Childish scribe does it again: What have they done with the real Kevin Drum? You know? The one who used to be bright?
We asked the important question last week and actually got a reply. In our view, the answer was so childish and so silly that we haven't been able to bring ourselves to comment upon it.
According to Drum, the real Kevin Drum died on November 8. A new Kevin Drum has taken his place. This self-serving answer is morally gross in an array of ways.
Can we talk? Kevin Drum sat out the several decades of war which led to November 8. One day later, he apparently decided it was time for a new Kevin Drum to stage an heroic new fight.
The way he's chosen to fight is unintelligent, silly, dumb. Consider the latest post in this ridiculous street-fighting line. It appeared beneath this street-fighting headline:
"We Need to Agree On a Set of Rules For Calling Something a Lie"
Jesus H. Trump! The English language assembled that "set of rules" way back in the annals of time.
When can we fiery pseudos say that Trump has "lied?" In his latest silly attempt to outfit himself with powerful bombs, Drum has a particular type of instance in mind.
He starts with Trump's ridiculous recent assertion, in which he said that news orgs are now refusing to report terrorist attacks. Let's quote Trump with a bit of precision:
“Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland, as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino and all across Europe. All over Europe it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported, and in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.”
As with many statements by Trump, his claim was so vaguely worded that it's a bit hard to paraphrase. When his press secretary pretended to offer examples of this offense on the part of the press, he committed his latest inane, giant fail.
It was Trump's latest ridiculous statement! Wanting to know if he can say that Trump "lied," Drum posed this silly, dumb question:
DRUM (2/6/17): So here's a good question: If someone says something with no evidence, is it a lie? Please don't try to evade the question with a knowing reference to On Bullshit, either. Let's assume—because I'm a charitable guy—that Trump isn't affirmatively aware that there are no terrorist attacks that the media has ignored, and is deliberately saying the opposite. Let's assume, instead, that he just doesn't know, and said it because it sounded good.That question, which is ambiguously worded, is dumb in a wide range of ways. (Regarding the ambiguity, did Drum's malefactor offer no evidence? Or did it turn out that his malefactor actually had no evidence?)
Is that a lie?
However we may resolve that point, Drum's question is dumb in several ways. Let's get started:
Drum already knows the answer:
Drum is a native speaker of English. He has spoken English his entire life. At least theoretically, this means that he already knows "what to call" a bit of behavior like the behavior he describes.
Newsflash! There are many unflattering things you can say about behavior like that. For ourselves, as a general matter, we wouldn't start with "lie."
Drum's question has little application to the real world:
Is the behavior Drum described a lie? Even as a theoretical matter, the question is basically dumb. But out here in the actual world, the answer is unlikely to matter. Here's why:
When Trump makes his next ridiculous statement, Drum will have no way of knowing whether Trump has made his statement "with no evidence." He'll also have no way of knowing whether Donald J. Trump believed that he had any evidence.
There will be no way to know these things. For that reason, a theoretical answer to Drum's question will have no real-world applications.
Trump makes ridiculous statements all the time. Given our assessment of Trump, his next ridiculous statement could stem from various causes:
It's our impression that Trump will say X, Y or Z even though he knows that X, Y or Z is false. (By tradition, this is a straightforward "lie.")
It's our impression that Trump will say A, B or C when he doesn't have any idea whether his statement is accurate. (By tradition, that is "reckless" behavior. By tradition, many other unflattering terms may apply.)
It's our impression that Trump may tend to believe a lot of crazy claims. The next time he makes a ridiculous statement, it may be some crazy thing he has heard somewhere and really believes to be true.
Alas! The next time Trump makes a crazy statement, Kevin Drum will have no way of knowing which category the statement belongs to. Unfortunately, people like Drum can't get a simple point like this through their thick tribal heads.
It doesn't even matter whether it's a "lie:"
People like Drum will typically be working from a strange, Trump-like conception. It will seem to them that it's bold to say that somebody "lied," and that no other accusation, description or charge could possibly be effective.
Such thoughts should carry a label saying "mental age 2." Ther are many ways to call a crazy statement a crazy statement without feeling the need to start an argument through the use of our favored bomb, "lie."
Donald J. Trump makes ridiculous statements pretty much all the time. Sometimes he makes sweeping claims which fly in the face of established facts. Sometimes he makes sweeping claims—claims which transparently seem to be false—in the absence of any apparent evidence.
Sometimes he makes inflammatory statements which are so vaguely worded that it's hard to establish what he actually said.
(To this day, have you ever seen a competent paraphrase of what Trump said on June 16, 2015 about all those "rapists?" We haven't! Nor have we seen any liberal "intellectual leader" who seems to be aware of this interpretive problem, or of the best way to describe such sweeping insinuations.)
Increasingly, our hapless team knows only two words; we know the words "racist" and "liar." The use of either term is an almost surefire way to start a debate you're destined to lose, except in the minds of other tribals who are even dumber than you are.
The Conways and the McEnanys are thrilled when we take out our bombs. We need to learn to use our words. There are many more words than those two.
Let's repeat a basic complaint. Drum's childish attempts to define the term "lie" are the work of a man who sat out the 25 years of war which sent Trump to the White House.
On November 8, he decided to fight. Someone should tell him to stop.
Like many others, he's ducked this game his whole adult life. He brings few skills to this fight.
Coming: More on the lunacy of Kellyanne Conway, against whom Drum wants to unloose his most favoritest bomb