Confessions Of A Chickenhawk

Over at Rob Port’s “Say Anything,” he discovered that there are still a group of blithering idiots who are still pushing the “chickenhawk” non-argument. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:

The crux of the “chickenhawk” argument is a fundamental dishonesty. It it an attempt to change the subject from the topic under debate to the personal qualifications of one of the arguers. It is an attempt to not refute the arguments, but silence the arguer. And those who push it are tacitly admitting that they cannot win the argument on the strengths of their own arguments.

Well, I’ve been thinking about it some more, and I have a few things I’d like to get off my chest.

I have never served in the military, yet I have opinions on how our military should — and should not — be deployed.

I am a heterosexual male who has never been married, but I have a firm opinion on gay marriage. (I support it.)

I have never been drunk in my life, but I have opinions on the laws regarding the sale and possession of alcohol.

I have never taken any illegal drugs in my life, but I have opinions on whether or not they should be illegal, and what the penalties should be.

I have no children and never will, but I have opinions on child-rearing and education.

I have never lived in any nation besides the United States, but I have opinions about how other nations conduct their affairs.

I have never lived in any state besides New Hampshire, but I have opinions on how the other states conduct their affairs. (Especially Massachusetts. Most especially Massachusetts.)

I belong to no political party, but I have opinions about the two major parties in the US, their policies, and their actions.

I do not own a gun, I never have owned a gun, and I have no desire to own a gun, but I have opinions about the right to bear arms.

I belong to no church or particular faith, but I have opinions on religions and their practices.

At its heart, the theory behind the “chickenhawk” argument is “I have experience and credibility, so take my word for what I say, because I am an authority.” It is laziness, and used to substitute for substantial evidence behind the opinion being offered.

I never make any claims to any special authority or knowledge or experience when I couch my opinions. In memory of my high school math teacher, I always try to “show my work” and explain not only what I believe, but why. I don’t try to bully people into accepting my position, but persuade.

It’s harder than simply saying “because I said so, and I’m an expert,” but it seems a hell of a lot more honest. And it avoids the whole danger of someone else coming along with superior credentials and simply reversing what I say by fiat.

But for those simple-minded idiots who keep pushing the “chickenhawk” theme: keep it up. By doing so, not only are you not bothering the grownups with even dumber nonsense, you’re instantly identifying yourselves as useless assholes who are not worth trying to engage in honest discussion.

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