Streetwise Professor

April 3, 2018

Hogg Wild: The Intellectual Bankruptcy and Political Impotence of Moral Authority

Filed under: Guns,Politics — The Professor @ 6:27 pm

Not to mince words (since when do I ever do that?) but the gun control movement’s latest poster boy, David Hogg, is a repulsive, narcissistic punk who is using his dead fellow students’ corpses as a platform for demagoguery.

Now, if I had more of a public profile, CNN, Bloomberg, etc., would be dispatching a swarm of flying monkeys to get me, and my little dog too, for uttering such heresy.

I find Hogg so loathsome because he assumes a mantle of utter moral righteousness (and self-righteousness), and because he slanders anyone who disagrees with him as an accessory to mass murder.  And, of course, CNN, Bloomberg, etc., and the bulk of the political left in the US wholeheartedly agree with his calumnies (because they sincerely believe them), and find him useful because they believe that he will advance their cause.

Said media and leftists (but I repeat myself) claim that Hogg is beyond criticism because he has moral authority, due to his (somewhat ambiguous) proximity to the Parkland massacre.  And because he is a teenager, which apparently gives him some sort of additional authority, even though self-superiority rivals acne as the most repulsive teenage affliction.  Hence the frenzy directed at anyone who criticizes him.

Word to the wise: whenever anyone asserts moral authority to advance a cause, it is because they know that they cannot persuade on the basis of logic, reason, or evidence.  Like other appeals to authority, it is logically fallacious.  Indeed, appeals to expert authority are actually less disreputable than appeals to moral authority, because at least the former can be justified somewhat on Bayesian grounds.  Appeals to moral authority are also a form of ad hominem argument–that is, the audience is supposed to judge the truth of an assertion on the basis of the identity of the individual making a claim, rather than the logic or evidence supporting it.

I could colorably claim equal moral authority to Hogg.  In September, 2016, minutes after I left for the university, my neighbor opened fire indiscriminately with a semiautomatic 45 ACP Thompson carbine, wounding ten, before he was smoked in a shootout with police.  I was probably in as much danger as Hogg was, but that matters diddly squat in evaluating any argument I might make regarding guns and gun control, which is as much as Hogg’s proximity should matter.

Thus, I judge the frenzy with which the left pushes Hogg and some of the other Parkland students (all the while suppressing the voices of those with equal standing but who disagree with them) as an admission of their utter failure to make a reasoned argument in support of their agenda.  Conceding the inability to prevail on the merits, they appeal to emotion and resort to intimidation.

I mentioned before that anti-gun advocates believe that Hogg and his supporters believe that they have found the magic bullet (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to achieve their desire to disarm Americans.  In the past, they have failed repeatedly, and are becoming desperate.  So this time, they actually believe that by being more insulting, more slanderous, more supercilious, more condescending, and more morally superior they will dragoon their opposition into submission.

Yet further proof that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a form of insanity.

Note there is not even an attempt to persuade.  There is merely an assertion of authority, combined with attempts to intimidate anyone who defies it.

They just don’t get it, and probably never will.  They don’t realize that their behavior just hardens and intensifies the opposition that they face, without attracting a single convert. We’ve seen this over and over and over again in the past two years. They utterly fail to understand that the phenomena that they despise, whether it be the election of Trump or the refusal of large numbers of Americans to budge an inch on gun control is a reaction to them. The more they fail to achieve their political objectives, the more they insist on reprising their act, only louder and more obnoxiously.  Which only engenders and even stronger reaction against them.

Unless and until the left and the media stop treating their opponents as objects of hatred and scorn, and as moral monsters, they will fail.  Since they are so utterly convinced of their own rectitude, and in their heart of hearts actually view their opponents as beneath contempt, however, they will not stop.  When David Hogg becomes old news, they will find someone else.  And that will fail too.  But then they will find someone else.  And the political hamster wheel in the US–not just on gun control–will continue spinning pointlessly.


