible to contemplate for one-half of this country’s population — the Wal-Mart principle in reverse. I doubt such a feckless, waffle-happy candidate could have roused so much support strictly on the strength of his convictions and the persuasiveness of his platform.

  50. > How do bloggers, insofar as they are bloggers, escape any criticism from
    drawing weird, illogical inferences because they inhabit the culture of
    cyberspace?

    It has nothing to do with bloggers.

    > To go further down this route will ultimately lead to the invalidation of
    > cyberspace as a reliable resource.

    Much like the publication of Mad Magazine invalidated paper as a reliable
    resource…. (In other words, type error.)

    nekhbet disparages “economizing”, yet I’ll bet that he doesn’t dismantle a
    car engine before starting it to verify that it is functional. None of us live
    in a monotonic logic world.

    And, the “if you keep this up, we can’t rely on cyberspace” rant is an example
    of the economizing that he disparages.

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