Another Reader Weighs In

I’m going to go against my policy of not devoting any time to people who leave me anonymous comments because the reader who wrote the missive below, whoever he or she is, takes me to task for my Tea Party comments — my initial assessment and my response to Cathy, as well as yesterday’s apology for my comments on FOX viewers. To not respond, or to keep this hidden in the Comments section, would make it appear that I’m ducking the challenge, something I like even less than I like rewarding anonymity.

It does appear that I’ve struck a nerve. I’ll let Anon’s comments fill the rest of this, other than my answer to his/her bewilderment over the phrase “intellectual foment.” It seems fairly straightforward; Google and see if there are other usages of the phrase that predate mine. To “foment” means to promote or instigate the growth of something; “fomentation,” or the act of promoting discontent or strife, is perhaps more clear. I trust that the confusion comes from my having used “foment” as a noun when it’s more commonly used as a verb, but I meant it in more of a laboratorial/growth-culture/bubbling-product-thereof sense. But by “foment,” and specifically in having said that the Tea Party is not a hotbed of intellectual foment, I mean “foment,” while acknowledging that it is also an example of the “fomentation” of political discord.

So what does the Tea Party, then, have to do with “intellectual foment”? I’ll bite my tongue here; it is, in my opinion, a movement — and I speak of the Tea Party not as an organization, which it isn’t, but as a movement — that does NOT promote an intellectual, reasoned analysis of sociopolitical and economic problems. Therefore, if I believe it to be fueled by an anti-factual, anti-intellectual approach to solving problems, and if that approach is not only birthed in but encouraged by the perpetuation of the movement, it seems clear that while the Tea Party is a hotbed of many things — you might say, for example, a hotbed of patriotic foment, or of Libertarian foment — it cannot be thought of as a hotbed of “intellectual foment.”

Whew. All this without a drop of coffee.

Anyway, here’s what my humble correspondent wrote:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post “RE: Are FOX Viewers Less Well-Informed?”:

… I am not involved w/the Tea Party, but neither do I believe that building straw men makes your case. BTW, I’m not sure that I understand how you’re using the word “foment.” Please explain that one while you’re at it…”intellectual foment.” HUH?

Exactly what do you mean when you state, “…but because they seem to believe that facts matter less than rhetoric and that sound bites equal good policy. They have chosen to abandon what’s true for what’s preferred, have been energized by rage over reason, and have entrusted their political, social, and economic futures to a group of people either as un-informed as they continue to choose to be, or who benefit enormously from their followers’ continued wanderings in the angry darkness”? From my point of view, you’re guilty of using rhetoric in this paragraph. There is nothing specific, only generalizations. First of all, who is “they?” Secondly, WHAT has been abandoned? What “angry darkness?” Can you really expect to make those kinds of statements w/impunity? To what are you referring?

I just looked up the Tea Party’s objectives, and I see nothing angry (or ignorant) about them. What is wrong w/wanting limited government, w/states’ rights, etc.? And, even if you don’t agree w/their agenda, why try to minimize them by taking shots at their intellect? Your view is an elitist one, i.e., if you don’t agree w/the goals and objectives, well, then, “they” must not be too smart, or a thinking people. Instead, they’re being blindly led. This is utter nonsense. I am a thinking person, and I don’t like big government, and I get tired of the Constitution being ignored. Geez, I’m must be ignorant, and a follower. Hogwash.

I suppose you agreed w/the party line of John Kerry and Axelrod when they stated that the credit downgrade was a “Tea Party downgrade.” Really? Why not focus on those kinds of ignorant, nonsensical statements rather than your assertions that are broad-based and sweeping? Frankly, for all your protestations, you write using lots of rhetoric and very little of substance. Please speak to the fact(s) that the government is broke, wastes our tax dollars, etc., and, how in the name of safety, our rights are being eroded (think BART turning off cell phones–I live in CA)? Just how much do you trust government? Have you ever taken the time to think about this idea that liberals bandy around about taxing the rich? Just how much do you think that you can pay toward the deficit by taxing the “rich” more? And, if you tax small businesses more, how do you think that the tax hike will be made up? All that will be done is that the tax increases will be passed on to the consumer. It’s pretty simple math.

I will wait to read more of your response.

Leave a Reply