Sunday, May 7, 2017

The way that you say it is nearly as important as the content in determining whether you are contributing to civilizational rot or helping to stem it

So there is a post at RedState today about Paul Ryan's appearance this morning on ABC's This Week. The author, Teri Christoph, kind of leaves it up to the reader to form the conclusion that she presumes a RedState reader is going to come to.

It's the conclusion I come to. You have this Ryan fellow, a lifelong go-getter whose core orientation toward three-pillar conservatism has catapulted him into a very high position: Speaker of the House. But along the way, he's swallowed some Beltway Kool-Aid. He had to make himself palatable to Romney and the RNC to run as Vice President in 2012, for instance. As speaker, he's had to navigate some tricky situations.

And he's got maybe a bit more of the nice-guy inclination than a lot of us would like to see. The same trait that occasionally frustrates us concerning Mike Pence.

The gist of this RedState post, and the video of his appearance that fleshes it out, is that he hemmed and hawed his way through an attempt to explain where the version of the AHCA that finally passed the House stands on pre-existing conditions. Do you need a spoiler alert for my assessment that he comes up a little short? Maybe waffles a little?

But what I really want to draw attention to is a particular comment in the comment thread underneath:

Lying POS

This is so emblematic of the taking-a-crowbar-to-a-Rubic's-cube mode of expression that one finds in - well, it's inadequate to continue this sentence with "the comment threads of cyberspace," isn't it? After all, one finds blog posts and social media posts fraught with the same combination of crude analogies and unsubstantiated slanders anywhere on a routine basis. Hell, late-night television hosts dish this stuff up with not only impunity but fist pumps now.

Come on, you idiot who posted this comment. Paul Ryan is a devout Catholic from Janesville, Wisconsin who immersed himself in the works of great thinkers on the subject of human freedom early on. His 2016 endorsements come from an array of organizations that any American who doesn't hate freedom and dignity would find unobjectionable:

2016 Endorsements

But because he did not choose the tactical route on this particular aspect of this particular policy that you are pretty much completely invested in, he is, in your estimation, a liar and a stool.

This is of a piece with the Polar Pop cups one sees placed - not alway dropped, sometimes they are upright - within ten feet of trash cans at convenience stores, or even libraries. It is of a piece with the "the cameras kept rolling" clickbait you can't avoid no matter what you're reading on the Internet. It is of a piece with the tattoos that cover the bodies of a high percentage of professional and even college-level athletes.

It is of a piece with the all-caps comments one has seen for the past twenty-two months unreservedly supporting Donald Trump.

Stop it. Not only is your level of discourse a problem. There is also the secondary effect of those disputing you overlooking your way of expressing yourself in order to engage you in a discussion or debate.

You are one of the major sources of civilizational rot. Your intellectual sloppiness combined with your embrace of crudity makes the task of those of us seeking productive polemical discourse all the more daunting.

Pull up you pants, put your styrofoam cup in the damn trash can, and address public-policy matters in a focused, informed, thoughtful and articulate matter.

Otherwise, those interested in such a level of conversation have no more use for you than we do the leftist jackboots whose disregard for cultural refinement you've clearly embraced.

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