A few days ago I posted a rant about Tax Day. Like a very large chunk of America, I think that the government takes too much of my money, and then squanders it stupidly. So I wrote my opinions on the matter. http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/happy-tax-day/ Apparently somebody found it entertaining because it went viral and the traffic started coming in. I was linked on Pajamas Media and Instapundit, and from there it was linked to several other conservative blogs. I had 3,000 hits before breakfast yesterday, but then I inevitably started getting linked to liberal blogs and the real fun began.
The interesting thing was that the vast majority of the liberal responses followed the same basic formula, over and over and over again.
- Find something to attack about the messenger.
- Ignore or cherry pick whatever parts of the argument you feel like. (heck, you don’t need to have read it at all!)
- Use step 1 and 2 to prove your intellectual superiority over the messenger.
- Dismiss the argument.
- Repeat until nobody dares to deviate from the group think.
It was fascinating. Here, on the small scale of just one dude’s minor little blog, was a perfect microcosm of what passes for political discourse in our country. This isn’t just how I’m responded to, this is how anybody who disagrees is responded to. Many of you have probably experienced the same thing.
So I’m going to go through the liberal responses to point out the pattern. This doesn’t apply to all of them obviously, because I’ve got several very regular liberal posters here on this blog. We disagree constantly. In fact, Nick, my token idealistic college student, was arguing in favor of social programs in those same comments before the assault nuts swooped in. But that’s the thing, he was debating a point, not following the attack dog pattern. Several other liberal posters had also joined in, and it was all good intelligent discussion, but scroll down, and you can see when the alert was given to the attack dogs.
So, to break down the response pattern, I’ve tried to categorize these. It would be too much work to respond to all of them individually. (not that they would read them anyway!) They are in italics. And of course, since they decided to be mean, so did I. (you know, that whole culture of hate thing. Us right wingers just thrive on it.)
To start off, I wanted to see where all these comments were coming from. I’d been linked on a website that I’d never heard of called Pandagon. (wait, a liberal website named after an animal that’s going extinct because it’s too lazy to reproduce… snort) I was linked under “Batshit crazy” and “economy”.
Larry Correia, who is an alleged New York Times bestselling author, (apparently, he made #27 in mass market paperbacks once, which I can’t knock… well, actually, I can), is PISSED about taxes.
So first line we’re hitting point #1. Let’s attack the messenger. Because I was #27 instead of #1, I’m not a real novelist… Uhmm… No. Actually, that’s not how it works. Just making that list at all puts me in the top couple of percentiles of writers. Period. Oh, and to break it down further for you, I did that on my second book, from the smallest of the major publishing houses, with no big national marketing push, in a genre that does not typically break into the NYT until later in the series from gradual fan base growth or with a large advertising push. I’m friends with writers from Baen, Tor, Harper Collins, Pyr, McMillian, Penguin, Daw, and some others, and trust me, none of them sneer at hitting #27.
So that intro is kind of like a fat couch potato saying that a sprinter isn’t an Olympian, because he only won the bronze.
Also, the NYT is calculated in a strange manner, being weighted toward indy stores and certain regions, so to make you feel better I’ve also been on the Locus bestseller list multiple times, I was #4 in Entertainment Weekly, and as high as #4 in fantasy on the Nielsen Bookscan (which is like the Nielsen TV ratings, only for books).
Oh, silly Correia, but you’ve never won or been nominated for any prestigious literary awards! So I’m not a real writer. He he he… Tune back in next month when I can officially announce something that is going to blow your little mind.
So, I’m “allegedly” a bestselling novelist the same way you are a “allegedly” a nitwit. As in… Yes.
Larry, who works for a defense contractor, is angry about how much money the government spends, on things like defense contractors. He is also publishing four (yes, four) novels this year, which one hopes is edited for the sake of the English language.
Here we see where the lib blogger has set up the attack strategy. Almost all of the resulting posts I got were based around these themes. I’m a terrible writer and I’m part of the evil military industrial complex.
Yes, I am publishing 4 novels this year, because that’s what happens when you are popular and your books sell well. My first novel is in its 4th printing. (for all you PJM and Instapundit readers, buy my books and piss off a liberal today!) And don’t worry, they will also be professionally edited. (because, you know, writing a blog post over breakfast is exactly the same as writing a 150,000 word novel over several months)
The man is Moebius strip of loathing.
