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March 16, 2012

Stanley Fish on Limbaugh and Maher: You're God-Damned Right It's a Double-Standard and I'm Proud of That

Although Molly's Page castigates him, I actually cheer him in one sense.

When someone is arguing dishonestly, there's no point to arguing. You can't challenge their assumptions because they steadfastly refuse to confess them.

If someone actually believes Proposition A, and bases all of his thinking on it, but falsely claims he's relying on Proposition B, you can argue all day about Proposition B but it's a fool's errand because absolutely no one in the conversation actually believes or relies upon Proposition B. It's simply a distraction.

Stanley Fish actually confesses the real Proposition A underlying liberal thinking, liberal hypocrisy, and liberal double-standards: They think they're better, period.

Good. Well, we already knew that, of course, but they wouldn't admit that they base all of their double-standards on that dubious proposition. Now that it's confessed, we can talk about the real dispute, rather than silly evasions like "Limbaugh has better ratings than Maher so, strangely, he is free to say less."

If we think about the Rush Limbaugh dust-up from the non-liberal — that is, non-formal — perspective, the similarity between what he did and what Schultz and Maher did disappears. Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice. Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy. Why should he get an even break?

There is no answer to that question once you step outside of the liberal calculus in which all persons, no matter what their moral status as you see it, are weighed in an equal balance. Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.

Now that this idiot has confessed his I Like What I Like "logic," we can discuss the fact that a neutral rule, intended to be binding on all, must be "fair" to all in the sense that conduct and not status are punished, because no one would ever agree, voluntarily, to a regime in which he was punished simply for lacking the "status" of Protected Liberal Angel.

Put aside morality and simple utility still demands a neutral rule. If you actually want "rules" like the one you would impose on Limbaugh (a dubious proposition already), then you must advance some kind of neutral, fair rule that applies equally to all based on specific conduct and not on status granted by a liberal rules-making committee.

Otherwise, we won't agree to the rule. Period. If we agreed to such an absurd thing we'd be just as stupid as you stupidly imagine us to be.

If you don't want a rule to protect women from "misogyny," then keep doing what you're doing. Because a lawless law is not a law, and no one will bow before an unfair, intentionally discriminatory law.

So, we'll keep doing what we're all doing.

And liberals can know that is their own determination to have privileged status and immunity from their own "rules" that keep such rules from being observed in the first place.

Corrected, Sort of: Commenters dispute that Stanley Fish is a "liberal," at least in context (English professor in the academy).

I've clipped out characterizing him as a liberal.

Thanks to Maetenloch for the link.

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posted by Ace at 02:56 PM

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