I was recently introduced to Steve Nichols and his “Morning Drive” talk radio show out of Valdosta, Georgia. I even called in this morning and, right before I got through, I heard a caller who is known as ‘Richard’ (I am told this is not his name, and that ‘Richard’ has a history of being very evasive with giving any personal information). After the show, I received a private message from ‘Richard’ on Face Book. Once I read the message, I realized I already know ‘Richard.’ No, I do not know the specific individual known as ‘Richard,’ but I know the Spirit behind him. I’ve dealt with it many times and have decided to deal with it yet again — for the benefit of whoever this may help. But first, before you continue reading, I beg you, please watch this short video. I want you to be able to see and hear me, so you will know I am not upset, angry, yelling, pounding the table or getting personal in the post that follows. The best way I know to do this is to let you see and hear me say it, so, please, start with this video:
Now that you have seen the video and you have some idea of my emotional state as I write this post, let me start by sharing what ‘Richard’ sent me. Here is how he introduced himself:
Hi Joe. It’s your progressive friend Richard Marx. First, I’m a devout Christian who believes in the teachings of Jesus. I also believe in the constitution and the freedom it gives me to do so. We certainly do have immorality today but less of it overall than at any point since the founding in 1776 or before.
And here is his next message:
My degrees are in history, biology and neuroscience. There have always been transgender men and women. These people are born that way. Today we have a better understanding of the neurological condition they have and don’t burn them alive as they did in the 17th century. That was the law then. By the 19th century, prison for them was the law. To me, what we do today is more moral. We allow them to live as who they are mentally and neurologically and don’t try to enforce by law that what is contrary to nature….Are you homophobic? You seem to have a right-wing sense of morality. Regarding the founders. They were having more sex than a Bang Bros porn movie. Ben Franklin’s favorite prostitutes were Anna-Louise D’ Hardancourt, Madame Helvetius, Madame Facault, Madame La Veillard, Madame La Ray of France. Catherine Ray, Margaret Stevenson and Georgina Shipley of New England. He also had affairs with Countess Wilhemina Gdowkin and Countess Diane De Polignac of Europe. Much of this while married to his wife Debrah Reed fathering at least 15 children by adulterous sex. Thomas Jefferson fathered at least 6 children with a slave girl starting when she was 14. Back in 1850 age of consent ages by law in the states ranged from 7 to 12. You on the right have this twisted idea that morality declined because of liberalism in the 20th century but Jesus was the best known liberal who ever lived. What do you base morality on? The Hebrew Bible? The New Testament? It says 14 times to obey the Hebrew Bible. Most Christians have broken many of those laws daily. Starting with British law of the 17th century through the U.S. laws of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21 centuries, there’s just no question the laws of today are more moral. The conduct of the people and the institutions are also more moral overall. Bad or disrespectful conduct is more out in the open today but what was actually done in the past was far worse. In 1905 Lowndes County Georgia had five working brothels. Four girl brothels and one boy whore brothel. The girls were as young as 13 and the boys as young as 9 dressed as girls. The Sheriff got a cut of the money to look the other way. You do have child porn and human traffic of sex slaves today but nowhere near the extent of years and decades past.
OK, I propose to focus strictly on the central argument in ‘Richard’s’ comments: that we are more moral today than at any time since the founding. I intend to do this a point at a time, so this post will be lengthy (for which I apologize). However, the point is to show how, where and why people such as ‘Richard’ deceive (often, even themselves). I am not being personal. In fact, I plan to address ‘Richard’s’ arguments, and not him, personally. Unfortunately, in the case of people such as ‘Richard,’ it can be very difficult for them to tell the difference. But, before we start the point-by-point, I would like to offer a few observations.
1 — By not giving his real name, or any information about who he is and what he does in ‘real life,’ ‘Richard’ acts immorally. This is because he is being intentionally deceptive. Did you notice how I made the video before I started this post, so you could see and hear me and use that information to help you evaluate my written words? And if you heard me call in this morning, I gave you my real name. I am not hiding anything from you, which means I am being honest with you. To hide who I am is to be dishonest, and that is immoral behavior. In the past, the majority of Americans did not act this way, so this undermines ‘Richard’s’ claim.
