Thursday, May 20, 2010

Illogical logic example: "proof" that the Tea Party is racist

I know a lot of people would like it if the Tea party movement were racist, so they could marginalize it, and ignore it. All I know for certain is that there have been rivers of accusations, but ne'er a trickle of actual, unambiguous, unmanipulated evidence.

But I want to focus very briefly on a bit of "logic" I heard Wednesday on Michael Medved's show. A very polite caller was trying hard to pin "racism" on the Tea Party. One of his proofs went like this:
  1. Do you deny that most of the Tea Party is white?
  2. Doesn't that prove that it is racist?
I didn't think that either the guest-host or his guest (R. Emmett Tyrrell) got to the heart of that progression, beyond heartily denying the charge. Well, one of them did ask whether the NBA was also racist by the same token, but the point seemed to elude the caller entirely.

I think part of why they didn't hammer the heart of the charge is that the charge itself puts one on the defensive. Honestly, how do you prove you're not a racist? "Some of my best friends are ____" is ridiculed as a response — but why isn't it actually a pretty good answer?

Regardless, it is deucedly hard to prove a negative. "Here, look! Here's a picture of me not being a racist!" Worse, the more you defend yourself, the guiltier you look.

And let's face it, to most of the accusers, the evidence phase of this trial is a mere formality. It's like Sherriff Cobb in the movie Silverado promising, "We're gonna give you a fair trial, followed by a first class hanging."

What I wanted to ask the caller is, "Do you have evidence of rivers of 'colored' people trying to join the movement and being shut out because of their skin-color?"

(In fact, I wanted to ask the caller if he wanted to join up, right then and there. When he declined, I'd ask him whose fault that was.)

I think the same thing about the GOP. One hears constantly that the GOP has to "reach out" to "people of color." Well, okay, fine... but how? First, show me evidence that "people of color" are trying to get in to the party, and are being shut out in some way. Then, stop that.

Why is the onus on conservatives to explain why more people of color don't join their efforts? Why, rather, isn't the onus on non-whites to explain what their issue is with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with individual liberty and responsibility in a Judeo-Christian moral framework, with protecting babies, with sanity regarding marriage, with opposing tyranny and securing our borders? Why isn't the onus on them to explain why they want to support efforts to regulate everything, legislate everything, tax everything, flatten everything, turn everyone into dependent and subservient wards of the State?

In particular, why isn't the onus on non-whites who profess faith in Christ, yet voted for a man who opposes every distinctively Christian value they hold, a man with whom they share (or should share) no bonds except pigmentation? Church parking lots with cars still bearing Obama stickers — there is a problem.

I think that's where the burden of explanation lies. In saying that, I am also confessing that I don't know the answer. I know of some forces that have contributed... but if you show me a manure-pile, and I then dive into it, it isn't you who has the 'splaining to do.

I'll be completely candid. I don't know one conservative, private or public, who wouldn't weep for joy (virtually or actually) to see "minorities" pouring into the conservative movement and filling up positions of leadership.

Also: everything I've just finished saying about the conservative movement goes double for Calvinistic Christians.

So in sum: I'm not even close to being convinced that the blame for white majority numbers among conservatives — or Calvinists — lays on whites themselves.

Not even close.

23 comments:

Al said...

Excellent Dan. The logical fallacy of affirming the consequent is easy to spot from the outside, but the emotional power of the “evidence” prevents those caught up in the error from seeing it. Once you see it though, it requires determined effort (and possibly ulterior motives) to maintain it.

al sends

Stan McCullars said...

Excellent commentary!!!

Racism is charged by people who, in general, are incapable of critical thought.

Lynda O said...

Excellent post, Dan. "In particular, why isn't the onus on non-whites who profess faith in Christ, yet voted for a man who opposes every distinctively Christian value they hold, a man with whom they share (or should share) no bonds except pigmentation?"
So well said -- those who love to throw around the word "racist" really show their own hearts, that they think others are just like them.

The Squirrel said...

Hey! But some of my best friends are amillennialists!

Squirrel

reformed1 said...

For 17 years and counting I have been married to a most beautiful woman who is black (I am white). We have three wonderful, biological children who are extremely well adapted and well thought. Based on a great "sermon" by Thabiti Anyabwile from the T4G 2008 conference on race and ethnicity we, as a family, discussed the implications of what he spoke about. In fact, we have even stopped referring to the differences of pigmentation as meaning we are of a different race because we aren't...we are all from the same fallen human race. Ethnicity does have different and unique peculiarities amongst people of all kinds but as Christians we should punch through all the garbage that Satan tries to use to convince us that there is a bona fide difference between people just because we have different colored skin. It baffles me and my wife that supposed Christians can still defend Obama that he is still the right choice to continue to lead this country just because of ethnic identification. Some of these people are staunchly opposed to gay marriage, abortion, socialized healthcare, etc., yet defend him on the basis of, "Well, we've had white presidents for so long and we should have someone who can speak and do something for us." Who is us? Especially when we are talking about supposed Christians who are part of a different family? It is baffling and frustrating! Let me also be fair and honest and admit that hateful attitudes do abound. My wife gets it, my kids get it and even I get it just for being "guilty by association". But, as I see it, it's a sin issue that causes hate, and rather than returning tit for tat, we as true children of God should be above these petty and sinful tactics of the devil to confuse us and divide us. I wish especially that us Christians would get that. There's a saying that some of the most segregated places in America are our churches. I don't want it to be true but my eyes tell me that there is some truth to it. I can't see how people can start to make a difference in the political arena with this problem when the church, for the most part, sees no problem. Sorry for rambling...but I too am frustrated with always trying to defend myself logically when the questions being debated are so illogical! But it makes it even more difficult when dealing with unregenerated people who are blinded and ruled by sin. Nevertheless, there is still a harvest field out here, and we should be looking to reap amongst all people, whether they be red or yellow, black or white. Only then can the Spirit truly start to change a person's perspective on race and conform us to His likeness so that hopefully we would all start making better decisions. Until then I think we will continue to be plagued with these lame, pathetic excuses for why this group of people should be democrat or that group should be republican. These are illogical arguments made and believed by illogical people blinded by the Liar...who is the most illogical person I know!

