Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hypocritically accusing hypocrites of hypocrisy

Yesterday's Louisville Courier-Journal sported a cartoon by Scott Coffman on its editorial page attacking the Family Foundation. It shows the corner of the building (presumably its foundation), and on each brick has a word written on it: multiple marriages, divorce, avarice, patriarchy, infidelity, immaturity, arrogance, sexual problems, hatred, fear, indifference, affairs, etc.

I presume the point was that the people who publicly defend the model of the traditional family are not perfect practitioners of it themselves, which is of course true, although not particularly insightful or enlightening. In fact, no one is going to be mistaking this cartoonist for Jeff MacNelly or Herblock anytime soon.

Nor does it say anything about the soundness of any set of principles that it's adherents do not live up to the principles themselves. (See my "A Paean to Hypocrisy"). And if it were true that a set of principles could be judged by whether its adherents followed them perfectly themselves, then what would it say about people who are constantly talking about the evils of hatred and fear that they see in cultural conservatives that they have such hatred and fear toward the cultural conservatives they criticize?

It obviously makes people like Coffman feel good about themselves when they find hypocrisy in others. But the worst kind of hypocrisy is accusing someone else of it when you're engaging in it yourself.


Anonymous said...

The real issue, Martin, is your efforts to legislate morality for others. The cartoon as interpreted by both of us skewers your foundation for your arrogance, because you advocate hate, and because you use fear to promote your agenda. Coffman may not even have intended to illustrate your organization, but he did so very well. Now, I repost here what I've posted on the Courier's site:

"Groups that co-opt the term 'family' in their names so as to garner unmerited credibility make me sick, from the Family Foundation to the Family Research Council to Focus on the Family. Whose family do they represent? Certainly not mine and not any family with which I am acquainted. And this issue and their stance proves that the Family Foundation is nothing more than another right wing hate group whose members would be appropriatey dressed in hoods and robes. Perhaps they could burn a cross, too. In the guise of religion, Ostrander and Martin Cothran and the so called 'Family' Foundation spread and promote bigotry, hate and ignorance."

I do find you hypocritical but, more importantly, I find your organization intrusive. BTW, your link on the CJ site is bad and goes nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I have attended several events sponsored by the Family Foundation and I read their publication. I have never heard or read the word hate or any hateful statements made about anyone. They speak up for moral issues. The words hate, arrogance, bigotry and other name calling I have heard many times from those who do not agree with the issues supported by the Family Foundation. In the USA we all have the right to voice our opinion and to hold different opinions. Because you disagree with someone does not mean to hate them (at least in the case of the Family Foundation and their supporters that is not the case).
This nation's early leaders stood for moral issues and based this nation on that foundation.

"Do not let any one claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics." George Washington

David Charlton said...

To Bill Adkins -
BTW, the link does work; I checked it out and had no trouble

While I disagree plenty of times with all of the groups you mention, I believe your use of the word "hate" is unfair. Hate is a word used far too frequently in an attempt to discredit those with whom you disagree. I would be far more interested in reading a response that actually gives a logical reply rather than just spewing forth comments that border on slander.

David Charlton

Martin Cothran said...


You seem to have a problem with legislating morality. I assume, therefore, that you would oppose civil rights laws, is that correct? They are, after all, the product of the legislation of morality.

And my congratulations: I have seldom seen such a short post so packed with pejoratives and hateful rhetoric. This is quite an accomplishment--even though it is somewhat ironic that you engage in the very activity you accuse The Family Foundation of.

Let's see, you accused the group of being a hate group, compared it to the Ku Klux Klan, and charged it with bigotry and ignorance--all without citing a single statement or action by the group as justification.

If the people you accuse of all these things said the things you say in the way you say them, then, indeed, you would have a case. Can you come up with a single comment by the organization that is comparable in terms of hatefulness to your own?

You might attract more people to your side if you dropped the name-calling and ungrounded charges and stuck to the facts and arguments of the people you disagree with. Just hurling epithets and groundlessly accusing people of hate is not the best way to present your case.

