Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Does It Take for an Opinion to Count?

At Jewish World Review David Limbaugh makes some excellent points about what it takes for an opinion to count with liberals in his article, "The Left's Tiresome 'Chicken-Hawk' Mantra". He writes about Senator Barbara Boxer's attempts to silence Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by saying that because Rice wouldn't pay a "personal price" (no children who might have to go to war), she shouldn't be making/supporting decisions about the war. He writes:

When questioning Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the president's Iraq war policy, Boxer uttered a series of bizarre rhetorical questions. They were obviously intended to discredit Rice, not based on her support of the president's presumably dubious war strategy, but because she doesn't have children, which disqualifies her from participating in a decision that could affect people's children.

One could use this line of reasoning to discount almost anyone's opinion about almost anything. What might be behind Boxer's attempts to discredit Rice? Perhaps this:

Despite her professional and personal accomplishments, Rice is frequently a target for liberals, who apparently find Rice's Republican Party membership a particular betrayal, given her gender and race, which to liberals mean unquestioned allegiance to liberalism.

The liberal establishment demands that blacks and women and especially black women toe the liberal line, and when they deviate, they deserve the establishment's collective wrath. Indeed, such is the magnitude of their infidelity that they forfeit any expectation of civility from the left.

It would be amusing, if it weren't so serious in potential consequences, that the liberal faction, which often accuses conservatives of "toeing the party line", are the ones who insist on loyalty and fidelity to certain points of view. Anything else is unacceptable to them and results in the public castigation of the offending person(s). As Limbaugh points out:

We saw this on graphic display when liberal cartoonists savaged Rice in racially pointed cartoons during her confirmation hearings without so much as a whimper of disapproval from self-styled racially sensitive liberals.


The question is not who is qualified to opine, but whether an opinion has merit, irrespective of the characteristics of its proponents or opponents. Under liberal logic, the rich-from-birth Ted Kennedy is disqualified from empathizing with and advocating for the poor. And, the Framers should have limited the franchise in presidential elections to military personnel and their parents, and maybe their grandparents, but not aunts, uncles, brother, sisters or cousins.
Hmmmm. Does it seem that liberal logic might be flawed? As Limbaugh points out:

What this really boils down to is the antiwar left's intolerance for dissenting opinions and their propensity to make decisions on an emotional, rather than logical basis. If you don't agree with them, you either aren't listening — another charge Boxer leveled at Rice — or you don't have the right to opine. But Boxer's logic is self-defeating: If your personal circumstances disqualify you from opining, they do so regardless of the nature of your opinion.
There is a bigger question at stake in this situation, though. Limbaugh writes:

Further, Boxer's underlying assumption is that the Iraq war is not worth the risk of American lives. While that is something about which reasonable people can disagree, we can't ever get to that point in the discussion if one side intimidates the other into silence.

It is conceivable that the implementation of Boxer's antiwar opinion could put more American lives — military and civilian — at risk in the long run, by weakening the United States emboldening terrorists and contributing to the conversion of Iraq into a launching pad for global terrorism. Or do I have enough of a stake in America to entitle me to such an audacious opinion?

Many on the antiwar left are still oblivious to the global nature of the war and that Iraq's destiny is central to it. They seem to believe we can flip a switch and end this war — by a solitary executive order.

My question is this. If we want to solve problems in this world, why can't we actually discuss the problems and possible solutions instead of getting bogged down in all this extraneous effort by liberals to discount the opinions of those who disagree with them?

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At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Pop said...

Well,I guess Senator Boxer will be sure to tell sonless Miz H. R. Clinton, wife of a draft dodger to keep her opinions on the war to herself as well. I am sure that this will apply to every Democratic legislator who does not have family serving.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Mary A said...

You would think so, but I wouldn't bet on it! I notice Senator Boxer, who said her children were too old to serve and her grandchild was too young, freely offered her opinions anyway.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Titus Todd said...

Enjoyed the article. Thanks for pointing it out. I immediately shake my head when Senator Boxer's name and comments come up.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Mary A said...

Titus, you're welcome. I know what you mean about Senator Boxer--she's a hoot!


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