Exhibit A comes from a post at Bad Astronomy, which highlighted an utterly moronic YouTube video of Bill O’Reilly, in which Falafel defends his claim that ocean tides are proof of God’s existence by pointing out that things exist. And well, yeah Bill. Genius. How did we get here? Because nobody's ever asked that question before.
And if that's a valid question, then a better one is "Where did God come from?" And while we've got some good answers to Bill's question, nobody's got a good one for the god question. It doesn't even make sense. He's insisting that everything needs a creator, except for the creator. But if God didn't need a creator, then maybe the universe didn't either. This isn't rocket science.
And unless I'm mistaken, Bill seemed to even suggest that Mars doesn't have a moon, when it, in fact, has two. And without a doubt, O'Reilly is so entirely clueless about science that he doesn't even understand the most basic questions we've already answered. And if you want your brain to be put into a mind-blown stupor, I recommend clicking through and watching the video. You'll certainly be dumber for it.
Bill Knows All the Arguments
But to some liberals, this video is proof of how dangerously brilliant O'Reilly is. Seriously. I found this in the comments there:
The secondary clip makes it even more obvious that “Tide goes in, Tide goes out” was a trap for Silverman. Bill knows all the arguments. He wants to trap someone in a battle over the intricacies of how the universe works, all of which take longer to explain and result in less snappy soundbytes than the religious view. His viewers want to see the guy that claims to be religious defeating waffling scientists with snappy soundbytes.See? Bill O'Reilly isn't a pinhead twit. He's a super-genius who knows all the arguments and how to make smart people look stupid.
And for as much as that can be a trick, it only works if you're making arguments that aren't so easily proven false. Because this is stuff they teach to elementary school children, and so it only makes O'Reilly look like a moron to say it. Making a claim that taxcuts increase tax revenues is wrong, but difficult to explain in a short period. The moon? Not so much.
And of course, I fail to see how anyone watching the clip could possibly imagine that Bill didn't really believe he had solved the Does God Exist question. He's not some super-crafty master-debater. He's a bully blowhard who gets high off his own supply.
And then on the other end of the spectrum, we have the people who get angry when Democrats don't walk into political minefields, under this delusional idea that politics aren't real and you can grab everything you want, if only you're bold enough to do so. And for as much as you can point out all the blunders Republicans repeatedly committed by believing in this theory, some liberals continually point to the Bushies with admiration and insist that Bush's boldness somehow paid off for him.
And I was thinking about this because I saw that there are still liberals who are extremely angry that Obama didn't prosecute Bush, Cheney, and the rest of those scumbags for their crimes. And it's as if it was some slamdunk that we'd be able to prove that crimes were committed and the country would rejoice that we brought them to justice; entirely unaware of the political firestorm Obama would have been walking into had he chosen this dangerous path.
And while I can understand how people could be angry at the time, it's quite apparent that anger still hasn't gone away. I'm now too tired to finish this post, so I'm just going to go ahead and reprint what I wrote somewhere else to someone who had said that we needed to prosecute them because appearances matter:
But you've got the appearances entirely backwards. The appearance would have been that we are a banana republic that prosecutes political enemies for partisan reasons. That wouldn't have been the reality, but that's what Republicans were already saying at the time and the media would have done their best to repeat it. And we'd have gotten years worth of hand-wringing by WaPo and NY Times editors insisting that Obama's political witchhunt was bad for America and exposed him as not being the post-partisan president he promised he'd be.
THAT would be the appearance. And the only folks who would know otherwise would be us liberals, who already know what crooks these guys are. Everyone else wouldn't have cared or would side with the crooks; just as they did already. They'd be looking at rising unemployment and wondering why we're sifting through Dick Cheney's emails instead of fixing the economy. And frankly, I think I'd have to agree with that, as I'm quite convinced that a Cheney trial would have sucked all the air out of the Obama Admin.
And how exactly does it discourage repeat behavior when the offenders are hailed as heroes, and given talk shows, book deals, and cush jobs for life? No, it's much better for these jerks to slink off into obsurity rather than give them the Ollie North, Gordon Liddy treatment. Prosecuting them would have made them made men in Republican circles. The only way a Republican can be hurt is if they betray the party. Republicans don't eat their own.
As a post-script, I just went back and read a few of the comments replying to my comment, and see that I got totally slammed for what I wrote. These people don't care about appearances or getting things done, or even justice. They wanted blood.
One person patiently lectured me that this wouldn't be a banana republic, because we were prosecuting crimes, as if that's the way everyone would see it. Another commenter actually implied as if everyone already knew Bush/Cheney was guilty, and it therefore undermined our confidence to not see them prosecuted. And this is the reality too many liberals live in: Where the truth would be understood by everyone, if only someone had the balls to say it on TV; as if no one's ever tried that one before. And they'd know better if they ever got their heads out of their asses and actually listened to what people say.
Like it or not, most people don't even follow the news, let alone liberal blogs. They don't know what we know and going on TV and saying truth won't change a god damn thing. And as I said, if we had spent our time prosecuting Cheney for waterboarding terrorists, even if we got a conviction, the average person would be wondering why we were wasting all our time doing that when we had an economy to fix.
After all, that's what people say even when we weren't spending all our time reading Cheney's email. But of course, these people really don't care much about fixing problems and improving lives. They want to see Republicans eat shit and they'll yell at anyone who doesn't give it to them.