As Josh Marshall points out, the GOP talking points memo regarding the political advantage of Terri Schiavo has turned out to be written by a Republican. Referring to conservative pundits and bloggers who incorrectly theorized that it was a Dem dirty trick, Josh writes "I hope some folks have sense enough to feel like real fools tonight." No, no, no, foolish mortal. That's just not how these people work. Were they "lessons learned" kind of people, they wouldn't be conservatives for very long. The theory sounds good, but the facts just aren't there to support it.
Now, I was surprised that I read this story in Yahoo before I got it from Josh. I'm sure he was already working on his post. And while I'm normally not the "scoop" kind of blogger, I thought I might rush something off and get the story here first; rather than my normal analysis stuff, which can take hours or days for inspiration to kick-in. But this story really fit into my current stuff of unempirical conservatives; so I started a few different variations, but didn't think I could write enough (for reasons I'll get into). And I'm short of time with my tax deadlines, so I thought of writing nothing. But I read Josh's comments and felt like I should write it afterall.
Another rarity for me is that I started doing blog research, looking for conservative bloggers who pimped the "fake memo" story. I will sometimes do research, but not by reading other blogs. Everything I'm writing are long-held thoughts that I just never wrote down before. But before attacking the stupid rightwing bloggers, I had to ascertain that they really did do what I was about to write about them doing. Empirical, I say.
Searching in Yahoo, I quickly stumbled into Powerline; a mistake I won't be making again. Damn those people are obtuse. It really hurt my brain to read that stuff; and I've got a biobrain, so you can just imagine the level of bullshit it requires to injure me. But sure enough they did. I got into a few posts from some dope named Hindrocket (apparently somebody important, despite the crappy ass name), and I had to fight off a sudden urge to attack my screen in anger. Damn, those people are so...ARGH, RODLKLFASJDISDI, stupid, motherskd ikas;difna;lfknalk! I couldn't stand it. It was so frustratingly alksfilj! Needless to say, I had trouble writing.
Reading over that stuff, all I can say is that those people are completely batshit insane. I know, I know. We all talk about that. But I always avoid reading that crap because it upsets my logical processors so severely; so this really took me by surprise. They really do live in some alternate universe where the rules of logic are permanently suspended. So that's why I gave up my post. But Josh's post got me back into it, so here it is.
And why was Josh foolish? Because these people just don't work the way we do. They have their initial premise and scout out for any piece of evidence that supports that premise. Now, that's the way a good argument should work. You state your premise, and you allow your facts and arguments to flow out from that. But that's not the way you're supposed to collect your data; basing it solely upon predetermined criteria. Because you'll only find exactly what you're looking for and nothing else.
But that's all that they want. For them, facts are more like analogies or parables which you tell in order to explain higher truths which aren't readily accepted as true. And that's exactly what conservatives use facts for. And just as you would discard an analogy as soon as you realized that it was invalid; they discard facts once they lose their relevance. They're not in the fact business; they're trying to tell you higher truths. And so they'll just find another parable to tell you, which explains the truth about the Liberal Media or Evil Welfare States or whatever.
And just as you wouldn't look for an analogy or parable which goes against your point; they intentionally filter out facts which dispute theirs. And that's why you can't argue with them as if they're like us. Because they don't give a shit about evidence. They don't give a fuck about facts. They don't care what we say. They already know that they're right, and they don't see what any contrary evidence or facts or arguments have to do with it. They just don't care. They already know that they're right, so they refuse to see anything else. And if they really were right, they'd be fools to do it any differently. But unless they're borrowing their god's omniscience, they can't possibly know if they're right; so they should rely upon the human source of knowledge: facts.
In this case, uber-goober Hindrocket saw this whole GOP memo as an obvious conspiracy between the Democrats and the media. He was fairly certain that it was a "fake memo" created by Dems, and was absolutely certain that it was pimped by the media in order to embarrass the GOP. And that's the way that they really think. Now, I will confess that I had initially thought that maybe it was a stupid Democrat trick or something. There's nothing too odd about that. But the idea that it was a conspiracy with the media?? That's just batshit insane.
But in fact, if you dare to read that painful post by Hindrocket, you'll see that the emphasis was far more heavily on the media conspiracy part, than the fake memo part. Which makes sense, as he has a strong belief in the premise that the media is out to attack Republicans; and a much smaller belief that Dems are dirty tricksters who fake memos. So the emphasis would naturally be on the media conspiracy, as all facts have to lead to that.
And his evidence that the media was involved with this? Because the initial news article sourced the memo to "Republican leaders" in one sentence; one sentence that Hindrocket says they changed almost immediately afterwards, without giving an official retraction. Damn them media types! They got one sentence wrong! Heat up the tar, I'll get the feathers. Let's run those partisan bastards out of town! It's a conspiracy!
