Thursday, August 02, 2007

Behold the power of Michael Ledeen!

This is Mark, agreeing with my argument that it is not so much Ledeen as what he represents:
It is precisely "what Ledeen represents" that I am criticizing ... It is of *far* greater consequence to you that I am impolite to Ledeen and his repellent moral reasoning than that his repellent moral reasoning underlies all the excuse-making that has been made for the Bush Administration's policies of prisoner abuse, torture and murder.

I assume that he is talking about consequentalism rather than anything that Ledeen has, you know, actually written on the subject. As has been noted, Mark appears willing to accept consequentalist arguments against the use of torture, such as the one that we should not do it because it is not effective. However, that still doesn't explain Mark's level animosity towards Ledeen given that he isn't the only conservative advocate of consequentalism, nor is he by far its loudest voice when it comes to the issue of torture. My short explanation for this would be that because Mark believes that Ledeen advocates the killing of prisoners, he considers no charge or invective against the man to be too severe. At this point, Ledeen to Mark is less of a person with a set of actual positions then he is an abstract representation of why Mark, really really hates neoconservatism and the Bush administration.

This is sort of like his labeling of Gonzalez as "corrupt" because of the Torture Memos. I think that there is more than sufficient grounds to criticize Gonzalez or Ledeen, but Mark because dislikes both of them (in the case of Gonzalez he has openly stated that this is for reasons quite different from why he is currently in hot water), no claim is too outrageous or unwarranted. That is every bit as consequentialist as the arguments that he purports to be criticizing, which is both deliciously ironic and extremely hypocritical. I would even go as far as saying that Mark has basically embraced a utilitarian mindset when it comes to Gonzalez or Ledeen in which he will accept anything (within reason) to try and undermine them because they are both Bad People.

Also, while I think that Paul's comment was unwarranted (a point he himself made), this stream of dialogue looks like more of the behavior of a jilted ex than a Catholic apologist:
But Mark, why can't we have a civilized conversation about how you are a stupid judgemental liar?
Zippy | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 5:05 pm | #

Zippy:

You forgot "mean". Chris and the Girls at the Coalition Sewing Circle are very concerned about meanness. It's so important not to be mean to people who advocate murder. If not for my meanness and the horrible witness I offer as a so-called Catholic apologist, Ledeen might be a saint today. Mean People like me stand between him and his struggle for sanctity. The girls at the Coalition, by gossiping for Christ, are making a mystical contribution to the holiness of the world and helping guys like Ledeen find the love of God by affirming him in his well-meaning attempts to strengthen the common good through war crimes. If I knew the first things about *real* Catholic faith and love I would know this and stop picking the poor man apart just because he advocates cold blooded murder and tries to pass it off as "thinking more deeply". When you are a heartless lying bastard like me, you constantly are trying to take the speck of murder out of other people's eyes while not attending to the log of impoliteness in your own.
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 5:17 pm | #

Yes, Mark, you are right about my omission and I don't condone my omission, but lets stay on-topic here. Just what is it that makes you such a stupid mean judgemental liar?
Zippy | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 5:36 pm | #

Many things, really, Zippy. I mean it's so hard to choose. For one things, there's my complete allergy to even minimal truthfulness. I lie about absolutely everything, just for fun. There's hardly anything I like more than leading people astray, even when it comes to trivial facts. In fact, I'm lying right now.

This is, of course, related to my staggering ignorance. I don't know a damn thing and I don't want to know. Facts are hard and complicated and I think we're better off without them.

Then again, there's my neurotic terror of all disagreement. The mildest difference of opinion fills me with a tyrannous need for approval and a violent urge to shout down the smallest independent thought. My readers live in continual fear of me and only the bravest have ever dared to disagree with me.

Coupled with this is my demented hatred of everything about America and, in particular, George W Bush and my total and complete inability to see anything wrong with any aspect of the Church whatsoever.

