Friday, February 09, 2007

Right Wing Civility and Substance?

As I drove home from the bowling center this morning, I tuned in to the Dennis Prager show and heard a caller say that he'd just had an unpleasant exchange with liberal talk show host Ed Schultz on Schultz' program in which Schultz had angrily called Prager insulting names. Prager replied that while there are certainly exceptions on both sides, he generally finds people, including media representatives, on the political right to be far more civil and substantive in their arguments than are those on the political left. Prager opined that people on the left habitually engage in name calling and other ad hominem attacks to compensate for the weakness of their positions. Is this your perception as well?

My own perception, as one who has traditionally leaned decidedly to the political left in most respects, is that Prager may be correct. Not that I've sampled that many right wing television and radio programs, but I've sampled enough on the other side of the aisle to conclude that there is a lot of name calling and personal attacking from the left, and that people on the right, such as Prager, Michael Medved, and Hugh Hewitt, do tend to stick to issues rather than attack persons, and to frame rational arguments even if I disagree with many of their conclusions. Perhaps your perception is different.

In any case, I would love to see people in the media from all across the political spectrum express their views and disagreements with other people's views with civility, respect, and reason instead of resorting to intellectually bankrupt personal insults. I would also like to see more of this in Internet discussion forums. And while I can't force others to live up to this ideal, I can strive do a better job of living up to it myself.

1 comment:

CC said...

With all due respect, I believe it is the other way around, Nagarjuna.

I believe that Right-Wingers are so barren of facts that appealing to the "ad hominem" is one of their very few tools and modes of debate.

Obviously, their number one course of action is to concoct never-ending "unsubstantiated claims."

Thanks, CC