Sunday, July 19, 2020

#2362: R. Emmett Tyrrell

A wingnut’s wingnut, Robert Emmett Tyrrell, jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator, a wingnut magazine published by Regnery publishing and part of Richard Mellon Scaife’s loosely-tied-together empire of conspiracy-pushing media outlets. Tyrrell has also written for Washington Examiner.

Tyrrell does not like liberals. Therefore, he blames them for virtually any ill befalling America, including for instance the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting, saying (in an interview on Bryan Fischer’s show – attending Fischer’s show merits inclusion in this Encyclopedia on its own) that “a country that is being forced to turn away from God because of the liberals gets things like the Colorado massacre in abundance.” He went on to describe liberals as “bloodless,” “cold-blooded” and “brain dead” (he didn’t actually expand on mechanisms tying liberals to the shooting, since people who listen to Tyrrell won’t need more than name-calling anyways), themes he ostensibly expands on (not much, apparently) in his 2011 book The Death of Liberalism, in which he “came to the conclusion that [liberals] are dead –they are brain dead – they simply can’t look at anything that contravenes their value system, they turn their back on it.” Sounds like a fearsome display of perception and intellect, that book.

Tyrrell is of course also a global warming denialist, which is par from the course when you get your facts from your tribalist instincts and simply can’t look at anything that contravenes your value system.

As for the aforementioned 2011 book, the main claim seems to have been that liberalism was dead in the water, never to rise again. So in 2012, Tyrrell argued that the conclusion remained valid despite the election results on the grounds that President Obama is not a liberal but rather a socialist. Insofar as he can dismiss any recalcitrant data as “not liberalism”, his conclusion is of course firmly unfalsifiable. We would not be surprised if R. Emmett Tyrrell, jr. thought of that as a strength of the hypothesis. (After all, Tyrrell does have a notable tendency to call any random Democrat “marxist”, so there are, by Tyrrell’s lights, preciously few liberals in the Democratic party, and they won’t ever falsify his hypothesis.) 

Diagnosis: Yet another wingnut moron who doesn’t understand basic linguistic expressions and therefore concludes that they mean whatever he wants them to mean to ensure that he is always right. It is not intellectually very impressive. That said, Tyrrell is not a nobody on the wingnut talkshow guest circuit, and we wouldn’t be very surprised if that was because he was, indeed, one of their best.

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