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  1. I appreciate the different view expressed by young mr Hogg, and the stridency with which he chooses to express himself. However, when you decide to play in the big arena, you are no longer allowed to shout ‘TIME OUT!’ when someone with similar authority, and stridency against your position speaks up. Young mr Hogg has decided to go out with his bully pulpit, and use his 15 minutes to advance an unwinnable position. More power to him. But – when you take a stand, and there is opposition which has both law and facts on their side, better expect to take some incoming rounds. The comparisons to Hitler I think were both pretty funny, and as with all memes, had an element of truth.

    Hogg has a big hand up his backside, and everytime his lips move, someone else is at the mic. He is, as we’ve all heard before a ‘useful idiot’. CNN and the other lib media outlets love him. School indoctrination clinics show him as an example of group-think. Fortunately he’s been quite the boon for NRA membership. Almost as good as Obama was for the past 8 years. Keep it up Hogg, someday you might get a clue.

    Comment by doc — April 4, 2018 @ 12:13 am

  2. ‘utter failure to make a reasoned argument’
    Has he cried yet? If so you can be assured that he is speaking the absolute, god ordained, ineffable truth.

    Comment by Mark — April 4, 2018 @ 12:14 am

  3. Another Chuck Schumer in training.

    Comment by Andrew Stanton — April 4, 2018 @ 9:14 am

  4. Unfortunately, in Hogg we see the future of the USA and Western
    Civilization. The result: a whining, bleating society blaming
    someone or something else for their own deficiencies and aberrant

    Comment by eric — April 4, 2018 @ 12:32 pm

  5. The more they fail to achieve their political objectives, the more they insist on reprising their act, only louder and more obnoxiously.

    The global warming disaster crowd does exactly the same thing. Peer reviewed papers discuss how they can transmit their invariably rejected message yet again, but this time more convincingly.

    They invariably chalk up the unfailing rejection of their message to a right wing cabal of profit-blinded industrialists, hardhearted capitalists, and morally benighted heartland republicans.

    They don’t get that the strength of the rejection is driven in exact proportion to the frenziedness of their insistence. That and the fact that, despite their claims of “climate weirding,”TM everyone can see the weather remains entirely normal. And, of course, that there continue to be plenty of polar bears.

    Those who study the problem discover that the entire field of consensus climatology has descended into pseudo-science. Yet another reason for the continued failure of the message.

    They don’t get any of that and will never get it.

    Comment by Pat Frank — April 4, 2018 @ 9:28 pm

  6. As a military battle hardened vet, I just want to take hogg by his chicken wing arms and break them. Sissy boy does’t know shit. “a posteriori”

    Comment by Chis Hafferty — April 4, 2018 @ 11:26 pm

  7. appeals to expert authority … can be justified somewhat on Bayesian grounds.

    Numerical probabilities assigned to subjective inferences from experts is an abuse of Bayes Theorem.

    Comment by Pat Frank — April 5, 2018 @ 11:21 am

  8. You are absolutely right as long as you look at all that from the short term perspective. Their tactic cannot win them a single new convert from the ranks of adults who already have some views on the issues, be those views right or wrong. So tactically they are clearly inefficient. But it is still to be seen if their long-term strategy is equally inefficient as well. Strategically they aim not so much at converting the full-fledged adult voters, but mostly at shaping the minds of future voters. And on this battlefield they theoretically can succeed.

    Comment by Boris Lvin — April 5, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

  9. @Boris–Hence the Gramscian march through the institutions, especially those formerly considered educational rather than indoctrinational ones.

    As a professor, I get advanced warning of the new indoctrination campaigns. For example, I became aware of the impending gender choice campaign several years before it went national when someone from university administration gave a presentation at a business school faculty meeting instructing us on the importance of asking every student to identify preferred personal pronouns. This was well before this became de rigeur nationally.

    I therefore dread going to faculty meetings as I might learn what the next “progressive” social dictat slouching towards America will be. I’ll give a heads up if I get such “enlightenment” at the spring meeting in a few weeks.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 6, 2018 @ 8:38 am

  10. Hogg is a leader……of the “Useful Idiots”. And we will be led into a new era of enlightenment by the Tide-Pod Eating Generation. BTW, who’s name is signed on the permit requesting a public demonstration in DC for the March for Our Lives day? That will tell who is really running these shills.

    Comment by Patrick Woody — April 6, 2018 @ 12:27 pm

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