2 — Richard makes a point to identify himself as a ‘Progressive.’ If the reader knows the history of the Progressive movement, then the reader may know that the Progressives appropriated the term, ‘Liberal.’ They did this to hide who they were because they had turned the American people against anything connected to the term, ‘Progressive’ (this happened shortly after the Woodrow Wilson and prohibition years). What’s more, the term, ‘Progressive,’ is itself deceptive in that it was chosen to hide the true agenda — Communism. I do not make this claim of my own opinion: it comes directly from the essays of Woodrow Wilson, the father of modern American Progressivism. In both cases, this means ‘Richard’ has willingly identified with an agenda that deceives with its own name. Again, deception — especially for the purpose of influencing what people think and do — is an immoral action. In the 1920’s, our nation was still moral enough to turn violently against this practice. Today, Progressives boast about it. This can hardly be said to demonstrate moral improvement. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
3 — This brings me to ‘Richard’s’ claim to be a devout follower of the teachings of Jesus, Christ. Let me just say that, as a Christian, myself, I find it very difficult to accept that a person is a disciple of Christ when they simultaneously boast about being a Progressive while hiding behind a fictitious name. Jesus had a few words for those who naturally hide the truth and intentionally deceive, and these words are not kind to such people. Jesus also had words for those who claim His name but do not obey His Word. Again, the warning Christ gave to such people is harsh, and the end result is terrifying to imagine. So, I hope and pray ‘Richard’ would yield to the Word of the Lord and not his own will.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the argument ‘Richard’ made in his second message:
My degrees are in history, biology and neuroscience.
Degrees do not matter to me, and they shouldn’t matter to the reader. I have a degree in Philosophy and Sociology, and I make my living in History. Also, I am a semester shy of a mechanical engineering degree. None of this means I have any better or greater understanding than a person who has never been to any formal school. It just means I paid a lot of money for a piece of paper with some letters on it. For this reason (my personal experience with the university system), I can honestly say ‘Richard’s’ degrees (and mine, for that matter) mean NOTHING! In fact, they suggest ‘Richard’ is most likely indoctrinated and, therefore, has been formed into a person who is anti-truth. If so, then it is also likely that ‘Richard’ has been taught to ‘auto-protect.’ By this, I mean he has been programmed to respond to anyone who tries to educate him with the truth by calling that person names and making personal attacks and, if this fails, by becoming violent. If one looks for it, one will find this behavior in many of our millennial college graduates. Therefore, mentioning his ‘education’ is a failed attempt to ‘appeal to authority.’ It is a fallacy (i.e. a mistake in logic/reasoning) and is sound reason to question the validity of a person’s argument.
There have always been transgender men and women.
I am going to hold ‘Richard’ to strict definition here, so I am going to say this is not true. To be ‘transgendered’ means one has to have had surgery to convert one’s external parts to resemble those of the opposite sex. Now, to be totally open and above-board here, the meaning of this term has been as ‘fluid’ as the people who constantly define it. Today, it is defined as a person who merely ‘identifies’ as a member of the opposite sex. But then, even the use of the term, ‘gender,’ is a problem as, before it was appropriated, ‘gender’ was used to refer to parts of speech. What is really meant here is ‘sex,’ but this word cannot be used because it would make it too obvious that one either has XX or XY chromosomes or one does not. But to get to the point I suspect ‘Richard’ is trying to make is that there have always been people who ‘deviate’ from the norm. Yes, this is true, but that does not have anything to do with whether or not our society has become more or less moral.
These people are born that way.
This is known as an unsupported assertion. It is another fallacy. The fact is, there is no medical evidence to support this claim. However, on the other side of the issue, there is a lengthy record of factual evidence supporting the assertion that we are actually dealing with mental/emotional illnesses here. Back in the 1970’s and before, the medical profession listed people who identify with the opposite sex or who are attracted to the same sex as having a mental illness/disorders. Consequently, they treated these people in an appropriate manner. Up until treatment was forced to stop, the medical profession reported a 98% cure rate with a less than 5% recidivism rate after proper treatment. In the medical community, a 93% cure rate is called ‘proof:’ in this case, it is proof that the diagnosis and treatment are correct. What’s more, there is an abundance of anecdotal testimony from those who have been cured that testify to this truth — testimony that is routinely hidden by the ‘pro’ side of this issue. Just like the ‘pro’ side does not tell you that most transgendered, etc. have suicidal impulses with some 45+% actually attempting suicide at least once. But set all this aside and consider this question: Which is the more moral action: helping 93% of those who have confusion over their sexuality come to lead happy and productive lives through treatment, or forcing the whole of society to treat these poor people as though they were perfectly normal while allowing them to remain confused and at high risk of suicide?
