Friday, October 05, 2007

Mark continues to win friends and influence people ...

As shown both here and here. I could point out the logical fallacies, straw man arguments, and above all his complete lack of charity (all of which have been fixtures for him on this issue), but at this point I think these are pretty clear to anyone who takes the time to read the thread. And while I know Mark regards us here at CFF as nothing more than craven apologists for the Bush administration (we aren't, but that is neither here nor there), I would note that by his own criteria both BenYachov and Jimmy Akin (the latter of whom has made the unforgivable sin of referencing "24," which I don't even watch, when discussing the issue of torture) are part of the "dependable legions of war crimes apologists" who "rite more apologetics for Outrages for the Fatherland and to once again rally the Hannitized realpoliticians to fresh yawps of bloodlust and "24"-induced 'realism'."

Regarding the substantive issue that he is (badly) trying to draw attention to, you don't have to be Mark Shea to read that New York Times story and come away from it with a bad taste in your mouth. If the administration believes that these types of procedures are necessary, then they should come out and defend them in a public forum instead of all this cloak and dagger crap. Judging from polling data on the issue, it isn't at all clear from a public policy perspective that this would be all that controversial an argument. This is particularly the case when their credibility is at an all-time low and they had to know that something like this was going to come out if they tried to do it quietly. As a result, now they have yet another scandal on their hands and fewer and fewer people willing to defend them.

Going back to Mark for a moment, he has said before that he doesn't favor impeaching Bush. This may be, as Publius suggests, because he is simply ignorant of how impeachment works. I would be interested to know, if he operates on reason rather than emotion (as appears to be the case), why it took this story in particular to push him over the edge.

And lest we forget, he doesn't hate Bush. Not at all.

52 comments:

Victor said...

That thread was so funny. I so enjoyed every minute of it that I've taken the time to archive it in the (likely) event that Mark should take time to rewrite history ... (well, cheap 1984 analogies are all the rage on this topic) a la the Ministry of Truth.

Victor said...

Oh ... and to answer Mark's (oft-repeated cuz he apparently thinks it's brilliant) rhetorical question here:

"Thanks for demonstrating once again that many American conservative Catholics specialize in straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Torture? Eh. Mild impatience with a dumb question? That's deranged! This is Supreme Maximum Leader Bush we're talking about, not some stupid Euroweenie crap ... (blah blah ... vent ... rant) ..."

Here's the reason for the phenomenon. And I know Shea still reads us.

What happens in comboxes is not torture (or nuking Hiroshima or killing babies or whatever). It is only "discussions about torture" (or "discussions about nuking Hiroshima" or "discussion about killing babies" or "discussions about [whatever you like]"). Said discussions may be related to the ding-an-sich, sure, but only at the most remote, butterfly-wings-lead-to-hurricane level of causality, and probably (given the persons and venues involved) not even that.

This is why, despite the unquestionable fact that the matter is graver in the abstract, the morals and mores of forensic manners are (and should be) taken more seriously by people in comboxes than being right per se on the underlying topic.

Mark Shea's assholishness (or mine, in principle; the point is quite generalizable) is both more directly done within the context of the combox; and the (perceived) combox interlocutor both feels the wrong more directly (he is the victim of it, after all) and he also has a more direct line to the perpetrator.

Being "right" on an issue simply doesn't excuse assholishness, particularly in the eyes of those one is being an asshole toward. It's not "straining at gnats and swallowing at camels" to note this. To overextend the metaphor, it's "straining at the gnats in front of your face and swallowing the fact that this particular camel is beyond the horizon." Or as someone else pointed out, " I'm suggesting, on the basis of good authority, that if a man wants to be trusted in large matters he should show himself trustworthy in small ones."

Donald R. McClarey said...

"There have been loads of highly celebrated presidents far more deserving of the title "war criminal" than Bush. Many of their pictures adorn our money (e.g., Jackson, Lincoln, and FDR)."

