Dennis Prager vs. Strawman
Dennis Prager wants to remind John Edwards that “Jesus Was Not a Leftist.” Why is that?
Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards told an interviewer from the religious website beliefnet.com that Jesus “would be disappointed” at how little Americans help the destitute who live among them. Jesus, Mr. Edwards said, “would be appalled” at our selfishness.
In the view of John Edwards and other Christians on the Left, Jesus would raise taxes, promote single-payer, i.e., socialized, medicine, be pro-choice and advocate same-sex marriage. But most of all, Jesus would be anti-war, opposed to the military and essentially be a pacifist.
Hmmm… so John Edwards is saying that Jesus would be an anti-war pacifist? That’s interesting. Why don’t we head over to beliefnet.com and read the interview Prager’s talking about?
Now that’s really interesting. Nowhere in that entire interview does John Edwards say anything about Jesus being “anti-war” or a “pacifist.” Here’s what he does say:
[Q.] What parts of American life do you think would most outrage Jesus?
[A.] Our selfishness. Our resort to war when it’s not necessary. I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually.
And that’s it. This is the first question/answer out of a three-page interview. One statement: Jesus would be upset if he were here to see “[o]ur resort to war when it’s not necessary.”
Based on that statement, Dennis Prager dishonestly creates a strawman (”The Left says Jesus would be an Anti-War Pacifist”) and spends the rest of his column attacking that strawman. He wastes his time and breath refuting a view which he’s unable to demonstrate any human being actually holds. Look at the high dudgeon he works himself into as he attacks his imaginary enemies:
Now imagine applying this [i.e. "turn the other cheek"] to nations: Should we have said to the Japanese after they attacked Pearl Harbor, “Now that you have attacked us in the West, please also bomb our cities in the East”?
The idea that a country should offer its other cheek to an aggressor is simply immoral, not to mention suicidal. Such thinking renders Jesus and the Christian Bible foolish.
It also shows how hypocritical are the Left’s attacks on religious conservatives for taking the Bible literally. It is the Left that engages in a far more dangerous literalism when it applies Jesus’ words to national policy.
Note to Dennis Prager: Who have you heard saying When another nation attacks us, we should “turn the other cheek”? Who has actually said that?
Dennis Prager, like most wingnuts, rarely (if ever) sees or hears the real people he disagrees with. Instead, he spends most of his time arguing with the mental picture he has of a “Leftist.” He imagines things this scary “Leftist” has said, and then he sits down at his keyboard and replies to them.
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March 13th, 2007 @ 21:03
When some one compares Japan or Nazi Germany to Iraq they’ve come to the point where they’re out of argument. They’re done-they’re stammering fools who are either liars or ignorant of history.
Iraq didn’t attack us and they weren’t a threat.
Japan, of course, bombed the hell out of us and Germany and Italy declared war on us four days later.
Prager is just another fool too embarrassed to admit he fell for it and he’s grasping for strawmen.
March 14th, 2007 @ 00:48
You’re right, of course.
How many times, just in the past year, have you heard some warmonger invoking “Churchill and Chamberlain”? Some wingnut says, types, scribbles, or shouts it every fifteen minutes. They seem to believe, pathetically, that there’s a real chance “The Terrorists” are going to literally conquer and take over Europe and North America.
April 18th, 2007 @ 11:47
I disagree that Dennis Prager set up a Straw Man with his comments. Nobody has actually SAID the words Dennis is using. Dennis was illustrating what “turning the other cheek” would have been, if the principle had been applied to Japan’s attack.
Description of Straw Man
The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:
1. Person A has position X.
2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
3. Person B attacks position Y.
4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person.
Examples of Straw Man
1. Prof. Jones: “The university just cut our yearly budget by $10,000.”
Prof. Smith: “What are we going to do?”
Prof. Brown: “I think we should eliminate one of the teaching assistant positions. That would take care of it.”
Prof. Jones: “We could reduce our scheduled raises instead.”
Prof. Brown: ” I can’t understand why you want to bleed us dry like that, Jones.”