A cheap shot

I didn’t know anything about the conservative blogger Robert Stacey McCain, though I have seen him highly spoken of. Looking for new sources of conservative insight, I went to his blog. The first item was a quotation of Alec Baldwin defending Rep. Weiner on the basis that “sexting” can be a useful form of psychological release, especially for high-profile, highly stressed men in need of recharging their batteries.

McCain’s response was not to reply to Baldwin’s argument, but to call Baldwin “a profoundly flawed human being” and, to prove the point, to quote Baldwin’s notorious phone message to his then 12 year old daughter in which he called her a “thoughtless little pig.”

That is low. Baldwin momentarily lost his temper at his daughter, in the middle of an extremely fraught situation in which Baldwin’s ex wife was carrying on a relentless campaign to cut off any contact between father and daughter. While it was a bad thing for Baldwin to say, in the scheme of things it was not a very great sin. Family members and friends do lose their temper with each other from time to time and say hurtful things, then they apologize and make up—it is one of the most common human experiences there is. And it was entirely private. But Baldwin’s ex wife, in a further attempt to destroy him, published the tape, and Baldwin’s life was turned into a living hell as our whole feminist society came down on him as though he were—what?—a child molester or something.

For an ostensibly conservative blogger to dredge up that private conversation, which had already been used so unfairly against Baldwin by the man-hating feminist lynch mob, suggests that McCain’s understanding and code of values are themselves profoundly flawed.

- end of initial entry -

June 11

Stogie writes:

Robert Stacy McCain is a friend of mine and I don’t agree with your assessment of him.

You can reasonably argue that the quote by Baldwin is largely irrelevant, but to draw such sweeping conclusions about McCain based on this one tidbit of well-publicized information is really over-reach.

Robert Stacy McCain writes:

You are certainly not the first person to assert that my “understanding and code of values are themselves profoundly flawed,” although such criticisms, and much worse, are usually made by liberals. Certainly no one who knows my work, whether friend or foe, could conceivably think that I would lend aid and comfort to “our whole feminist society” (as you describe Baldwin’s foes).

My chief purpose in alluding to the telephone message that Baldwin left for his daughter was to point out that Baldwin, like so many other allegedly sophisticated, tolerant and enlightened liberals, is an arrogant bully. This is but one more example of the yawning chasm between the beliefs professed by liberals and the lives they actually lead. And the fact that Baldwin is one of the few liberals still willing to publicly defend Rep. Anthony Weiner is therefore, I think, rather significant.

You have my permission to publish this e-mail, knowing that it will give the Left yet another “dot” to add to their scatter-chart of right-wing guilt-by-association, demonstrating that all conservatives are actively conspiring with heinous people with the worst possible motives. In fact, I’ve decided to BCC Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, just to spare her any unnecessary effort in this regard. And I BCC to others, who may draw their own conclusions as to whether you and I are actually so conspiring.

LA replies:

Alec Baldwin made an argument—a reasoned if repellent argument—explaining why he thought Rep. Weiner’s behavior was understandable. Baldwin’s view of life and morality is diametrically opposed to the traditionalist or conservative view. I appreciate those liberals who, instead of suddenly going “Yecch!” and running away from their usual liberalism into unwonted judgmentalism when one of their fellow liberals does something especially disgusting (e.g. a congressman sending photos of his private parts over the Internet), remain true to their liberalism and spell out plainly their vision of man as a being who consists of nothing but appetite and its satisfaction.

But Robert McCain, instead of recognizing that Baldwin had usefully presented the liberal view of the Anthony Weiner affair and taking the opportunity to argue against it, attacked Baldwin’s character. Baldwin’s opinion about the Weiner issue should be dismissed, said Mr. McCain, because Baldwin is an “arrogant bully” who once, in a private phone conversation that was leaked to the press by Baldwin’s vengeful ex-wife, called his daughter a name.

So my first impression of Mr. McCain was that he is a writer who indulges in ad hominem attacks instead of dealing with arguments.

And now, thanks to his e-mail, I have a second impression of Mr. McCain: that he is a writer who positively defends the use of ad hominem attacks and has no problem with them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Send

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