Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Fallacies of the Blame Game.

From the headline, I had hoped that this piece by Joan Vennochi would have some common sense, but it's nothing but another example of selfrighteous liberal whining. Naturally she offers mostly examples of Republicans refusing to take responsibility, but her centerpiece is nothing of the sort. It isn't Republicans who invented the term "Culture of Corruption" and planned their campaign around digging up scandal. She berates Senator McCain right off the bat:
When North Korea claims to have detonated a nuclear device, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona steps right up and blames former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who left office six years ago.
But she fails to note that he was responding to Hillary Clinton's attack on Bush's policies as to blame for North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.

While her piece criticizes people refusing to accept responsibility when things go badly, it is nothing but criticism of Republicans with some dubious claims of buckpassing. Just because the press demands apologies, it doesn't mean that apologies are due. It's a clever but dishonest tactic to make charges and then, when they're denied, to attack your opponent for refusing to accept responsibility. This is a variation on the old "When did you stop beating your wife?" trick, assuming facts not in evidence, or begging the question. Before you cricize someone for refusing to accept responsibility, you have to establish that a. something has gone wrong and b. it must be the fault of your opponent. But, as Bill Clinton points out, some things are just hard to accomplish, and it's not fair to criticize those who tried. The problem with his angry outburst on Fox News Sunday was that he accused Fox of ambushing him and that he had really tried to get bin Laden.

This is the essence of meanspirited politics, when nothing can just be unfortunate or understandable. There are no accidents. Everything has to be blamed on somebody, and every success and positive result must be denied or diminished. As a result, the Democrats are obsessed with criticizing and most of those who report and comment on the news are Democrats. Thus, what have been remarkable successes are constantly dismissed and belittled, while everything that proves to be harder than thought, and every unanticipated problem, is a "failure."

If we treated our children this way, imagine how ambitious they'd be, and how little they'd achieve.


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