Today we have a better understanding of the neurological condition they have and don’t burn them alive as they did in the 17th century.
As I just detailed, we did have a better understanding. However, we have have turned our back on it in favor of a politically enforced social agenda. What we have now is a minority group that has found a way to force their agenda upon society, as well as its continuation. The mechanism by which this is done is called ‘Political Correctness.’ Another term for political correctness is mind control, which is among the most immoral actions known to man.
That was the law then. By the 19th century, prison for them was the law. To me, what we do today is more moral.
By forcing the whole of society to make allowances for people who can be shown to have a treatable mental illness in not ‘moral.’ What’s more, refusing to recognize and treat those who are struggling with this problem is equivalent to ignoring the plight of the mentally ill on our streets. How moral was it when we ‘freed’ the mentally ill from their institutions back in the 1970’s? We had a campaign that complained about the conditions of the hospitals where these people were kept, but the solution was to turn them loose to fend for themselves. Today, these people make up the majority of those we call ‘homeless.’ These are directly equivalent issues, and the way our society has handled both is anything bu ‘moral.’
We allow them to live as who they are mentally and neurologically and don’t try to enforce by law that what is contrary to nature….Are you homophobic?
And there is the name calling (the fallacy is ad hominem) 🙂 This is 100% predictable — just as it is 100% predictable that my last few comments will get me labeled as homophobic and a hater. But, in truth, ‘Richard’ has just argued that the only ‘moral’ way to treat these people is to make them feel welcomed in our society. Do we treat those with recognized mental problems this way? How about pedophiles? They can claim they are born as they are and, if they do, what argument can we make against them? They would be using the exact same argument used by the LGBTVQ community. Well, if you accept the LGBTVQ argument, then you have to accept that of the pedophile or you are being logically inconsistent and, therefore, ‘immoral.’
You seem to have a right-wing sense of morality.
Another predictable but less obvious insult, which means: another fallacy. Here’s the thing: if morality exists, it is not right or left, it just is. What’s more, it is universal: it must apply equally to all people, in all places, at all times. Otherwise, there is no such thing as morality, and if there is no such thing as morality, then there is no such thing as responsibility, or justice, or law. There is only ‘might-makes-right.’ If this is the case, then ‘Richard’s’ argument is totally irrelevant. On the other hand, however, if morality does exist, then anyone who is inconsistent in their reasoning is in violation of those moral laws and, therefore, acts immorally.
Regarding the founders. They were having more sex than a Bang Bros porn movie.
Humans have always been sexually immoral. The comment is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not we are more or less moral. ‘Richard’ claims to be a Christian. Hasn’t he read the Scriptures? Scripture details sexual immorality in great detail, many times. It also demonstrates that it leads to social ruin, every time. At least, in the time of the founders, people had enough shame to hide their sexual immorality from public. This is a clear indication that their sense of moral right and wrong was far greater than what we have today. Again, we find that the facts do not support ‘Richard’s’ assertions.
Ben Franklin’s favorite prostitutes were Anna-Louise D’ Hardancourt, Madame Helvetius, Madame Facault, Madame La Veillard, Madame La Ray of France. Catherine Ray, Margaret Stevenson and Georgina Shipley of New England. He also had affairs with Countess Wilhemina Gdowkin and Countess Diane De Polignac of Europe. Much of this while married to his wife Debrah Reed fathering at least 15 children by adulterous sex.
This is all irrelevant to the discussion, which meas this is the fallacy of red herring. Continuous fallacious argument — especially when we are discussing matters of public policy — is immoral.
Thomas Jefferson fathered at least 6 children with a slave girl starting when she was 14.
