Thursday, May 07, 2009

Genocidal Correctness, care of Josh Rosenau

of Josh Rosenau, fresh off a post where, in the process of accusing me of fallacious reasoning, he lets go a textbook example of sophistry, continues on his campaign to cleanse the world of any imperfect thoughts on the Holocaust, casting aspersions and questioning motives as he goes. Not to mention blatant falsehoods he continues to perpetrate while in the very act of accusing others of untruth.

I suppose there's something that attracts the Rosenauian mind to silly little disingenuities like saying that Focus on the Family defends Holocaust denial, presumably because I have worked with a state-level conservative public policy organization that happens to be on the same side of certain social issues as Dobson's group, and he's got it in his mind that I defend Holocaust denial (despite the fact that, like, I don't). The remark doesn't even come up to the standards of guilt by association, since there is literally no association.

A guy's in pretty bad shape when he can't even execute his fallacies properly.

Under Rosenau's reasoning, everyone who agrees with someone else on one issue is automatically implicated in any other position that person happens to take. Here is Rosenau's reasoning in action, although in a way he probably didn't think about when he used it:
The Nazis believed in Darwinism
Rosenau believes in Darwinism
Therefore, Rosenau is a Nazi

Now I intentionally put this in the form of his favorite fallacy: the Fallacy of Undistributed Middle, a form of reasoning for which he has shown a marked inclination. Maybe Rosenau should stop trying to utilize logical procedures entirely until he gets some actual training in them. This is getting pretty pitiful.

But Rosenau's main point in his last post is that he has his pet definition of the Holocaust, from which, he declares, no one can dissent without being a Holocaust denier. Now I don't have any particular problem with his definition. In fact, I agree with it in all its manifold particulars. But is someone who does not agree with every jot and tittle of Rosenau's definition a Holocaust denier?

Apparently so, thinks Rosenau.

In fact, you can't even utilize a commonly given dictionary definition of the Holocaust without Rosenau raising his shaking finger and sputtering his fevered accusations about supporting genocide. He asked me what my definition was, and I gave him Merriam-Webster's definition, in response to which Rosenau says:
But Cothran's definition of Holocaust denial is almost weirder than Buchanan's Holocaust denial.
Yeah. Those Merriam-Webster guys. Probably a bunch of Holocaust deniers.

No, in Rosenau's world, there is not to be the least dissent on the most minute aspect of the issue. The Holocaust, he says, resulted in the killing of 6 million Jews. Exactly. Now I've heard how the Germans were efficient, but to have gotten it to exactly that round number. It's pretty amazing.

And you better memorize it too, because if you make a mistake and, in a moment of indescretion, utter a figure like, say, 5,999,999, then, well, Rosenau will be in your face telling you you are a Holocaust denier. I wonder what happens if you think there were 6,000,001 Jews killed in the Holocaust. Do you get extra credit or something?

And it's the same thing if you take a different view on how it was done--or when it was done. In one part of his post, Rosenau condemns Pat Buchanan for saying that the Final Solution (which I take as a reference to the actual planned extermination of the Jews in the system of concentration camps as we know it today) didn't get started in earnest until the beginning of 1942. Rosenau points to sources that say it started as early as the autumn of 1941.

That's right: If you believe the systematic killing of Jews began just 3 or 4 months later than some people believe, there's Rosenau, wagging his finger again, and accusing of denying the whole thing.

It takes a rather juvenile mentality to prosecute arguments like this. It's hard to believe that the Jews killed in the Holocaust would really give a rip about the exact number of deaths or the exact methods of execution or the exact dates they occurred. Most of them are unknown anyway.

To think that this is the important aspect of the genocide committed by the Nazis is to trivialize the whole sorry thing and take all the wrong lessons from it. The inhumanity of what happened isn't affected in the least by whether exactly 6 million Jews died or whether it was a million more or less. It was the fact that it happened.

But some people want to use these deaths for their own tawdry little political purposes. Seems a little unseemly, doesn't it?

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