The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Fallacy of Assuming Everyone Thinks Like You (or “Fisking Keith Olbermann”)

Yeah, several posts ago I wondered if it was necessary to fisk Olbermann, but I am compelled to, here.

But first let me tell you a story.  Now I have said that I support affirmative action in a limited sort of way, based on the present reality of racism and other forms of bigotry.  And I remember saying that once in a Constitutional History class back when I was an undergraduate and a man vehemently disagreed with me that racism was a real problem.  He said something like this:

I don’t think racism is so bad.  At my fraternity, a black guy wanted to join.  And one guy said we shouldn’t let him join because he was black.  So I stood up and said that the fact he was black didn’t matter.  And we voted to let him in.

That’s a paraphrase, of course.  And this is what I said in response.

Listen to what you just said.  Your fraternity was considering a black dude and someone thought that the color of his skin was a good enough reason to exclude him.  And he said it out loud, so he must have thought that some of the other members of your fraternity would agree.  It’s great that you don’t feel the way he does, but the fact is there is at least one racist you know.  Now what if he ends up being a teacher, or an employer.  Is he going to treat the black people he deals with equally?

There is a tendency in people to believe that everyone is just like them.  I admit I used to fall into that mental trap myself.  I didn’t think racism existed, because it didn’t exist in my heart, so obviously it must not exist in anyone else’s.  I would say that much of our misunderstandings of a lot of issues is based on that.  For instance, the average liberal has trouble understanding how backwards and evil the average islamofascist is, in part because they can’t imagine anyone thinking that differently from them.

But there is a flip-side to that.  It means that if you are infected with racism, even if you are conscious of it, and trying to shed it, then you might have trouble believing that there are other people who are not.  Chris Matthews is an obvious example.  He said more than he meant to when he said that Obama’s State of the Union speech was so good he forgot Obama was black for an hour.  Matthews struggles to evaluate Obama without looking at the color of his skin, he can’t “forget” Obama is black, and therefore he can’t believe other people forget it.

(Sidebar.  It has correctly pointed out to me that it’s not precisely forgetting about color, it is a profound lack of concern for color.)

So we arrive at I think the most revealing line of Olbermann’s “Special Comment” on President’s Day:

And I think, having now been one for 51 years, I am permitted to say I believe prejudice and discrimination still sit defeated, dormant, or virulent somewhere in the soul of each white man in this country.

Now that sentence is a little tough to unknot, because of Olberman’s sentence structure, but what he is saying is that because he has been “one” (a white man) for some 51 years, he can say that he believes that prejudice exists a little bit in every white man.

The dead giveaway that this is fallacious is “every.”  Almost every generalization about human beings, or a significant subset of them, is wrong; and on the rare occasion that the generalization is right, it is because it is a tautology.

And notice the identity politics that frames it.  He has “been one,” a white man, for 51 years.  So he has the right to point an accusing finger at all white man.  So, Olby, a black man cannot point that finger?

Indeed, notice further it is not all white people suffering from this, but all white men.  What about white women?  Do they not all have at least hidden prejudice?  If the answer is yes, then Olberman has apparently forgotten that women existed, or that somehow he was not allowed to speak out about them, because he has testicles (allegedly).  And if it’s the latter, then apparently any trait that makes him different from others then makes him unable to point the accusing finger.  Well, Mr. Olberman, I am a disabled American, and you pointed the finger at me.  And I don’t know what your faith is, but you can’t simultaneously be Jewish, atheist, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or what have you, so you are on the outside of several religious groups that face different degrees of prejudice.

Sixty-three years after Jack E. Robinson and 56 after Brown V. Board of Education and 46 after the Civil Rights Act and a year and a half after the presidential election, this is not a popular thing to say.

Okay, first, I got to fisk the transcribers at newsbusters.  “Jack E. Robinson”?  Really?  You didn’t know that its “Jackie,” not “Jack E.”?  Sheesh, what do they teach at our schools?!

