"You're the real racist!" and other terrible rebuttals

Original Poster
Joined: Aug 2003
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The "you're the real racist" line from, you know, actual racists is always maddening. Perhaps the most maddening of all. But gaining ground quickly is the Trump defenders immediate talk of HRC or Obama whenever criticism is leveled at Trump. "Where was the media when Obama was doing x?"

Anyway, list yours here.
Feb 26, 2017 9:05 PM
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A very similar argument I see goes to the effect of, "Because you won't tolerate my intolerance, you are in fact intolerant too! Didn't think of that, did you?!"

It's so sophmorically dumb, and the people who try this gambit come across as so self-satisfied in their cleverness.
Feb 26, 2017 9:31 PM
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Esoteric AllusionA very similar argument I see goes to the effect of, "Because you won't tolerate my intolerance, you are in fact intolerant too! Didn't think of that, did you?!"

It's so sophmorically dumb, and the people who try this gambit come across as so self-satisfied in their cleverness.

Okay, I'm already going to backtrack and say that yes, your example is more annoying than "you're the real racist." I have actually had the conversation you're describing and told the person that I'm also intolerant of rape.
Feb 26, 2017 9:38 PM
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Esoteric AllusionA very similar argument I see goes to the effect of, "Because you won't tolerate my intolerance, you are in fact intolerant too! Didn't think of that, did you?!"

It's so sophmorically dumb, and the people who try this gambit come across as so self-satisfied in their cleverness.


"So much for the tolerant Left."
Feb 26, 2017 9:56 PM
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The problem with that argument is that anyone preaching tolerance as a virtue isn't arguing that tolerating all behavior is good. They are arguing for relatively robust tolerance of specific things, such as making it legal to worship a variety of religions or advocating not shaming people for having same-sex relationships. Not only do the people who try the tolerance-as-self-contradiction argument fail to appreciate this, they are so dumb they can't fathom that if arguments for liberal tolerance were so trivially self-defeating, then maybe smart people wouldn't so frequently be making them.

It's the "you smarty-pantses don't know nothin'" attitude that is so annoying.

The head-slappingly bad rebuttals when it comes to replying to atheists are quite numerous, but I think the one that always gets me the most is the argument that everyone has a God to worship, and the so-called atheists' God is just money, or celebrity, or something like that instead. I find that so bloody annoying. David Foster Wallace makes this cliche'd argument in "This is Water," and that alone takes my respect for him down a peg.
Feb 26, 2017 11:25 PM
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I once had to cut short an argument about race when this person cited as evidence an episode of The Wire.
Feb 27, 2017 1:35 AM
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"The Bible says..."
Feb 27, 2017 4:32 PM
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Bigwig"Where was the media when Obama was doing x?"

This is an entirely fair point, however. (And one that tells you a lot about our brand of democracy.) Liberals, like conservatives, do turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by a guy they like. And not raising much of a huff during Obama's worse policies (historical deportation numbers, drone strikes, expansion of the surveillance state, etc..) have put them in a difficult spot trying to raise the alarm over Trump's equally horrible and worse actions. I hear what you're saying of course, Obama being bad doesn't excuse anything Trump does, but, if they're going to be taken seriously, liberals do have to reckon with the fact of their complacency with many of Obama's own reprehensible policies.
Mar 15, 2017 6:38 AM
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ej
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Mickey Business
Bigwig"Where was the media when Obama was doing x?"

This is an entirely fair point, however. (And one that tells you a lot about our brand of democracy.) Liberals, like conservatives, do turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by a guy they like. And not raising much of a huff during Obama's worse policies (historical deportation numbers, drone strikes, expansion of the surveillance state, etc..) have put them in a difficult spot trying to raise the alarm over Trump's equally horrible and worse actions. I hear what you're saying of course, Obama being bad doesn't excuse anything Trump does, but, if they're going to be taken seriously, liberals do have to reckon with the fact of their complacency with many of Obama's own reprehensible policies.

