I will be dividing my post into two parts: first, the matters of Marxism, socialism, and Mugabe, and second, addressing my opponent's ongoing dishonesty in constructing his argument and abusing sources. Since the first matter is slowly getting bogged down in the second, I hope doing so will prevent this from getting any more severe.
My opponent's characerization of Mugabe as a Marxist rests on serveral sub-premises, reflected in claims that he has made:
Knobbyboy wrote:Robert Mugabe can be considered to be a "lax African Socialist, who was broadly influenced by Maoist and Marxist-Leninist style 'Marxism.'"
Mugabe's views were heavily Marxist-Leninist and Maoist inspired.
Basically, Marx begets a significant portion of what constitutes modern "Socialism," and the modern idea of "Communism," which begets "Marxist-Leninism" and all derivative "Red Communist" ideologies, which in turn beget "African Socialism" (which can either be "Red" or simply Marxist "Socialist" in nature). All of these movements find their basis in Marx and "Marxist" principles, and therefore, all are "Marxist" after a fashion.
Irrelevant. I only mentioned the US Democratic Part in passing as it is well known for its "Progressive" influences, which find their basis in "Social Democracy" and therefore "Democratic Socialism." As has been demonstrated above, "Democratic Socialism" has been heavily "Marxist" influenced.
Marx makes it explicitly clear that he fully intends for the transition to full-fledged "Communism" (which not even the USSR or Red China possessed according to Marx's original definition incidentally) to be gradual in basis and to take place on the basis of "degree," with "Socialism" forming the first step.
Once again, Marx clearly viewed "Communism" as forming an abstract ideal which humanity would not be able to achieve at any point in the near future. What he advocated in the here and now was "Socialism," either political or militant in basis, with the expressed intent of working to gradually overthrow the "bourgeois" so that the way might be paved for a truly "Communist"(i.e. utopian) society.
The two sub-premises, in sum, are "Mugabe is influenced/heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism and Maoism," and "Socialism counts as Marxism because of Marx's broad influence in founding the socialist movement/because Marx was actually promoting socialism and not communism." The second premise obviously ties in to his argument because by being a socialist, Mugabe would therefore be a Marxist.
These two are really separate premises, each requiring their own argument. If "heavy" Marxist-Leninist and Maoist influence can be shown in Mugabe's ideology and policy throughout his career in Zimbabwe's politics, then it becomes reasonable to refer to him as a Marxist by virtue of having taken his ideology directly from two schools of Marxism. The second premise and argument, however, almost work counter to the first: by defining all modern soclialism as Marxism in order to label 'socialist Mugabe' a Marxist, one must essentially ignore any possibility of Mugabe belonging to an acknowledged school of Marxist thought. Otherwise, the second course of argument becomes completely irrelevant.
Whether my opponent has adopted two conflicting modes of argument (Mugabe is a Marxist because he is a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist vs. Mugabe is a Marxist despite the fact that he is not
a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist) to have a backstop in the event that one argument fails or has taken the second tack as well as the first because he recognizes that he lacks the direct evidence needed to complete the first agument must remain in the land of speculation. However, aside from setting the two premises next to each other to reveal the contradiction, it is best to address them seperately as they are in fact seperate.
"Mugabe is a Marxist-Leninist/Maoist"
What is not a mystery here is what Marxism-Leninism and Maoism are. The key additions and modifications to the original strain of Marxist thought by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao were provided by me in my initial post; more complete writings by all of these authors is readily available online: Lenin
. It then becomes a simple matter of finding the direct evidence to show that Mugabe has consistently held and practiced Marxism-Leninism and Maoism over the whole course of his career in Zimbabwean politics.
Thus far, my opponent has provided two pieces of direct evidence: a scholarly article making the (cited) assertion, dating from 1985; the ZANU-ZAPU Unity Accord from 1987 which established Mugabe as head of ZANU-PF and stated the new party's intent to govern Zimbabwe according to Marxist-Leninist principles.