Gosh. I'm evil for so many reasons. I'm sure there are more, but being the completely unreflective guy I am, I can't think of any at present. Just remember "Mark is evil" and you will prett much have the gist of it.
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 5:54 pm | #

Apparently, according to Christopher's brother in Christian dialogue Paul Zummo, not only is all of that true but you are also a sodomite. Though he's too mature to just say so.

Oh the things one can discover by reading the Learned Letters of the Consequentialist Brain Trust.
Zippy | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 6:15 pm | #

It would appear (though I could be wrong) that Paul has just indulged himself in the greatest sin known to the mind of Chris: sarcasm.

I eagerly anticipate the moment when the Girls of the Coalition (led by Chris) condemn Paul's horrifying crime.

Suggestions for fruitful civilized dialogue, Coalition Girls: Be sure and remind Paul what the *original* meaning of "sodomy" is. Then clarify that since neither Zippy nor I are, in fact, homosexual this is nothing other than a shocking calumny. If Paul gives you some song and dance about "using language" and not being literal you be sure and set him straight that words mean exactly one thing and one thing only and there is no such thing as allusion, pun, referential speech or "humor".

Okay Coalition girls, synchronize your menstrual cycles and get clucking. Paul needs to be set straight!
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 6:39 pm | #

It's useful to note that Mark deleted my ever damaging comment, yaaaawn. Clearly such language cannot be tolerated.

All right, let's get serious. Not that this post will last for longer than the time it takes for Mark to look at the comment's author.

This blog was once a very useful resource, one of the most enjoyable blogs to read in the blogosphere. Over time, the unrelenting contempt for viewpoints that disagreed with mark's own became too much to take. So I just stopped reading (and the blog post that put me over the top wasn't even related to politics, but rather an incredibly cynical blogpost about worship styles, one in which I agreed with Mark's basic opinion, but couldn't take the way Mark just dismissed those that held contrary opinions.)

It's not the sarcasm, Mark. Sarcasm is the essential tone of the blogosphere. In fact, sarcasm is probably one of my favorite things about the blogosphere. Come on, I'm from New York, what New Yorker is going to hate sarcasm.

No, the problem is the contempt - absolute snivelling contempt you show to people that have different opinions. It's like you don't even read what people are writing. This thread is the perfect example. No one's really defending Ledeen here, and yet we're all just "consequentialists" because we happen to disagree with the way you've framed Ledeen's writing. There's no attempt whatsoever to even address the arguments other than through a wave of the hand. Throw some ad hominem, sprinkle off a few tired cliches, and just dismiss others. Lovely. Surely a Christian way of blogging.

And no, my comment on CFF was NOT a Christian thing to write. That's why I stay away from this blog and others like it. Quite frankly it brings out the worst in me. I think you bring out the worst in a lot of people, Mark.
paul zummo | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 6:55 pm | #

Paul: N.B., I'm not a sock puppet. I'm an unshaven clown. YOW! ARE WE HAVING FUN YET!?!?!?!
Zippy | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 6:59 pm | #

Paul, my good woman:

I love that you carefully track the discussion, urge the Coalition ladies to pay close attention, and then come over here to feign boredom--twice!. And that bit about "Yes. It *was* unchristian of me, and that's *your* fault!" That's just great. You ladies at the Sewing Circle stay beautiful. 'Kay?
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 7:10 pm | #

Psssst. Donald. Mark's tone has always been one of satirical hectoring and abuse. That is part of what has made CAEI what it is. Just ask the gay brownshirts, stem cell cannibals, those in favor of offing useless eaters, the lidless eye, virginity-and-children-despisers, and the evil party. Among others.

What has changed is that when torture went on the list of things being satirized - and the irony of this is really quite beyond words - the exquisite sensitivities of a few CAEI regulars to the idea that torturing prisoners isn't acceptable were violated, and Fun Mark suddenly became Nasty Mark in their eyes.