I know it is possible, since other people on your side of these issues have posted on this blog and have managed to stick to the point, argue their case, and still be civil.

You obviously feel very threatened by people who disagree with you, and I imagine that's why your comments are so spiteful. If you ever get past the anger and resentment that comes out in your comments, maybe you'll realize that it is the mark of a mature person that they can deal with people they disagree with without being hateful about it.

This is particularly important when this is the very thing you are accusing them of.

Anonymous said...

Martin? Are you scolding me? That's funny. I don't recall addressing civil rights legislation, but now that you bring it up, your opposition as to gays and their rights would be quite the accurate analogy as to the civil rights era. Which part do you play in this dispute? KKK or Freedom Rider? Anyway, I found this definition of hate groups and share it with you.

"A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates hate, hostility or violence towards a group of people or some organization upon spurious grounds, despite a wider consensus that these people are not necessarily better or worse than any others. Hate groups usually asserts that the targets of their attacks are harmful to society, malicious, less fit to be members of society, or operating some hidden cabal, and their "evidence" boils down to an assertion that people sharing some characteristic such as religion, belief, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability are for the most part guilty or involved in such activities.

Some hate groups try to reduce criticism by saying that "not all" individuals in their target groups are this way, or that they do not "hate" or wish to hurt them. But they still assert that for whatever reason they view all members of the target group, and the group itself, as a "problem".

Although their evidence is usually inaccurate, sub-standard and widely rejected by society, the hate group continues to propagate assertions, myths, narratives and rumours, playing upon fear, xenophobia, blame or jealousy, with the aim of harming the individuals and groups they target, and inciting others to distrust or hate them also. The ultimate aim of a hate group is commonly the de-legitimization, elimination, and exclusion of groups, or the harm, deportation, or death of individuals. Hate groups often use their victims as scapegoats to blame for discontent in society."

Now, some of the description may seem to you extreme as applied to you. But recall, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

Anonymous said...

Darn!! Did I really just misspell my name?

Martin Cothran said...

Interesting. I'm sure you got that definition from a completely impartial source. It does seem to serve your purposes, however, by being so broad as to include anyone who disagrees with you. How convenient. I'm happy for you.

But, once again, this just goes to show how immersed you seem to be in the politics of demonization. You just can't seem to imagine how someone can disagree with you without being evil. In fact, isn't that just what hate groups do?

And that was very skillful how you completely sidestepped my question on civil rights. Now, let me ask the question again, and see if you will answer it: are you against civil rights legislation since it legislates morality?

Anonymous said...

"politics of demonization" is your method, martin, not mine. As to civil rights, it has a moral aspect, certainly, but you'll find it was also an application of constitutional principles of equality. Funny you mention it, though. I don't see your group as one who would align with the Freedom Riders. I think you would agree with the methods applied by Joe Arpaio -- and he's a latter day Bull Connor.

Martin Cothran said...


By your own logic YOU would be the one who would have a problem with the Freedom Riders, since they were advocating civil rights laws. You (not me) believe we shouldn't legislate morality. Civil rights laws clearly legislate morality.

This principle of not legislating morality is clearly very important to you, since you opened up your first comment on this post saying it was the "real issue." You can disagree with me all you want, but you really ought to be careful about getting on this blog and disagreeing with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Come now Martin, your reasoning is fishy - specifically, it is a red herring. Your concern for civil rights is non-existent and really not applicable here. I mean, it's not as if you would be nor have you asserted here that you advocate/advocated civil rights legislation - how about your stance on gay rights? Now there, are you on the moral side? Or are you legislating morality? No, you use fear and ignorance to promote your agenda and you, to use your term, use the "politics of demonization" to promote your agenda, which is self promotion and hate. Never mistake what I'm doing here, Martin, for anything but arguing with you.

Martin Cothran said...