The statements made in the 1979 doecumentary my opponent cited are a sufficiently detailed statement of ideology to transcend the usual and necessary suspicion of self-applied labels. However, while they refer to nationalization of major industries while keeping small business in private hands, this falls short of Marxism itself. Recall that Marx called for the abolition of capital:
Marx, in [i]The Communist Manifesto[/i] wrote:When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.
From the moment when labor can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.
There can no longer be any wage labor when there is no longer any capital.
This precludes small business, insofar as even a small business owner may, by profiting from the wage labor of his employees, be "transforming individual property into bourgeois property" in a manner described by Marx himself. Thus, the statements on nationalization by ZANU representatives and Mugabe in this documentary, whicle consistent with socialism, are not consistent with actual Marxism as written by Marx, and as practiced in the USSR after 1928, China until 1984, Cuba prior to 1993, Vietnam before 1990, etc.
If that kind of mixed economy resembles any economic program of any Marxist country, it would be Lenin's New Economic Policy, instituted between 1921 and 1928. However, Lenin himself characterized it as not even socialist in character, but rather "state capitalist." (Source: Lenin, The Tax In Kind
). While adopted by Lenin out of necessity, the NEP was replaced with a command economy and collectivization under Stalin, and similar policies did not appear in Maoist countries. Such a policy therefore represents an historical anomaly within the USSR, rather than an integral part of Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideology.
The direct evidence my opponent has offered only covers the very beginning of Mugabe's career, from his time as a guerrilla leader to the 1987 Unity Accord which put him at the head of ZANU-PF. At that early stage one would expect an ideologue to be at his most doctrinaire. But the period afterward, from 1987 to the present, is just as critical in any assessment of Mugabe, comprising as it does roughly half of the man's entire time in Rhodesian and Zimbabwean politics.
For this later period, my opponent has not yet been able to put forth a direct, explicit link to Marxist-Leninist or Maoist ideology as he has done for the earlier period. Instead, he tries to untilize indirect evidence and inference, and it is here where the connection breaks down.
He cedes the 1990s outright:
Knobbyboy wrote:In essence, Mugabe's regime felt the need to reform and "liberalize" its economy in order to quell its own significant financial troubles and meet the newly developing Washington Consensus. This was a move embraced by most "Marxist" regimes, including such die-hard Marxist Leninist regimes as Red China and the former USSR, in the wake of the Cold War's end.
Ignoring his somewhat confused timeline (the former
USSR was, by definition, not Marxist) and ideology (China was Maoist, not Marxist-Leninist), and putting aside his definition of Marxism for later, he concedes that Mugabe in the 1990s moved toward economic liberalization and a privatized market economy. If Zimbabwe's economic policies are a reflection of the ideology of its president and ruling party, then the 1990s represents an utter sacrifice of ideology for some other reason. If
we take as authoritative my opponent's Wikipedia statement:
By the end of the 1980s there was increasing agreement amongst government elites that new economic policies needed to be implemented for the long term survival of the regime.
...then we have a view of Mugabe as a man for whom ideology is far less important than his personal hold on power. This is certainly plausible, if unproven, and in the presence of such a possible alternative, my opponent's case would be far stronger if he could provide statements by Mugabe justifying liberalization in a fashion coherent with Marxism-Leninism or Maoism. Lenin was able to do it for the NEP, so surely Mugabe could as well if he were really concerned with maintaining the integrity of his allegedly Marxist system.
Having apparently ceded the 1990s to the forces of non-Marxism, my opponent turns to the 2000s, which he claims is a
Knobbyboy wrote:relapse into his [Mugabe's] former "Socialist" mode of economic management since 2000. As has already been established, this economic policy is heavily "Socialist" and loosely "Maoist" in nature and therefore places Mugabe firmly within the realm of "Marxist" (albeit watered-down "Marxist") ideology.
The connection between socialist economic policy and Marxism will, again, be examined shortly. Since my opponent merges what are two seperate premises in this claim, it would be instructive if he would care to elaborate: is Mugabe's alleged Marxism "watered-down" because it is only "loosely" Maoist, or because it is "heavily Socialist," but socialism as my opponent describes it is only vaguely
Marxist? In other words, which of the two does he figure as playing the greatest role in determining the strength and character of Mugabe's ideology?
