In Which I Am Taken to Task…

In today’s Lansing State Journal a letter appears (9th) which purports to be a response to my letter of July 24th. In that letter I poked fun at the conspiracy theorists who believe the United States blew up the World Trade Center.

You will find the lead-off conspiracist’s letter (Jul-14) and my response here. You will find a letter congratulating the LSJ for publishing the conspiracy theory here, along with some comments.

Today’s bit has more trouble in sticking to the topic than the more focused types preceding him:

Fear is weapon

Duane Hershberger (Letters, July 24) sets up his straw men, (“United States is evil” theorists everywhere), and then vanquishes them with the same veracity [sic] as my 10-year-old son battling the Sith with his plastic light saber.

Life is so much simpler when we can reduce our antagonists to caricatures. All Democrats are “America haters.” All those who are pro-choice are “baby killers.” All war protesters are “undermining troop morale.” All Muslims are “fanatics.”

Stirring up public fear with unfounded or exaggerated accusations is the tool of choice for those who have no substance to their political ideology. The sad truth is, this tactic seems to work most of the time.

Lao Tzu said it best 3,000 years ago: “When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born” (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 18).

Michael Iott
Eaton Rapids

He got my name right. He missplaced the quotes on the only part that was actually a quote. Then it deteriorates rather nastily.

On the matter of “straw men”, I do not think this means what Mr. Iott thinks it means. Reasonable people, with even a rudimentary command of English, would agree that those who believe that the United States blew up the Twin Towers think that the United States is evil. The people who believe that are theorizing there was a conspiracy. I mean, it’s really their whole point.

You will have noted that I never mentioned Democrats in my letter. However, if Mr. Iott is willing to assume the defense of the Party’s patriotism, he is a braver man than I. Methinks he doth protest too much.

I was silent on the pro-choice folks, war protestors and Muslims.

On the issue of “Stirring up public fear with unfounded or exaggerated accusations”, I believe the “thermate” conspiracists have me utterly defeated. I did not accuse anyone of anything, unlike the conspiracists I was ridiculing – or as Mr. Iott accuses me.

I admit to questioning the mental state of the people who think the United States government committed mass-murder by blowing up the World Trade Center. Regrettably, Mr. Iott does not tell us his views of this topic. He is too busy inventing an ad-hominem attack on my part to which he can respond in kind.

Mr. Iott has no comment on the issue that was the subject of my letter, but assumes many things about me of which he has exactly zero knowledge.

Mr. Iott, who by all appearances votes Democrat, has stipulated all the negative points about them that I did not make.

“Life is so much simpler when we can reduce our antagonists to caricatures.” Indeed. It is even easier when we utterly ignore their arguments.