Today we are bombarded with various liberal viewpoints that are presented as the consequences of reasoned inquiry. Perception, however, does not reflect reality, for often these liberal viewpoints are the products of fallacious reasoning.
During the civil rights struggle of the 1960s in Mississippi, I lived in the Mississippi Delta and attended a liberal college in Jackson. My experiences transformed me into a classical liberal who believes in individual freedom as expressed by freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and markets, a diminished role of government and a comprehensive philosophy of humanity that promotes human well-being.
In the college community we discussed openly the civil rights struggle and the courses of action we could take. We began demonstrating (quietly, and not so quietly) through community involvement, by advancing our philosophy of the well-being of all people, participating in civil rights marches and activities and otherwise promoting the rights of all people. We knew the risks involved and frequently were the recipients of hateful acts. We had skin in the game.
Compared to classical liberalism that which passes as liberalism today is anything but. This so-called “liberal” mindset employs totalitarian and fascist methodology and is closed to the prospect of discussing alternative ideas. Claiming to be open-minded, today’s liberals are resistant to the thought of open and honest debate that centers on ideas instead of personalities.
For example, name-calling is a favorite fallacy that many find especially beneficial. In formal reasoning it is called ad homimen (argument against the person) in which a person attacks the character of the opponent by attempting to destroy their integrity, capabilities, intelligence or patriotism. Thus the attacker throws out accusations such as “racist,” “radical,” “idiot,” and “anarchist,” usually because they find themselves on the losing end of the argument or discover that character assassination better promotes the cause.
Another favorite fallacy employed is ad populum (the appeal to emotion) which in logic is understood as the “bandwagon effect” (also referred to as “groupthink”). Here persuasive and expressive language and actions are utilized to incite enthusiasm for or against a cause. We see sports figures “jump on the bandwagon” when they kneel during the National Anthem to promote the cause they feel most appropriate. Ad populum offers safety in numbers and minimal adverse consequences.
Sadly our nation has degenerated into a state of intellectual disarray and seemingly has abandoned any sense of reason. Unfortunately many colleges and universities have rejected the classical liberal concept of free speech and inquiry by creating safe spaces and free speech zones. Students are demanding to be fed pablum and many universities are eager to oblige.
Welcome to the new norm of idiocy.
Geran F. Dodson