We are left for the moment with my opponent's claim that Mugabe's economic policy in the 2000s is "loosely Maoist." He states:
This is most apparent in the pushes towards absolute land reform
Mugabe has made in recent years and the measures he has reinstituted
in order to control Zimbabwe's economy.
When my opponent refers to absolute land reform, I assume he is primarily refering to such things as the 2004 policy advanced by Lands Minister John Nkomo, which has evidently since been denied:
News24: 'No Private Land in Zim' wrote:
Harare - Zimbabwe's government plans to nationalise farmland by cancelling the titles to all productive land and replacing them with 99-year leases, a senior cabinet minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"In the end all land shall be state land and there will be no such thing called private land," Lands Minister John Nkomo told the state-owned Herald.
"We want a situation whereby this very important resource becomes a national asset," he said.
"The state should not waste time and money on acquisitions. Ultimately, all land shall be resettled as state land," Nkomo said.
...and the 2005 constitutional amendments:
However, as I have already demonstrated, there is nothing about land reform, land seizure, and nationalization of land that are definitively Marxist - that is to say, that precludes them from occurring in some other socio-economic environment. Nkomo's land reform policy, as I have pointed out, is very similar to Israel's (93 percent public ownership, private use governed by 98- and 48- year leases). The French Revolution took land belonging to the Church and nobility and turned it over to the peasantry to own directly - a class-based land reform that was nevertheless non-Marxist. In Israel in 1976 the government seized 6.3 sq. km. of Arab-owned land for government and Jewish use, which prompted protest and violent suppression; as mentioned previously the United States government used military action to drive natives off their lands - not to conquer them, but merely to gain control of the land they were sitting on. More generally, political violence between opposing factions is not peculiar to any one socio-economic system.
My opponent's second article, Wikipedia's "Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe," is a perplexing addition as it does not describe any "measures [Mugabe] has reinstituted in order to control Zimbabwe's economy," Marxist or no - it merely describes the course of the hyperinflation of Zimbabwe's currency. Since hyperinflation indicated a catastrphoic economic failure but does not alone pinpoint causes of that failure, and since hyperinflation is not unique to any region, time period, or ideology
, this article has little to do with my opponent's case.
None of these things - land reform, political violence, seizure of property, nationalization of property, or bad monetary policy - are Marxist unless they are carried out in a Marxist context. To show the existence of this requires some form of direct link between the practitioner and the ideology. Since my opponent has not provided any such link for the 1990s or 2000s, there is no reason to conclude that Mugabe remains "heavily influenced by Marxism-Leninism and Maoism" during those decades. Indeed, it becomes reasonable to suppose he has abandoned his earlier ideology in favor of cynical meaures to maintain his grip on power. But the absence of such direct links brings me to my opponent's second premise and its attending argument.
"All modern socialism can be called Marxism"
Possibly in an attempt to shore up his argument in the face of a lack of direct evidence for the past 20 years of Mugabe's rule, my opponent has opted to make the claim that because all modern socialism is ultimately descended from Marxist thought, all modern socialism is Marxism and all modern socialists are Marxist. My opponent has endeavoured to bring this specifically to Mugabe in biblical fashion with a series of 'begats':
Knobbyboy wrote:Basically, Marx begets a significant portion of what constitutes modern "Socialism," and the modern idea of "Communism," which begets "Marxist-Leninism" and all derivative "Red Communist" ideologies, which in turn beget "African Socialism" (which can either be "Red" or simply Marxist "Socialist" in nature). All of these movements find their basis in Marx and "Marxist" principles, and therefore, all are "Marxist" after a fashion.
Now, the main problem with his argument of 'descent' is a huge and glaring one: such a broad definition of Marxism makes the term all but meaningless as a label of political ideology. He gives us on the one hand the USSR and China, and on the other, the so-called "progressive influences" in the US Democratic Party! We are asked to believe, in short, that anything left of center can be termed Marxist, and he opens such a broad umbrella only so that he can be sure Robert Mugabe falls under it.