But back to Olberman.  Really?  It’s not popular.  Well, given your show’s ratings, I guess you might be considered an expert on unpopularity, but personally I hear this claim all the frickin’ time.  It might not be held by a majority of Americans, but it’s pretty popular in some quarters, like on MSNBC, to name an example.

Discrimination is still all around us, in so many ways, openly redirected towards immigrants who are doing nothing more than following the path that brought my recent ancestors here and probably yours, too,

Of course what he means is that those who don’t like illegal immigration are bigots.  Which is kind of circular.  “I know you are all bigots, because you don’t like illegal immigration and I know opposition to illegal immigration is motivated by bigotry and not, say, the illegality of it, because I know you are all bigots.”  In fact as a rule, I find the people who get the most steamed about illegal immigrants are... legal immigrants.

Ah, but don’t you know, they are just doing the same thing my ancestors did.  I remember hearing stories of my great-great-grandfather, crossing the river that separated Scotland from America, dodging the border patrol, obtaining fake ID’s...  /sarcasm

And notice that he seems to assume that the vast majority of his audience doesn’t include those illegal immigrants.

or focused on gays predicated on a mumbo jumbo of biblical misinterpretations,

Well, let’s look up Leviticus 18:22, shall we?  It says in the New International Version: “'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  So according to the biblical scholar Olbermann it is a bigoted misinterpretation of that section to read it as an injunction against homosexuality.

It kind of reminds me of the ridiculous position liberals have on Citizens United.  According to them it is a radical, activist interpretation of the first amendment to strike down a restriction on freedom of speech.  As I said, fisking Chemerinsky:

Yes, you see, when you say that the part of the constitution that says “Congress shall make no law... abridging freedom of speech, or of the press” it is activism to say Congress cannot pass a law restricting freedom of speech, or of the press.

Likewise, it is a bigoted misinterpretation of the Bible to say that the part that declares that you shouldn’t lie with a man as you would with a woman is a knock on homosexuality.

And then he goes on to list the Tea Party movement as an example of bigotry.  But since he spends most of the rest of his argument trying to make this point, I will leave the comment alone for now.

We may be 63 years from Jackie Robinson, but we’re not yet 63 days from a man going on national radio and telling us the President of the United States was elected only because of the color of his skin.

Well, to be blunt, Olberman, there can be racist love and there can be racist hate.  And racist love exists for Obama.  Ninety six percent of all black people voted for Obama.  Do you really think that all of those African Americans were evaluating him without regard to color?  Certainly if 96% of white people voted for McCain, Olberman would be calling around half of them racists.  Do we think that maybe, just maybe, there are a few white people who voted for Obama because they wanted us finally to have a black president?

Look, let me be honest with you.  All things being equal, in 2008 I would have voted for Obama.  That is if Obama was McCain’s equal, I would have voted for him.  Indeed, I did vote for Obama in the primaries, although to be fair is was voting more against Hillary than for him.  But while I had a lot of problems with McCain—not the least because of McCain-Feingold—I felt that it would be a miracle if Obama was not a disaster.  I felt that a half-term Senator was not ready to be president.  And Keith, here’s a news flash.  In 2004, Obama agreed with me.

And that may seem like a contradiction, saying that I don’t care about Obama’s race, but I would be more likely to vote for him because he is black.  But it’s not his race, so much, as the existence of racism.  I fully believe that the chief lingering effect of racism is that it “psyches out” African American children, and other minorities.  It has been documented that the scores of African American children rose when thinking of Obama merely as a candidate.  And indeed a recent study showed that being an underdog was actually a psychological disadvantage much of the time.  What common sense and this growing science tells you is that if you have lowered expectations, you won’t aim as high.  I know this from personal experience.  When I was a child it was so powerful to me when our teacher said, “Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin and that means anyone could grow up to be president.”  As a white male, not even knowing I was handicapped yet, it made me believe that anything is possible for me.  And when I learned I was handicapped, and I began to feel the sting of discrimination, that belief was shattered.  And it occurred to me one day that if I was black, Asian, or a woman, or so on, that if they heard someone say that line about Lincoln that those words would ring hollow.  But maybe not anymore.  I understand better than most people just how big a deal it might be just to have a black president, to clear away the continuing effects of racism.  And that entered into my calculus in deciding who to vote for.  Yes, I still voted against Obama, but it was with regret because I really wanted to finally have a black president worth voting for.

