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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Katherine Kersten's Korner

It's time for yet another Katherine Kersten's Korner. Today, she is, like many conservatives, in histrionics over the recent anti-war rallies that many students participated in locally. Kersten, who seems to have a problem with youth today like all curmudgeons, is not pleased that high school and college students gathered together to protest the war and military recruitment on the University of Minnesota campus.

She doesn't waste much time in attacking the motives of those people who marched, saying that, "...for many of the fist-waving young people outside Coffman Union, media attention must have been the icing on the cake...Kids who join such demonstrations are likely to get their picture in the paper -- a pretty big deal when you're 17." Yes, these rambunctious teens were just looking for a way to get on TV. Perhaps some of them saw their compatriots in Madison last weekend, and felt a twinge of jealousy. Those partying rioters got their 15 seconds of fame, so how could students in Minnesota get on TV? They couldn't riot, since that was already done and it would look pretty tacky, so how about an anti-war rally? Yeah, that's the ticket! It would allow students to get on TV in a new, unique way. I'm sure that's what they were thinking.

Well, perhaps 17-year old students are not as shallow as Kersten may have been at that age. When I was 17, I was already engaged in politics, without any prompting on the part of my parents, so it is possible that these young adults are genuinely interested and knowledgeable about the situation in Iraq. If Kersten has only spent time around Young Republicans, though, she can be excused for believing that youth are ignorant and mainly interested in material possessions and/or getting some coño.

She also, in the midst of all of this, tosses in a backhanded slap against the media: "The media are generally an easy mark whenever two or more are gathered with a placard (preferably bearing an anti-Bush message)." Oh, Katherine! You know that when you rant against the "liberal media", it's tickles me so, in that way that only you can do.

What did these kids learn, according to Kersten? Well, that it's more fun to be outside protesting on a November afternoon than slogging away in geometry class, apparently (not everybody needed remedial studies like you, though, Katherine!). You know, I'm really detecting a thread of bitterness from her, aimed at those young students who were more adventurous and more interested in world affairs. It really makes me wonder if she has some issues stemming from her school experience that she needs to address.

But eventually she leaves her sad reminiscing behind and moves to the issue that really gets pro-war supporters' panties in a bunch: who else shows up at these anti-war rallies. Apparently, this recent anti-war rally was organized by a group calling itself "Socialist Alternative," a name guaranteed to flip out conservatives. Other conservatives have decried these anti-war rallies because of who shows up, like Socialists, or, God forbid, GLBT groups! Gasp! According to Kersten, these groups were simply using students for their nefarious ends, which probably means setting up workers' soviets in all major cities in the country or something like that.

Of course, the fact that this was an anti-war rally, not a pro-Marxism, rally, doesn't matter. I think it's time we remind Kersten and other conservatives that this is an example of their favorite faulty attack, the ad hominem argument, to try to score political points. Honestly, where would conservatives be without ad hominem attacks? Serving fries at McDonald's, most likely. But seriously, the people who organize a message have nothing to do with the validity of the message itself, for those conservatives who have forgotten what ad hominem means.

See, an ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy. It would not be a valid argument to point out, for example, that the conservative ideology is bankrupt because it is supported by indicted criminals, drug addicts, pedophiles, incestuous child abusers, and so on. Logically, the personal failings of those people who happen to believe in the conservative ideology have nothing to do with how valid that ideology, which is a good thing for the few honest conservatives out there, who would otherwise be drowned in a sea of filth.

Kersten, like other conservatives, can no longer find any real justification for the war in Iraq. However, their inability to admit wrong in any situation means that they simply, in a feat of psychological gymnastics, turn their moral bankruptcy against those people who were proved right from the beginning. The contortions that must exist in the psyches of people like Kersten must be, in Spock's words, "Fascinating." Unfortunately, the inability of conservatives to admit they werewrongt has real consequences, which is what those anti-war protesters were trying to say.


At 6:35 PM, November 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Star-Tribune editorial board meeting. Some time earlier this year.]

Lori Sturdevant: Usually I'd just quote Elmer Andersen in my columns as the voice of the Right. Now that he's dead, we have to find someone new to fill the role. Any ideas?

Kate Parry: I know! How about we hire Kersten again?

Sturdevant: [spraying Chablis out her nose] Girl, you are baaaaad!

[Close scene.]


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