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Pointlessly Polarizing

December 17, 2009

Douthat, for once, is spot on:

Every side of every debate . . . can plausibly accuse its opponents of being “objectively pro-death.” And they do: Conservatives did it with Iraq, and now liberals are doing it with health care. But it’s a pointlessly polarizing style of argument. It doesn’t convince anyone who isn’t already convinced. It inclines people who might agree with you on substance . . . to distance themselves from your rhetorical style. And it encourages your opponents to resort to the most extreme version of their own arguments, because how else can they one-up your reductio ad mortem?

When it comes to a health care bill allowing for publicly funded abortions, but not including a public option, I am strongly tempted — I must confess — to use the phrase “objectively pro-death.” But that would just polarize everyone, pointlessly.

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