The Tenth Amendment Center has been under attack by radio pundit Mark Levin over the last couple of weeks. He’s called us leftists, kooks and neo-confederates. On a side-note, I would love for somebody to explain to me exactly what a “neo-confederate” is. I guess it’s supposed to be bad. Anyway, you can follow that debate over at tenthamendmentcenter.com.
The thing that I find interesting is Levin’s debate style. He’s the poster child for logical fallacies. He rarely addresses the actual issue or the question posed. Instead he name-calls, ridicules and blusters. He marginalizes the messenger and never actually addresses the substance of the message. Instead of proving his opponents wrong, he calls them kooks, or leftists or crazy. It’s classic ad hominem or “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect,” as Webster defines it.
He has other nifty tactics. For instance, he will claim a source makes his point, but he will never actually quote the source directly. He just says “So-and-so says such-and-such.” He knows few people will actually go read the original source. Sometimes I wonder if he has. He preys on the fact most people will buy whatever line he throws out without question.
In another version of the ad hominem attack, Levin likes to pitch some irrelevant factoid about the messenger to deflect the argument. He did this the other day when somebody brought up Thomas Jefferson’s argument for nullification. He said, “Jefferson wasn’t at the Constitutional Convention,” as if that invalidated everything the author of the Declaration of Independence had to say about it. Never mind that he was in close contact with James Madison and had a very good understanding of the goings-on at the Convention. Heck, by Levin’s argument, we should ignore all of Chief Justice John Marshall’s pronouncements on the Constitution. He wasn’t at the Philadelphia Convention either.
If you go to his Facebook page and try to present and opposing point of view, even if you do it politely, Levin’s people will delete you and ban you from further comment.
I wonder what he’s afraid of?
Levin represents all that is wrong with discourse in the United States. The fact that he garners millions of listeners primarily by belittling, ranting, name calling and ridiculing, or simply ignoring, opposing points of view, doesn’t say a lot about some of my fellow Americans.
I suppose I could get a lot of attention if I were to start yelling and name-calling. But that’s just not my thing. Levin can have that niche. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been known to fire back with both barrels. I’ll use scathing sarcasm to make a point. And sometimes I’ll skewer those who take sharp jabs at me. But I try to keep things tightly focused on the arguments at hand.
People like Levin get exposed as the fools they are pretty quickly. Many will follow because he tickles their ears with what they want to hear, or because his brand of punditry appeals to their lack of critical thinking skills. But those truly seeking the truth see through the blather and recognize the lack of logic.
I’m going to keep laying out the arguments, and you can decide if I’m right or wrong,