The tone and content of most of the dissenting remarks in response to Nick’s Palin/Down’s syndrome article to date together verge on the hysterical madness of a lynch mob, sharing with Christian and Muslim fundamentalism the same unreasoning, teeth-clenched emotionalism and the urge to convert or kill. The anti-abortionists are about as “pro-life” as the Muslims who bury a woman up to her neck and then stone her to death for having broken one of their irrational, tribalist rules. Especially appalling was the sneering attack on Judy, who spoke in her remarks of her first-hand experiences as the mother of a “special needs” child with as much authority as Nick spoke on the issue.
I’m glad that Nick has not removed these malicious posts, as he has every right to, for they reveal that the enemies of reason and individual rights are not only Republicans and Democrats, but also libertarians and other cretins in various states of intellectual arrest. Having read every one of the remarks, over one hundred and twenty-five to date, I got the impression that when a libertarian or Christian or Rockwellian read Nick’s article and gasped at his “blasphemy,” he alerted his ilk to descend on Rule of Reason with the cry, “Let’s get ‘im! How dare he contradict the consensus of the scientific community!!” (Like the scientific “consensus” on global warming, or on smoking, or on any other government-friendly scientific chicanery that costs individuals their freedom and money?) Also, I think it is nearly flattering that so many trolls visit Rule of Reason. They must consider the blog a major threat to their premises and peace of mind.
And it was nearly amusing to read another Anonymous’s religious quotation: “Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law.” Excuse my ignorance, but is that from Kant or from the Bible? This categorical imperative is also evident in the yahoo-ish, anti-intellectual rhetoric of both presidential candidates and their running mates. How could anyone sincerely defend Sarah Palin, whose political record is being whitewashed, suppressed and retrofitted with the same dishonesty and fervor as has been Obama’s?
Lastly, it was interesting to see Nick’s critics play by the Rulebook of Argumentative Irrelevancy and latch onto an incidental remark in his article that “a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all)…” and beat it to death as though it was his primary point and premise. His major premise is that a woman owns her body; his minor premise is that a fetus in her body, defective or not, is an appendage until it can sustain its own life upon birth, whether as a billionaire wastrel or as a productive individual. His critics couldn’t deny with any credibility the validity of his major premise, and so resorted to skewing and misrepresenting his minor one, consequently losing all credibility as defenders and valuers of any kind of freedom.