A few years ago, Jonah Goldberg wrote something stupid (I know) in The Corner having to do with Roe v. Wade. At the time I was taking classes to get my paralegal certificate, and Roe v. Wade was one of the SC decisions that was being discussed in my “Social Justice” class, so I had read the entire decision and was very familiar with the arguments. I emailed Jonah to tell him he was wrong, and cited the relevant passages in the decision to back it up.
I was very respectful and polite, and used only about 10% of the snark that I could have, but after a brief back-and-forth, Jonah’s last response was along the lines of, “Oh, I can see that you’re not being serious and it’s pointless to continue trying to have a discussion with you. Don’t bother replying further as I have blocked your emails. Toodle-oo!”
I am reminded of this by the current response, in the blogosphere and elsewhere, to Megan McArdle’s attempted smears of Elizabeth Warren, and by the response to Jeffrey Lord’s declaration that a lynching ain’t a lynching if there ain’t no rope or tree involved. In both cases, demonstrably false statements were shown to be demonstrably false; in McArdle’s case, by everyone from Brad DeLong, RJ Eskow and Tom Levenson to her own commenters; in Lord’s, by everyone from libertarians to conservatives in his own publication.
In response, McMegan simply goes “Tee-hee!” and calls her critics “idiots,” and continues to write stupid crap. To Lord, the criticism just proves that he is right, and that, again, black people and liberals are the Real Racists:
For Lord, the key inconsistency is that Democratic southerners were to blame both for Hall’s murder, and for ultimately overturning the conviction of his killers, and yet, decades later, Sherrod sympathizes with the Democratic party.
“I understand that people on the other side are going to go poopoopoo and the Nixon Southern Strategy and all that kind of thing,” Lord said. “To think that this was just, all these people just switched their party and made the Republican party segregationist is just nuts. I was there.”
Lord stands by his initial criticism too: that Sherrod was wrong to use the term “lynching.”
Time and time again we see that no matter how many times right-wing trolls and libertarians are proven to be wrong, lying, misinformed, disingenuous, stupid, lying, sloppy, craven, hacktackular, and lying, their response will be to dig in deeper, and call all of their critics crazy left-wing ideologues.
Jonah was right. You simply can’t have serious discussions with people who are not willing to admit their own mistakes and own up to their failures. What’s the point? The most respectful, reasoned argument in the world isn’t going to matter to a Reaganite who thinks that three people beating a black man to death with fists and blackjacks does not constitute a lynch mob. Really, the only thing you can do is crush their empty little heads and move on.
UPDATE: This certainly explains a lot, especially the part where “a family history of McArdle syndrome increases the risk.” As we know, Megan “come(s) from a family of academics who are actually intellectually intimidating,” which probably means they made fun of her inability to perform simple math functions.