Over 240 years ago, future President of the United States John Adams spoke in defense of the British soldiers who had fired on Americans in the Boston Massacre, despite the pressure of other patriots who wanted these men punished as an example. Adams said in his summary to the jury, “ Facts and evidence are stubborn things.; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
On Jan. 17 (“President Trump working toward the vision of our Founders”), a letter writer attacked Rich Elfers in a thin tissue of assertions, taken in whole from Republican Party and Fox News talking points, that are simply insupportable with no effort to support them.
Mr. Elfers presents his opinions, as is his charge as an opinion columnist, but he always makes an effort to present supporting background for the information (as opposed to opinion) he presents. The letter to which I am referring is an ad hominem assault upon Mr. Elfers, and those who share his views, simply by virtue of their putative membership in an imaginary conspiracy known as the “liberal left” or “MS Media;” the writer asserts this cabal is driven “insane” by the policies of President Trump, which the author, without evidence or specificity asserts are “right.” He also climbs into the minds of that “insane” group and ascribes their motivations to nefarious intentions, again without evidence.
Following this ad hominem introduction, the writer begins a catalogue of specific and unsupported assertions starting with claiming that the “Iran nuclear deal” is a clear and present danger and provides a pathway to nuclear weapons (without evidence), contrary to all evidence from the UN, our allies, and the President himself through his certification that Iran is upholding its commitments. He claims, without evidence, that the Obama administration used the IRS, intelligence agency apparatus (whatever that is), the DOJ and the FBI to spy on his political opponents. Let me repeat, without evidence…and then says this imaginary conspiracy, involving our most trusted law enforcement agency, is “one of the greatest assaults on personal freedom” in modern times, without evidence.
The writer’s defense of the current administration for its supposed opposition to an over-weaning Federal government in its belief that “the best government was closest to the people” was risible in light of Attorney General Sessions recent promise to ignore popularly voted multi-state marijuana legalizations.
Returning to the unsupportable and unsupported assertions… without evidence of any kind, the writer engages in character assassination of Mr. Mueller, the special prosecutor, and his investigation team made up of career FBI and Federal prosecutors, by accusing all of them of corruption…again without presenting any evidence. Unnamed “credible third party” sources are next asserted, without attribution, to have shown that 90% of non-Fox News media are negative in their coverage of Mr. Trump and that Fox News is 50-50. If this is “compelling data,” we should be given the evidence. The writer then offers us, without evidence, another ad hominem assault on Mr. Elfers and unnamed “MSM pundits” as without “intellectual honesty.”
I am baffled as to how the writer knows that the resist movement, whatever that is, “is attempting to give the government at all levels, more control of our individual lives, (now, who was that telling us we cannot legalize marijuana?) so they can tell us “how and whether you can worship God,” again an empty propagandistic fact-free political assertion without evidence. I have never seen the government attempt to tell me or anyone else how or where to worship.
I do not care what anyone believes, but when your beliefs depend upon unsubstantiated assertions (“fake facts”), I must agree with Carl Sagan who, in another context, said that, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” We find empty assertions in that letter but not even by mischance do we find any evidence to support those assertions.