Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not In His Dreams

I recently discovered this little nugget that the Fearless Leader wrote in response to one of Pastor Lane’s Federal Vision posts:

The response here is that I cannot think of any critic of the FV — provided we are talking about critics who sign their own name to their concerns or charges — that I would dream of accusing of deception or lying. I believe the distortions and misrepresentations (which are quite real) come from a paradigmatic net that won’t let certain thoughts or concepts through. It is not lying to say something false. It is lying to say something false deliberately. This is not to say that there is no culpability in such tangles and confusion — there is, can be, and has been on both sides. But it is the sort of thing that should be sorted out in conversation and debate, not charges. (“Letting the Grease Cool Down”; emphasis original)

This is Wilson at his best. First, he offers an accurate definition of lying by distinguishing it from a false, or incorrect, representation. Lying is a deliberate attempt to deceive. It’s all about intent; liars consciously misrepresent the truth. But then he appeals to one of his favorite devices — the tangle — to dilute the definition he just affirmed: “This is not to say that there is no culpability in such tangles and confusion — there is, can be, and has been on both sides. But it is the sort of thing that should be sorted out in conversation and debate, not charges.”

Why culpability if there’s no intent? And if there’s culpability, why is it not lying? And if six years of “conversation and debate” has not resolved the “tangles and confusion” (deliberately created), then why can’t we call it lying? Ummmm, maybe because someone’s not telling the truth.

But I don’t want to waste time analyzing his equivocation. I want you to notice this:

The response here is that I cannot think of any critic of the FV — provided we are talking about critics who sign their own name to their concerns or charges — that I would dream of accusing of deception or lying.

If I understand this sentence correctly, the Fearless Leader alleges here that he can’t think of any FV critic whom he would even dream of accusing of deception or lying, which he defined as deliberately saying something false. So I went back searched his “Auburn Avenue Stuff” thread for such words as “Ninth Commandment,” “lying,” “slander,” etc., and discovered that . . . well . . . someone’s not telling the truth.

For example, he wrote this “ethical critique” of Dr. Waters:

Here is the ethical critique. In this interview, Guy Waters did the same thing that he did in his book, and which I have already refuted section by section. He says we don’t say things we very clearly say, he says that we obscure things we don’t obscure, and in short he grossly misrepresents us (to an unsuspecting Christian audience). I would refer him to the Larger Catechism’s treatment of the ninth commandment, and ask him to adopt an attitude of strict subscription. (“Oh”; emphasis original)

I’m happy to admit that this is not a direct accusation, but I’m equally glad to point out that it’s rife with insinuation. Obviously this is innuendo, or as a friend calls it, Wilsonnuendo, which is a subset of dougspeak. Notice that Wilson clearly implies his accusation using very direct language so that the reader could arrive at only one conclusion, but he refused to state his accusation. Here’s another example of Wilsonnuendo:

The larger quibble is this. Godfrey doesn’t really get into the current fracas, only referring to it a few times. In these three places Godfrey registers his disagreement, but unlike some of his colleagues, he never moves into high slander mode. . . . (“The Screaming Moralistic Fantods”)

Again, the accusation is implicit: Wilson believes that some of Dr. Godfrey’s colleagues operate in “high slander mode,” which is another way of accusing them of lying because Questions 144 & 145 of the WLC clearly prohibit slander, high or low. But who are the “colleagues” that Wilson accuses with his insinuation? I’ll let the Fearless Leader answer that one:

So let us talk for a moment about the tenet of Dr. Clark’s that I agreed with, the one without the iron boot. “I admit that all believers are fully justified now and shall be vindicated as such at the judgment.” I agree, Dr. Clark, and one of the things I will be vindicated from in that day will be your false charges. (“Even Warriors for Truth Have to Fudge the Facts a Little”; emphasis original)

I could be wrong, but I don’t see much innuendo here. In fact, it strikes me as a direct accusation of “false charges.” Or maybe I’m dreaming. There’s no doubt, however, that he loaded the title of the post with Wilsonnuendo and he insinuates yet more here:

Scott Clark has had some more to say, and he says it here. As part of his conclusion, he says: . . . This is just an outrage. Look at what Clark is doing — no, not that ninth commandment stuff. I would keep on pointing that out but my arm is tired. (“The Pope’s Easter Hat”; emphasis original)

Oh, yes, the lying Dr. Clark. Everyone knows he’s truth challenged. In fact, I’m surprised the brothers at MARS haven’t recruited him, because they’re next in line of those whom Wilson would never dream of accusing of lying:

