Eager to Smear

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Here's another one I probably should have seen coming...

Some time ago, when I encountered news that Haley Barbour might run for President, I commented on how eager the left was to paint him as a racist hick, rather than focus on his qualifications or actual political philosophy. What I didn't foresee was the wave of polling of his fellow Mississippians that has ensued, and what leftist commentators would do with it. Whether the polling was prompted by Barbour's possible candidacy, I am uncertain, but so what? The left obviously imagines it has found a gold mine.

Citing a poll result that would have surprised me until recently, but which really isn't news at this point, a Slate blogger comments as follows on the finding that nearly half of Republican voters from Mississippi wish the South had won the Civil War:

I can't get enough of these Public Policy Polling surveys, and to tell the truth I wish they were doing more. How many Republicans in North Dakota think that Barack Obama might be the antichrist? How many Democrats in Cook County, Illinois think the planes that hit the World Trade Center were actually holograms? How many people think tax cuts always increase revenue? [bold added]
Please note the caricature of -- and the blatant attempt to cause the reader to associate racism and gullibility for conspiracy theories with -- the idea of reducing our confiscatory tax rates. That idea (and the fact that Republicans often support it) is, at best, a sloppy surrogate for the "unknown ideal" of capitalism.

I know why the poll results surprised me: I grew up in Mississippi and know for a fact that that there are lots of decent people there. But it shouldn't have surprised me how the results are being used. The left has long used smears like this against opponents, and commonly portrays itself as rational or scientific -- and its opponents as, therefore, evasive or worse.

I am an individualist and a capitalist. If some cowardly leftist wants to claim knowledge of my inner thoughts -- by polling other people; or wants to pretend to explain my political philosophy -- by expressing it in two out-of-context words; or wants to dismiss anything I might have to say -- by insinuating that it's as connected to reality as a conspiracy theory; well, there's nothing I can do stop him. What I can do is continue my efforts to make a rational case for my opinions to the only people who really concern me: those who value the truth, and who, therefore, will evaluate my arguments on their actual merits.

-- CAV

----- In Other News -----

Another left-wing tactic/confession of impotence in the market of ideas -- and one that has been on the wane lately, at least as far as Ayn Rand goes -- is marginalization. Might the lack of a movie review for Atlas Shrugged by the New York Times thus best be described, along those lines, as an anachronism?

"What the hell am I doing in AP?" A retired school teacher describes how a school used unprepared students to make itself look good by corralling them into AP classes.

Most Egyptians want a legal and political system based on the Koran. If that happens, those who want it will get what they deserve, and those who don't will, sadly, also get what their opponents deserve.

The name "Joe Cimperman" would have fit right in as the name of a minor Atlas Shrugged villain: Cleveland imposes nanny-state regulation on smoking, trans-fats, and ...

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