Excellent point by Publius. He could have added to this list George Washington, the greatest man in secular history in my estimation, who many Indians referred to as "Burner of Towns". War is a very rough business and few American leaders in wartime have not engaged in conduct on occasion that would draw outrage from bloggers typing feverishly away courtesy of the freedom and security of the men they vehemently attack. Americans with a firm grasp on reality however have no difficulty distinguishing these men and their actions from those individuals and their actions in the dock at Nuremberg, the archtypal war criminals

When Mark uses the phrase "war criminals" to apply to Bush and Cheney it indicates: 1. An appalling lack of knowledge as to the conduct of most prior US wars in comparison to the conduct of the present war; 2. A willingness to use the phrase "war criminal" as an insult rather than as a serious inquiry into the conduct of executive branch officials in a war against the type of foe we face today; 3. An unwillingness to compare the conduct of the US at war to other nations at war, and instead to compare the US to a utopia that only exists in Mark's mind; 4. A studied indifference to the victory or defeat of his own nation in the present conflict; and 5. An addiction to hyperbole that limits his ability to persuade only to those who already agree with him.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"courtesy of the freedom and security of the men they"

should have been "courtesy of the freedom and security supplied by the men they"

Tom Connelly said...

Two questions, Donald:

1) Did you read the article that Mark linked to in his latest torture thread?

2) Assuming the allegations in the article are true, what is your reaction?

Anonymous said...

A quite astonishing exchange. I am so conflicted about Mark. I keep thinking his heart is in the right place. But man, he is behaving like such a bully. How can he not see that?

Diane

Anonymous said...

A quite astonishing exchange. I am so conflicted about Mark. I keep thinking his heart is in the right place. But man, he is behaving like such a bully. How can he not see that?

Having a website devoted to attacking him is hardly going to help him see the error of his ways. It will only cause him to dig in his heels. If the Fogsters really wanted to help him they'd either a) take down this blog or b) change the blog's mission so that most of the posts aren't about how deluded and nasty he is.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Two questions, Donald:

1) Did you read the article that Mark linked to in his latest torture thread?

2) Assuming the allegations in the article are true, what is your reaction?"

1. The New York Times article, nothing like an unbiased source!, with the customary hysterical Sullivan gloss? Yes, I have read it.

2. Can't make that assumption Tom. The article is all about a legal opinion regarding interrogation techniques. It cites the reaction of that ever popular news source "unnamed officials" to the legal opinion. No where is the actual text of the legal opinion cited. When the text of the opinion is produced by the New York Times, I will be happy to comment at that time after having read it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Number 2, please spare me the Scots Elder act. For one thing, this is not my website. If you have issues with the "Fogsters," take it up with them, please. For another thing, I cannot speak for Victor or Torq, of course, but I assume that one reason why this website exists is that Mark routinely deletes disenting comments at his own blog (the bully's way of stifling dissent), bans dissenting commenters, and vilifies his opponents. This blog provides a forum wherein people who disagree with Mark may engage his ideas without feat of being deleted, banned, vilified, and demonized. If Mark were not such a bully--especially WRT his suppression of dissent--there would be no need for a forum such as this.

Thirdly, why do you not direct your sanctimony toward the person who is behaving so nastily toward his fellow human beings--rather than toward those of us who have the temerity to point out the nastiness of said person's behavior. Talk about misdirected indignation. Sheesh.

Diane

torquemada05 said...

Anonymous:

I would suggest you brush up on the history of the Coalition for Fog in the first place. It only came about as the end-result of multiple attempts by all manner of reasonable people to raise the issue with Mark in one forum or another. That repeatedly failed and he has grown less and less charitable as time has gone on. If I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I would be more than happy to meet the guy in charity and explain my views to him - I believe I've said that before and it still stands.

However, it doesn't look like that is going to happen and in the meantime, Mark is continuing to endorse all manner of looney opinions (and believe me, this goes far beyond torture) and conspiracy theories from his blog platform as a Catholic apologist. Under such circumstances, I think that we have the right to refute Mark and right now that is basically the purpose of the blog. The further he has gone in the tank for Ron Paul, the easier that has become.

Andy Nowicki said...

