It has come to my attention that there should be rules for argument that will prevent the spreading of, as Norman Schwartzkoff once put it: “Bovine Scatology”
1) Substituting a pejorative term for someone′s actual position is not allowed. That means no calling someone a socialist, marxist, fascist, communist, racist, nihilist, onanist or anything else without citing specific statements and actions that lead one to believe this is the case. Doing otherwise reeks of ad homeneim (name calling) and should have left everyone’s rhetorical toolbox around 3rd grade (really). No pictures necessary, especially for the last. Although if you happen to have any of Rush, Glenn, Sean, or Ann Coulter, I’d be willing to post them here, just to get them to stop being such sanctimonious assholes.
2) Telling others what someone said without citing source and the context of the quote is absolutely forbidden. If you′re going to claim someone said something, at least be stand up enough to let the rest of us go look at it for ourselves and make up our own minds. Selective quotation is a favorite tool of hacks.
3) Mockery of your opponent’s position through satire, parody, and exaggeration is allowed, and in fact encouraged (because I enjoy reading it, that’s why)
4) Something someone said 10 years ago is not a reliable indicator of what they believe today. Just because I called the other side a bunch of inbred, mouthbreathing, racist, authoritarian morons 10 years ago doesn’t mean that I didn’t come to the conclusion that they could breath through their noses yesterday. The others may still apply, but it’s up to you to ask me if I still believe that, not assume that I do.
5) No one is guilty of anything because of who they have associated with in the past. I am willing to bet that everyone on this planet has known (whether they knew it or not) someone who was less than stellar in their own personal life or political connections.
Well, that’s a start. If you have other suggestions, please add.