What basis does my opponent set for for his proposed "big tent" Marxism? First, he claims influence from Marx:
Knobbyboy wrote:This changed with the arrival of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848. Their notion of a "scientific socialism," which was empirically testable, historically founded, and built upon the works put forward by such thinkers as Immanuel Kant and economists like Adam Smith, was revolutionary for its time. These ideas spread rapidly among both Leftists and the common people alike during the chaotic period which followed the release of the manifesto and the Revolutions of 1848. This Marxist inlfuence was formalized during the first meetings of the International Workingmen's Association, or the First International in 1866.
While a great multitude of different Leftists and "Socialists" attended the meetings of this organization, Karl Marx quickly rose to prominence and was soon elevated to a position of leadership. By the time Mikhail Bakunin joined the International in 1868, Marx held influence over virtually every member of the organization whom was not already influenced by Bakunin's Anarchist ideas. This eventually lead to a dispute between Bakunin and his followers, who viewed any participation in the democratic process as being opposed to its core beliefs and the followers of Marx, who viewed democracy and the political process as being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state. This lead to the fundamental schism which we see in the modern Left today between Marxist derived "Socialism" and "Anarchism." Marx even went on to help form the Social Democratic Worker's Party of Germany.
The distinction between extremist "Marxist-Leninism" and Marxist Socialism (or as my opponent refers to it, just "Socialism") did not even come into being until after the Russian Revolution and founding of the Soviet Comintern in 1919.
He ends his so-called "history of socialism" in 1919. I point out to the reader that nintey years
have passed since then; does my opponent honestly expect me to accept that the situation of socialist politics has remained static
for that long?
I expect I will shortly have to analyze modern socialism - by this I mean post-1945, not pre-1919 as my opponent understands the word - in some depth shortly. But first, I must point out a major concession in his so-called "history."
Knobbyboy wrote:the followers of Marx, who viewed democracy and the political process as being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.
Knobbyboy wrote:being essential to establishing a functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.
Knobbyboy wrote:functioning "Socialist" and ultimately "Communist" state.
Yes, "ultimately communist." If Marx is the ultimate origin of all socialism in the world today, then all socialism in the world today must therefore be striving toward the culmination of Marixst thought, the classless, egalitarian, communist state. Or so says my opponent, who must now prove this claim by showing
that all current socialist parties are striving to achieve a communist society.
He has conclusively established that modern socialism came after Marx on the time-line, but he has not provided the direct connection between, say, Britain's Labour Party and Marxist ideology necessary to establish that the latter caused
the former. The connection may or may not exist, but my opponent must be the one who provides it.
My opponent further claims that Marx was promoting socialism, not communism.
Marx himself called only for...
The proletariat [to] (changed for grammatical clarity) use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie
...which might EVENTUALLY lead to the total collectivization of all aspects of civilization in an ideal "Communist" society, and actually explicitly stated that the...
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property
This is an ultimately incorrect reading of Marx. I have already provided the quotations that clearly state that in Marx's view, the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat WOULD eventually lead to a communist society. Whether or not it would actually happen in reality, the ideology of the Marxists
is that such an occurrance is
the consequence of the proletarian revolution, it is in fact the whole point
of the proletarian revolution, and that socialism is just a pit stop on the grand and glorious road to communism. My opponent may continue to claim that Marx and the Marxists would have been content to stop at socialism, and all he will earn for it is derisive laughter.
Where my opponent says "actually explicitly stated that" and tries to spin Marx as only concnered with bourgeois property, he neglects to read those parts of the Mnifesto where the phrase "bourgeois property" is explained to mean capital, as I quoted them above. No capital means no capitalism, and indeed Marx says that all capital is to be collectively owned.
Again, where my opponent says
Knobbyboy wrote:Marx makes it explicitly clear that he fully intends for the transition to full-fledged "Communism" (which not even the USSR or Red China possessed according to Marx's original definition incidentally) to be gradual in basis and to take place on the basis of "degree," with "Socialism" forming the first step.
