Dumb Critics

Written by Nexcerpt on January 22nd, 2012 in Life & Lessons.
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Right leaning bloggers are in a frantic huff over the Newsweek cover story for 23 Jan 2012, entitled “Why are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?”

Rather, most are in a huff over one word on the cover: “dumb.” That’s dumb.

And, they’re wailing about it across social media — an “Occupy Dumbness” movement — thus increasing sales and traffic for Newsweek, which they claim to hate with a vengeance. That’s incredibly dumb.

It’s even more dumb than it sounds — because most of them obviously didn’t read the article.

Dumb Critics

Dumb Critics

Apparently reading a substantial article is too much to ask. Their strategy: rile people up about some superficiality, to avoid becoming informed about issues — or facing reality. That’s dumb.

How dumb are they? Dumb enough to not even think about what predictably stands behind that headline. I’ve set a timer for five minutes, during which I’ll type — entirely off the top of my head, with no outside references, and before reading the article — what should be equally obvious to anyone who gives it thought. OK… go.

1.) Oh, yeah: Newsweek is proof of media bias — constantly giving full pages to those extreme leftist hacks George Will, William Kristol, and their ilk. (Yes, it’s sarcasm.)

2.) Magazine covers are intentionally controversial, and are rarely (if ever) controlled by the authors of the articles inside. The article probably has a different title than the cover hype (as most magazine articles do).

3.) Perhaps the article is about Obama’s critics on the left — who constantly, pointlessly complain that Obama is “Bush III” or not aggressive or progressive enough — and why those critics and complaints are dumb.

Specifics we would readily expect to see in the article, about critics from the right:

4) Obama’s critics usually focus their attention on superficial matters (like magazine covers) rather than focusing on substantial issues. That’s dumb.

5.) Obama’s critics (for example, Glenn Beck) are intentionally lying at least half the time, and nearly always misrepresenting context or exaggerating facts grotesquely. When a legitimate complaint arises, it’s impossible to distinguish that lone truth from their daily load of trash. That’s dumb.

6.) Obama’s critics (for example, Mitt Romney) fabricate absurd notions (“the bitter politics of envy”?!? seriously?!?) in order to appeal to a rabid base, while alienating thinking people (thus fueling the very hatred they claim is undesirable). That’s dumb.

7.) Obama’s critics (for example, Newt Gingrich) accuse him of being “elitist” while Obama has only recently enjoyed the enormous privilege they’ve exploited their entire lives. That’s dumb.

8.) Obama’s critics (for example, Rick Santorum) pander to hateful fundamentalists, rather than to authentic Christians, while claiming that is somehow in service to their Lord Jesus. That’s dumb. (Along with terribly profane, rather sacrilegious, and nearly blasphemous.)

9.) Obama’s critics (for example, Tea Partiers) mindlessly call Obama a “socialist” (though he clearly is not a socialist), while denying that a powerful element of their own movement is “racist” (though it clearly is racist). That’s dumb.

10.) Obama’s critics (for example, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, and other Norquist sycophants) are willing do any damage they can to the economy — or foreign policy — simply to try to make Obama look bad. That’s dumb. (And they’ve admitted their foul goal, which is even more dumb.)

TIME! (Hehe… that’s sort of a Newsweek joke ;-)

Aww, shoot. Five minutes is so little time — and there are so many more things to expect!

With those ten most obvious of likely observations in place, I’ll now read the article. It takes a moment to find, because [As Predicted In #2] the title does not use the word “dumb.” (In fact, that word never appears in the entire article.)

The actual title is “How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics.” (Which, if you understand the article, is a valid prediction.)

I will not be able to resist citing elements of the article that I (easily, readily, quickly) predicted.

Oh, look — it was written by Andrew Sullivan, who routinely describes himself as quite religious, and as quite conservative (even libertarian). [As Predicted In #1 -- ironically]

Sullivan’s lead: “The right calls him a socialist, [API #9] the left says he sucks up to Wall Street [API #3], and independents think he’s a wimp [API #3].”

Sullivan: “The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong.” [API #5 and inherent in #7]

Sullivan: “Leave aside the internal incoherence—how could such an incompetent be a threat to anyone?” [API #3]

Sullivan: “You’d think, listening to the Republican debates, that Obama has raised taxes. Again, this is not true.” [API #5 and #6]

Sullivan: “The great conservative bugaboo, Obamacare, is also far more moderate than its critics have claimed.” [API #4, #6, and #9]

Sullivan: “If George Bush had taken out bin Laden, wiped out al Qaeda’s leadership, and gathered a treasure trove of real intelligence by a daring raid, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.” [API... well, it's a variation on #10, among others]

Sullivan: “While the left is less unhinged in its critique, it is just as likely to miss the screen for the pixels.” [API #3]

Sullivan: “…to understand Obama, you have to take the long view. Because he does.” [API #4]

Sullivan: “Obama has steadfastly refrained from waging the culture war, while the right has accused him of a “war against religion.” [API #8]

Sullivan: “…it is this Republican intransigence—from the 2009 declaration by Rush Limbaugh that he wants Obama “to fail” to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s admission that his primary objective is denying Obama a second term—that has been truly responsible for the deadlock.” [API #10]

So, Sullivan gets the facts right (a hundred times over); never employs the word “dumb”; roundly drubs Obama over actual weaknessess; and places the blame for bad rhetoric and sleazy politics exactly where it belongs: on bad rhetoricians and sleazy politicos.

My point is that people who freely, constantly, relentlessly harp on “the media” or “the left” — or “the right,” for that matter — are the real problem. The real threat to Democracy. The real danger to America. They mouth off, without exploring any issues, or mentioning any facts, or backing up their position with anything beyond fear and loathing. As such, they are the source of most of the dumb.

In fact, they’re quite a bit more dangerous than merely dumb. Being dumb (and the appropriate corollary, being mute) may be forgivable. Being deaf (or blind) to reality (which also obliges a certain shutting-upness) is not the most dangerous thing in the world.

However, being dumb in a public, provocative way — being out of touch with reality, and promoting that lack of substance or accuracy — actively makes other people dumb, too.

Other people… people who then will form opinions driven by dishonesty, repeat claims driven by fantasy, and cast ballots driven by hatred. Then we’ll be stuck with dumb dishonest people, and dumb fantasy opinions, and dumb hateful politicians, forever.

And, what could be dumber than that?

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