Probably never in history have so many been so oppressed by so much awful reality.
In response to the unpleasantness, people use a variety of coping mechanisms which I have discussed repeatedly on this blog; all of which are a form of psychological denial.
A favorite tactic of those in psychological denial is to say one thing but behave in completely the opposite manner. You can immediately see how useful such a tactic would be. You can SAY you are for free speech (piously, even); but then, in the real world, you support policies that limit the speech of others (and then have the audacity to call it the "Fairness" Doctrine).
Another example is to SAY you "support the troops", but then turn around and sabotage their mission by enabling the enemy they are fighting. You can then close your eyes to the lives that are lost because you "support" those troops.
Along similar lines, take this bizarre example of rhetoric versus reality as reported at LGF:
Daily Kos: Hey idiots: the terror attacks prove OUR point, not yours.
If you don’t want to risk losing hair or IQ points by subjecting your brain to this tripe, here’s the LGF Digest Condensed Edition:
* Get out of Iraq, and the bombings will stop. Give ‘em what they want and they’ll leave us alone.
* Install cameras everywhere and watch everyone 24/7 like they do in the UK. But don’t use wiretapping or other Bushitler methods.
* Work on the socioeconomic conditions, “battle of ideas,” etc. etc.
* “Go after” Osama bin Laden. (I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.)
* Rely on blind luck. It’s proven effective. (Yes, really.)
* You’re idiots, and we’re not.
One of the wondrous aspects of postmodern rhetoric, where reality and truth are only relative, is that anybody's "reality" is as good as anybody else's. For the dedicated postmodernist, polls and opinion are the final arbiters of truth; and the results of a poll or two, constructed along ideological lines to fit a particular template, is all you need to confirm your reality. Reality is a matter of opinion (simply ignore any polls that don't agree with your reality, of course).
This type of micraculous rhetoric can even determine today, what history will say many tomorrows from now. With enough repetition and passion, "history" can be set in stone in the temporal present! Extremely convenient for anyone who wants to avoid confronting their own contradictions in the present.
The rhetorical passion and word play is mere camouflage for the inherent philosophical and psychological contradictions that the postmodern left exploits in order to achieve and maximize political power. They are perfectly aware that their positions don't make any sense and can be refuted by anyone with basic knowledge of logic and logical fallacies; but their goal is to maintain the psychological denial necessary to believe in the left's ideology. Interpreting this defense and exposing it is essential to countering that ideology.
Stephen Hicks asks this important question (page 184):
The pattern therefore raises the question of which side of the contradiction is deepest for postmodernism. Is it that psotmodernists really are committed to relativism, but occasionally lapse into absolutism? Or are the absolutist commitments deepest and the relativism a rhetorical cover?
The possibility that the relativism is primary can be ruled out with some thought. If the modern leftist truly embraced relativism, then you would not see the uniformity of their politics or their reactions to events in the world. Instead, you would be able to observe an infinite number of postmodern leftist opinions and beliefs from all over the political spectrum. And, have you? Or, have you noticed that their opinions march completely in lockstep with their political ideology?
I must conclude from that observation that the moral relativism they preach so relentlessly as part of their multicultural drivel; and which equates the unceasing and institutional barbarity of terror groups like Al Qaeda (see here) with U.S. troops in Iraq; equates the deliberate targeting of innocents with herculean efforts to spare innocent life; equates Bush with Hitler; Iraq with Vietnam; etc. etc. are simple rhetorical devices that are being used to manipulate and advance their fundamentally socialist / totalitarian agenda.
That is why they can easily ignore any evidence that contradicts their arguments; never acknowledge that their arguments (or more precisely, their beliefs) have been debunked; instead, they simply redefine words or resort to word games (the various meanings of "is" for example); or move the goalposts (those aren't the WMD's we were looking for) when convenient.
The word games and much of the use of anger and rage that are characteristic of much of their style can be a matter--not of using words to state things that they think are true--but rather of using words as weapons against and enemy that they still hope to destroy....
If your opponent accepts that the debate is a matter of opinion or semantics, then your losing the argument does not matter: nobody is right or wrong. But if your opponent does not accept that everything is a matter of opinion, then his attention is diverted away from the subject matter at hand--namely politics--and into epistemology. For now he has to show why everything is not merely semantics, and that will take him awhile.
We see this strategy used repeatedly. No issue is every resolved. When the left realizes it is in a losing position, it simply backs off until it is opportune to revive the argument. And then they start back at the same points which were countered and try again, this time with more passion and outrage.
It's just a matter of opinion or semantics anyway, right? Just think of it as the left's tireless and courageous struggle against the unyielding oppression of reality.