Talk the walk

Michael Gerson has a profound view of liberals:

>These messages of responsibility are often reinforced by tightknit religious communities, but they are not owned by them. Wilcox notes that American liberal elites often “talk left and walk right, living disciplined lives and expecting their children to do the same, even when they hold liberal social views.” Divorce rates among college-educated Americans, he points out, have fallen since the 1980s, as it became more evident that casual divorce did not serve the long-term interests of their children.

Well, it’s not him, but some guy he quotes.

Perhaps he ought to be reminded that some liberals–probably most–were against “abstinence-only” sex-education because it was moronically ineffective at its stated goal of reducing teen pregnancy, STDs and so forth, not, as he seems to suggest (via Wilcox) because “liberal elites” embrace consequence-free licentiousness.


In a related matter, “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy, not a kind of cogent argument. The National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez writes:

>Slippery Slope?

>Just a coincidence that this happened in Massachusetts [where gay marriage is legal–NS editors]?

>”Sherborn teen charged with bestiality”

Someone please inform the National Review.

To her credit, however, she links to this from Alabama.

And then she apologizes–but not for the silly argument.

5 thoughts on “Talk the walk”

  1. It seems like the strategy of this and other Gerson pieces does not require any sort of logical coherence. As you point out with the quote Gerson uses, “left” is characterized as promiscuous and perverse and “right” stands for self-control and virtue in general. The invocation and reenforcement of these loaded cliches are likely to produce powerful truth effects for a particular large subset of readers, namely self-identifying conservatives who are enjoy being reminded that they the protectors of virtue.

    This passage near the end really bothered me: “Conservatism teaches that individuals are not inherently good and so must be carefully civilized.” Is there a name for this sort of sudden and idiosyncratic definition of major terms right at the end of an argument?! The implication is again, of course, that “liberalism” is the opposite, painfully naive in its assumption that babies are angels. Maybe you could accuse Rousseau of something along these lines, but I don’t know any Democrats ferociously clinging to the notion that people are inherently good. In any case, I thought that “liberals” wanted all kinds of social programs and state-mandated education measures to help mold the behavior of the citizens (while “conservatives” favor individual “liberty”). Saying that teenagers require supportive “social structures and networks” doesn’t strike me as a very uniquely “conservative” claim.

  2. “Just a coincidence that this happened in Massachusetts [where gay marriage is legal–NS editors]?

    ‘Sherborn teen charged with bestiality”’

    Obviously this is evidence that bestiality is a consequence of heterosexual predominance, considering that every instance of forbidden beast love (FBL) that has occured (anywhere! ever!) prior to the 2004 MA gay marriage law far outweighs this one instance since. Clearly we must all embrace our own form of genitalia in deep sexual commitment and congress if we are to stamp out the horrors of FBL. Think of the kittens.

  3. you know, piggybacking on Nevyn’s comment, could there be a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy at work here?

  4. In Lopez’ article, that is, no in Nevyn’s comment. Sorry for the fractured comment.

  5. That’s certainly right Phil. I was thinking–again elliptically–of the many slippery slope arguments offered by Lopez et alia. Slippery slope, of course, is a variety of causal fallacy.

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