Actually, this is a false accusation levied by people who sought to destroy America’s admiration for Jefferson. Genetic testing on Jefferson’s living relatives suggest that it was actually Jefferson’s brother. This is born out by the timeline, which would have placed the young lady and Jefferson in different parts of the globe at the time necessary for Jefferson to have fathered the child in question. However, none of this seems to matter to any of those who continue to advance this claim. Intentionally advancing a falsehood for personal or political gain: is that a moral action? The Dictionary calls it a lie, so is lying a moral action? Jesus said no. He said those who habitually lie are of their father, Satan. I’ll leave the reader to decide this one for themselves.
Back in 1850 age of consent ages by law in the states ranged from 7 to 12.
Back then, a male was considered an adult at 13, and young girls were sometimes wed shortly after puberty. It was a different world. So, ‘Richard’s’ point is irrelevant. In fact, by comparing two things that have no direct comparison and implying that he has made a point, ‘Richard’ has committed another fallacy. This one is known as false equivalence. But there is one more point here. If homosexuals are born that way, then so are pedophiles. So why is ‘Richard’ implying there is anything wrong with having sex with young children? In fact, ‘Richard’ keeps cherry-picking examples from history (btw: that is another fallacy), so why didn’t he tell us about the practice among the Greeks and Romans (to mention a few) of having boys as young as 8 and 9 years old as sexual apprentices? If he thinks our current protection of children is evidence of how we are more moral today than in the past, then he has to deal with the fact that it was Christianity that changed this: the same Christianity that also drove out the morally corrupt practices ‘Richard’ claims are natural. ‘Richard’ is free to believe whatever he wishes, but he is not free to claim one thing to be immoral, then turn and claim the exact same equivalent is not. That is immoral in and of itself.
You on the right have this twisted idea that morality declined because of liberalism in the 20th century…
This is a deep subject. The ‘Right’ is correct when it accuses Progressives of attacking the moral foundations of America. This is because the Progressives actually said they intended to do exactly that! One must read the Progressives to find these assertions, but they are there. I have detailed many of them here on The Road to Concord. So this statement does not help ‘Richard’s’ argument. In fact, it undermines it.
…but Jesus was the best known liberal who ever lived.
This is a border-line lie. If ‘Richard’ means Jesus was what we now have to call a ‘Classic Liberal,’ then yes, ‘Richard’ could make this case. However, if ‘Richard’ means Jesus was a Progressive/Liberal, then NO! Christ was as far from that as a person can possibly be. Progressives have openly stated that they seek to re-make human nature according to their wishes, and that they can and will make man into his own god. In fact, one of the men who said this — a man who is called the father of modern American public education — even said that the teacher would be the prophet of this new religion (man as his own god). The man was a Progressive. His name was John Dewey. He spoke for the Progressive movement at the time (Woodrow Wilson said he sought the same thing, only he wanted to use the universities to do it). If anyone who has read the Scriptures thinks Jesus would have supported this…
What do you base morality on? The Hebrew Bible? The New Testament? It says 14 times to obey the Hebrew Bible. Most Christians have broken many of those laws daily.
Again, this is deep subject that is only tangentially related to the issue at hand. This makes it a red herring (another fallacy intended to deflect and confuse the discussion). ‘Richard’ is trying to deflect by using an appeal to Scripture, but he does so out of context and without understanding of the Scriptures. Not only is this fallacious reasoning/argument, it is an open attack on the foundation of morality, itself.
Starting with British law of the 17th century through the U.S. laws of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21 centuries, there’s just no question the laws of today are more moral.
Is this true? Did you know that there was a time when you could use the Bible as the highest law in our Court Rooms? How about abortion? We used to call it murder, now we define it as the termination of a tissue mass. The NAZI’s did this: they just redefined the Jews as ‘less human.’ Were the NAZI’s actions moral? If not, then how can our laws regarding abortion be moral? The founders had laws against sexual immorality, and it actually helped society in many ways. Today, we have all but removed such laws, and society has suffered for it. How is that more moral? The founders had laws that restrained corrupt business practices. Today, we have legalized them. How is that more moral? If a person told a lie that damaged another Party, the founders allowed the liar to be sued. Today, our laws shield the liar(s). How is this more moral?
The conduct of the people and the institutions are also more moral overall.
Is this true? Our schools intentionally indoctrinate our children. That is immoral. Our social media does the same. That is immoral. Our entertainment media does the same. That is immoral. Businesses practice open corruption. That is immoral. Our politicians are openly corrupt but pass laws to shield themselves from their corruption. How is that moral? The founders had laws against all of these things, yet we are supposed to accept that we are more moral than they were?
