Discussion about discussions

It looks like Arizona will get some national attention in 2008, if only for one of its House races. Rick Renzi will not be seeking re-election according to the Arizona Republic. Corruption and whatnot.

Thinking about Renzi reminded me of his particularly offensive ad campaign. Here is a bit of the script.

Over 100 Democratic elected officials are opposing Democrat trial lawyer Ellen Simon. Liberal Ellen Simon served as the president of the ACLU, a radical organization that defends hard-core criminals at the man/boy love association (North American Man/Boy Love Association), a national group that preys on our children. One Democratic mayor called Simon’s actions ‘utterly disgusting.’ He’s right. Ellen Simon: radical, liberal and wrong for Arizona.

Full analysis provided here.

Some facts are off in this, but basically he is saying that if you work for the ACLU you are aiding & abetting pedophiles.

Do I think this is wrong because I like the ACLU? Yes. But I also think it is wrong because it interferes with rational conversation. I hope that it doesn’t bother me just because I like the ACLU. There are organizations I don’t like that I think we should be honest about. For example, the Institute for Justice and Focus on the Family are a couple of groups I often disagree with. However, I hopefully do not unfairly demonize their positions for my rhetorical benefit.

On the other hand, I think it is okay to make David Duke explain his involvement in the KKK. So, am I fooling myself? Does this really just bother me because it’s about a group I like?

2 thoughts on “Discussion about discussions”

  1. No, it’s wrong and deceptive because it ignores the principles which motivate the ACLU. The ACLU did not defend NAMBLA or the Nazis or any of a host of objectionable parties because they endorse the views of these parties. You know that & I know that. To imply that the ACLU’s assistance to NAMBLA endorses NAMBLA’s agenda reflects either a deep ignorance about the ACLU or, more likely, deliberate distortion of the facts.

    It’s OK to be annoyed when your opponents mischaracterize groups that are ideologically affiliated with you.

  2. I wonder if there is any way to come to agreement about rules of public discourse that could be objectively enforceable.

    There are some watchdog groups out there. And they try to be objective, but I guess the public doesn’t believe them.

    It seems like everyone can agree this type of stuff is bad. And unhelpful.

    And a key point is that if he can explain why the ACLU is bad, fine. Do it. But this? Give me a break.

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