Wait, I’m so angry that I went in a circle and rolled over once? Oh, ha! I see what you did there. It’s because defense contracts are paid by the government, and I said the government spends too much money, thus I’m a hypocrite, and thus everything I say can be readily dismissed. (the author never pointed out that the very first thing I listed as needing to be cut was… drum roll please… the military budget! In fact, I spent more time on it than anything else.)
I read through all the comments there, and they were basically all about what an awful person I am, how I’m the worst author since John Ringo (Sweet! We are actually writing a series together), and so on and so forth.
So there’s the script. Hypocrite. Angry. Bad writer. Cry havoc and unleash the dogs of spam!
Everything I said can be safely dismissed because I work in defense contracting:
I believe your “defense contractor” job should absolutely be one of the first cuts we make. Then maybe you’ll have a point. Because after all, what is defense spending but wingnut welfare, patronage, and pork
Well, I’m certainly sorry that my taxes pay your salary. Does that count?
Let me address this point that came up repeatedly. I work for the a private company that is paid to provide services to the military. We compete against other companies, and the winner is usually the lowest bidder, and it is rather cut throat. Not only that, it is fairly common in this industry for a contract employee to get more work done, cheaper, than a government employee. The reason being is that it is far easier to fire a contract employee, we don’t have a union, we don’t have government level fringe benefits, the government doesn’t have to take care of us for the rest of our working career, or do anything for our retirement. If they don’t like us, they can simply not renew the contract, and if we suck, they can fire us. The military uses contractors to save money.
On the military, even if you cut it in half, there would still be a defense industry. You know those big grey boats the Navy has? Those fancy jets the Air Force flies around in? Guess who builds those… And it isn’t an E-4 that went to tech school. So saying that the entire industry is all corporate welfare is just one big strawman argument.
That said, (and once again, the first thing I listed as needing a cut was the military) if the things that I do weren’t valuable and came up as some of the unnecessary things that could be cut, then cool… So be it. My contracts would get cut. Then, like all private sector professionals, I’d go find something else to do. I’ve also been an accountant in the music and gun industries. That’s life, because nobody, especially the government, owes me anything.
So, I can’t have an opinion on taxes because my company performs services for the government… Do you allow soldiers to have an opinion? (well, obviously not, because we know how they usually vote!) Police? Firemen? Teachers? Remember that bit (well, obviously not, since none of you read the blog post you’re commenting on) about how more people work for the government now than for construction, manufacturing, mining, farming, fishing, and utilities combined? When the government gets that big, it is involved in literally everything. So by your logic, nobody should be allowed to speak out.
I notice there’s no response to any of the other things I brought up… Just about what I do for a living, and I’m okay with that getting cut. You guys are just looking for the easiest way to dismiss somebody, and since we’re coming up on a third of the people in this country working for the government somehow, that’s a mighty nifty way to shut down potential opposition.
Dude, you’re a middle manager for a company that wouldn’t even exist without no-bid government contracts. Please go Galt. You’d be doing us all a huge favor. You’re not contributing in a positive way to our society by any objective measure. You’re just a pencil pusher for a company that lives 100% off the government teat. Somalia has a low rate of taxation and low regulations. Why don’t you live there instead of the USA? Or, you know, try working for private industry instead of at a no-bid defense contractor? If you’re this great Randian superman, why are you just sitting here whining instead of starting your own company, moving to a country with lower taxes, or something like that? Oh, right. You’re just another sheep who thinks he’s a wolf. Hilarious
As for moving to another country, socialism has wrecked most of the ones that have indoor plumbing, so maybe the better question is why can’t you leave this one alone and move to Sweden?
I already owned my own business. I was a machinegun dealer for three years. (SOT Title 7) Sold it. Was unemployed for several months in 2008-09 (did not collect any unemployment either) then found my current job.
Defense Contract Worker Demands Cuts for Everything But Defense! Story on page 4
From somebody who obviously didn’t read it, since once again, the first thing I said to cut was the military, but don’t let facts cloud the narrative.
Mr. Correia, if corporate welfare were eliminated, then the bloated, useless industry you work in would be eliminated with it. If that were to happen, you would need to fall back on your own talents to survive. If this is a representative sample of your writing, then I doubt you would be much in demand; I certainly wouldn’t pay money for this stuff. So it’s likely you would either become someone’s dependent or you’d starve.
I tried to engage that guy by explaining how contracting works and we ended up having this enlightening exchange:
How is paying me to perform a service welfare?
