Thursday, 4 September 2008

Melanie Phillips: Pot Kettle Black

Until yesterday I hadn't read any of Melanie Phillips' articles for several months but, Donal Blaney drooled over her article on The Spectator blog and I was tempted to read

Mel P said,

"The more savage the left are about someone, the more you can be sure that they feel profoundly threatened by that person. Their vicious reaction to John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate is deeply revealing -- but about themselves rather than her."


"Why do the left feel so threatened by Sarah Palin? Clearly, they see her place on the McCain ticket as a major threat to Obama and thus know they have to destroy her. The more venomous their onslaught, therefore, the greater the compliment they are paying her."

I don't condone vicious attacks on anyone whether from the right or the left but Mel's certainty that the more threatened one feels the more viciously one attacks is wrong.  What she states is possible but just as likely, if not more so, is the common sporting method of attacking the weak link in a partnership.  A football team will play on their opponents' weakness knowing that they are more likely to score. In doubles tennis the weaker player in a partnership will be targeted because their opponents know that they are more likely to win by forcing errors from the weaker player.  Here, therefore, the Democrats would attack Sarah Palin, the possible weak link, knowing that by weakening her they are, in fact, weakening John McCain.  Therefore, the attacks on Sarah P may have nothing to do with the Democrats fear of her but more of targeting McCain through her.

Mel P is bright enough to now this but this option doesn't fit her certainty.  She wouldn't have been able to launch a general attack on "the left" if she acknowledged the thesis which I expound.

Melanie, does the right never attack those you would call left-wing politicians?  Of course, they do!  Using your thesis, who do the right fear so much?  Why do the right fear so much?  They must be fearful. Why not address this?

Not mentioned, is it?  Blind spot, is it?  Or do you think that the left attacks the right unjustifiably and the right tells the truth about the left?  Perhaps, Obsolete was right when he wrote these articles  (1 and 2). Are you descending into madness?

You go on to characterise the left as follows:

"But there’s a deeper reason for the foaming vituperation of the left at Mrs Palin’s candidacy. It is the same reason that they lash out at all those who are not on the left: their profound lack of confidence in their own belief system. At some subterranean level, they know they are wrong and that they cannot defend their own position. Which they simply cannot bear. This is because the left is always correct, everyone else is a conservative and therefore if they are wrong about anything they will also be -- a conservative! They'd rather pull out all their fingernails. Which is why they are so vicious: instead of reasoned argument with their opponents they resort to demonisation, intimidating and browbeating any opposition or dissent to shut them up altogether.

Central to this aggressive defensiveness is their feverish characterisation of all dissent as conservatism, of conservatism as evil, fossilised, stupid and selfish, and all conservatives as hateful, decaying, cretinous and corrupt."

"Demonisation"!  That's a cracker.  The entire left summed up with no "reasoned argument".

All you write about the left is stated without support and reasoned argument.

All you write about the left can be said with equal justification of the right. 

You can't say this though, can you?  In your narrow and blinkered world there is no room for any view but your own. There is no reason involved but only one-sided logic which will appeal to only one constituency. As well as the madness to which Obsolete alludes there is another possible reason for articles like this one. How much financial interest would there be in your producing reasoned and balanced articles?


Mel P, you do journalism a disservice. 


  1. We'll have to wait and see if Palin is the weak link.

  2. I agree that most criticisms that are aimed at the left can be equally aimed at the right. They are all one as bad as the other I'm afraid.