Bad or disrespectful conduct is more out in the open today but what was actually done in the past was far worse.
Actually, this is true, but it does not help ‘Richard’s’ argument because it shows he is wrong. This fact actually proves there is a moral decay within our society by demonstrating the loss of internal controls on our public actions. That internal control is the essence of morality. So, if it has been lost, how can we possibly be more moral today than in the past when we still retained those controls?
In 1905 Lowndes County Georgia had five working brothels. Four girl brothels and one boy whore brothel. The girls were as young as 13 and the boys as young as 9 dressed as girls. The Sheriff got a cut of the money to look the other way.
Again, this does not help ‘Richard.’ By taking a specific example and arguing to the general whole, ‘Richard’ is committing another fallacy.
You do have child porn and human traffic of sex slaves today but nowhere near the extent of years and decades past.
Actually, this is factually wrong. There is more sex trafficking and slavery today than in all the sum total of the past. You just do not hear about it — mostly because the immoral media will not tell you about it because, if it did, the truth would undermine their agenda. Which begs the question: if we actually have more slavery today, and the media refuses to talk about it, how are we more moral than the founders who wrote a Constitution which guaranteed this country would fight the Civil War over slavery?
I started this post by stating that I knew ‘Richard’ because I recognized the spirit behind him. Well, ‘Richard’ has not disappointment me. He has been doing pretty much exactly what I expected and in the order I expected it. First, Richard sent a message that tried to change his original argument:
What is going on now immoral that’s unique to today?
Remember, ‘Richard’ started by saying we are more moral today than any time since the founding. Now, in this comment, he is trying to argue there is nothing new today than in the past. These are not the same thing. It is called the fallacy of equivocation (among other things). That is where you use the same or very similar words or phrases but switch the meanings so that people think you are still talking about one thing when — in fact — you are now talking about something all together different. It is also immoral because it is intentionally deceptive.
Then ‘Richard’ gave me what I have come to see as a programmed response to anyone such as myself — a person with the knowledge and willingness to stand up to and effectively refute them. In this case, ‘Richard’ sent me this message:
I read your editorial and did post a response. Do you not have the guts to post it? I guess not. You just want to spread your right wing hate propaganda. Don’t be scared. There are plenty of bigoted ignorant people who will eat it up. I don’t know if you’re doing the con or if you’ve been conned and brainwashed yourself. I enjoy good conversation when I have time with smart people who have a good argument. I’m always civil and respectful. You called me immoral. I just asked you what you are. Have you been conned or are you in on the con?
First, I want the reader to notice these claims:
I enjoy good conversation when I have time with smart people who have a good argument. I’m always civil and respectful.
So, it is safe to assume that ‘Richard’ sees himself as holding the high ground in terms of being civil, intelligent and in command of logic. OK, very well. Let’s test that against the rest of his comment:
Do you not have the guts to post it? I guess not.
This is a personal attack. It is fallacious. It is called ad hominem, or ‘against the man.’ Basically, it is when a person insults you instead of offering a rational argument. Unfortunately for ‘Richard,’ my training in philosophy has taught me how to spot and deal with these things, and my time as a combat Marine has more than proven to myself that I do not lack in the ‘guts’ department. So, we move on:
You just want to spread your right wing hate propaganda.
This is not necessarily fallacious, but it requires a sound, valid and rational argument supported by example and/or illustration. Since this was not offered, it is just more ad hominem and unsupported assertions. Both are fallacious. We continue:
There are plenty of bigoted ignorant people who will eat it up.
This time, ‘Richard’ attacks you, the reader. It is more ad hominem. See why I say it is predictable (and old)? Once you learn how this fallacy works, and how to spot it, you will discover that it is about 50-75% of all Progressive ‘arguments.’
I don’t know if you’re doing the con or if you’ve been conned and brainwashed yourself.
Now he gets personal by questioning my intelligence, as well as my character. More fallacies. Then we get to this little gem:
You called me immoral.
