Friday, February 27, 2009

Still Crying Class Warfare

Conservative blogger Donald Douglas despises me so much that he reads my blog all the time in an effort to find something to attack me for.  And while normally he merely cites my blog to toss a meaningless label at me, it looks like Donald finally found a post that he could disagree with.  But as expected, his bark had zero bite to it.

It was my post on class warfare, which he "rebutted" in Class Warfare Denialism.  In my post, I explained that Republicans were wrong for suggesting that Obama's tax increase on the rich is evidence that he's engaging in class warfare.  And I did so by explaining what class warfare is and how the term doesn't apply to Obama's tax plan.  I even pointed out that Republicans engage in class warfare when they attack poor people as lazy, which they use to demagogue against government programs.  The lower classes are villains in a morality tale about the evils of government; which is a classic example of class warfare.

And so for Donald to rebut my argument, he'd need to give his definition of class warfare and explain how Obama's actions fit into that definition.  But as usual, he failed at that completely and instead made the same point that I had already destroyed.

Donald's Case

Here is my summary of Donald's argument:
Rich people already pay more in taxes than non-rich.  A Rasmussan poll says that many people agree with an anti-government phrase that Ronald Reagan once used.  The New York Times says that Obama will raise taxes on the rich to pay for healthcare.  Charles Krauthammer says that Obama is using the recession as an opportunity to expand government, just as FDR did.

And from that, he moves into his conclusion: Therefore Obama wants to redistribute wealth to the least productive members of society, which is a violation of liberty, but because the Obama Administration is dishonest, liberal bloggers are lying about it.

And no, I don't think I missed any steps there.  Douglas actually imagines he's established that Obama is engaging in class warfare because he wants rich people to pay a little more in taxes.  And yet, that was the point I started at.  That was what I had already refuted.  As I said, for this to be class warfare, Obama would be vilifying rich people as a method for getting the lower classes to hate the upper class.  I mean, the word "warfare" has to mean something, right?

But that's not happening at all.  Obama is merely suggesting that rich people can afford to pay a little more money to help our country.  That's all.  He's not attacking them or using them as scapegoats; he's merely wanting to raise their taxes a little.  And if that's class warfare, Douglas still needs to make that case.  Yet he doesn't.  And I don't think he can.  Instead, he just gives a hodgepodge of non-sequiturs, followed by the same tired "anti-tax" rhetoric his ilk has been repeating since the first time they heard Limbaugh say it.

Rich Always Pay More

And what's odd is that, as Douglas says, the rich already pay more in taxes than the rest of us.  Does he think that's also class warfare?  Is it always class warfare to make rich people pay more than poor people?  I don't think Douglas is making that point.  And if not, then what could his point be?  I'm not sure if there are any conservatives who believe that all Americans should literally pay the same amount in taxes.  They might want a flat tax rate, but they still expect the rich to pay more than the poor.

So how can Douglas suggest that making them pay a little extra is class warfare and a confiscation of personal property?  The only principles Douglas espoused would suggest that all taxation is wrong.  Yet I can't believe that Douglas is suggesting we switch to a voluntary payment system.  So what is his point?  I don't know.  I already raised these points in his comments section and all he could do is assert that I was wrong.  No explanation at all.  

But again, I don't think he has a point.  He's just repeating what he's heard about class warfare and imagines it must be solid because it's the best argument he's been given.  And that was the point of my original post.  To show that conservatives don't know what they're talking about when accusing Obama of class warfare.  Perhaps Douglas really does have some strong principle which explains why a 36% top rate is fine, but 39% destroys liberty.  Or perhaps he's just complaining that we're not raising everyone's taxes.  I don't know.  He never explained what he meant.

And their problem is that once you agree that taxation is acceptable and that it's ok to make rich people pay more than poor people, and most conservatives do agree on this; then we're all on the same page and it's simply a matter of deciding what the rates should be.  For as much as Douglas and other conservatives might imagine they have some killer argument against Obama's tax plan, it looks to me like they already agree with us on everything but the price tag.

5 comments:

Donald Douglas said...

Listen Dr. Airhead Hussein Biobrain ...

You write:

"Douglas actually imagines he's established that Obama is engaging in class warfare because he wants rich people to pay a little more in taxes."

It's not an "imagination." It's an a prior assumption that, in other words, goes without saying. If you want to deny there's class warfare, feel free in making yourself look like a freaking idiot ... nothing new about that.

Now, the lecture today elaborated the point for the dullards, so if your students aren't ready to go hit their crack pipes or whatever dumb Democratic-leftists not unsimilar to yourself do on Friday afternoons, I've responded here.

Doctor Biobrain said...

But Donald, that was the whole point of my post, that this assumption was wrong. So if you're trying to rebut my argument, you don't GET to assume that it's true. You have to establish WHY it's true. You didn't. Therefore, you didn't rebut my argument. And that's exactly what I said.

I'm working on my rebuttal to your reply. But I've already skimmed it and it appears you still don't understand what you need to do to rebut my argument. And no, in an argument, you don't just get to assume that your main point is already true.

Donald Douglas said...

Sorry, Biobrain, but we've done this stuff before, and I'm not going to play the slimy polecat dance. You'll shift your goalposts endlessly. Obama's attacking the corporate rich. It's an a priori assumption of Democratic "fairness" talk. Most folks don't even think twice about it, which is why you look so stupid denying it, but you're Dr. Biodenialist, so that's what you do ... QED.

P.S. It's a whole new post, in case you didn't get that, which anticipated your updated post, i.e., I've problematized the "assumption" to explicitly demonstrate your fallacy (and idiocy).

Doctor Biobrain said...

What shifting goalposts? I started off by refuting the assumption that you're relying on for your argument. I demolished it. It was dead before you even wrote your first reply. And if you don't think it's dead, you need to explain why I'm wrong. But you don't get to say "The assumption you're attacking is correct because it's the assumption I'm using." That's completely illogical.

Now, if you don't feel you can explain the basis of your assumption, that's fine. You lose. Because that's what the debate was from the start. It's what the debate still is. And if you're not debating the basis of that assumption, I don't know what you're debating; because that's the point I've been making since that first post. My whole point has been that your assumption is wrong and that a tax increase on the rich isn't inherently class warfare. Now defend your assumption, or go away.

But I've now just about completed my rebuttal of your latest reply, so perhaps you'll just want to wait until I post it. I essentially made many of the same points I made just now, but addressed your new material. And as a clue to debating, Donald: Try addressing your opponent's argument. Do like I did and summarize their basic points. Trust me, it helps.

And no, writing: "He's lying about everything and twisting and denying" is NOT a rebuttal, no matter how eloquently you write it. Your opponent might be wrong, but you still have to explain why they're wrong.

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