Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Admitting Defeat on Class Warfare

Wow, when Doctor Biobrain is wrong, Doctor Biobrain is wrong.  And it looks like I got totally skunked on this one.  In my on-going debate with conservative blogger Donald Douglas, which began with my quickie post arguing that "Republicans don't actually know what the phrase 'class warfare' means," I was just trying to use my deceptive nihilism to thwart objective reality by denying self-evident assumptions that are too self-evident to be proven.  

And I thought I was winning this debate.  I really did.  But Donald played the trump card that undermined my entire argument: He quoted conservative columnist David Brooks.  And that can only mean that the jig is up and I might as well surrender.  Once Brooks is evoked in a debate, you better pray he's on your side or you might as well just slit your wrists and call it a life.  And sure enough, Republican David Brooks asserted that Obama's tax plan is class warfare.  Damn.  That's game, set, and match.

And here's the money quote Douglas provided:
The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.
So I guess that's it.  With a moderate conservative like Brooks against me, I must be wrong.  This debate is over.

The Great and Powerful Brooks

And sure, it could be pointed out that Brooks is merely reciting the same tired assumption that I had already exposed as fraudulent from the start.  Or it could be argued that folks who make less than $250k also pay federal taxes, which would obviously mean that Brooks was wrong when he suggested that "all the costs will be borne by the rich."  And it could also be argued that the rich also benefit greatly from the budget, which would refute the idea that "all benefits are redistributed downward."  And maybe I could point out that Brooks already believes that the rich should pay more than the poor, which would mean that either he's engaging in class warfare or he's wrong for suggesting such tax theories are class warfare.  

And it could even be argued that this is the exact tax plan Obama used as a key platform during an election that he handily won; which would suggest that people agree with it.  Or in fact, it could be pointed out that Obama is doing exactly what he said he'd do, involving policies that Brooks says he supports; and that Brooks never explains specifically what Obama is doing wrong, but instead relies upon meaningless accusations of "unchecked liberalism."  And without further explanation, it could be argued that Brooks is a total sap whose attack on Obama consists of little more than the need to attack Obama.

But what'd be the point?  It's obvious I've lost.  Not because Donald refuted my point.  But merely because he was able to quote yet another conservative who was making the same stupid assumption he was making, and that conservative was David Brooks.  As Douglas points out, Brooks isn't a far-rightie like Rush Limbaugh, but rather is a moderate "intellectual" conservative.  So there's no possible way I could claim this is "wingnuttery."  And gee, I was planning to pin my whole argument on this exact ad hominem attack.

So I guess this is it.  I lost the debate.  Merely because he can quote David Brooks making the same empty assertion that every other conservative relies upon, and which I had been attacking.  And there's just no way I can possibly argue against such a heavyweight moderate like David Brooks.  If only David Brooks was a liberal, we might finally win an argument.

UPDATE: I was just informed by a very reliable source that David Brooks is not, in fact, God; and therefore his assertions are not superior to anyone else's.  And that means that, rather than irreparably refuting my point, Donald Douglas has yet again helped establish my initial premise that conservatives don't even understand what class warfare is.  

Perhaps if he'd bother explaining his point rather than asserting that it is too self-evident to explain, he might score a point.  Or if he'd even address any point I actually made, rather than relying entirely on an argument I had already destroyed.  But until then, my argument stands and I win.

Honestly, I keep waiting for Douglas to make some valid point, as I'd like to take this debate out of neutral and really put my brains to the test.  But it appears the best he can do is perform victory laps from the sidelines; never having touched my argument.  How disappointing.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I was getting worried that all my cherished beliefs were at risk from the Brooks Gambit. I mean: the guy's on PBS and hails from Canada. What am I going to do when he disagrees with me? How can I mentally resist when he says or writes something at odds with what I thought was reality?

When Brooks writes of Obama's budget that there is: "a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs," I'm confused by all the clear priorities Obama has outlined. I start thinking, hey maybe all this trying-to-solve-problems hoo-ha is getting in the way of truly balanced priorities that all the moderates of the world never have to think about. I mean, here is Obama acting like there are real challenges in the world instead of holding the hands of all the timorous republicans and 'conservative moderates' who just can't sleep thinking some (rich) someone somewhere isn't going to get their yearly tax-cut. People so moderate that the idea of ending the war in Iraq makes them very uncomfortable; or thinking that a few thousand more people not losing their homes or having health insurance could lead to the end of the American republic. Building bridges? Repairing Schools? These priorities are hard for 'conservative moderates' to see and this makes them very likely to lose bladder control.

And Obama is so promiscuously unwilling.

The humanity.

Donald Douglas said...

You forgot the point about assumptions, Dr. Hussein. You didn't want to concede "debate," simply the point that you're arguing against a key assumption of BOTH parties, even the president, for that matter, who is bending over backwards to convince everyone else he's NOT engaging in class warfare.

Too bad you updated, though. Now I'll have to respond one more time pinning you down in the little alternative reality world where you reside. So easy...

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald - You are TOOOO funny. Look, the "update" was part of the original post. There was no real update. It was a sort of punchline to the rest of the post.

And again, if the president is "bending over backwards" to convince everyone that he's not engaging in class warfare, then it seems clear he's NOT engaging in class warfare. Because the whole point of class warfare is that you're demonizing one of the classes to pit one against the others. That's what the word means. And for you to continue to miss that only proves my original point.

But if you do post a response, please try to actually explain what you're talking about. It'd be a start, anyway. Relying upon your conclusion as the basic premise of your conclusion is wearing a bit thin. You need to actually explain your position for once.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe he didn't realize the update was part of the post. That's freakin' hilarious. Douglas is the most humor challenged putz ever.

CS said...


I am enjoying the wooping you're dishing out on American power, despite Donald's insistence that he has repeatedly schooled everyone by calling them "nihilists" and "trolls", or last but not least in my case, Anti-American.

Keep up the good work chief.

Doctor Biobrain said...

CS - I just wish they'd offer some sort of challenge, as I really enjoy a good debate. The conservatives of yesteryear were so much better than these jokers.
I honed my debate skills on Usenet in the 90's, and compared with those guys, Donald isn't even a speedbump. I find it almost impossible to even START a debate with him. It's all noise and repetition, but he rarely offers any actual arguments or rebuttals; and merely relies on the fact that he can quote someone who agrees with him. He seems to have serious issues with reading comprehension, too.

Then again, perhaps it's just easier now that they had to put their plans into reality and saw it all blow up in their faces. It's a lot easier to debate when it's all theoretical and you can't use evidence to show they're full of shit. I already went through this "largest tax increase in history stuff" with Clinton, so this time around, we've already got the data to show they're wrong.

And Obama's so slick that the debate is over almost as soon as he announces his policy. Defending Bill Clinton, THAT was a challenge. But Obama has it all gamed-out before we even hear about it. Perhaps he'll take some unpopular stand or have an impeachable affair or something, and I'll have something to do. But until then, all I can do is laugh while conservatives get themselves all worked-up over nothing. After having endlessly defended Clinton's "I did not inhale" and "meaning of the word 'is'" stuff, this is child's play.