He does not deny that the transition to communism must still happen
. He does not deny that the transition is integral to Marxism
. And therefore, he must show that the transition to communism is the goal
of any socialist system if he means to claim it is a Marxist system. This goes for African Socialism as well as any other.
Knobbyboy wrote:Once again, Marx clearly viewed "Communism" as forming an abstract ideal which humanity would not be able to achieve at any point in the near future.
this is not to be found anywhere in Marx, only in the murky depths of my opponent's head. According to Marx, the abolition of privately-owned capital and the overthrow of the ruling bourgeoisie would lead to
the egalitarian communist society. My opponent can shut his eyes and ears to Marx's own words all he likes, but to no avail.
Escaping my opponent's morass of "he-said-this-but-he-meant-thats," we return to his main claim that Marxism encompasses all modern socialism. When I challenged him to find a non-communist form of Marxism, he pointed me toward democratic socialism. Unfortunately for him, his link does not identify democratic socialism as Marxist. To the opposite effect, it places one small group - the Austromarxists - within
the democratic socialist movement, which in fact has a far, far wider base than just the Marxists. For my opponent to claim that the democratic socialists are Marxists therefore constitutes circular reasoning on his part, based on his own opinion of Marxism. He therefore has yet to meet the burden of proof on that particular claim.
Indeed, that is where my opponent's overborad definition of Marxism flies in the face of reality: the current of socialism is in fact a broad river, with Marxism as only one set of currents within it. For my opponent to claim otherwise requires he assume an extraordinarily large burden of proof, as he is trying to establish something in contradiction to observed reality.
Finally, my opponent attempt to handwave away Mugabe's weak Marxist credentials by saying that it doesn't matter whether or not he is a Marxist:
Knobbyboy wrote:Being an "avowed Marxist" is enough. This debate does not concern whether or not Mugabe can be considered to be a good "Marxist," but whether he can be considered to be a "Marxist" at all. Frankly, if we were to only define those regimes which exactly fit Marx's principles as you so narrowly define them as being truly "Marxist," there would no regimes in all of history which could have ever been considered to be "Marxist" at all. To date, NO ONE has ever managed to live up to the ideology set forth in the Communist Manifesto.
Knobbyboy wrote:Furthermore, I have argued that intent to achieve "Marxist" ideals is far more important than execution, as history has shown "Marxist" ideals to be next to impossible to successfully impliment in reality. Even the Marxist-Leninist states which my opponent holds up as some sort of ideal "Marxism" fail to meet Marx's standards.
I will ignore for the time being the strawmen that I have held up any Marxist states as "ideal," when in fact what I have been doing is showing that my opponent has in turn not shown that Mugabe has remained connected to any Marxist ideology in the past 22 years of his rule.
These two quotes show my opponent evidently with very little ground to stand on. Unable to prove specifically Mugabe's Marxist credentials, he is obliged to try and weaken the claims of other Marxist regimes, so devaluing the definition of Marxism to the point where its meaning my be stretched. Unfortunately, he is faced with the fact that countries like the USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, et al did
abolish private capital and collectivize the means of production. That it did not happen exactly as Marx wrote is irrelevant; they actually strove for communist society and achieved it, which Zimbabwe and my opponent's phantom "Marxist socialist" countries have not. Thus the bar remains as high as it ever was.
My opponent may seek to claim that with a major communist country like China slowly expanding its sphere of market economy, the definition of Marxism changes to account for this. Not so, it merely means that China is becoming less Marxist
Dishonesty, Ignorance, or Both
As much as I would like to gloss over this matter altogether, or treat it merely in an aside or two in the main debate, my opponent's argument is so riddled with traps that pointing them out en masse
is regrettably necessary. It would not do to leave his most recent examples uncommented-upon, as they only serve to cast doubt on the completeness and rigour of his whole argument this far.
Knobbyboy wrote:As I have already demonstrated in my previous post, Wikipedia, while not always flawless, is generally held to be a reliable source of information.
