The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘The Most Vulnerable Among Us’

Posted on | November 2, 2019 | Comments Off on ‘The Most Vulnerable Among Us’


Ed Driscoll calls our attention to this Daily Caller item:

Writers bashed former President Barack Obama after he criticized “woke” social justice warriors during a speech Tuesday.
Obama spoke at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago and hit back at alleged activists who attack other people on the internet because of their “flaws,” according to the former president. His comments saw bipartisan support, but some liberals disagreed with his thought that this rhetoric is “not activism.”
Journalist Ernest Owens wrote that he “gasped” when he heard Obama’s comments and called the former president’s views that of a “boomer” in an op-ed featured in The New York Times Friday.
“But the former president’s disdain for the kind of criticism that has become popular to dismiss as ‘cancel culture’ … is misguided,” [Owens] wrote, adding:

“His eagerness to dismiss one part of what happens when young people stand up for what they believe in as ‘casting stones’ is a reminder of a largely generational divide about whether it’s impolite to speak out in favor of the most vulnerable among us and the world we’d like to live in. While there’s some debate about which generation Mr. Obama belongs to, he’s solidly in the older camp.” . . .

To further quote Owens:

The issues that my fellow millennials, along with even younger people in Gen Z, tend to be “judgmental” about are the same ones many of our parents and grandparents have been debating for decades. Being outspoken about climate change, women’s rights, racial justice, LGBTQ inclusivity and gun control — and critical of those who stand in the way of progress on these issues — is work that’s been left to us. . . .
The group that Mr. Obama joins in his scolding of outspoken young people is dominated by white straight men, far-right conservative talking heads, and celebrities who feel entitled to audiences who appreciate their art and dutifully ignore their missteps. It’s no surprise that Fox News fretted that his comments were “snubbed” and didn’t receive sufficient coverage from broadcast television networks.

Whatever one might say about this controversy, it is obvious that Ernest Owens is profoundly ignorant, despite his Ivy League education. He is a man who thinks in slogans, and has never made any effort to understand the reasoning of anyone who might sincerely disagree with him, instead dismissing them in terms of identity-politics formulations and ideological labels — “white straight men, far-right conservative talking heads.” Why would any intelligent person take me seriously if, in offering a rebuttal of Mr. Owens, I made a point of his being a gay black man?


Well, ad hominem arguments are sometimes relevant, as a way of understanding motives in an age of identity politics. Democrats seek power by leveraging our tribal impulses — “You are [insert identity category] and therefore should vote Democrat” — and this formula has the effect of turning every policy debate into tribal warfare. The perpetrators of identity politics claim to be on the side of Progress, with a capital P, and define their opponents as advocates of Hate, with a capital H. In reality, however, “progressives” are the ones fomenting hatred and, rather than leading us into a utopia of enlightenment, instead point us toward the darkest depths of a degenerate and atavistic barbarism.

How does one refute the libelous accusations implied by Mr. Owens’ argument (which, I hasten to add, is not actually an argument as any student of formal logic would define an argument)? For you see that his assertion is that he and his generation have a monopoly of wisdom and charity, while their elders are all selfish fools. According to Mr. Owens, we of older generations are ignorant — we don’t know nothin’ about no “progress on these issues” — and are guilty of insufficient sympathy for “the most vulnerable among us.” Obviously, I don’t have an Ivy League diploma, and therefore can perhaps be forgiven my ignorance, but how is Mr. Owens (Penn, Class of 2014) better qualified than me to determine whether our former President is “misguided”? Upon what credentials does Mr. Owens claim this authority to sit in judgment of his elders?

Did I mention — because I think it’s relevant — that Ernest Owens fell hook, line and sinker for the Jussie Smollett hoax?

On Monday night, a black gay man was attacked for existing in both of these identities.
Empire actor Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after allegedly being assaulted in Chicago by two individuals who also tied a noose around his neck, and who poured an unknown chemical substance on him. The unidentified culprits appear to be Trump supporters who, according to TMZ, yelled at Smollett, “This is MAGA country,” along with hurling racist and homophobic slurs. . . .
It shouldn’t be a coincidence that such bigotry escalated from written hate mail to physical violence. History often showed us during the Jim Crow era of the 20th century that discriminatory laws led to lynchings and other legalized acts of white supremacy. What happened to Smollett was a form of white terrorism that targeted both his racial identity and sexual orientation simultaneously.


Of course, Jussie Smollett was not a victim of “white terrorism,” yet having been so naïvely credulous as to believe this hoax — which never fooled any intelligent person — now Mr. Owens expects us all to accept his authority to pass judgment upon former President Obama.

As a “white straight . . . far-right conservative,” of course, I could never expect the New York Times to publish anything I wrote (even if I would consent to have my byline appear in that disgraceful publication, which of course I wouldn’t), but they do not hesitate to provide a platform for the opinions of Mr. Owens, who is demonstrably a fool.

And that, you see, is the point of my argument. Once it can be shown that one’s antagonist is a fool, the debate has concluded, because no intelligent person would take advice from a fool. Selah.



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