A couple points, the first one the most obvious, and which you've already mentioned: Obama's shittiness does nothing to mitigate Trump's shittiness. But that leads to the more important point: rebuttals like this are particularly frustrating when they are meant to take out the legs of people who are, for the sake of stonewalling nuance in an argument, lazily assumed to be Obamapologists (Did I just coin a shit term for dumb peole to use? Cool.) and generally okay with the way the media covered Obama.

(No way is "Obamapologist" not a thing already, I know.)

The point of the thread is crappy rebuttals in arguments in which you're personally involved, as in refutations of positions you supposedly have--and, for example, Bigwig, iirc, believes that in an ideal world that, like, the last (at least) five presidents would be tried for war crimes. Or maybe it's all of them. Except Coolidge, of course.
Mar 15, 2017 10:01 AM
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that's not what capitalism means!
Mar 15, 2017 7:26 PM
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ej
Mickey Business
Bigwig"Where was the media when Obama was doing x?"

This is an entirely fair point, however. (And one that tells you a lot about our brand of democracy.) Liberals, like conservatives, do turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by a guy they like. And not raising much of a huff during Obama's worse policies (historical deportation numbers, drone strikes, expansion of the surveillance state, etc..) have put them in a difficult spot trying to raise the alarm over Trump's equally horrible and worse actions. I hear what you're saying of course, Obama being bad doesn't excuse anything Trump does, but, if they're going to be taken seriously, liberals do have to reckon with the fact of their complacency with many of Obama's own reprehensible policies.

A couple points, the first one the most obvious, and which you've already mentioned: Obama's shittiness does nothing to mitigate Trump's shittiness. But that leads to the more important point: rebuttals like this are particularly frustrating when they are meant to take out the legs of people who are, for the sake of stonewalling nuance in an argument, lazily assumed to be Obamapologists (Did I just coin a shit term for dumb peole to use? Cool.) and generally okay with the way the media covered Obama.

(No way is "Obamapologist" not a thing already, I know.)

The point of the thread is crappy rebuttals in arguments in which you're personally involved, as in refutations of positions you supposedly have--and, for example, Bigwig, iirc, believes that in an ideal world that, like, the last (at least) five presidents would be tried for war crimes. Or maybe it's all of them. Except Coolidge, of course.


Fair point, I guess. I too was assumed to be an Obamapologist by a conservative friend of mine when I criticized the appallingly cuddly treatment of GWB by the media in recent weeks. (As if GWB hates Trump for any principled reason, and not because he humiliated Jeb during the primary.)
Mar 16, 2017 10:16 AM
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Mickey Business

?the appallingly cuddly treatment of GWB by the media in recent weeks.

Yeah, what the fuck is going on there? Are we suddenly nostalgic for the guy who started the Endless War?
Mar 16, 2017 10:32 AM
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"By your logic...", usually followed by a deformed strawmonstrosity.
Mar 16, 2017 2:56 PM
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'' Look, you know I'm not racist but...''
Mar 16, 2017 6:24 PM
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wirthling"By your logic...", usually followed by a deformed strawmonstrosity.

Haha yeah, that's a good one.
Mar 16, 2017 6:24 PM
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theVictorian
Mickey Business

?the appallingly cuddly treatment of GWB by the media in recent weeks.

Yeah, what the fuck is going on there? Are we suddenly nostalgic for the guy who started the Endless War?

George W. Bush has done a good job of staying out of the spotlight and rehabilitating his public image that there's this weird thing going on where people are starting look at him more fondly/taking pity on him with that whole '' Oh, but he was a well-meaning idiot, he just manipulated by Cheney and his cronies! ''. It's a farce.
Mar 16, 2017 6:27 PM
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I consider the relative kindness to Bush to be an almost necessary component of effective criticism of Trump. I maintained throughout the campaign, and still do, that Trump was a singularly bad candidate and unacceptable for reasons that go far beyond policy (any of the other Republican nominees would have been acceptable within the boundary of liberal democratic norms, no matter how much you might disagree with their policy preferences). The nation's response to 9/11 under Bush caused tremendous, ongoing damage but in his relationship to the basic tenets of the republic, he was very much within the mainstream, from his relationship to the rule of law to the rhetoric he employed.

