You always know when someone has lost the argument when all they can do is resort to abusive ad hominem. That’s exactly what we find in Doug Wilson’s recent blog, An Anarchic Personality. Simply put, abusive ad hominem is to attack the man rather than the argument and Wilson uses this fallacious argument very effectively in his attack against a liberal critic of his, Idaho University professor of philosophy, Nick Gier.
Gier, who evidently is not at all pleased with Wilson’s growing “religious empire” in tiny Moscow, is called an “unbeliever” and a “liberal” repeatedly by Wilson and throughout his piece. Wilson also accuses Gier of being “one of the chief voices in our local disturbances here in Moscow.” Of course, being an unbeliever and a liberal, even being a “chief voice” in a local disturbance, doesn’t mean that Gier’s arguments against Wilson are false, but that is exactly the conclusion Wilson hopes his readers will draw. So, to play along, and since I have no idea what “local disturbance” Wilson has in mind or even who Professor Gier is, for my purposes here I will take Wilson at his word that Gier is an unbeliever and a liberal.
What sets Wilson off is what he calls the “two-way schmooze traffic between the TR camp and radical progressive camp.” Wilson is clearly irritated that both TR’s and unbelieving “radical progressives,” as he calls them, can both recognize that Wilson is not Reformed at all. Yet, rather than deal with his critics head-on and answer their arguments, Wilson says his intent is “not to defend myself from the charges one more time.” One more time? I’ve been reading Wilson for a long time and I have yet to see him defend himself against the charges of his critics even once. Generally his defense, if you can call it that, has been along the lines that his critics are too stupid to understand him, he didn’t say what his critics quote him as saying (even when they cite him saying the very things they said he said), they’re lying, it was just a typo, all of the above.