"Ad hate-a-man" argumentation

Nothing is more vital to a healthy body politic than reasoned debate. But that hardly means it is very welcome, as the side with the least defensible argument has the most to lose. The fallacious argument known as "to the man," or "ad hominem," is the most common weapon resorted to when an advocate can’t win an argument on the merits. It attacks a person rather than his argument. In this era of unprincipled politics, ad hominem argument has long since morphed into what I’m calling "ad hate-a-man," or the claim that arguments disliked are really based on hatred of members of groups rather than on any legitimate points. Since races, genders, "lifestyles" and religions distinct from the presumed white, male, Christian majority in America have become privileged, minions of the far left castigate their critics as racist, sexist, homophobic bigots.

Criticism of racial preference schemes, such as affirmative action or racial diversity, in which members of minority races are given the edge in hiring, college admission and contracting, is invariably put down to racism. The initial and wholly defensible goal of the civil rights movement half a century ago was a color-blind society in which merit rather than race was the basis for distributing jobs, schooling and business. But that was abandoned before the ink was dry on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and honored today only by those who oppose racial preference.

Similarly, if anyone suggests that the natural differences between men and women are of more than passing significance, especially where strength, endurance and decency are relevant, they are dismissed as sexists wanting to keep women "barefoot and pregnant." Nor do the interests of women themselves matter very much to advocates of "liberation" if they are so benighted as to prefer marriage and family to a lifelong career in the marketplace.

The most potent form of "ad hate-a-man" currently concerns the homosexual agenda. Routinely, whenever anyone argues that the natural division of the human race into men and women indicates that homosexuality, lesbianism, etc. are not a basis for marriage, it is often the occasion for screaming and, at times, violence. Homosexuals who keep their relations private but do not support "gay marriage" are not uncommonly "outed" for their apostasy.

There was a time, not long ago, when the Judaeo-Christian tradition in America, which combined government neutrality regarding religious denominations with robust Biblical faith among our people, was a solid basis for both good government and good citizenship. As statesmen from George Washington to George Bush emphasized, morality does not exist in a vacuum and, for us, is the beneficent contribution of Biblical faiths.

Nothing symbolized this tradition more than public ceremonies, such as graduations, where pastors, priests and rabbis alternated in the offering of invocations and benedictions. That this is not unconstitutional is attested to by the fact that our Declaration of Independence teaches that our rights as human beings derive from our Creator, Who is referred to as lawgiver, Divine Providence and Supreme Judge of the World.

The Old and New testaments teach a morality based on piety and emphasizing reverence for parents, self control and respect for the rights of others. The American founders did not need to conjure up some "new morality" that was appropriate to life in the new republic. The morality of the Bible was more than sufficient.

Nothing is more central to the practice of that morality than love. Believers are taught that sin, or falling short of the glory of God, is to be avoided and certainly not to be loved. But nothing in that teaching prescribes or even implies hatred for the sinner. Those who insist otherwise are mistaken.

There is much concern about torture, or alleged torture, these days, which may be seen by some as simply being subjected to something they dislike. Would it be torture for those who believe that Christians and Jews are hateful, particularly those who reject abortion and same-sex marriage, to sit through a service and be subjected to all that alleged hatred?

Or would they be shocked to find out that believers are admonished to "judge not, lest [they] be judged?" Indeed, past critics of Christianity feared that its "nonjudgmental" attitude was inconsistent with the requirements of citizenship. But believers have long appreciated the fact that greater freedom of religion exists in this country than in any other and their patriotism runs deep.

All that "hatred" which some profess to see in those who disagree with them exists only in their imaginations.