"Being 'right' on an issue simply doesn't excuse assholishness"

An excellent point, Victor. Mark Shea's defense (and he is indeed defensive when he defends himself) when challenged on his uncharitable behavior towards others is usually to say that the people he's arguing with are morally beyond the pale, so therefore he shouldn't be expected to treat them with anything resembling courtesy, since they believe such ghastly things. (Usually, of course, they don't believe the things he claims they do, but he's quite willing to impugn and slander them nevertheless)

It amounts to rhetorical bullying, scapegoating, and sheer, blatant intellectual dishonesty, and it's a throughly repugnant aspect of his personality. I suspect that pride may be the culprit, but that's just me playing the amateur psychologist.

What's truly staggering is the cult of personality that surrounds Shea and others like him: how he has so many followers who don't see through him and who think his abusive behavior is somehow justified. To me, it suggests something very bleak about human nature.

Phillip said...

"What's truly staggering is the cult of personality that surrounds Shea and others like him: how he has so many followers who don't see through him and who think his abusive behavior is somehow justified. To me, it suggests something very bleak about human nature."

Andy,
Agree. I think the abundance of Ron Paul fans on his site says a lot. He may not think so, but Mark is much the Catholic Libertarian. He may deny it, but it is much to his style.

Andy Nowicki said...

Phillip, I'm glad you agree with me, but I don't think supporters of Ron Paul or libertarians in general are necessarily weak-minded victims of anyone's "cult of personality"-- to be a supporter of Mark Shea, on the other hand, you pretty much have to ignore his bad behavior or think it somehow justified.

Anonymous said...

Appropros the "cult of personality", the obsequoisness displayed by some of his commentators when they say something out of line is disturbing. On other blogs such as LGF, Jihad Watch or VFR those who disagree with the host go their own way. Only on the CAEI site do you often find not just apologies, but self-abasing displays - Mark you are so right, Mark I'll do better next time, Mark I was just trying to correct the other guy, Mark phleese don't misunderstand me. These are grown men, yet they behave like adolescents caught crapping on the sofa set. Truly shameful behaviour.

Ivan

Phillip said...

Andy,

Point taken, though I wasn't making so much a comment about libertarians as Mark Shea. The man for years has criticised libertarians (at times unjustly I believe.) Its just to point our Mark's inability to understand his own inconsistent thoughts. Just to help him, as I know he reads this blog.

Pauli said...

Anon #2: Having a website devoted to attacking him is hardly going to help him see the error of his ways. It will only cause him to dig in his heels. If the Fogsters really wanted to help him they'd either a) take down this blog or b) change the blog's mission so that most of the posts aren't about how deluded and nasty he is.

But others will be helped to see some errors, exaggerations and overstatements. And AFAIK, Mark has full control of his heels. Why anyone would think that erasing all criticisms would moderate someone’s views is beyond me.

If this blog just parroted “Mark is deluded, Mark is wrong” over and over without ever making any legitimate points then it wouldn’t have any readership and would get old really quickly. Insinuating that there is substance lacking here and that it is only frequented by those with personal problems with Mark is to ignore evidence.

I think that people should get used to “single issue” blogs. They are part of the reality of new media and are enabled by the relative ease of setting up a blog. The concept that if you want to blog then you have to include your honeymoon pictures, political commentary, local news and what you ate for dinner last night all at the same URL is completely beyond me.

Phillip said...

Please, no honeymoon pictures.

Greg Mockeridge said...

I would note that by his own criteria both BenYachov and Jimmy Akin (the latter of whom has made the unforgivable sin of referencing "24," which I don't even watch, when discussing the issue of torture) are part of the "dependable legions of war crimes apologists" who "rite more apologetics for Outrages for the Fatherland and to once again rally the Hannitized realpoliticians to fresh yawps of bloodlust and "24"-induced 'realism'."

You mean the same Jimmy Akin who threw you guys under the bus when he accused you of "setting one orthodox Catholic apologist against another"? That Jimmy Akin?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Shea, BenYachov et Akin semper delenda sint!

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen: I'm not sure who you folks are, but I have been increasingly frustrated with Mark Shea as well.