No, I didn’t. I said his actions were immoral, but I never called him immoral. You see how he has tried to switch things again? This is intentionally deceptive, and that is immoral behavior. Notice how he also claims to be civil and implies he is intelligent and reasoned, yet he constantly insults people while ignoring and even violating the rules of logic, which govern reason. Still, I suspect ‘Richard’ actually believes I called him immoral, and that he has the ‘moral high ground’ here. If so, that gives us a glimpse into his personal psychology. At the very least, it tells us he has a poor grasp of logic as well as a lack of personal awareness. What’s more, I consider my opinion as being kind to ‘Richard’ because, if he actually does have a firm grasp on logic and he does know how others are perceiving him, then the way he uses fallacious argument would mean he is an immoral person. At that point, it is a short step to calling him evil, and that is something I am loath to call anyone. So, for me, it is much more charitable to say that a person is ignorant and blind to how others see them. The reader is free to disagree with me; it’s just how I chose to behave because it is how I would prefer to be treated when I am wrong.
NOTE: look at how much I have had to write just to demonstrate how and why ‘Richard’ is being irrational. This is intentional on his part. If I have to spend this much time explaining his mistakes, I have no time to make my own argument. What’s more, he never acknowledges his mistakes; he just moves on to the next string of insults and fallacies, leaving me in the same place I started the first time. The point is to get me to defend so that you, the listener, either assume ‘Richard’ is correct by giving the false impression that he is smarter and has the better argument or — if you know better — to bore you to the point where you leave the discussion. In either case, it is dishonest and deceptive and has no place in the pursuit of truth and understanding. This is precisely why I seldom engage these people. I only did so here for the benefit of Steve’s listeners. I hope it helped because, to be honest, I am already tired of ‘Richard.’ People such as ‘Richard’ are the very reason Thomas Paine said:”
“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
One thought on “EDITORIAL: Answering a Message from ‘Richard’”
FULL DISCLOSURE, For those who happen to be new to my blog:
This blog is not a talk show or forum for open debate. It is intended to be a place of learning, so I allow conversation, but only in narrowly defined form. If it helps, think of this as a classroom. Whereas our teachers may have allowed and even encouraged open discussion in class, they also insisted that it was civil, on topic and conformed to the rules of logic. So long as comments on my blog fall inside these norms, I approve them — whether I agree or not. But I do not allow comments that are one-sided (meaning they do not answer questions but only ask them). I do not allow comments that refuse to acknowledge proper refutations. And I most definitely do not allow comments that are so riddled with fallacious reasoning as to serve no point but to obfuscate and, therefore, distract the discussion to the point where learning ends and honest people lose interest and leave.
This is what has happened with ‘Richard,’ as I knew it would. He has tried to reply to this post and I have denied it. I denied it for the reasons I just explained: his comment was riddled with fallacious reasoning and would serve no purpose but to obfuscate and lead the discussion down numerous rabbit holes that have little to do with the topic at hand. ‘Richard’ has also sent me a couple more private emails in which he did exactly as I knew he would do. He called me too chicken to post his comments. Then told me I was a right-winger who is spreading propaganda. Then called my readers ignorant, right-wing bigots. Afterward, he suggested I was either conned or conning you. then he ended it with the part I have come to despise most: he claimed to be the civil, intelligent Party in all of this. I do not understand how a person can offer a fallacious argument filled with personal insults and then claim to be honest, civil and intelligent, but I have no doubt ‘Richard’ believes this about himself. I knew he did before he ever wrote any of his last four comments/private messages.
Anyway, for those who may be wondering, this is why you will not see any response from ‘Richard’ in the comments section of this post. If this bothers you, I understand. A small part of it bothers me, too. If you do not trust me because of this, I understand that, as well. If this is the case for you, I would not blame you if you never read this blog again. However, in my defense, I have presented ‘Richard’s’ original message in full context, and then I critiqued it according to the established rules of logic. It was meant as a teaching moment and not an open invitation for ‘Richard’ to bloviate. I will not apologize for this. The best I will do is openly and readily admit to what I have done and explain why, then allow you – the reader — the freedom to draw your own conclusions and act accordingly.
P.S. For those who wonder whether or not I have singled ‘Richard’ out unfairly, I have a history of doing this with people who try to obfuscate the discussion. In fact, my most in-depth exchange with a reader can be found here:
TEACHABLE MOMENTS: Defending My Questioning of Gun Control Advocates