My opponent has rested a great deal of his argument on Wikipedia articles. He has attributed to these articles statements that they do not contain; he has appealed directly to the authority of statements written by the anonymous Wikipedia author and neither footnoted nor attributed to an acknowledged authority in any way, and he has linked to articles or relevant parts of articles which not only lack citations, but in some cases are riddled with Wikipedia's own
notes that the article is inadequately written.
He claims that Wikipedia is "generally held to be reliable" to justify these actions, citing a CNET article about a study in Nature
and an Ars Technica article about an individual, informal study of Wikipedia. However, the articles he cites do not support his reliance on Wikipedia in this debate. Read:
CNET wrote:"An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature--the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science," the journal wrote, "suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule."
CNET, quoting the Nature
article, refers to Wikipedia's and Britanica's coverage of science
. This debate is on politics, history, and current events, not science. Since these topics are not as objective as science, the reliability of non-expert sources such as Wikipedia should rightly be viewed with greater suspicion than my opponent prefers.
ARS wrote:Whatever the reason for the results, they will cheer defenders of Wikipedia's accuracy, though Chesney urges caution in extrapolating too generally from his study. For one thing, the sample size was small. For another, 13 percent of those in the "experts" group reported finding mistakes in their assigned articles.
...he simply wanted to see whether Wikipedia could be considered accurate enough to be worth using. His study suggests that it can, but that caution—and further research—needs to be used before citing anything learned from Wikipedia as a fact.
Chesney and Ars Technica both caution that Wikipedia, while comparable to Britannica in Chesney's survey (which itself is of limited accuracy because of the sample size), nevertheless makes mistakes and should not be taken as the final word without further research.
Knobbyboy wrote:Given this information, it would seem to be apparent that my opponent's argument (paraphrased) that, "nothing quoted from Wikipedia can be held as reliable because it is unsourced and comes from anonymous authors" is little more than a libelous attempt at a "red herring" meant to distract attention away from the inherent weakness of his own arguments.
Contrary to my opponent's assertion, pointing out the questionable accuracy of Wikipedia is not a "red herring," nor it is "libelous," as my opponent appeals directly to Wikipedia for statements which he claims are authoritative and factual despite the aforementioned flaws I have pointed out with the material he specifically cited
Additionally, it is worth noting that my opponent is apparently unfamiliar with the standards of acaemic analysis and scholarly writing. When supporting a thesis with cited evidence, one refers either to primary sources or sources with a verifiable provenance that can be confirmed to be (or not to be) authoritative and accurate. One does not cite anonymous secondary or tertiary sources, or secondary sources which themselves lack footnotes, and one does not appeal directly to the authority of encyclopedia articles as one might do in primary school.
Thus, in this instance:
In fact, this article [on Pan-Africanism --ed.] actually possesses several citations and a whole section devoted to references. My opponent's claim is blatantly false.
...while I was incorrect in stating that the article contained absolutely no citations, the first three sections of the article in question - "Origins," "Key Figures," and "Concept" - were
uncited. The second section contained the statement to which my opponent referred idnetifying Mugabe as a Pan-Africanist. However, with no footnotes, the accuracy of that statement and of all three of those sections is not verifiable, and therefore the article is not admissible as a source.
My opponent has also consistently mis-read cited sources to cause them to suit his meaning. His latest instance, with the Chan quotations I provided previously, takes this to new lows.
Any intelligent person can go to those quotes, read them, and understand their meaning in full. My opponent is of the mind that re-citing them, "interpeting" them to suit his argument, and perhaps bolding irrelevant bits, while completely ignoring the key statements of those passages which just happen
to contradict his use of them, is enough to transform them to suit his argument. Not so.
In the first passage, regarding the newspaper headline, he claims that
Knobbyboy wrote:Only the first two sentences in this passage even refer to Muagbe's coverage in White newpapers. The rest refers to Mugabe himself.
...despite the clear reference to the newspaper headline in the last sentence, which caps the paragraph and makes it absolutely clear, to anyone who had any doubts, that it was a single complete and coherent thought pertaining to white paranoia about Mugabe's potentially imminent ascension to power.