Oddly, it wasn't even Mark's condemnation of the unjust war in Iraq or the annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki dissent party that sent Victor the Impaler of Anti-Concepts and his passive-aggressive pal Fair and Balanced Christopher off in a huff. It was torture. Sure it is OK for Mark to criticize torture in the abstract, but his usual writing style is just unacceptable on that particular subject.

That is pretty interesting.

So now of course he's Nasty Mark on all the favorite Republican issues he's criticized. But it isn't the spoon that bends: it is you that bends.
Zippy | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 7:46 pm | #

There is no spoon.

There! Somebody had to say it!
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 7:50 pm | #

Oddly, it wasn't even Mark's condemnation of the unjust war in Iraq or the annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki dissent party that sent Victor the Impaler of Anti-Concepts and his passive-aggressive pal Fair and Balanced Christopher off in a huff. It was torture. Sure it is OK for Mark to criticize torture in the abstract, but his usual writing style is just unacceptable on that particular subject.

Sigh. This is an act of complete futility, but I just want to make something clear before I depart. Mark's comments on torture didn't send me off in a huff. I stuck around quote a while during that whole escapade. Frankly, I didn't necessarily disagree with what Mark said, but the way he completely dismissed contrary opinions. What was especially frustrating was the way Mark got all huffy when people would ask, "What exactly is torture?" Mark snottilly dismissed those who asked the question - but guess what, some of us actually want to know. I am not as invested in the debate, nor do I know as much of the history and theology of the issue, as either Mark, you, Victor, Donald, etc. I actually wanted to find some answers, but that was impossible to find here.

But I stuck around because Mark was still good on the Catholic theological issues. Heck, he's the guy I wrote e-mails to searching for advice, even after this debate raged (I think). But then there was a blog post, and i can't remember what it was about specifically, but it had something to do with liturgical matters. And mark's tone - even though I didn't disagree with the underlying assertion - so peeved me that I vowed to stop reading. And, by and large, though with exceptions, that's what I did. It had nothing to do with torture, it had to do with religious issues, and not on something I disagreed with Mark about. It made me realize just how arrogantly Mark acted and how contemptuous he was of people that finally made me realize to vamoos.

And so I do.
paul zummo | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 8:15 pm | #

And mark's tone - even though I didn't disagree with the underlying assertion - so peeved me that I vowed to stop reading.

And here you are: still not reading. And very, very carefully to boot. With all the Ladies in the Coalition Sewing Circle that Has Nothing to Do with Making Excuses for Consequentialism or Anything. And yawning. Twice. Because you're not obsessed with me or anything.
Mark Shea | Homepage | 08.02.07 - 8:46 pm | #

"And here you are: still not reading."

Except that paul made it abundantly clear that he has not observed his abstinence with perfect fidelity: "And, by and large, though with exceptions, that's what I did."
Mark Adams | 08.02.07 - 9:21 pm | #

As someone noted earlier in the thread, we were called upon to be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves, not the other way around.

Also, since Zippy appears to lack basic reading comprehension on our positions, let me resolve this difficulty for him:
Psssst. Donald. Mark's tone has always been one of satirical hectoring and abuse. That is part of what has made CAEI what it is. Just ask the gay brownshirts, stem cell cannibals, those in favor of offing useless eaters, the lidless eye, virginity-and-children-despisers, and the evil party. Among others.

What has changed is that when torture went on the list of things being satirized - and the irony of this is really quite beyond words - the exquisite sensitivities of a few CAEI regulars to the idea that torturing prisoners isn't acceptable were violated, and Fun Mark suddenly became Nasty Mark in their eyes.

Oddly, it wasn't even Mark's condemnation of the unjust war in Iraq or the annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki dissent party that sent Victor the Impaler of Anti-Concepts and his passive-aggressive pal Fair and Balanced Christopher off in a huff. It was torture. Sure it is OK for Mark to criticize torture in the abstract, but his usual writing style is just unacceptable on that particular subject.

