Thursday, April 10, 2008

All the Fun Things You Can Be On Your Own Say-So

Martin Rayner misses the point -- again -- in spectacular fashion

Speaking of people who just don't get it, here's a classic example: Martin Rayner aka "Red Tory".

Some may recall Rayner's impotent sputtering in response to a recent post here at the Nexus that insisted that Canadian Cynic and his mindless coterie of sheep aren't progressives.

Rayner's response? "You can't define what a progressive is, so you can't tell us we aren't progressives."

Well, unfortunate for mr Rayner, there are numerous ways of defining progressivism.

But the point really goes much deeper than this, and one is surprised that he just can't seem to grasp it. (No one is surprised that the demagogues over at Cynic's blog don't get it -- we've long ago realized they just aren't all that bright.)

The underlying question is: how does one justify a claim that they are part of an organization, institution or movement? By their own say-so? Or are there requirements?

For example: could one consider oneself a Jew merely by their own say so? Or do they have to possess the beliefs that characterize Judaism, live according to the philosophy of Judaism, or possess some formal relationship with a Synagogue?

It's no different than progressivism. If an individual can be demonstrated to not legitimately hold the beliefs that -- by any number of definitions -- characterize progressives, refuses to behave in a manner that characterizes a progressive philosophy, and possesses no formal relationship with the progressive movement (although the progressive movement is notably large enough that no one person could possess a formal relationship with it, unless indirectly) then that person can't call themselves a progressive.

Having accepted Mr Rayner's insistence (that one can claim to be something despite failing to meet the requirements), I've decided to indulge myself in the following things:

-I am now a citizen of Ireland. I've always wanted to be a formal citizen of Ireland. And despite the fact that I wasn't born there, and have no formal affiliation with the state of Ireland, I am now an Irish citizen. Because I said so.

-I've always thought it would be kind of cool to be a prince. Despite the fact that I wasn't born into the House of Windsor, and have never married into it, I now declare myself a member of the British Royal family. Because I said I am. Apparently, that's enough.

-I've always wanted to be part of a multi-platinum selling rock band as well. As such, I'm declaring myself to be a member of Metallica, despite the fact that I don't play any of the instruments the band uses, have never met any members of the band, never tried out, and never been formally affiliated with the band. But I'm now a member of Metallica because I say so. In Martin Rayner's dream world, this is enough.

To top it all off, I'm a member of the Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic and Green parties. I don't share the beliefs of any of these parties and haven't paid a membership fee to any of them, but I'm a member of all four. Because I say so.

Marty's dream world may not quite be the real world, but it's much more fun than the real world. Still, it's not quite reality, is it?

(This is the kind of shit that really shouldn't have to be explained to people.)


  1. Your "quote" that you attribute to me is a complete fabrication. How ironic.

  2. Nobody said it was a quote. It's a summary of your response.


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