Bush was not a good president. But he came and went as bad presidents do. Honestly, the most damaging aspect of his legacy might be the degree to which Obama embraced the Bush-era national security apparatus. But Trump is something much worse, and you lose all credibility pointing this out if a relatively tame President like Bush is also just treated like Hitler. Why, it almost makes liberal critics of Trump seem like they think all Republicans are fascists (which, of course, they do, but they should keep this to themselves if we are going to survive this administration).
Mar 16, 2017 7:02 PM
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wirthling"By your logic...", usually followed by a deformed strawmonstrosity.

Oh man that's the worst. I literally just posted a response to this in another thread.?
Mar 16, 2017 8:34 PM
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NimChimpskyI consider the relative kindness to Bush to be an almost necessary component of effective criticism of Trump. I maintained throughout the campaign, and still do, that Trump was a singularly bad candidate and unacceptable for reasons that go far beyond policy (any of the other Republican nominees would have been acceptable within the boundary of liberal democratic norms, no matter how much you might disagree with their policy preferences). The nation's response to 9/11 under Bush caused tremendous, ongoing damage but in his relationship to the basic tenets of the republic, he was very much within the mainstream, from his relationship to the rule of law to the rhetoric he employed.

Bush was not a good president. But he came and went as bad presidents do. Honestly, the most damaging aspect of his legacy might be the degree to which Obama embraced the Bush-era national security apparatus. But Trump is something much worse, and you lose all credibility pointing this out if a relatively tame President like Bush is also just treated like Hitler. Why, it almost makes liberal critics of Trump seem like they think all Republicans are fascists (which, of course, they do, but they should keep this to themselves if we are going to survive this administration).

But it's liberals as well who have embraced this cuddly, rehabilitated Bush - it's like they don't have room in their head for (justifiably) hating more than one Republican president. Watch our next president be Andrew Dice Clay himself, and have liberals fawn over Trump as he goes on Kimmel to say he would never stump in a leather jacket.

Like sure, Trump shitting all over the media does raise serious concerns about freedom of the press, but media approval rating is abysmal right now - about on the level of Congress approval rating. (It was the media, after all, that effectively launched Trump into the presidency with their way disproportionate coverage of him.) Rather than hem and haw over Trump being mean to them, the mainstream media needs to work on rebuilding trust with the public. I know this is too much to ask, but this is the zone we're in now.

Mar 16, 2017 8:43 PM
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I think it's fine to use examples of how George W. Bush was superior to Donald Trump as a political figure and president. The Bush admin admirably did their best to cool Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11. They did this because his foreign policy team was filled with pragmatists and non-bigots who correctly reasoned that domestic Islamophobia would inflame the international Muslim world against the US and that would imperil US security. We can say this is an example of what a decent president would do to contrast against Trump's rather open desire to use the threat of terrorism to inflame anti-Muslim sentiments.

But what we shouldn't do, and what is happening and being complained about in this thread, is act as though Bush wasn't so bad in general because he compares favorably with Trump. There's always someone worse. While you might gain some credibility in talking how far out of the norm Trump is, you also end up mainstreaming Bush's terrible traits as acceptable. It just shifts the window of what is acceptable in a president. That's a perfect recipe to be having to look fondly back at Trump because at least he was better than the brutal tyrant that has seized power.

Trump only alluded to assassinating opponents with innuendo. He didn't give public orders for his followers to carry it out! Trump wasn't so bad.

Bush was one of the worst presidents in US history. Just because we've got a far worse one only 8 years later doesn't change that. And given how ugly Republican party culture is at the moment, it would not at all be surprising if Trump is replaced in the near future with someone that makes us wish Trump were president instead.
Mar 16, 2017 9:29 PM
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