The reason I care at all is Mark sometimes shows real insight -- and has some great links. But other times he shows signs of real thought distortion.

Mark seems to not understand that there are errors of proportion, errors of emphasis, errors of repetition, and errors of falsely drawn analogies.

He has this "the Khmer Rouge waterboarded, so if we waterboard, we're just like the Khmer Rouge" thing he draws out.

Recently, Opinion Journal ran an article from a government official who said fewer than 33 people have faced "coercive interrogation" techniques. Now, I agree torture is a moral evil. But a sane discussion of what these techniques are, how to define torture, and an evolving sense of how this is handled -- is not "consequentialism on parade" or apologetics for torture.

But worse is his use of the term "torture regime." This shows a complete lack of proportion.

And most invidious is his comparison of "abortion regime" to "torture regime." Snuffing out 45 million innocent lives is somehow the same as whacking around 33 terrorists?

Even if these terrorists were tortured (and let's say they were), we could agree we did wrong to them. And it wouldn't remotely compare to the evil of abortion.

There is also a presumed bad faith.

I also agree that Mark's blog commenters are shockingly obsequious -- and glorify Mark in the comments.

And today Mark's talking about his steely resolve to write a book about torture. Lovely.

Anyway, I have cut down my reading of him, but I do think because of his popularity, more people need to call Mark out on his astonishing thought distortions.

IB Bill @ Bill's Notes, industrialblog.powerblogs.com

Anonymous said...

BTW, I also think one of Mark Shea's issues, and I've seen this confirmed elsewhere, is that he's still a fundamentalist ... just a magisterial fundamentalist instead of a biblical one.

I'm just glad I'm not the only one noticing this. Whew!

IB Bill

Anonymous said...

No doubt Victor and Torq will produce the Book of Fog to counter Mark's imminent literary contribution. Right?

Anonymous said...

Note: the Anonymous who does not sign his name is not IB Bill.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

I think Mark's writing a book about torture could be a good thing, as writing on the subject in more than a few hundred word bursts and in a more serious way might force him to grapple with some of the tougher issues involved.

Greg Mockeridge said...

I think Mark's writing a book about torture could be a good thing, as writing on the subject in more than a few hundred word bursts and in a more serious way might force him to grapple with some of the tougher issues involved.

Don't bet on it! People like Mark can just as full of crap in full length book form as in sound bytes.

Anonymous said...

IB Bill makes excellent points, and I agree with every one of them.

Re Mark's incivil behavior, though, please note that he has apologized. Which is a heck of a lot more than I've ever seen (say) Rod Dreher do for his even more incivil behavior.

Diane

Greg Mockeridge said...

Re Mark's incivil behavior, though, please note that he has apologized. Which is a heck of a lot more than I've ever seen (say) Rod Dreher do for his even more incivil behavior.

Problem is he "apologizes" then goes right back to the exact same behavior he "apologized" for.

Andy Nowicki said...

Diane, I admire you for tending to see the best in people, but I'd advise not to be taken in too much by the apology. I'm not saying it's completely insincere, but note just how generic it is. Shea only convicts himself of general "snarkiness" (not lack of charity or meanness or nastiness or hatefulness-- all of which are much more accurate descriptions of Shea at his worst, and he's at his worst a lot), which basically amounts to pleading to a lesser charge. Note also how he cites no specifics, which enables him to say he's apologized without properly addressing anything he's said that's worth apologizing for.

When I think of "snarkiness," I think of someone mildly irritating and prone to glib little insults every now and then, like Dennis Miller when he was on SNL, not someone exhibiting Shea's abusive behavior.

Victor said...

Actually, both Torq and I have noted, separately and in correspondence with different third parties, that Shea having to write a book on this subject has at least the potential to be a good thing.

These comments are both mine, though:

No reputable publisher will take a book that is as rhetorically ugly and intellectually sloppy as Shea's "turds" on torture. If he wants to write a book on it, he'll have to be a lot more careful to document what he says, and he'll have an editor with power over him. Libel laws are taken much more seriously in a published book than a combox. May be a good thing actually.