Obviously, paying you to perform a service is welfare because it is a service the country doesn’t need, and is part of an industry which would not even exist if politicians did not need to pay off lobbyists. The only thing that keeps your industry alive is the taxes paid, willingly or unwillingly, by people like yourself. Outside of the power of the government, your labor would return to it natural value of almost zero.
Or, do you just think that we shouldn’t have a military at all?
No, I don’t think that.
Did you catch the part where we have more government employees than construction, manufacturing, fishing, farming, and utilities combined, and you’re okay with that?
It’s not even useful to attempt to have that conversation with someone as deeply deluded about their true place in the world as yourself.
That was his response. I can’t answer that question, because you’re stupid… Well, that’s certainly a display of moral courage. If I’m too dumb to grasp it, how about trying to sway the 7,000 other people that read this blog post yesterday? Chicken.
Or, I’m just a hypocrite:
Can you post a link for your rants during the Bush administration. You know when we started running huge deficits while having two wars without the tax increase needed to fund them. I’m truly interested in seeing your analysis of that outrage.
You mean the ones under a Democrat congress? No problem. I also went off against Bush’s prescription drug benefit, steel industry protection, and the corporate bailouts. Also I’ve got gigantic blog posts about how much I dislike the big government ideals of McCain, Romney, Rudy, and many other Republicans. Drat! Foiled again.
My points are invalid because I’m angry:
Take two mogadon, get a good night’s sleep and make an appointment with a therapist. Such anger about something as unimportant as money is a sign of a very serious psychiatric disorder.
There’s an old saying, that if you aren’t angry, then you aren’t paying attention. I love the whole anger angle, though. Interesting thought… if they can automatically dismiss anybody who gets money from the government (which since they keep on expanding is an ever widening chunk of the population) and they can automatically dismiss anybody that is angry (the folks footing the bill) they’ve just dismissed everybody who could ever disagree with them.
Plus I’m obviously a terrible writer:
First, it’s “whose,” not “who’s.” One would think that a professional novelist would know this. Second, I am fascinated to see someone whose day job at a defense contractor is paid for with MY TAX DOLLARS is bitching about paying taxes. I guess they didn’t teach you about “irony” in Best Selling Shitty Novel School, eh?
Man, she’s hitting all the points!
You know, if I’d been an English major instead of an Accounting major, I’d probably think that socialism was awesome too, but sadly, I learned math instead of grammar… And this has to really tick her off, but no matter how good her grades were in English class, her post right there will be the most widely read thing she’s ever written, and that’s only because I bothered to post it on my blog. That’s got to sting. :)
As usual, I deleted all the comments that were just incoherent swearing, threats, and name calling.
The reason I posted this was because I think everybody needs to realize how some folks operate. They’re bullies. They don’t like what you have to say, so they insult you until you fall into line. The more people listen to you, the more they’ll mock you. They’ll pick a couple of things, harp and them, and when that doesn’t work, they’ll twist your words into something absurd. I said the government is too big and needs to be cut, so obviously I want all old people to starve to death in big piles.
If Sarah Palin says anything, you can immediately ignore it because she’s an illiterate moron. Glenn Beck cries a lot. If any Republican says anything, ever, you can safely dismiss it without rational thought because they’re probably racist. Bobby Jindal gave a stilted speech once. Chris Christie is fat. The Titanic just hit an iceberg and is about to sink? Well, icebergs are lame and boring. Nobody wants to listen to you whine about icebergs. Quit being a fear monger!
To my liberal friends that actually have an opinion and beliefs and that are willing to stand up for them. Good for you. Awesome. I think you are wrong, but don’t let any bunch of random attack dogs from my side tear you down either. You have a right to say what you want just as much as anybody else. To their credit, a few of these new posters have stuck around to argue with my fans. More power to you.
To the majority, be proud of your beliefs. Stand up. Have an opinion. Whether it is online, or around the water cooler at work, don’t give in to the mockers. They’re the hypocrites, not you. These are the same people that will scream racism at the drop of the hat and give a pass to Harry Reid for still using the word negro in casual conversation. (and to save the posters from panda-whatever’s time as they’re trying to figure out if it is safe to call me a racist, according to the Department of Labor, I am a minority. However, Harry Reid would probably consider me “light-skinned”, and though my dad is bilingual, I’m not. So you’re safe. Go for it. You can totally play that race card now.)
Speak up. Let them insult you. Let them try to embarrass you until you submit to the group think. Wear those insults with pride. If you aren’t offending the stupid, then you’re doing something wrong.