The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Meghan McCain doesn’t understand the difference between an attitude and an argument, but neither do many college professors.

Posted by iusbvision on August 12, 2009

UPDATE: Mytheos Holt has a devastating article which takes Meghan McCain’s hit piece on Malkin apart section by section. – LINK

I had mentioned this on my facebook page, but AllahPundit over at gave some ink to this story and since a chapter in my upcoming book deals with this very subject I decided it was worth covering.

Most people do not understand the difference between an attitude and a real argument with substance. Universities used to teach the difference by teaching a true classic liberal arts education with serious study of Aristotle, Socrates, Francis Bacon, Cicero and others.  The failure of what I call the elite media culture, atrophied thinkers such as recent college grads like Meghan McCain and too many college professors are the result.

The media often presents to you an attitude that is designed to generate an narrative in your mind based few facts that are spun.

We can demonstrate attitude change propaganda in action. For example lets take a look at this March 9th 2007 story about the Patriot Act while the press was full swing into “hate Bush” mode:

Justice: FBI Misused Patriot Act Powers

Mar 09 3:08 PM US/Eastern

By LARA JAKES JORDAN Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about people in the United States, a Justice Department audit concluded Friday.

And for three years the FBI underreported to Congress how often it forced businesses to turn over the customer data, the audit found.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who oversees the FBI, described the problems cited in the report as unacceptable and left open the possibility of criminal charges. He ordered further investigation.

“Once we get that information, we’ll be in a better position to assess what kinds of steps should be taken,” Gonzales told reporters following a speech to privacy officials.

It sounds pretty ominous doesn’t it? It makes you think that people may go to jail because that no good SOB Bush was looking into people’s private lives for fun doesn’t it? Of course it does, it is designed to.  You see most newspaper readers never get passed the fifth paragraph in a news story.

It isn’t until paragrapgh 19 in the story do are you told that in over 150,000 uses of the Patriot Act by the FBI the FBI made 22 errors looking into data they should not have. That is 22 errors while it was still a relatively new law and all of those 22 errors were caught by the internal Inspector General whose job it is to find just these kinds of errors. Who do you know that has an error rate of 22 in 150,000? That is 1 error in 6818 uses. Ask any business owner or manager and they could only dream of having employees with such a low error rate. The numbers indicate that the FBI was doing its assigned duties fabulously under difficult circumstances.

Now that you know that critical piece of information, the attitude and narrative in your mind changes greatly does it not? Congratulations, now you have a basic understanding of how attitude change propaganda works.

For some people, these techniques are deliberate attempts to manipulate you. To others such as Meghan McCain, it is a result of poor education and bad thinking. McCain has an emotional attachment to a point of view, but she doesn’t understand the difference between that and a real substantive argument. For people like McCain, they use their education and wit (or lack there of) to satisfy the emotionally arrived at conclusion and do not think logically, consistently or with any serious sense of introspective.

AllahPundit at demonstrates this point quite brilliantly by merely highlighting the buzz words in Meghan McCain’s own statements. Notice that McCain does not back up her assertions with any evidence you can verify or any substantive argument about Malkin’s voluminous work:

So Michelle Malkin successfully rounds out the trifecta of extreme female conservative pundits, following Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, who believe that I, and Republicans like me, need to shut up and get out of the party. Is this surprising? Not really, given my father’s complicated history with the extreme right of the GOP. But what confuses me is this: Malkin recently posted an item on her blog about how “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”…

I don’t know exactly what about me threatens them so much, other than that people are listening to me. Malkin has the No. 1 book on The New York Times bestseller hardcover nonfiction list, but I have nearly twice as many Twitter followers as she does. And trust me, Twitter is more of an indication of where young people are than books published by the hyper-conservative publisher Regnery—which will be bringing you Carrie Prejean’s new book and published one of Ann Coulter’s.

There is a place for the far right in this party, Malkin included, and I respect their right to be heard. But the Republican Party will continue to lose elections unless we start reaching out in a more effective way to people my age and to moderates. Barack Obama won the last election on the slogan “Yes We Can,” and there is no reason why Republicans can’t go forth and win elections with equally positive messages. We will not get anywhere by continuing to sell hate and fear. Of course, there is always going to be a fraction of the GOP that is going to respond to that, but at some point we have to start facing the reality that hate and fear will only get us so far. Those emotions are not sources for inspiration of joining anything, let alone supporting a political party.

Always with Meghan McCain it is XXX is a far right hate and fear blank, or Coulter is a racist etc, but never, ever a verifiable fact that pans out to back up her claims. We took Meghan McCain to task before for that very type of behavior in An Open Letter to Meghan McCain.

In contrast, we have featured Malkin’s work here at IUSB Vision many times, we do so because she doesn’t just have an opinion based on an emotion,  she backs it up with evidence that you or I can check and verify for ourselves.

Case in point on substance, Meghan McCain must not be aware that after Goldwater, Republicans most often win when they show clear differences between themselves and the Democrats. Moderate Republicans often lose to Democrats because Democrats campaign to the right of them. Just as Bill Clinton did to Bush 41 and Bob Dole and just as Obama couched his campaign in Reaganesque conservative rhetoric AND just as so many blue dog Democrats in the House and Senate have done in the last two election cycles against their Republican opponents (a plan organized by Rahm Emanuel).

McCain is not the only one to behave this way in the GOP. The New York Times David Brooks argues much the same way as does Colin Powell. They all too often present an attitude and not a real substantive argument. In the press we have seen Colin Powell say that Rush Limbaugh is too far right and is divisive etc. Rush Limbaugh takes policy positions and advances policy positions of his own in great detail 15 hours a week and posts complete transcripts, audio, sources and evidence to back it up every say on his web site; yet you will never hear Colin Powell make detailed policy positions on health care, the economy, gun control, abortion, separation of powers, the courts etc. Just as it is easy to be a saint in paradise, it is easy to paint yourself as all inclusive when you don’t take detailed policy positions on almost anything. Powell speaks in generalities and emotionalisms and next to never in the kind of detail that we see from Limbaugh on a day to day basis.

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