by Robert Waldmann, lifted from Stochastic Thoughts
Ross Douthat may be a “total tool”
Ross Douthat is such a tool. He starts with a case of a liberal threatened with rape. He argues ” it may be that the culture war cuts both ways” That may be an insinuation which relies entirely on what may be the ultimate weasel word. Douthat can’t make the case that tehh culture war uses threats of rape both ways without uh you know doing some research. So he considers the facts he is addressing to be balanced by what may be a lazy escape to the subjunctive which may also be an attempt to deceive without quite lying by keeping his claims to vague to be false.
I definitely don’t care.
One can compare the use of threats of rape both different groups warring over culture or one can decide not to bother, but one who does both has no useful role in any discussion (let alone the New York Times opinion pages). Then he tries to equate liberal and libertine. Of course he knows that liberals contest the claim that we value only licence and don’t care about liberty. So he escapes using quotation marks “his attitude is ‘liberal’ in that it regards sexual license as an unalloyed good.” An editor (if there were one) would demand to know who Douthat was quoting. Of course he uses quotation marks because he wants to insert a false claim into the discussion without taking any responsibility for that claim.
He knows Times readers won’t accept the lie that “liberalism” means “libertinism”*. He doesn’t dare make that false claim. But he can’t resist insinuating it. So he quotes no one. I think the NY Times should have a rule that quotation marks are used to distinguish mentioning a word from using it (as I did above) or for direct quotations (in which case the quoted person or persons must be identified to the editor even if it must be kept from readers because he or she is a whistle blower or they are whistle blowers). The opinion page “editor” is not doing his job. The claim that Abe Rosenthal is an “editor,” which I do not believe, is a quotation of this web page http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/opinion/editorialboard.html
* these are legitimate quotations marks used to indicate that the words are mentioned not used as in “Plato” has two vowels but no eyes, while Plato had two eyes but no vowels.