Lynda O said...

By the way -- great photo from the original Star Trek show.

Father of Eleven said...

So the fact that eight of my eleven children are white makes me racist?

DJP said...

Duh!

SandMan said...

So the fact that eight of my eleven children are white makes me racist?

Yes, but it appears that 100% of your canines are non-white-- so, score! Cool pic BTW.

Dan, one of the things that I like about your blog is that you are so good at saying what many of us are thinking but can't seem to articulate.

Clearly, we know that charge of racism is wrong, but like the guest or moderator on the show, can't always seem to do better than, "nuh-uh!"

Thanks for putting words to the thoughts.

Pooka said...

Funny your term "racialism" didn't actually appear in the article. But it was there...
In my job, this is so much a problem that being hamstrung from the get-go is a way of life. Even assigning someone their task for the day can become a gordian knot of carefully crafted half-statements and subtle insinuations.
Word verification: ourbow (our bow to raci(ali)sm.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

What Sandman said.

;D

Halcyon said...

reformed1:

"Who is us?"

That is the exact right question to ask. I too grow sick of people who chop everybody up into false dichotomies and categories for the sake of political agendas.

DJP:

Good form, sir.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

This excellent post could be put on the TeamPyro blogsite if politics was the topic.

To Wit:

Question: Isn't the Tea Party and the Conservative GOP racist because there aren't many minorities in them?

1st Response: "Show me evidence that "people of color" are trying to get in to the party, and are being shut out in some way."

NEXT!!

2nd Response: Ask the questioner if he wanted to join up, right then and there. When he declined, I'd ask him whose fault that was.

NEXT!!

3rd Response: "Why aren't more people of color joining Tea Party efforts? Why, rather, isn't the onus on non-whites to explain what their issue is with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with individual liberty and responsibility in a Judeo-Christian moral framework, with protecting babies, with sanity regarding marriage, with opposing tyranny and securing our borders?"

NEXT!!

4th Response: "Why isn't the onus on minority folks to explain why they want to support efforts to regulate everything, legislate everything, tax everything, flatten everything, turn everyone into dependent and subservient wards of the State?"

NEXT!!

(Why play defense when you can play offense? (pun kinda not intended))

DJP said...

So, dang... I blew four possible posts, on one.

/c:

Stefan said...

"...everything I've just finished saying about the conservative movement goes double for Calvinistic Christians."

This is why I love my church.

We've got Mennonite Christians, Chinese Christians, Korean Christians, French Canadian Christians, English Canadian Christians, Anglo-American Christians, African Christians, Arab Christians, Jewish Christians, and Greek Christians.

And we're all hearing the same sermon (translated, not supernaturally) and bending our knee to the same Lord and Saviour.

Brad Williams said...

Stefan,

Mennonites count as a race?

Stefan said...

Well, they count as an ethnic group, which was the gist of my comment—in no more or less the same way that English and French Canadians constitute distinct ethnic groups.

The planters of church 50 years ago came from a congregation fo first-generation German-Russian Mennonite immigrants, who held their services in German. One of their first decisions when planning to plant our church was witness to the wider community by holding services in English, rather than in their first language.

That basic decision has borne incredible fruit.

Stefan said...

...And maybe I didn't make my main point clear enough, which is that we are all one in Christ, and congregate and worship together in the same service, hearing the same sermon delivered by the same preacher, preaching from the same text.

It looks like Peter's Pentecost sermon in Acts 2, albeit with simultaneous translation provided through headsets, rather than through supernatural means.

It was meant as a counterexample to any contention that Calvinism is necessarily the domain of any particular group of people.

Man of the West said...

Aye, that was pretty cool, that was...

Zaphon said...

"Why isn't the onus on them to explain why they want to support efforts to regulate everything, legislate everything, tax everything, flatten everything, turn everyone into dependent and subservient wards of the State?"

i.e.....don't be Canada. Before...it's...too...laaaatee.

Christopher said...

As someone who is Black, Libertarian and Calvnistic, I love this post!

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Oh, can I relate to this comment: "Worse, the more you defend yourself, the guiltier you look."

Awesome article!

Paula said...

I attended a Romney rally last month and thought about this as I noticed how "white" the crowd around me was. Why isn't it considered racist when people won't support a candidate because of the color of his skin? At some point, shouldn't we say that minorities are being racist when they won't support white candidates?

And I totally, emphatically agree with you that I don't know a single Christian who wouldn't weep with joy to see the Tea Party and other conservative groups flooded with minorities.