The irrationality surrounding the Berkeley City Council’s (now retracted) anti-Marine resolution gets more and more surreal.
Last week, I published a post arguing that Berkeley had “become a stage on which the untenability of liberal entitlement plays out”.
Yesterday, an anonymous commenter, ignoring the substance of my argument, scolded me as follows:
[I]t doesn’t behoove your readers or your argument to tell bald-faced lies.
Berkeley City Council did not pass a resolution “demanding that the U.S. Marine Corps shut down its recruiting center”[.] They issued a pointless resolution saying that they felt the Marines were not welcome.
Moments later, one Brian Conley claimed responsibility for this comment on twitter, where he also posted:
[I]t[‘]s too bad Leslie Carbone is a liar. They didn’t demand the closure[;] they said they weren’t welcome. very different [sic]
I encourage everyone to read the entire resolution, in all its vitriol, which is available here. Please note that what Mr. Conley misrepresents as “a link to the actual resolution” is in fact a link to the Council’s “Regular Meeting Agenda” of January 29, 2008.
The pertinent text reads:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Berkeley direct the City Manager to send letters to the Marine Corps Recruiting Station at 64 Shattuck Avenue and to General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, advising them that the Marine recruiting office is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders;
Granted, the word demand doesn’t appear here, nor does the word feel, in any of its forms.
So it seems we have a dispute over what the meaning of demand is.
The first four definitions of the transitive verb demand, from refdesk.com, are:
1. To ask for urgently or peremptorily: demand an investigation into the murder; demanding that he leave immediately; demanded to speak to the manager.
2. To claim as just or due: demand repayment of a loan.
3. To ask to be informed of: I demand a reason for this interruption.
4. To require as useful, just, proper, or necessary; call for: a gem that demands a fine setting.
I’ll concede that definition #3 doesn’t seem to fit. If anyone wants to offer a rational argument as to why the resolution constitutes neither a peremptory request that the Marines leave (1), nor a claim that the Marines’ departure is just or due (2), nor a call for the Marines to leave (4), please feel free to offer it here or at the original post.
Notice, though, that Mr. Conley doesn’t attempt any argument. He just reacts with the textbook character assassination of the judgmental left.
Bizarrely, though, after implying that I’ve told “bald-faced lies” (note the plural), Mr. Conley suggests that I “need to read” the resolution (or perhaps he means the Agenda). He also tweets, in an apparent reference to me:
[S]he’s a blogger[,] I guess, and seems to forego research for rhetoric.
I don’t want the hypocrisy of someone who confuses an agenda with a resolution criticizing my research to mask the underlying logical fallacy of Mr. Conley’s invective against me. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that my usage of the term demand to describe the Council’s resolution is incorrect, it is possible that such usage either constitutes a “bald-faced lie” or reflects faulty research. In other words, it could be the result of deliberate deception or unwitting sloppiness. But it can’t be both. You can’t both realize and not realize the same discrete point.
But logic is increasingly rare in public discourse.