Our President can consistently misstate important facts regarding matters of war for over a year; and then refuse to correct those facts when people still continue to believe them (as they still do). But was that lying? Of course not. We're told that he believed these things to be true, even though warnings and disclaimers putting doubt on those facts were in place; which even uneducated dopes like me had heard. But he's the President and he says he hadn't heard the disclaimers and warnings, so that makes it ok...even though he has still never issued an official retraction of those statements. And sometimes, he just used the wrong words, which is entirely understandable as he's just not a wordy kind of guy. But a WaPo reporter misstating one sentence? Regarding a minor memo, on an inane issue? Which gets corrected almost immediately?? Liberal Conspiracy! No benefit of the doubt required. We already know that it's true.
Doing As They Do
But the only reason why this is batshit insane was because they thought we'd do such things. And the reason they think that is because they think that we think like they do. Almost everybody does. People disagree; but deep down, you assume that everyone thinks the same way you do. And that's why you get upset when they don't see things your way. You give them your facts and you find it maddening that they don't automatically convert to your side. Because you really believe that they're minds work like yours and that your facts should simply insert themselves into the empty holes in their minds. But if they don't process facts the way that you do, then it can't possibly work. And yet we still insist on thinking of others as being like slightly more ignorant versions of ourselves.
And that's what all this "conspiracy" talk is all about. Because that really is the way they do things. From start to finish, the Republicans conspire to invent phoney stories and pimp them out in all of their various media outlets. That's just how it works. Not all of them are in on it, but enough are to call it a conspiracy. And they convince themselves that it's ok because they think we're doing the same thing.
That's also how Nixon justified Watergate and illegal wiretaps; because he was convinced that he had been wiretapped too. No evidence. He just knew that he'd do that, so he assumed that they would too. And maybe they did. But he didn't know; he just thought they would because they could. So he did it, and then saw a big conspiracy take him down for doing what he believed Kennedy and Johnson did to him. But the reason he saw a big conspiracy is because, again, that's what he'd have done. And he assumed that everyone worked like him. You play dirty, or you wear dirt; and none of that happens by accident. Or so he believed.
And so it is with Hindrocket and their sick-minded ilk. They know that they are anti-empirical. They know that they support one-sided propaganda. They know that they conspire together to pimp the same party lines and attacks. So they assume we're doing the same things. And that's how they justify it all; by assuming that the "other guy" would do the very same thing to them.
And so there's nothing crazy about thinking that the press would conspire with a political party. Hell, the GOP can pimp whole books that way, let alone little memos. No, what's crazy is them thinking that we'd do that. They thought it with the "Rathergate" story, and they're thinking it now. And they think it because they know that that's what they would do if things were reversed. No innocent misunderstandings or competitive newsmen trying to scoop the other media sources. Partisan conspiracy everytime. Because that's how they think it's supposed to be done.
Getting back to Josh's desire: did Hindrocket feel like a fool? If you have the guts, you can see for yourself; though you can't say I didn't warn you. But you don't need to read it. You already know that he didn't. Before, he was fairly sure that it was a "fake memo"; but there's no talk of that now. No mea culpas. Nothing. He's still reluctant to believe this story, but there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. As always, he can quickly forget about anything that goes against his point; as it was never relevant to his point. Just like if one of your analogies fell apart and proved inapplicable to your point. You'd just come up with a new one which worked better.
And did he use it to justify his earlier beliefs? Of course. Because that's all he's interested in. He already knows that he's right, and that the media is out to get Repubs. That's par for the course. Rather than take responsibility for pimping rumors and guesses; he accepts this as a victory.
What did he claim his victory on? You see, that initial story that had the one bad sentence? The one that he says they changed almost immediately? Turns out that one sentence was wrong after all. The memo wasn't from the GOP leadership. It was from a Republican Senator's legal counsel, who gave it to the Senator, who gave it to Senator Harkin to show him what he was up against. And so we don't know if the GOP leadership passed it around, but we should assume that they didn't because...well because...well because it goes against Hindrocket's theory so it can't have happened. And rather than seeing mistakes and learning a lesson about pimping wild guesses as reality, Hindrocket takes this as a complete vindication. He went looking for a media conspiracy, and by gum, that one sentence was conspiracy enough for him.
Sure, it wasn't written by the Dems to allow the media to pimp. But they gave it to the media. And so that one sentence was wrong. Conspiracy unveiled. Media partisanship revealed. Case closed. And no matter what else happens, nothing can take that away from Hindrocket. But even if it did? Who cares. He already has his premise, and it wasn't based upon this story. One story's as good as another. Even parables and myths are just as good. They have their inner truth. The facts are just what they use to give us insight into that inner truth. And they see nothing wrong with that, as they believe we're doing the same damn thing.