First of all, I think that Mark's blog has deteriorated considerably over the last several years regarding his use of satire, straw man arguments, and invocations of righteous outrage. As a practical matter, I don't think that someone like Blackadder (whose only crime was what, exactly?) would have been asked to leave CAEI given some of the stuff that Marv Wood, I'm Not Spartacus, and Morning 's Minion have posted there on occasion. Secondly, a number of us did object to Mark's use of terms like "gay brownshirts" on the simple fact that it was too polemical.

As general rule, once upon a time (and I still think he can do this so long as the issue does not touch on contemporary politics) Mark was willing to leave behind his caricatures when actually discussing these issues. He has in the past for instance been quite willing to move beyond polemic engage in serious dialogue on issues like homosexuality, the culture of promiscuity, traditionalism, stem cells, and the Democratic Party. This was generally a good thing in my view because it illustrated that he understood the distinction between polemic and argument. Even on the Iraq war, he was bound by the issue of prudential judgement to refrain from declaring himself correct in the sense of representing the sole acceptable position of the Church.

When it came to torture and soon spread to all other issues dealing with the Bush administration, however, in my view Mark is completely unable to distinguish between polemic and argument. Oh, and he is willing to embrace all manner of insane conspiracy theories in order to support his arguments. I think that there is ample documentation of this here, given his complete and utter refusal to have any substantive dialogue with his critics that do not include his issuing of anathema sits. When combined with his constant and persistent ad hominem attacks against those who dare to disagree with him while refusing to engage the fact that others like Father Neuhaus and Jimmy Akin (who remain in good company as far as Mark is concerned), then maybe just maybe one can understand why we have such a problem with it. Zippy, for whom there is no argument in which he cannot simply declare himself correct, appears to have trouble understanding this.

27 comments:

Donald R. McClarey said...

I am glad to see that Zippy and Mark are faithful readers, or perhaps I should say faithful skimmers, of Coalition For Fog. Anyone who doesn't think that the tone of Catholic and Enjoying It hasn't changed over the years is like the frog in the legendary boiling water experiment who stays in the pot as the temperature is increased until the boiling water kills it. Catholic and Enjoying It was always a combative venue, but the bitter diatribes that now are its hallmark are of more recent vintage.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Here is a url below to a random page from Catholic and Enjoying it for 2003. Compare and contrast with a modern page from Catholic and Enjoying it. http://markshea.blogspot.com/2003_03_01_archive.html

Notice how the page is free from the canned phrases, and substitutes for thought, such as "Rubber Hose Right". Mark has an anti-torture post but note that he states his opinion at the onset and then lets the debate in the combox move forward without intervention from him.

The overall tone is much more restrained and thoughtful than is currently the case. Mark states his opinions but seems quite willing to allow others to state theirs. He is much less obviously at war with readers who disagree with him.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Some thoughts on Ledeen.

The problem with Ledeen is not that he is a consequentialist, because he's not a consequentialist. He's a Machiavellian (or at least flirts at being one sometimes). A consequentialist would say that lies, torture, mass slaughter of the innocent and the like are sometimes morally good (e.g. when they lead to an overall increase in utility). Machiavelli did not say this. He admitted that such things were evil; he just thought that political leaders sometimes ought to do them anyway. In addition to being morally repellent, this view is incoherent, as it implies that sometimes you ought to do what you ought not to do (evil being, by definition, something you ought not to do).

That said, for someone who is apparently such a fan of Machiavelli, Ledeen seems surprisingly squimish when it comes to applying his views to real life situations. He opposes torture, and has praised the U.S. military's focus on avoiding civilian casualties even at the expense of U.S. lives. Mark's repeated assertions to the contrary, he never advocated killing enemy prisoners who have surrendered, and, as I have shown, his use of the term "creative destruction" does not have the sinister implications Mark attributes to it. He favors destroying terror sponsoring regimes, but thinks that the way to go about doing this is generally by supporting democratic movements within those countires, rather than by full out military invasion. These are not the positions that one would normally associate with a devotee of Machiavelli, and the irony is that if the Bush administration had taken Ledeen's advice on some of these matters Mark probably wouldn't have nearly as much animus against the Administration that he does now.

