April 29, 2003
My Ears Are Burning

I think it's about time Max Sawicky took some time off from blogging. The pressure of being criticized is getting to him, and he looks like he may freak out at any moment. A few days ago he repeatedly accused a mildly disputatious commenter named Leo Casey of sending him offensive email under pseudonyms, and it took quite a bit of coaxing by more sensible readers to convince him that sharing an AOL IP with a spammer or troll is not evidence of wrong-doing. Here's my favorite sentence:

I've been collecting suspicious IP #s for a while now.

A bit later in the same thread he expands on this hint:

All of Leo's comments have one of five different IP addresses. These match up with 11 other IPs that I've found with other names, some with multiple posts. Some are really disgusting messages, while others merely accuse me of being a supporter of Saddam Hussein. All of the pseudonymous posters' IP #s match one used by Leo. They all reflect the same political point of view.

Could that be a coincidence?

Why yes, yes it could. And I don't think Leo stole your strawberries, either, Max.

Then there's the end of last Thursday's post on George Galloway ("Andy" is a contemptuously familiar reference to Andrew Sullivan):

Andy is careful not to convict, and for good reason. It seems that ol' George has made a good amount of money by another means -- he's won about 250,000 pounds from libel settlements against some of those tabloid rags. Got to like that. Now he is suing the Telegraph, the paper that broke the story.

I would enjoy suing a few bloggers who have attacked me, but for the fact that they are less than gainfully employed and probably living on Krafts macaroni dinners (which I happen to like, BTW). Far be it from me to add to the oppression of the working class.

I do believe he may be talking about me here. As I have mentioned on this weblog, I'm currently unemployed, and I've had occasion to criticize Max more than once for dishonest posts, most recently just a couple of weeks ago, when he claimed that "The Ku Klux Klan voted for George Bush" and refused to offer any evidence to back up this sweeping statement when challenged. (My posts are here and here.) He had already banned me from his comments last October, when he claimed that warbloggers all worship Oliver North and I was rude enough to show that his evidence was completely bogus.

After sixteen days, he still hasn't come up with any evidence for his latest drive-by slur, just called me an idiot for expecting any. All in all, it looks to me like the Sawicky who needs a brand new blankie is big baby Max.

Three points in the latest argument may be worth revisiting:

1. Sawicky and David Perron have objected that the generalization about Klan was only a subordinate part of the former's argument: "The Ku Klux Klan voted for George Bush; should he be blamed for that support?" The fact that the second half is the primary point, and is perfectly valid if the first half is true seems irrelevant to me. An example will illustrate what I mean. Surely no one would object if I were to write "Even stupid people have the right to vote". For one thing, it's true. However, what if I were to write "Just because leftists | economists | antiwarbloggers | Poles and Polish-Americans | people named Max are all stupid, doesn't mean they shouldn’t be allowed to vote"? I assume most everyone would quite rightly object, and strongly. I would have clearly implied that I think leftists, or economists, or antiwarbloggers, or Poles, or people named Max are all stupid. Any one of these five statements would be (a) obviously untrue, and (b) a vicious slur, and the fact that it was a subordinate part of my argument would be irrelevant. (Just to take the last two, I only know two Maxes well enough to have an opinion about their intelligence, and I'm confident that the average IQ of Max Sawicky and 'Max Power' is a point or two over 100. The same goes for Max Sawicky and the Pope.)

2. Even if Sawicky comes up with evidence that Klan members did vote overwhelmingly for Bush, it's too late. As Aziz Poonawalla is discovering, you can't make a bold and controversial claim, refuse to withdraw it when challenged, and only then dig up the evidence to back it up. It's dishonest, even if you turn out in the end to be correct.

3. In the comments to my first post, 'gc wall' claimed:

Reagan's popularity was mainly based upon the Republican Party's reliance on racism to divide the American public so as to weaken their ability to effect policy. "Reagan allowed people to feel comfortable with their prejudices." I do not know whether Ronald Reagan was a racist or not, but political expediency has been the hallmark of Republicans after Dwight Eisenhower.

This seems obviously false to me, and not just because political expediency is the hallmark of any politician who wants to get reelected. How do I know that racial prejudice had very little to do with the election of Reagan? It's simple: I voted for him twice,† as did many long-time Democrats of my acquaintance, not all of them white. So far as I could tell, none of them were motivated by racial prejudice, and race-related issues such as affirmative action were very low on our list of factors to consider. We were fed up about equally with Carter's disastrously stupid economic policies and his spinelessly inept foreign policy. Gas lines, hostages in Iran, 14% inflation, Russians in Afghanistan, 18% interest rates, I could go on and on giving my reasons to vote for Reagan, or rather to vote against Carter.

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* The motivation of the macaroni remark is amusingly transparent. Sawicky is obviously torn between his desire to sneer at his poverty-stricken un(der)employed enemies and his unwillingness to criticize a food many working class Americans enjoy. He certainly wouldn't want to imply that he dines on lobster and champagne every night like some sort of (ugh!) Republican. Hmmm . . . I think I'll spend my unemployment check on opera tickets, caviar, and Grand Marnier! (Just kidding: opera season ends this week.)

† Until 1992 the only presidential candidates I had ever voted for were McGovern and Reagan. In 1976, I was leaning toward Ford over Carter, but the lines at the polling place were long and I didn't bother to vote. It didn't take long to realize what a mistake that was.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at April 29, 2003 01:40 AM

Maxy's wrong about Galloway suing, too. Last I heard, he was just THREATENING to sue. That's a long, long way from actually suing.

Posted by: Robert Crawford on April 29, 2003 11:03 AM

As David Irving found out, even in Britain truth is a defense to a libel suit. Max is doing a fine job of demonstrating the irrelevance of the left.

Posted by: Robin Roberts on April 29, 2003 11:16 AM

They love those "Republicans rely on racism" slurs that seem so self-evidently true to themselves that they need no further support. I suppose they need something - anything - to assuage the pain caused by the fact that, generally, when their ideas are tested against the right's in the forum of popular opinion and real world results, they almost always lose. Easier to blame it on the endemic racism of the great unwashed masses than to examine their own beliefs, I guess.

Posted by: Dodd on April 29, 2003 11:55 PM

All's I said, Doc, is that one could read the first part of Max's argument as a hypothetical. If one were willing to believe that Max had indulged in unclear or colloquial writing, that is.

As I stated elsewhere, I don't defend Sawicky. I could be counted among the bottom 1% of poll results asking for those inclined to defend Sawicky, in this country, at least. In short, I'm not sure if I'd extinguish a Sawicky-fueled conflagration with urine even were I flirting with a ruptured bladder.

I am, however, of the firm belief that such fights should be carefully chosen, and that this was a poor such choice. Obviously you disagree, and if I were I Max, I would proceed to waste several million pixels in verbiage calling you what amounts to a big fat stupid-head.

But instead I'll tell you to keep up the good work. And don't think I presume to advise you in these matters; I think you're much better at it than I.

Posted by: David Perron on May 1, 2003 12:28 PM