AND

He will not be his own boss. He will have to get it past an editor and a publisher -- whom he cannot ban, cannot anathematize, cannot lie about, cannot dismiss, cannot reduce to straw men. In short, he cannot do what he does on his site.

----------------

The more I think about it, the more I think Greg is wrong that a hypothetical Shea torture book would be just as bad as his site and combox behavior.

Or at least bad in the same way; I wonder if Shea remembers his frequent now-forever-on-the-Internet pleas of not being an expert on the subject. And how a publisher would react to them. Certainly unless he does serious study and reflection, his ignorance will shine through, even if his assholishness doesn't.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

I agree with Victor that Shea writing a book on torture would be a good thing, but not for the same reasons. Given the amount of emotional invective that he has invested in the subject, he cannot help but transfer that invective to his writing. By doing so, he'll reveal himself to be the ignorant fraud that he is concerning geopolitical issues. As a result, his audience will not grow beyond the Catholic sycophants he already has fooled, and he will lose credibility.

Diane, I also agree with Andy not to take Shea's apologies too seriously. First, Shea has problems with anger and control; that much is evident by the way he treats others on his blog and he needs both psychological and spiritual counseling, big time. Second, I would not use Shea as an example of Christian character, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Who knew there was a whole underground OLIGARCY of weirdos whose whole reson detra is the bashing of Mark Shea?

-BenYachov

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Ben, Shea deserves it. For that matter, so do you. Now, bugger off.

Anonymous said...

Who knew there was a whole underground OLIGARCY of weirdos whose whole reson detra is the bashing of Mark Shea?

First of all, you mean OLIGARCHY, not OLIGARCY. Second, it is raison d'ĂȘtre, not reson detra :::snigger:::. Dropped out at the eighth grade by any chance?

Thirdly, the only weirdo here is D'Hippolito. The rest are more normal than most of the people over at Shea's. Victor Morton is the most educated, cultured man around St. Blogs. His rough edges are due to the fact that Prince Charles will sooner or later be his king. And you think the idea of having Hillary Clinton as your head of state is bad!

Anonymous said...

>Dropped out at the eighth grade by any chance?

I am famious across the internet for poor spelling & grammer skills & I don't care to change. But FYI I have a BA.

I stand by what I said.

-BenYachov

paul zummo said...

Jim:

Just because some people do not fall to the ground and woprship at the altar of a Catholic blogger does not mean that our "reson detra" is to bash him. Or, at least it is no more our "reson detra" than it is yours to show up in every combox across the blogosphere whenever the man is criticized.

Mark Adams said...

Who knew there was a whole underground OLIGARCY of weirdos whose whole reson detra is the bashing of Mark Shea?

BenYachov,

The thing is, this is hardly an original criticism of the CfF. Now just because it's not original doesn't make it wrong but you would be well served to read around and the site and see where the issue has been previously dealt with.

Many people (including me) feel that a) Mark Shea is incapable of engaging in reasoned discussion on this (and many other) topics. b) That he has attained the status of a prominent blogger in St. Blogdom. c) That that status has rendered him influential in a certain circles, d) And therefore people who are accused by Mr. Shea of being nothing more than the other side of the Catholics for a Free Choice coin should have a place to articulate and defend their viewpoints and point out where they believe Shea errs.

Perhaps you disagree but I challenge you to read the recent posts by Torq and not find him to be fair-minded, respectful, intelligent, and fully Catholic in what he argues.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Oligarchy? I always thought this was a com-ocracy!

Anonymous said...

I stand by what I said & will add this is as tedious as that whole anti-Cruncy Con blog that mercifully went under.

Hey I don't like Rod Dreher but I have better things to do than produce a blog dedicated to wailing on him at every turn.

Weirdos the lot of ya.

-BenYachov

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Weirdos the lot of ya."

Who can argue with that stirling bit of repartee and logic?

Paul Zummo said...

I love how the entirety of his debating skill is "I stand by what I said."

Talk about weirdos.

BTW, anyone else think that I am Not Spartacus is richard Comerford?

Victor said...

BTW, anyone else think that I am Not Spartacus is Richard Comerford?