I won’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone thought the way I did.  But did even 10% of the electorate want to have a black president for any number of reasons that were unrelated to his actual personal merit?  Is there even 10% of the electorate who voted for Obama who wouldn’t have if he was just a white guy?  I think it is fair to say that.

And before I move to the next line, notice how one-sided this is.  Everything conservatives believe is really bigotry, but nothing liberals believe is.  Indeed, I wonder if there is anything anyone in the white house might have said that indicated that they felt bigotry toward anyone else...  In fact, I wonder whether Obama himself ever said anything bigoted...?

Oh, right, he did, about the handicapped.  Its funny that that didn’t make Olberman’s list.  It would have screwed up the narrative, I guess.

So then Olby goes on revealing more about himself:

Discrimination, I’ve always thought, is a perversion of one of the most necessary instincts of survival. As a child, put your hand on a red hot stove, and you’ll quickly learn to discriminate against red hot stoves. But at that age, you’re also told you need to beware of, say, black people, and you will forever have to spend your life having to fight against wiring created in your brain for no reason other than to reflect someone else’s prejudice.

But that assumes that everyone has had that experience, Olby baby.  What if we didn’t?

The other night in the hospital, my father was telling me about seeing Satchel Paige pitch. At Yankees Stadium, this was. The time was about 1941, and the team was the New York Black Yankees. And my father shook his head in amazement as he told me this. "It never occurred to me," he said, "it never occurred to anybody I knew that he couldn’t play for the other Yankees," my dad said. "We just assumed he didn’t want to, that none of them wanted to."

Um, so now you are accusing Daddy of racism?  But talk about seeing what isn’t there, nothing in that story had anything to do with racism at all, just an ignorance of racial discrimination.  And before you get too amazed about his father’s ignorance, bear in mind his father was twelve and I remember being pretty clueless about equally obvious facts of reality at that age, too.

These thoughts still linger in our lives, still actively passed to some of us by people who are not like my father, who never question their own upbringing or parents or school or world.

And of course notice the smug self-satisfaction involved here.  You can almost hear him saying, sure the regular people, the sheep, they are not able to get this so I am here to enlighten them.  I demonstrate my brave individuality by aping the talking points of the democratic party: that it is bigotry to oppose illegal immigration, gay marriage and anything Obama wants.

Sometimes with virulence, as in Don Imus’s infamous remarks

Or yours with the Roscoe’s Chick comment, or Chris Matthews confessing he forgot Obama was black.

sometimes with utter arrogant tone deafness, as in John Mayer’s Playboy interview

Okay, Olby, a broken clock will be right two times a day, so you are right.  Mayer’s interview was pretty racist, while sort of understanding he shouldn’t be a racist.  Weird.

sometimes with a kind of poorly informed benign phrase like Harry Reid’s comment about dialect;

Crap, Olby, you are two for two.  Maybe you are actually becoming a balanced, rational, logical...

sometimes with the lunkheadedness of surprise that nobody is screaming, "M Fer, I want more iced tea," at a Harlem restaurant. (SHOWS PHOTOGRAPHS OF DON IMUS, JOHN MAYER, HARRY REID AND BILL O’REILLY AS HE SPEAKS OF EACH)

...and the raving idiot is back again.  This story about O’Reilly was thoroughly debunked a liberal lie, but it will never stop being retold.

