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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The weapons of Tim Blair « Previous | |Next »
February 20, 2003

Tim Blair says it himself. He hates idiots. And he laughs at them. He sees himself beset on all sides by the stupidity, ignorance and folly of his enemies. His stance of sanity in a world of madness implies that we cannot expect reason to triumph, because the idiots are in the majority. So the strategy is to show them as laughable.

The reason is a along these lines. The best that conservative pundits can do in such circumstances of being beseiged by idiots is to discomfort the left by wielding the weapons of ridicle, of deriding their excesses and sneering against their errors. So they draw their readers into a scornful alliance against the fanaticism of the left.

Like Miranda Devine Tim scoffs at his opponents, rather than making any attempt to argue with them. The weapons deployed on the crowd below are those of irony and civilized satire, whilst the tone is one of scorn. A good example can be found in Tim's latest column for The Bulletin (subscription required). Called, 'Bin of the Brave', he says this about the UN:

"Now that he has outsourced Labor's policies on terrorism to the bunch of third-world dictators, flyblown Europeans and doomed communists known collectively as the United Nations, Simon Crean has more time on his hands to complain about the unfairness of everything."

These classical, rhetorical weapons of scorn and contempt, which are designed to wound the enemy, are launched from a citadel of unimpeachable rationality and they are driven by hate.

I do think that our Tim fancies himself as a bit of a savant who can make his readers merry by provoking their laughter at the left. Gianna's post, The Bull,(thursday Feb.13) indicates that she sees through the mask of 'the savant' to the bully boy behind.

Is the latter another mask?


| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:34 AM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

i agree, and i think it's lame when he fisks margo for petty things like apostrophes

Blair's dismissive hatred of the U.N. simply mirrors that of other American right-wing newspapers, such as the Washington Times. The Times, of course, is owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and reportedly funded to the tune of some $200 m per year to spread anti-U.N. propaganda, which Washington & Oz hawks apparently buy hook, line and sinker.

It's a bit unfortunate to see everyone talking past each other here.

Gary, I do think it is unfair to compare Tim and James to Anne Coulter. Tim *did not* call anyone treasonous. He was clearly irritated by what he perceived as the stupidity of the more vocal of the protesters. By the way I defend the protesters on my blog - I point out that despite being one of the multilateralists I felt uncomfortable marching and didn't because I didn't want to associate myself with the more extreme views but recognised that others who marched didn't necessarily share the views of the kneejerk peaceniks, so don't go stereotyping me.Summary - those on the sensible Left have to admit that there were idiots on their side who were the most vocal and most represented, the people more outraged at Bush than at Saddam, those whose sole argument against war is that it 'kills people' while ignoring the threat to the credibility of the current international order if nothing is done about WMD proliferation in inherently unstable dictatorships; those on the Right have to admit that there are sensible arguments against jumping in head first that are not anti-American. But your attack on Tim was unujustified - he was clearly annoyed at elements of the peace movemetn for their stupidity, he did not call anyone treasonous.

PS I am referring of course to these comments of yours that provoked the original furore:

Tim, we are waiting for you to push things a bit. Why not call them the enemy within? Why not accuse those who marched against a war with Iraq of committing treason.

O, c-mon Tim. Don't disappoint us. Push that envelop beyond 'peace-lovin' idealists', 'Peace Mooks', 'chicken shits' etc. Transgress the boundaries by moving beyond comments like its the '' Iraqi people the crazy Left doesn't care about.' Move beyond being entertained by the absurdities of lefty life----the capering of the love pixies-----to scorning democracy. Let us see the neo-con snarl behind the entertainer.

Hi Jason,
we are indeed talking past each other.

where did I sterotype you? Libertarianism has never come up in any of this. I have never mentioned you in this episode re the mob, herd and democracy.

I never said that Tim called anyone on the left treasonous.(Coulter did) I asked, nay tried to provoke, him to come and say it. and I did so using the weapons of rhetoric that Tim so skilfully uses. The aim was to pressure him to come out and say it.

He refused--'I don't do requests'---and he responded in terms of scorn and ridicule about democracy. I then analysed this response in terms of the techniques of rhetoric.

The comments about neocons & Anne Coulter etc were connected to the abusive remarks in my comment box. I was very careful to quote these and never said that Tim said these.

I said in one of my comments that the abusers should go and study Tim in order to learn the techniques of rhetoric.

Of course there are idiots on the left, crazy "arguments" and strange views---Tim wittily points these out all the time. He has made a name for himself doing it.

What I object to is the tone of contempt and scorn---- even though I recognize that this tone has a long and weighty history in the rhetorical tradition.

You also downplay the emotions behind Tim's attacks on his enemies in your defence you say 'annoyed' he says 'hate'.

The rhetorical tradition makes a lot of room for political hate for one's enemies. The various weapons of scorn and contempt have been developed to fight the battles and win.

Tim, more than any other Oz weblogger, understands this rhetorical traditon and he is able to use it to great effect.

Now that is not talking past each other is it?