I'd bet against it, assuming that "Comerford" wasn't itself a fake persona for somebody nothing like that.

INS has an explicitly paleocon ideology, which he fairly consistently follows, including in some quite blunt ways (not a criticism; an observation). That was not Comerford's style at all -- he was always the simpleton with common sense who doesn't understand all the Big Heads, etc. Comerford also wasn't the histrionic type -- or at least not the sort that says Bush would drive him to suicide if it weren't for the Church.

Why do you think they're the same?

Paul Zummo said...

You're probably right. It only struck me that IANS has that same, weird writing style - the one where you kind of get the sense that he's arguing with himself. He's a bit off the deep end, but he is more consistently ideological than RC.

Anonymous said...

IANS is none other than Victor Morton himself. His barbarous political ideology and peace-loving faith have created a schism in his psyche, splitting him into two different people who alternately control his body. Victor Morton means "Death is the Victor", an apt description of the historical Spartacus. I Am Not Spartacus is a name precisely meant to disassociate the IANS personality from the Victor Morton personality even though they are one in the same.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

anonymous, you are so full of (expletive deleted) when it comes to victor Morton that when you die, you should offer your body for burial in Antarctica. You could single-handedly turn that continent into the breadbasket of the world, sub-zero temperatures notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I think Anonymous was joking. :) He/she is not necessarily The Enemy.

Dianonymous

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Sorry, Dianonymous (clever name, btw). I have a tendency to react strongly when people I respect and consider friends are attacked for no reason, especially by "anonymous" correspondents.

kathleen said...

"Hey I don't like Rod Dreher but I have better things to do than produce a blog dedicated to wailing on him at every turn."

Clearly you don't have better things to do than "wail" on other people for blogging about stuff that interests them. I'm afraid this makes your criticism somewhat meaningless.

Anonymous said...

>Clearly you don't have better things to do than "wail" on other people for blogging about stuff that interests them.

So? But dedicating a whole blog to such an enterprise is sure sign of weirdoness.

-BenYachov

kathleen said...

is "dedicating a whole blog" meant to sound like obsessostalking? I'll answer that: it is. so if i brush my teeth 2x daily, does that mean i'm obsessostalking my teeth? if i eat 3 times a day/clean my contact lenses/ talk on the cell phone 3 times a day does that mean i'm obsessostalking food/my contacts/my cell phone? it all sounds very unhealthy, even un-Christian, doesn't it. oooh.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen--LOL!!!

Diane

Shawn said...

Hi "IB Bill":

Ladies and gentlemen: I'm not sure who you folks are, but I have been increasingly frustrated with Mark Shea as well.

The reason I care at all is Mark sometimes shows real insight -- and has some great links. But other times he shows signs of real thought distortion.


Unfortunately, the areas of distortion have increased in recent years. It used to be a rare thing for Mark to show such distortion -so rare in fact that it did not even need to be mentioned in light of the balance of good work he had done. However, a lot of it also may be that his weaknesses in history, geopolitics, economic issues, political analysis, and the like was basically unknown.

In the past couple of years, that mask has been removed and we have seen his dyspeptic inability to deal with those who do not tip the umbrella, bow three times, and uncritically incense his various decretals on any issue whatsoever. I noted last year the degree of intellectual dependance that Catholic apologist sorts so often have and it is even worse amongst those who elevate them to the top of the pantheon figuratively speaking.

Mark seems to not understand that there are errors of proportion, errors of emphasis, errors of repetition, and errors of falsely drawn analogies.

Enough errors to float a battleship around (to paraphrase an old Skynyrd tune for a moment).

He has this "the Khmer Rouge waterboarded, so if we waterboard, we're just like the Khmer Rouge" thing he draws out.

Which is of course absurd. The manner in which we have utilized waterboarding and how the Khmer Rouge did (to say nothing of what the Japanese did during WWII) is night and day different. And no, I do not say that out of some provincialist kind of "it is okay when our guys did it and not okay when their guys do" kind of arbitrary "rationale" that the apologetics oligarchy uses to perpetuate its disgusting double standards. The methodology and application of the method itself is different in significant ways.

