Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Be nice to me or I'll kill again

Now that Megan's faux mea-culpa, which only mentioned being empirically wrong about the claims being used to justify the war as a way of saying it was Saddam who fooled her, is out of the way, let's get to her "Note to opponents of the war". (Warning, long ass post ahead.)

Want to know why people won't come out and say they were wrong? This is why. If you are obnoxious to people who admit you were right, you guarantee that doing so is one mistake they will never make again.
I'm not sure what she thinks linking to the post I just covered proves in this case. It seems as if maybe she was looking for a post where she passive aggressively blames the left for being dirty and hairy and smelly and all uppity for having been correct in the most important test of political judgment in a generation. I'm not going to look for it for her, but I think we all know it must exist.
Anyhow, that little note is just the beginning. Next comes
Update To everyone who asked "Why would the behavior of the people you're arguing with matter?" I can only respond: so what have you learned during your visit to our planet?

I have no particular interest in the opinions of my harsher critics on this topic; the only interesting criticisms of my thought process so far have been made by me. But surely you have noticed that America has now hardened into two opposing camps who are often less interested in getting the right answer than in sticking it to the people on the other side? Both sides are guilty of this, and I wish it would stop, because this isn't improving matters in Iraq. Indeed, if you want us to stay there for another hundred years or so, the best way to do it is to completely alienate the moderates.
Every time I say "fuck you", an Iraqi gets shot. Megan is trying to help improve things now, by minimizing the number of reported human lives lost in the war and reflexively supporting anything the military command says. It's those of us who opposed the war from the beginning who are the real impediments to progress now, umm, cuz we're vulgar. And rude.
I am not immune to the charms of unleashing your fiery sense of righteousness upon the sinners of the world, but I try to limit my outbursts to largely lost causes. If I were that sure that I was a foreign policy genius, I would probably try to avoid doing things that manufacture more McCain voters.
Now I'm costing Obama the election. Please, kill me before I kill again. I can't stop.
Something else to keep in mind is that unless you are planning to die soon, you are going to get some major policy question badly wrong in the future, because no one is as smart as some of the war opponents have decided they must be. And every word that you type mocking the repentant supporters of the war will, I guarantee, be hauled up and thrown in your face. It is best not to fling calumny about other peoples' decisions unless you are very confident that you will be able to bat a thousand for the next forty years or so.
Know what I do when I get something wrong, Megan? I admit the mistake to myself, and any wronged parties, and try to learn how not to make the same mistake again. I don't blame the mistake on folk who inspire pangs of guilt in me for it, perhaps by not having made that same mistake. In fact, I might just inquire as to why those folk didn't make the mistake I did. Might just teach me something.
Now, I could waste time explaining to Megan that the folk who got it right were largely called traitors and worse in public for about... 3 years from 2002-5, give or take 6 months, and that that would make anyone testy, but Megan only fully participated in that with shit like the 2x4 crack, it's not relevant.
If there's one thing life has taught me, it's that when you fuck up, it's on the people who didn't fuck up with you to apologize for that and wait for you to show them why they got it right. It's only natural.
But wait, it doesn't end there. Megan is in the comments on this one, and some of her words are just too peachy keen to not note. First, a response to Nutella (I'm not going to link the comments, just include the time if for some bizarre reason someone wants to look them up.)
I didn't say they'd only been made by me; I said that so far, my critics haven't come up with anything I haven't said to myself, many times.
11:57 AM
Dude. Megan is telepathic. She knows what we did last summer.
Well, I can hardly apologize for the dirty hippy calumny, because in 2003, I was saying that both sides should be civil to each other, rather than accusing the others of being venal morons. On that, I haven't changed my mind and that's because I was right.
12:06 PM
And in 2002, mrgphfurcking 2x4s....
Now some meat
Thoreau, I'm not quite sure what any of the critics in these threads want, except perhaps a full throated grovel where I roll about on the floor and take personal responsibility for every one of the Iraqis who died, while proclaiming that I grievously wronged each of the commenters, personally.
(As an aside, Thoreau and liberalrob and newcomer, to me, rea, all deserve credit for fighting the good fight in this thread, tho I'll admit I mostly just scanned it for Megan's contributions.) Now then, Megan, I don't want an apology. I haven't been harmed, I'm not an Iraqi or a vet or the family of one. I want you, and your ilk, to stop acting as if being wrong was right, and that your mistake should be learned from instead of the reasoning which led a good number of us to get it right. John Cole has the strength of character to have the humility to do this, but most of you follow in Yglesias's footsteps and say, "well, at least I wasn't a DFH." Yeah, our extreme elements aren't always pretty. Jesus Camp is better? Conflating millions of people with token stereotypes of vegan patchouli wearing dreadlocked phish fans is just lazy, but if anyone gets upset with this they're automatically in the wrong. Manners, people. But I digress..
It seems to me that the only worthwhile thing to do with the current disaster in Iraq is to figure out how not to do that again. The way to do that is to look at the decision process that led to it. And decisions consist of forumulating hypotheses, and then acting on them. And then, hopefully, examining your actions to see whether your hypothesis was right.