You say you think my reasoning is fishy, but I was simply asking you to follow your own reasoning. Let me spell it out for you as simply as I can. Here is the argument:

Legislating morality is wrong.
Civil rights laws legislate morality.
Therefore civil rights laws are wrong.

You explicitly affirmed the first premise in your first comment. The second premise is obvious, and I can't imagine you would contest it (and you haven't). The conclusion follows logically from the two premises.

You have two choices logically: to deny one of the two premises or accept the conclusion. Your only other choice is to simply be irrational.

Once again, I'm only following your reasoning. So which is it?

(Hint: The best thing to do is admit you were mistaken in your original assertion that legislating morality is wrong so we can all go one with our lives)

Anonymous said...

No, no, no, Martin -- whjat I said was "The real issue, Martin, is your efforts to legislate morality for others." Your effort to re-frame my statement into a question of your choice fails. Perhaps I should have stated "The real issue, Martin, is your efforts to legislate your version of morality for others." See, you take away choice and you replace it with your intolerance. This, intolerance is your morality and now we return to my original post. "The cartoon as interpreted by both of us skewers your foundation for your arrogance, because you advocate hate, and because you use fear to promote your agenda." I find it funny that you raise the civil rights legislation example when your attack upon homosexuals and domestic partners is the antithesis to what the civil rights efforts sought to remedy. Why don't you go ahead and admit you're a bigot so we can all get on with our lives?

Martin Cothran said...

Well, I think it's pretty clear what's going on here. You simply refuse to acknowledge that you made a mistake in saying that legislating morality is wrong, and you refuse to face the logic of your own position, which cuts you off from saying anything positive about civil rights laws, whether they include protections from homosexuals or not.

I don't mind people getting on my blog and disagreeing with me, but when people get on and makes snotty remarks and refuse to fess up to mistakes they have very obviously made and who refuse to honor the simple dictates of logic, it does get rather tiring.

Then, as part of the snottiness, they start calling you names (you know logic has become impossible when the epithets start getting hurled).

So far, you haven't offered a single example of a hateful remark by The Family Foundation, but you have provided quite a few yourself (you've just added "bigot" to your repertoire). I can't help but think the people who agree with your position who are reading this are cringing right now as you keep undercutting your own case.

What other hateful remarks do you have for me, Bill? Go ahead. I'm giving you as much rope as you want.

Anonymous said...

Now, Martin - you have to stop being so sensitive.

Definitions of Bigot on the Web:

A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from their own.

Person extremely intolerant of others and irrespective of reasoning. The Poor and welfare Beneficiaries are often targets of bigots. When alive John Keats was dismised by critics as a "piss-a-bed Cockney scribbler", he is now considered one of the greatest poets who ever lived. Eugenics was a 19th and early 20th century movement aimed at purifying the human race by weeding out undesirable people. ..."

Now, you and your organization are intolerant of homosexuals (you know, 'undesirables') and target them for your ire. You use fear, i.e., rights for homosexuals harms marriage. I believe that alone comes under 'hateful' as a description of your activities. I argue, too, you use and exploit the ignorance of some of your adherents. I really believe you used your tactics a year or two ago more to benefit your favored political party in a general election (Bunning would have been out and that would have been great for the state). Those who are cringing out there, Martin, other than your allies are those who are offended by you.

Martin Cothran said...


That is a very well written defense of name calling. Thank you.

So a bigot is someone who is intolerant of other people's opinions. Would you say that the tendency to engage in name-calling was an indication of the kind of intolerance you are discussing here that amounts to bigotry?

Also you put the term "undesirables" in quotations marks as if this is something The Family Foundation had said. Is this the documentation of your charges of hatred and bigotry on the part of that group that you have so far been unwilling to give? If so, thank you for finally giving some evidence for your accusations. Now, maybe you could tell me where the group used this term.

Unknown said...

Martin - I applaud you for remaing so calm and respectful in the face of such witless vitriol.

Bill - You're an embarassment to your own cause and perhaps a perfectly singular embodiment of hypocrisy. I hope one day you can re-read your comments and realise just how far off the mark you were.