Recently, Opinion Journal ran an article from a government official who said fewer than 33 people have faced "coercive interrogation" techniques.

The question is, do any of those coercive techniques constitute "torture"??? It is pointless to even go over them one by one if we have not defined the term we are using to begin with.

Now, I agree torture is a moral evil.

Well, it depends on how the term is defined. It can be used in a way that embraces moral evil and it also can be used in a way that does not. (My proposed definition of the term last year -after no one else wanted to offer one- was done in a fashion that differentiated between coercive methods and accepted some while rejecting others.)

The problem with people like Mark are too cowardly to define their terms of discourse. It is no different than the radical religious "traditionalists" who try to hang the terms "modernist" or "modernistic" on a whole boatload of things they do not like in the Catholic Church (usually since 1958) and in so using those terms do not bother to explain what is meant by them. Different issues but same methodological flaw nonetheless in both cases.

But a sane discussion of what these techniques are, how to define torture, and an evolving sense of how this is handled -- is not "consequentialism on parade" or apologetics for torture.

Precisely. But that is it Bill: you obviously have a normal intact functioning brain and can make the sorts of distinctions that someone capable of or willing to use rational thought and logic does. Mark bandies about sinister slogans as a cheap way of trying to poison the well in advance of any possibility of constructive dialogue: the very sort of antics that I have come to expect from tinkling cymbals like Mr. Shea.

But worse is his use of the term "torture regime." This shows a complete lack of proportion.

Agreed. And by that lack of proportion, he disqualifies himself from being taken seriously on these subjects.

And most invidious is his comparison of "abortion regime" to "torture regime." Snuffing out 45 million innocent lives is somehow the same as whacking around 33 terrorists?

Only if you are incapable of separating apples from oranges, pineapples, and grapefruits. Geopolitical retardation is common to a lot of "apologist" sorts because the kind of fundamentalist "Genesis says 'day' so it is a 24 hour day" kind of hermeneutic is what they so often operate from.

Even if these terrorists were tortured (and let's say they were), we could agree we did wrong to them. And it wouldn't remotely compare to the evil of abortion.

Even if they were treated in a way that was labled as "torture" and which legitimately was evil (two presumptions that should not be taken lightly but for the sake of this comment I will presume they both apply), there is no rational comparison whatsoever that can be made to the taking of innocent life.

There is also a presumed bad faith.

Unless your name is Jimmy Akin and you have connections to "Kaiser Karl Keating" and the purse-strings of Catholic Answers Incorporated (CAI). Then differences even if they are the exact same thing are merely "agreeing to disagree" with good faith presumed of course. Or in a smaller nutshell: Christian charity is presumed where there is $$$ potentially to be made at Chez Shea.

I also agree that Mark's blog commenters are shockingly obsequious -- and glorify Mark in the comments.

Every Nero has his sycophants.

And today Mark's talking about his steely resolve to write a book about torture. Lovely.

Indeed. I think I need to write a book on nuclear fission myself. Course I do not know my left hand from my right on the matter but why should that matter right??? ;-)

Anyway, I have cut down my reading of him, but I do think because of his popularity, more people need to call Mark out on his astonishing thought distortions.

Agreed. And those who give Mark aid and comfort to perpetrate those distortions deserve to receive a good share of derision and contempt (not to mention lack of $$$ support) as well. Maybe then they will see the lack of "wisdom" in aiding and abetting such useful idiots for Al Qaeda.

Pauli said...

Torq, I don't know if this comment will get emailed to you or not, but my advice is to start leaving Mark Shea's comments up on that last thread. I know this blog isn't really active anymore, but it seems as if its purpose has been renewed via Mark's own actions, i.e., maniacally mocking and baiting everyone within earshot. These are not the actions of a serious Catholic writer. These are the actions of a seriously deluded big fish in a small pond. If he goes back to bashing Bush and begging for money soon he might salvage what's left of his reputation. Meanwhile, leaving his nutty comments alone will further the claims against him which this blog initially purposed to substantiate.