Thursday, August 21, 2014

Running the rhetorical gamut

From Liar Game 156, via MangaPanda.
Alyssa Rosenberg mocked conservative admirers of the film The Giver, dryly, for the suggestion that normal humanity is some kind of special uniquely conservative quality:
the movie makes absolutely clear that it is grotesque to kill a baby who cries when he is not soothed and that something is missing in families designed by the state. Though it may be in Palin’s and Lopez’s interests to suggest otherwise, these ideas are hardly the sole provenance of conservatives. Suggesting that people who advocate for continued access to abortion do not care about the welfare of young children is an unpleasant rhetorical gamut, but often an effective one.
Kevin D. Williamson of the National Review responds:
The suggestion that people who believe that it should be legal to brutally dismember and kill very young children do not care about the welfare of young children is not a “rhetorical gambit,” it’s a tautology. If you are going to subscribe to a philosophy of violence, you should at least have the courage of your warped convictions. 
It's funny he didn't notice that typo of "gamut" for "gambit".

I don't know of anybody who thinks it should be legal to brutally dismember and kill children of any age, the most horrific thought there is, but I am one of those who is glad to live in a state where it is legal to gently* terminate a pregnancy** and then remove the dead fetus, in pieces if necessary***—is Williamson really out stumping for the alternative of abortion without dismemberment or intact dilation and extraction, better known in his circles as "partial-birth abortion"?

In his use of loaded, imprecise words like "brutally" and "dismember" and "very young children" Williamson is certainly performing a rhetorical gambit to beat the band. In reversing the temporal order of "kill" and "dismember" he is making a full-out blood libel. He's a disgusting liar.

*No evidence has been found that there is anything "brutal" about the procedure, and there is some evidence that it is not brutal at all.
**It just isn't a child until (a) its mother falls in love with it or (b) it is born, whichever comes first.
***For fetuses large enough to require it, at more than 15 weeks' gestation, representing about 5%-6% of all abortions conducted in the US.

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