Paul Zummo said...

What's amusing is that Mark has now written two or three times that I twice wrote that I was bored by his blog. The thing is, I wrote out "yaaaaaawn" ONCE in reply to Zippy to indicate that I was nonplussed by his comment in reply to what I wrote here. I never indicated general boredom with Mark, nor did I repeat the yawning comment other than to note that he deleted it. What's interesting about this is that it confirms that Mark doesn't really read comments, but rather he skims them to pick up things he can hammer away at.

Phillip said...

"Okay Coalition girls, synchronize your menstrual cycles and get clucking."
Mark

Girls,

I checked this morning and I'm not yet cycling! Sorry all. I shall be away on vacation for a week. Hopefully by the time I get back I'll be in sync with you all.

Anonymous said...

Okay Coalition girls, synchronize your menstrual cycles and get clucking."

That's not, like, offensive to women or anything, right? I mean Mark's implication that women are just a bunch of gossipy harridans who go into High Tirade Mode when it's that time of the month. IOW, for Mark, comparing youse guys to (gasp!) WOMEN is, like, the ultimate insult. Nope, no sexism there.

rolleyes x 1000

Diane

Christopher said...

Oddly, it wasn't even Mark's condemnation of the unjust war in Iraq or the annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki dissent party that sent Victor the Impaler of Anti-Concepts and his passive-aggressive pal Fair and Balanced Christopher off in a huff. It was torture. Sure it is OK for Mark to criticize torture in the abstract, but his usual writing style is just unacceptable on that particular subject.

Just to correct Zippy (and set the record straight) -- it wasn't "just torture". I had written several posts leading up to the 2006 torture debate on Mark's unfair characterization of his opponents, and even earlier had engaged Mark in his own combox on his method of blogging.

I've mentioned this passage from Fr. Murray before on my blog and I'll do so again, as it seems apt to describe the present situation:

Barbarism likewise threatens when men cease to talk together according to reasonable laws. There are laws of argument, the observance of which is imperative if discourse is to be civilized. Argument ceases to be civil when it is dominated by passion and prejudice . . . when dialogue gives way to a series of monologues . . . when the parties to the conversation cease to listen to one another, or hear only what they want to hear, or see the other's argument only through the screen of their own categories; when defiance is flung to the basic ontological principle of all ordered discourse, which asserts that Reality is an analogical structure, within which there are variant modes of reality, to each of which there corresponds a distinctive method of thought that imposes on argument its own special rules. When things like this happen, men cannot be locked together in argument. Conversation becomes merely quarrelsome or querulous. Civility dies with the death of the dialogue.

I commend Sydney Carton, Mike G. and the Black Adder (well, until now) who've managed to stick it out and attempt to engage the man, but at this point . . . .

Donald R. McClarey said...

"but at this point . . . ."

It definitely is a waste of time. That certainly is my opinion, but I can understand, and salute, those who feel otherwise.

kathleen said...

"Okay Coalition girls, synchronize your menstrual cycles and get clucking. "

hey diane, don't you love the misogynist mockery from a guy who's trying to sell readers on his forthcoming trilogy about Mary's "spiritual maternity", entitled Behold Your Mother?

too rich.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, guys (and girls): Mark's not a sexist. He's just responding to the hyper-masculinism that permeates this blog. I mean, isn't Victor Morton's calling card an impaled corpse (okay, it isn't, but let's pretend it is)? Gee, what would Freud say about THAT?

paul zummo said...

He's just responding to the hyper-masculinism that permeates this blog.

Well, I can't speak for everyone else, but my days consist of largely of scratching my (opposite of a strikes), drinking several fifths of whiskey by noon, shooting my gun in the air at random intervals, and practicing my aim at the spittoon.

isn't Victor Morton's calling card an impaled corpse

AN impaled corpse? That's it? Wimp.