I don't view this as an intellectual excercise. But you seem to have me confused with Jesus. I don't have the power to cause Iraqis to rise from the dead through my repentance; if I did, you can be sure that I would repent as thoroughly as required. In fact, I am immensely saddened that I supported a war that has caused all this destruction. But my actual contribution to the deaths of those Iraqis was extremely marginal, since I did not have any decision-making or even opinion-making power. I did not engage in the various name-calling and well-poisoning activities that y'all are taxing me for. I am not willing to be the target of your rage merely because no one else will listen.
Ok, credit where it's due, that made me laugh, hard. Megan, you can be funny, very, very rarely.
I think that figuring out what went wrong in Iraq is so important that it surpasses even the need of those who opposed the war to believe that anyone with two brain cells to rub together and an ounce of moral fiber would have come to exactly the same conclusion they did. I understand the frustration at arguing with the war's nastier supporters. But the insane arrogance displayed in these threads, wherein everyone congratulates themselves that there was no uncertainty, just blind malice and stupidity on the part of the war supporters, just sets us up for some equally catastrophic failure elsewhere.
Ladies and gentleman, we have a first. On March 25th, 2008 at 5:37 PM, Megan McArdle found something that is not about her. When I said a few posts ago that people I'm close to were wrong about the war, I meant to say I view them as blindly malicious, stupid people who wanted brown people to die. (Of course, those relative few I knew who did have all taken the Cole route since.)
That is, after all, how the neocons got where they were--by observing the colossal fuck-ups of people who disagreed with them, and concluding therefrom that they must be infallible. Since they never actually tested any of their counterfactuals, they grew more arrogant with each of their opponent's mistakes, and hello, Iraq. I think many of those who opposed the war are taking a dangerously wrongheaded lesson from its aftermath.
5:37 PM
*sigh* Well, at least she didn't Godwin us. Not quite done, I know it's hard but y'gotta see this.
Rea, first of all, if you'll go back and read that post, instead of what other people wrote about it, you'll see that it was a joking comment about violent response to people who were protesting with violence. Protesting, mind you, the WTO, not the war. It was in no way a call for people to beat up peaceful protesters. I think protests are pointless, but the right to have them is a precious civil liberty. Also, I have been a peaceful protester who almost got hit in the head, so I have a particular sensitivity to this danger. I think people who behave violently should be violently restrained, but not with a 2X4, which sounded smaller than it turned out to be.
Y'know, that's almost a good job of ass covering, even with the final touch too far. Except, well, for this.
And I think some in New York are going to laugh even harder when they try to unleash some civil disobedience, Lenin style, and some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it's applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner. [Emphasis in original]
(Side note, if you have trouble accessing that link, you're not alone. I had to use a proxy, plus it appears to have been scrubbed from the monthly archives at jane galt, tho this piece of quality work remains.) Returning to the topic at hand, Megan might have a point in her self-defense if not for the emphatic "pre-emptive".
Second of all, I wasn't incivil. I am not going to apologize on behalf of those who were--any more than I expect you to apologize for the people who called me a fascist and worse. The delusion that they are the only ones who were called names during the run-up to the war is one of the more inexplicable plaints of the war opponents, particularly the ones who themselves called me names. (You know who you are--or ought to.) The incivility was a process, not a universal victimization of war opponents as "dirty hippies", a phrase I never would have used because I am a hippie.

Ok, I'm back. Sorry about that, but it had to be done. Where were we?
Third of all, if you think that a) I was actually calling for us to invade France and b) that if I did call for us to invade France, this would actually have any consequences (other than making me a laughingstock)--well, I'm certainly not going to concede that your mental powers are better than mine.

Fourth of all, the irony impairment on both threads is amazing. The title of that post was a joke--at the expense of weaselly "I wasn't really wrong" people. The comment about France was a joke--at the expense of the crazier war supporters. You are firing on your own side.
Just for the record, Megan, when I say "fuck you", I don't mean that's something I'd like to do. I prefer not going there, but apparently it needs to be made obvious.
Rea goes on to do a good job of irking Megan and causing an Althousian tantrum, but I can't go on, and I doubt too many of you made it all the way through this, either.
I'm going to sleep now.


NutellaonToast said...

Holy crapstick. I wish I could sleep. Instead it's 4:30am and I just read ALL of that.




Anonymous said...

Great takedown... well worth the effort. This blog is truly the Pop-Art of blogging... turning mindless trash into treasure.

Clever Pseudonym said...

It's all here!

1) Pointlessly wordy and pretentious writing.
2) Megan claiming people who disagree with her "misunderstood" her point (it's pretty hard to misunderstand a call to attack people with plywood).
3) An attempt to claim hepcat credibility by calling herself a hippie (yeah, and I'm the fucking Pope).
4) Obsessive back-pedalling and overly-defensive attitude toward critics, no matter how constructive they are.

A masterpiece of a takedown, Brad!

Anonymous said...

Megan on her marginal contribution to Iraq:

"But my actual contribution to the deaths of those Iraqis was extremely marginal, since I did not have any decision-making or even opinion-making power."

Megan on the marginal contribution of people who refuse to vaccinate their children (another recent post of hers):

"Any one person's actions will never, by themselves, tip the balance. But in aggregate, their decisions are disastrous."

Cognitive dissonance?

Clever Pseudonym said...

That post on vaccination was fucking stupid. She doesn't have any special knowledge of the subject, so she uses 1,000 words to essentially say "parents should get their kids vaccinated because it could ultimately be harmful to others."

NutellaonToast said...

and she's made this argument about 80 gagillion times now. To argue against a problem that largely... does'nt exist. sigh