Friday, August 6, 2010

Bob's Conspiracies about the Prop 8 Ruling

Bob, like every right-wing paranoid, demands his listeners believe in conspiracies. These aren't elaborate or fantastical conspiracies, they are simple, unsubstantiated claims that demonstrate that everyone except Christian Republicans have ulterior motives.

This is Bob talking about the recent ruling from the Federal District Court, in which the court overruled California's Proposition 8:

Bob makes 3 points:
1) The will of the people is the final determination of what is "constitutional."
2) Judge Walker, placed on the Federal bench by George H. W. Bush, isn't a proper Republican because he is "liberal."
3) Finally, because Judge Walker is a homosexual, he has an inherent conflict of interest.
Did you notice that Bob provided absolutely no evidence for any of his claims?

Beyond the fact that Bob provided no evidence for any of his points, he's also wrong on all three points. Let's examine them in order:

First, Bob asserts that the will of the people is the final word on what is Constitutional. If this is true, then all rights are determined by mob rule. Think about it: Could a popular vote revoke your First Amendment right to Free Speech? Could slavery be reinstated by a majority that votes to revoke the Thirteenth Amendment? Could a majority of Americans pass a Constitutional amendment that requires the death penalty for all red-headed people?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then human rights are not determined by popular vote. Bob provides no reasons why it's proper for rights to be determined by the mob.

Second, how does Bob know that Judge Walker is not a proper Republican? And, more importantly, what authority does Bob have to determine what the correct Republican position's is? What standards does he apply? Apparently, it's as simple as Bob not approving your point-of-view. If Bob doesn't like your position on a particular issue, you don't get to be in his club. This puts Bob on a witch hunt for the party disloyal, and he gets to play judge, jury and executioner.

Finally, why does Bob assume that because Judge Walker is homosexual he is incapable of properly applying the law? Why does sexual orientation give rise to a conflict of interest? Further, has Bob presented any evidence to support his accusation of a conflict of interest? No, Bob provides no answers. He just makes accusations and draws wild conclusions.

And note the rhetorical trick that Bob is using: Bob doesn't comment on the substance of the ruling. Bob doesn't examine the Court's finding of facts or legal conclusions. In fact, Bob fails to take up the actual issues that the parties to the suit presented. Bob would rather convince you that Judge Walker is corrupt, and, that because "the people" voted on Proposition 8, it is now sacrosanct.

Conspiracy theories work in a particular way: The proponent of the theory laces a few facts with unprovable conclusions to convince you of some absurdity. For a guy who insists that he provides scads of evidence, Bob's reasoning is sloppy, worthy of an uneducated, paranoid mind.


scooter said...


It's great to have you back.

Bob's claims about "facts, logic, etc" are nothing more than rhetorical tricks. I often wonder whether he's actually trying to convince himself.

scooter said...

Great to see you back!

Irl Hudnutt said...

Nice to be back, Scooter.

Pat said...

Unfortunately for those of us wanting fresh entertainment from him on a regular basis, Bob isn’t very creative when it comes to preparing his scripts. This is understandable, since, as you point out, he’s an expert in nothing. Consequently, most of his “analysis” relies on those with a slightly higher degree of expertise (perhaps his bartender) to lay down the contours of his point of view.
This leads him to do in this instance what he does regularly: advance an argument (such as it is) that’s been ripped to shreds by thousands of people already. To elaborate: let’s say that the judge is gay (apparently, even the idiots who made the rounds of talkshows to express outrage at the ruling can’t state unequivocally what the judge’s sexual identity is, admitting they don’t really know and aren’t sure it’s relevant). On Bob’s view, this means he’s biased against Prop 8. But, of course, by this reasoning a straight judge would be biased also, just in favor of Prop 8 (in Bob’s world, it’s impossible to sympathize with someone who’s not exactly like you). Indeed, if having a sexual identity makes a jurist hopelessly biased, it would seem that we’d need someone with no sexual identity to render a just verdict. But then such a being would need to be told what was at issue and why it was important, since it wouldn’t be able to figure this out for itself. Once told, the verdict would have to appeal to mere rationality: the evidence and what it demonstrated, without reference to personal experience. Oh, wait a minute, that’s what we got. So the kind of jurist Bob would endorse would’ve arrived at the same conclusions. But there’s more – it seems having a sexual identity or not having one (ex hypothesi) makes no difference in arriving at a just verdict. But this baffling to someone who’s convinced that the reason it’s important to vilify gays is because they have a deleterious effect on society. It seems they don’t after all – at least no more so than straights or others, as long as everyone keeps respective biases in check through a sense of civic obligation. But this, in turn, undermines the theocratic aspirations of Bob and those of his ilk.
And this is why Bob is entertaining, even when he’s not original: the slightest modicum of sincere thought makes his position implode.

Irl Hudnutt said...


Two points:

First, you hit the nail on the head when you talk about Bob and his scripts. If you listen to him regularly, you'll note that he trots out the standard tropes and calls them arguments. For example, anytime anyone (justifiably so) criticizes Sarah Palin of being a moron, Bob pulls out his book book of Obama "errors" and claims that he could make the same criticism. This is a weak because if Dutko ever compared the education/intelligence of Palin and Obama, Palin would be come off as the first class moron she is.

Second, there's an implication of Dutko claiming bias by Judge Walker that he fails to recognize. If Judge Walker is biased because he is allegedly gay, then we need to look for bias in other judges as well. This means that judges who are coincidentally Christian should be disqualified from hearing any First Amendment cases in which Christians are involved. Because Christian judges wold be biased in favor of Christian defendants.

But Bob won't advocate that position because Christian judges are doing the Bob-approved "will of God."

Another fine example of Dutko illogic and hypocrisy.