Anonymous said...

Mark's "synchronize your mensrual cycles..." comment is completely beyond the pale. I've hung in there with Mark so far because his blog was instrumental in bringing me back to the Church. But he's clearly off the track. I hope, for his own sake, he quits blogging soon and gets the psychological help he obviously urgently needs.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen and Paul Z. : LOL!!

Diane

Sigmund Freud said...

Ja. Mark iz in dire need of pzychoanalysis. From his attribution of menstruation to men, he clearly sufferz from a latent dezire to become a woman, which in turn is from a more latent dezire to possess his own mother (zince ze zexual union is pzychologically symbolic of becoming vat you unite to). This no doubt iz because of problems he had with hiz father growing up. Clazzic Oedipal complex.

Anonymous said...

What is it about this place that attracts psychopaths like Joseph D'Hippolito? Whatever Mark's faults, Joey's rant is the work of a truly deranged mind. He needs to be put in an asylum for the criminally insane. He makes Mark at his worst look calm and measured, for crying out loud!

Anonymous said...

Victor and Torq: Please delete Joe's post. Please.

Joe, with all due respect, please tone it down. Please.

Diane

torquemada05 said...

I don't have the authority to delete comments, but as soon as I do that one is gone. Like they said Joe, take it down a notch.

Mark Adams said...

Wow.

I left a message for Victor re: Joe's post. I don't think he is aware of it.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Joe, that was truly unforgivable. If you want to engage in that type of stream of consciousness gutter abuse please take it to another site.

Victor said...

It is done. Joe's vile comment that occasioned the postings above this one has been removed.

Joe. Please. Don't be what Shea says you are. You'll be making a prophet out of a idiotic jerk.

Now ... back to my Midol treatments.

Victor said...

Also, thanks Mark A. for telling me by phone. I got to a computer as soon as I could get away from a church retreat.

Also ... I predict, because of who we are talking about, that Shea may use Joe's comment to characterize us. He will of course ignore (1) that it was deleted and (2) I really don't think he'd want to be characterized by his commenters.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Thank you Victor!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Victor, et al, I'm glad that post was removed. I have a tendency to overreact (duh!) when people whom I admire or whom I consider to be friends are attacked. When I saw Mark's comments, I saw nothing but red. My response was certainly nothing with which any of you or this blog would want to be associated.

Nevertheless, the basic spirit of my remarks remains (even if the language was overwrought): Mark Shea has no business criticizing and insulting people whom he claims support torture and murder when he makes a practice of "torturing" people who have the audacity to disagree with him and "murdering" the reputations of anybody who thinks differently than he.

This is a man who, if his political perpsective were diferent, would have fit nicely as a bureaucrat in the KGB, the Stasi or the SS. Think the unreformed Gerd Wiesler in "The Lives of Others."

Finally, to the "anonymous" correspondent who called me a psychopath who should be put in an asylum for the criminally insane: Talk to me when you've been stalked obsessively throughout the Catholic internet for five years. Then tell me how you'd respond.

Anonymous said...

I agree--I also thought that "psycopath" comment was over the top.

More and more these days, I'm overwhelmed by how nasty the Internet has become, and that very much includes my own contributions to it. It seems to be getting nastier by the day. The devil must be having a field day.

With God's help, I hope henceforth to see my fellow cyber-citizens more as human beings and less as (conveniently demonized) enemies.

God help me!

Diane

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, is this guy for real? Shea and his buddy Zippy have gone totally around the bend. I quit hitting Shea a few months ago, and I didn't expect things to get better, but Good Lord....

Phillip said...

Mark has commented that conversation on his blog should be conducted like conversation in his living room. If it violates this norm, the comment is deleted and/or the person banned.
Now with these comments by Mark, one wonders what the tenor of conversation in his living room is.
Of course I don't think Mark actually says such things in front of his family. It merely points out his hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

Now ... back to my Midol treatments.

ROTFL!

Diane