The life preserver of false equivalency

Get a Brain, Morans

Image by Eexlebots via Flickr

Admittedly it’s probably  a pretty uncomfortable time to be one of those Canadians that considers themselves sober-minded and conservative looking over the border at what is happening to their ideological brethren. But you know things really aren’t going well when you can no longer bother defending it intellectually and instead desperately throw the yoke of false equivalency around the necks of “the other side” in an attempt to drag them down into the mud you find yourself in. This is what today’s editorial from the Ottawa Citizen awkwardly tries to do (published of course in today’s Sun). It sets itself up to be a “pox on both your houses” piece but the game is given away quite early. There’s one or two sentences about “oh sure the Tea Party is extreme” and “John Baird was silly to call Toronto elitist” but the overwhelming majority of the piece is an attack on a cariacture of the “Left”.

On the populist Right, members of the upstart Tea Party movement promote conspiracy theories to the effect that President Barack Obama wasn’t born American and is a secret Muslim. The noisy Left is not much better. Its members try to shut down anyone who disagrees with them on issues of taxes, immigration or mosques at Ground Zero by throwing accusations of xenophobia, racism and bigotry.

This, if I really need to point it out, is an example of things that are “not equivalent”. (And where the hell did the references to taxes come from? There are left-wingers favouring the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy who label those who don’t xenophobic, racist and bigoted? Really?). It’s pretty weak tea (Get it! Get it!) if you are going to call those who feel those opposition to Islamic community centre 2 blocks from Ground Zero doesn’t have the whiff of racism about it. As we know, all Muslims are responsible for the actions of individual Muslims. Christian and Jews are not, btw. “Islam” is a country, right, and it declared war on the United States on 9/11, just like when Germany attacked Pearl Habour to start the War of 1812. Or if you mention that groups that oppose immigration, like the Minutemen, seem to turn up at events that White supremacist groups attend too. Coincidence, I’m sure.

And so on. More:

The Left largely regards the Tea Party as a circus of the ill-educated and ignorant, and it demeans Tea Party leaders (Sarah Palin, for example) as little more than hicks. The Left, however, is forgetting the populist roots of its own progressive agenda (recall the 1960s’ counterculture movement).

Did you see what happened there? Did you follow the shells or the hands in this game of a paragraph? The “Left” might think the Tea Party ignorant and ill-educated, but they’re the same because – and allegedly – they both have populist roots. It’s almost as if “ignorant” and “ill-educated” has the same definition as “populist”. Also known as “popular”. And forget the New Deal, the labour movement, and others -> all left-wingers and progressives are descended from hippies.

So there! Neener neener!