Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mickey Kaus calls out Nicholas Kristof's "faux mot" about Republicans supporting contraception for horses but not for humans.

Kristof posted this to Twitter:

You can’t make this up: Republicans back contraception for wild horses, cut it for humans.
He explained the point at the end of his most recent New York Times column.

Kaus points out that Kristof's refusal to appreciate the views of people who disagree with him is actually unhelpful in advancing Kristof's own position:
The conservative Republican response is presumably that life begins at conception and human life is sacred, while horse life is not. Duh! Also that we worry considerably less about the moral and social effects of promiscuity and eugenics on equine society. . . .

The chances that it will actually win over anyone are nil–but it will get him applause from a large audience (at least 1,079,881 [the number of people who follow Kristof on Twitter]) of the already convinced. It’s as much entertainment as argument. Not that there’s anything wrong with it! Unless you want Kristof’s side to win.
This is not just an issue about contraception for humans and horses. There's a much broader problem with people failing to understand their political/ideological opponents' actual views (particularly the left failing to understand the right). When people do this, it's a giveaway that what they care about most is not whether their position actually prevails; they're more interested in demonizing their opponents and, by contrast, putting halos over themselves.