We all see through a glass darkly, but some more darkly than others. Here is the problem, and it is a glaring and grotesque one. Their testimony includes a “Digest of Errors” (pp. 17–20). This is a list of 45 errors taught by “the various proponents of the current set of errors.” I am an FV guy, right? I should be able to find myself in there, right? But out of their list of 45 errors, I find that I could be able to join them in rejecting 43, and maybe 44 of them. The “error” I recognize as a reasonable expression of my own position is #36, that of paedocommunion. The others on the list participate in overt misrepresentation, with varying degrees of high-handedness. The degrees of misrepresentation range from mild to jaw-dropping. This was an unbelievably shoddy bit of scholarship. This was atrocious. This was violation of the ninth commandment with a chainsaw. (“Theologians Are From MARS”)

Is taking a chainsaw to the Ninth Commandment tantamount to lying? Really, do metaphors remove the insinuation or do they aggravate it? Should we even have to ask this question? No, we shouldn’t. But we’re dealing with Wilson, who just accused the entire MARS faculty of lying in their “Digest of Errors.”

Here’s the last example that I gleaned from dozens of citations where the Fearless Leader accuses certain persons of lying about him and the Federal Vision. I reproduce the post in entirety:

And the Winner Is . . .
Topic:
Auburn Avenue Stuff
You should recall that some time ago, I invited contributions to a federal vision haiku contest. Rather than apologize for my tardiness in announcing the winners, let me just say that we all know that time is one of the tests of a classic.

First prize is 15 clams off any purchase at Canon Press, which goes to Chris Witmer for the following two submissions. Second prize is ten dollars off at the same establishment, and goes to Joost Nixon. Honorable mention isn’t worth anything substantive, which is good, because that one goes to Nate Wilson’s entry.

Chris Witmer
You don’t resemble
My caricature of you
Because you’re lying.

SJC judgment
The sound of two hands clapping
Unanimously

Joost Nixon
RC is aging
who will assume his mantle?
Bombasticity

Nate Wilson
Cherry blossom spins
dropping charges, elusive,
brave debate partner

Posted by Douglas Wilson — 4/10/2007 9:34:38 AM

Well, that certainly is a winner. It says it all — “Because you’re lying.” But you have to notice that in this instance Wilson didn’t make the accusation; he just rewarded someone else for making it. Classic Wilsonnuendo: “I didn’t say you were lying; Witmer said it.” I don’t care. We all know what it means and we all know where Witmer learned it. He’s a monkey boy to the armpits and he hangs on every word that proceeds from the mouth of Doug. He’s the big bag of hate that called Ligon Duncan “Legion” Duncan in the combox at Green Baggins and received an instant lifetime ban. He learned to slander from the Fearless Leader, by reading his blog. Wilson taught him by example; Wilson encouraged him by example; and ultimately Wilson rewarded him with money.

But Witmer is a fool not worth my time. The question we need to answer is How can Wilson claim he can’t think of any FV critic he would dream of accusing of lying after he documented an exhaustive record that demonstrates he has already accused pretty much all of his chief critics of lying?

There is any number of answers to this question. I’m sure Wilson would deceive his way out of it by massaging a few terms, revising some of his story, and attacking the character of the person who points out his contradiction, which is his standard MO. I’m sure that others (including myself) would note that lying is pathological for him — he can’t help it. Indeed, he loves it. But I think the best explanation for this conundrum is to observe the dougspeak in his original statement:

The response here is that I cannot think of any critic of the FV — provided we are talking about critics who sign their own name to their concerns or charges — that I would dream of accusing of deception or lying.

He cannot think of any FV critic whom he would dream of accusing of lying because he doesn’t need to dream about it. Not at all. He doesn’t need to dream about it because he does it constantly in his waking hours.



Thank you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Witmer is not worth your time, Mark. But if it were, the question would not be his 9th Commandment accusations, but the plethora of homoerotic comments he has left all over the web.

Again, if it were worth your time.

cib said...

Well, that certainly is a winner. It says it all — “Because you’re lying.” But you have to notice that in this instance Wilson didn’t make the accusation; he just rewarded someone else for making it. Classic Wilsonnuendo: “I didn’t say you were lying; Witmer said it.” I don’t care.

Isn't that haiku putting words in the FV critic's mouth?

Mark T. said...

Anon,

You’re not the first to broach the subject of Mr. Witmer’s obsessive fascination with homosexuals; he’s a real treat.

Mark T. said...

CIB,

Pastor Lane flagged that one too; but as I pointed out to him, this isn’t mitigating, it’s aggravating. Rather than charge his critics with lying, he’s putting the accusation in their mouth.

HaigLaw said...

LaP has now reversed its 2007 position vindicating the FV views of Rev. Wilkins and now opposes FV, as I summarize in my Xanga blog found at xanga dot com/HaigLaw.