Likewise in the second passage, my opponent opts not to notice the use of the Chan's words "at least rhetorically," pertaining specifically to Mugabe's espousal of Maosim and casting doubt on the sincerity of that espousal. My opponent's poor reading comprehension let him down, though, when he included in bold the word "occasionally," which doesn't paint Mugabe in a strong red by itself, never mind when paired with "rhetorically."
In the third passage, my opponent decides to ignore completely an entire clause
of a sentence which makes Mugabe's socialist credentials look dubious, in favor of bolding a passage which says nothing
specific about his ideology. Evidently, he is sometimes dishonest just for fun, rather than to support an argument.
Lastly, in the fourth passage, my opponent mis-understands the word "region" to mean "Mugabe's government," although no dictionary definition of the word supports such an understanding, and fails to pick out the author's meaning form the context - that is to say, the geographic region of South Africa and bordering countries, said unease caused by South Africa's willingness to destablize any country in that region at will. That Zimbabwe was not targeted by S.A. is tragically overlooked.
This is an absolutely dismal example of my opponent's ability to mis-read seemingly at will in order to deny any discredit of his argument, which I imagine must sting when it is found in a source he himself introduced to the debate.
He continues this tendency when he refers yet again to the Chan passage about Mugabe's "rhetorical," "occasional" Maoism in the same way as previously, and re-quotes a passage from Frontpage Mag. This passage, which I would prefer not to see in this debate at all as it is a blatantly editorial statement containing no confirmed, cited fact of any kind, is nevertheless quoted by my opponent in support of his claims. The only thing that saves him from committing an appeal to authority is that the statement quoted casts aspersions on Mugabe's "genuine Marxist" credentials
, characterizing the man as a pure thug rather than a holder of any real ideology. This is explicit in the quote, yet my opponent prefers to believe that it agrees with him.
My opponent opts to adhere to a double-standard regarding statements made by or about Mugabe. When a statement is made, by Mugabe or another source, that is in line with his argument, it is acceptable on its face:
Knobbyboy, in his first post, wrote:It seems to be quite obvious that Mugabe considers himself to be a "Marxist," and frankly, that is enough for me.
He expressed frustration that I do not treat such statements the same way:
Knobbyboy, in his second post, wrote:Once again, I must take my opponent to task over his stance on this issue. At what point does one cease to suspend disbief and begin to accept things at face value?
However, when he
encounters such statements that don't
fit his neat concepctions about Mugabe, it is suddenly suspect, and its ulterior motives must be determined:
Knobbyboy wrote:While most of this video is made up of little more than deliberately watered-down excuses and justificationsby an embattled Robert Mugabe who is still very much a Revolutionary Guerilla leader at this point in history and the whole documentary seems to be meant to drum up support abroad among largely uniformed Western audiences, a particularly pointed assessment of Mugabe's plans for the future of Zimbabwe can be found at 34:10.
If my opponent were truly naiive, he would accept it all; if he were a cynic, he would accpet nothing without confirmation. That he is naiive about what helps him and a cynic about what hurts him points to a dishonest approach. As for his double-standard, I reject it outright: no statements and no sources save those which are inarguably authoritative and conclusive are to be taken at face value. No wonder he finds it frustrating when I don't accept his loose reasoning or anonymous, uncited "sources" without question.
My opponent closes his latest post with a real whopper:
Right in the face
Laymen or no, this does not change the fact that Franco and his regime are still generally held to be a "Fascist." If you want to be specific where this issue is concerned, that is fine. Franco is primarily a "Traditionalist who is just really, really chummy with Falangists" and Mugabe is an "African Socialist." However, this does not change the fact that much of the ideolgy Franco followed finds its roots in "Fascism" just as Mugabe took his cues from "Marxist" Socialism and "Marxist-Leninist" Maoism.
of a direct, cited quote by a scholar of Spanish fascism and a solidly
referenced statement about the non-fascism of Franco's regime (therefore including the Falangists whose fascism must necessarily have been undermined when they were folded into the regime), my opponent delivers an argument ad populum. That the populum is necessarily incorrect (and with them, his argument) troubles him not in the least. Two for the price of one!