Follow-up — Tony Milillo — The pathology of the hard left

My last post concerned abortion. I also put it on the Capital District Humanist Society’s Facebook page, where one Tony Milillo entered two comments — highly revealing and instructive. Here they are, in their entirety:

1. Well there you have it, according to Frank S. Robinson anyone who has an abortion from the end of the second trimester forward is killing a human being. And Frank “the expert on everything” also declares Roe v. Wade “a bad decision”. How the heck has the humanist society tolerated this blowhard for so long? From what I can see, the best that can be said about this guy is he has far too much time on his hands and far too high an opinion of himself.

2. From bad to worse from Mr. Robinson: “Talk of “women controlling their own bodies” is another big mistake of pro-choicers. If there’s a second human life inside it, it’s not just your own body any more, so the notion is morally shaky. But what the issue really does come down to is women having some control over their LIVES.”

First notice that my essay’s mainly criticizing Republican pro-lifers isn’t good enough for Mr. Milillo; I’m as bad as they are because I’m not an absolutist pro-choice zealot. 

Then notice that, to fit me into his box, Mr. Milillo’s very first sentence grossly misrepresents what I wrote; imputes to me a view my essay explicitly contradicted. 

It set forth the reasons behind my thinking. But notice also that Mr. Milillo’s two comments contain not a single word of actual argument. As though his own rightness and my wrongness is a given. Indeed, his second comment simply quotes me. Case closed! Res ipsa loquitur! It’s self-evident I’m wrong, no need to explain why. 

And what we do get, in place of any reasoned argument, is a lot of insults.

Notice particularly this line: “How the heck has the humanist society tolerated this blowhard for so long?” So he’s saying I should be blackballed. For failing a test of political correctness as decreed (though not actually explained) by Mr. Tony Milillo — who, incidentally, has never been seen at a meeting of said organization (in which I happen to fulfill three separate roles). I think the organization, which actually does adhere to the principles of humanism, including reasoned discourse, will not follow Mr. Milillo’s recommendation. 

This is why the left gets a rep for intolerance toward diversity of viewpoints. Believing in freedom of thought and expression, but only for themselves, all others be damned. Almost literally. 

Elsewhere, this same Mr. Milillo calls Joe Biden (another notorious deviant from Mr. Milillo’s catechism) “a fucking liar.” And what is the alleged lie? Biden’s comments to the effect that Republicans are human beings who can be reasoned with and who need to be kept in the fold of American society. Mr. Milillo goes on at great length disagreeing, explaining why Republicans are irredeemable. (Well, at least there’s some actual argument here.) But I’m not sure what Mr. Milillo’s solution is. Shooting them?

I’m a former lifelong Republican who hates what the party has become. But I agree with Biden that we must search for common ground. 

If guys like Mr. Milillo succeed in tearing down every voice that doesn’t gibe with their extremist hard left view, they will get Trump re-elected. Mr. Milillo’s kind of scorched-earth politics is tearing this country apart and will end in its destruction.


5 Responses to “Follow-up — Tony Milillo — The pathology of the hard left”

  1. Lee Says:

    Abortion is such a hard issue politically because it pits two of our highest priorities against each other, freedom and life. When someone wants to see changes, or to even merely discuss the possibilities, it can seem like a cherished value is under attack, and we get responses that look like Mr Milillo’s. (Of course, I cannot determine whether this is the circumstance in his particular case.)

    That humans react that way when cherished values are under attack does not make us extremists; it makes us humans. Calling people “murderers” or “women haters” does not help dialog, but IMHO neither does vilifying people who feel compelled to use those terms, and neither does vilifying people who feel compelled to vilify, and so on. More helpful, I think, is engaging with people when we have the opportunity and acknowledging that they raise points that resonate with us. If they haven’t given up on us yet, we can then say that some points from the opposing side also have some validity, … and so begins an actual discussion of the relevant points.

    It will be a hard discussion, especially because many people at many times will instead be compelled to defend a cherished value under attack. However, I see no better route. I thank you for participating in such a discussion via your blog.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    Lee, you are so reasonable, it is utterly disgusting.

  3. Lee Says:

    Thank you. However, perhaps you have momentarily forgotten that I am a political progressive in favor of Medicare for all (aka single payer), Social Security for all (aka universal basic income or negative income tax), public education for all (having public colleges like public schools), and a Green New Deal-like plan (especially an increasing-through-time carbon tax that incentivizes free-market solutions and subsidizes solutions).

  4. rationaloptimist Says:

    Of course I haven’t forgotten. But none of that is not at least reasonable.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Objects, in order to achieve equilibrium, must move from one extreme position to the next. Over time the object, by nature, will rest at an equilibrium. Right now, I believe, no hope, we are close to one extreme. Time and reason will hopefully allow the system to shift to a more equal position.

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