I’m not black, so I can’t say for sure, but my guess is the reverse feeling still exists, too, and the same doubt and nagging distrust, only with the arrow pointing the opposite way. And I guess it’s still there, too, among Hispanics and Asians and every other self-identifying group

And thus we see the “everyone thinks like me” fallacy writ large.

And since [racism is] no longer fashionable – indeed, no longer acceptable – it oozes out around the edges, and usually those who speak it don’t even realize that, as good as their intention might be, as improved as their attitudes might be from where they used to be or where their parents or grandparents used to be, or where America used to be, it’s still racism. Thus it has become fashionable, sometimes psychologically necessary, that when some of us express it, we have to put it in code or dress it up or provide a rationalization to ourselves for it.

And I think interestingly that Olberman is also engaged in that same fallacy but in a different way.  I am not saying he thinks we have the same struggles with bigotry that he apparently does.  But there is another kind of code language that does infect American politics, but they call it rebranding.  Liberals learned a long time ago that a lot of their ideas were really unpopular so tried rebranding as a way to say the same things to their fellow travelers, and hopefully hoodwink a few people into following them.  So they aren’t liberal.  They’re progressive.  They aren’t socialists.  They just want to redistribute the wealth.  It’s not global warming, it’s climate change (which is a less successful example because it is such an idiotic complaint—the climate is always changing).  They don’t want another stimulus.  They want a “jobs bill.”  They aren’t illegal immigrants, they are undocumented or more often just immigrants, like we aren’t supposed to exercise any border control at all.

Liberals use codes all the time, to try to hide from view attitudes that the American public has shown time and again that they despise.  So its perfectly natural to assume the other side is doing exactly the same thing.

But here is where it gets Orwellian.  Olbermann pretends to lampoon the racial coding as follows:

That this has nothing to do with race or prejudice, the man’s a socialist

This is supposed to be racial, but let’s not forget that Obama said, in liberal code, that he was a socialist.

and he’s bent on destroying the country

I will confess I have wondered more than once whether it was possible to be as bad at his job as Obama is, to the point of wondering, “is it possible he is doing it on purpose?”  I don’t blame anyone for answering that question in the affirmative.  He has been so far one of our worst presidents.

But I guess saying that makes me a racist.

and he was only elected by people who can’t speak English

Seriously, Keith, who said that?

The whole of the anger at government movement is predicated on this. Times are tough, the future is confusing, the threat from those who would dismantle our way of life is real, as if we weren’t to some extent doing it for them now. And the President’s black. But you can’t come out and say that’s why you’re scared.

So, wait, you are saying that not all of this is racist.  I mean there is no doubt that times are tough.  And the future is uncertain.  And there is a terrorist threat from those who would dismantle our way of life.  So three of those four concerns are wholly valid concerns and have nothing to do with race.  But we should be afraid to voice those three?

But taxes haven’t gone up,

Yes, they have.

the budget deficit is from the last administration’s adventurous war,

Not exactly:

grandma is much more likely to be death-paneled by your insurance company,

Than the government under Obamacare?  Oh, come on, how can you possibly claim that is a fact?  At best it’s an opinion.

And if anything, we can be reasonably certain that opposition to his health care program is not racial.  We have as close as can come to a perfect racial experiment in politics.  First a white southern Democrat proposed health care reform, and what happened to him?

And then a black man tries it, and what do you know?  He comes closer to achieving it than the white guy.

So the American people are more open to socialized medicine when proposed by a black man than a white man, and this is supposed to be proof of racism against the black guy?  Huh?

Of course it isn’t exactly the same.  Back in 1993, Bill Clinton didn’t have a chance to learn any lessons from his predecessor.  Oh, and Bill Clinton didn’t have a media that claimed that any opposition to his program was racist, trying to browbeat us into accepting a radical program without question.

a socialist President would be the one who tried to buy as many voters as possible with stupid tax cuts.

Um, socialists cut taxes?  Seriously, are you high, Keith?

