gall and gumption

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Joys of Slavery Revisited

Constant readers may recall a long angry rant about slavery that I posted here in reaction to an article about this outfit in Idaho that has been supplying textbooks to homeschoolers and these Christian "Classical" (WTF?) schools. They have sought with this textbook to make the case that slavery was just one big long Thanksgiving dinner for all concerned.

Here is the followup to the outing of the writer of the textbook and the organization.

I am grateful to these folks, I must say, since it is not the usual practice of their kind to be quite so explicit about their ideals and their intentions. Here we have good ole lizard brain ignorance puffing out its chest, not hiding behind slimy geniality and euphemism and salesman's double talk to get the foot in the door.

If you have ever found yourself in a discussion with people of this ilk -- and I number millenial tuna-fish hoarding Armageddonites, anti-abortion crusaders, victims of affirmative action, creationists among them and I have been in such arguments -- you will notice the way that they collect a whole lot of what they like to think of as evidence for their various cases. They have the dinosaurs figured out; they have found out the flaw in carbon-dating methodology; they have masses and masses of minutiae and sources to support their point of view.

Remember what Roger Sale said in his book On Writing? Evidence can be assembled to support any argument, no matter how stupid, especially if you are not too particular about its provenance. It is important, when they dump their truckload of "evidence" in your lap, to remain totally unmoved. Do not concede anything to them. You do not need to sift through all that rubbish, you are not a person to be persuaded by such niggling and you do not engage in it. Let it wash over you, let them exhaust themselves, they enjoy it. And then tell them it is rubbish.

These folks believe that your demand for empirical evidence is a matter of form. They therefore assemble evidence that (they imagine) satisfies this supposedly formal requirement and that also supports their thesis. What doesn't support the thesis is ignored or explained away. This is intellectually dishonest, and I, for one, don't feel any need to be polite to intellectual dishonesty, especially when it gets up of its own accord and walks across the room and starts braying in my ear, dissatisfied with my mere tolerance for its benighted ignorance.

If there was a God he wouldn't deliver his messages through such mean and dirty hands.


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