And I know phrases like "Tea Klux Klan" are incendiary, and I know I use them in part because I am angry that at so late a date, we still have to back back that racial uneasiness which has to envelop us all.

Now notice he is speaking for all Americans, or perhaps even all of humanity.  He is the alpha and the omega, you know.

And then here is where his racial attitudes really start to come out.

But let me ask all of you who attend these things: How many black faces do you see at these events? How many Hispanics, Asians, gays? Where are these people? Surely, there must be blacks who think they’re being bled by taxation. Surely there must be Hispanics who think the government should have let the auto industry fail. Surely there must be people of all colors and creeds who believe in cultural literacy tests and speaking English. Where are they? Where are they?

Make no mistake.  He actually thinks there are no Asians, hispanics, or African Americans.  He makes it even more explicit right at the end, saying:

Why are you surrounded by the largest crowd you will ever again see in your life that consists of nothing but people who look exactly like you?

You know, you might look at the cast of MSBC and ask the same question, you know.

Why is it, Keith, that all of these people look just like you?

You’re scared and you’re in a world that has changed in a million ways, and the most obvious one of them is something unforeseeable not a decade ago – a black President.

Unforeseeable?  Are you shitting me?  You never heard of a movie called Deep Impact?  Morgan Freeman, taking a break from playing God and the folksy, wise narrator in everything, played the President of the United States?  And for that matter, while its not quite 10 years ago, it was pretty conceivable we might have a black president to the creators of the show 24, to name but two of several examples.

So your claim that it was unimaginable is frankly empirically wrong.  And I might add, who loves 24 more?  Liberals or conservatives?

Not all of our heritage is honorable. Not all the decisions of the Founding Fathers were noble. Not very many of the Founding Fathers were evolved enough to believe that black people were actually people.

And this is funny, because as noted above, Olberman patted himself on the back for questioning the racism he was taught.  But here he apparently invokes, unexamined, the dogma that the 3/5 clause diminished the humanity of the slaves.  I have already told you that this dogma was exactly incorrect.

The Founding Fathers thought they were and fought hard to make sure they would always remain slaves.

No.  Some did, but the majority of the founders at least believed that slavery was on its way out, and some fought equally hard to ensure its destruction.  Sheesh.

And progress towards the removal of any evil produces an inevitable backlash.

And notice the logical move.  That means that if you oppose the first black president you must be part of that racist backlash.  How quickly democrats have gone from dissent being patriotic, to dissent being racism.

Cause you know, Obama is so self-evidently awesome that if you disagree with him, it has to be for an irrational reason.

He goes on repeating himself, but let me offer a closing thought.  A special comment, if you will, for Mr. Olberman and his ilk.  You know if you can’t stop playing the race card, couldn’t you at least use it more constructively?  Next time Obama asks Amadanutjob... er, I mean Ahmadinejad to stop his nuke program, and he refuses, could all of you claim that this is based on racism toward Obama?  I don’t think it will work, but it’s worth a shot.

Besides what do you think the chances are that the jew-hating, holocaust-denying (meaning he denies a holocaust has a occurred; he fully admits to planning one) president of Iran has enlightened issues on the subject of race?

But that would require Olbermann and his ilk to have perspective.  Hey, wait, I think they are going to have their worst person in the world segment.  Let’s think seriously for a moment here.  Who would you say is the worst person in the world?

I mean for me the short list would be:

1. Osama bin Laden
2. Mullah Omar
3. Kim Jung Il
4. Whoever is president of China this week
5. Robert Mugabe.

I mean there are many different dictators and terrorists to choose from, who torture, kill, maim.  There are a lot of really evil people who have done some really evil things to choose from, so let’s see who Olberman chooses.

Go ahead, look.

Yeah, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  He is attacking Michelle Malkin.

And in case you are wondering if there is any tinge of racism in this, well, I refer you to this.  Apparently its still okay to some liberals to make fun of Asian Americans for having funny names.