- All reasonable men of good will are liberal;
- This person criticizes liberalism;
- Ergo, this person is either unreasonable or has malevolent motives.
The syllogism is valid, but the primary premise is flawed. It is a species of ad hominem, with a bit of bandwagon psychology and argumentum ad verecundiam thrown in for good measure. Please notice how cleverly Kain, a liberal Democrat, plays the game of pretending that there is some other conservatism he might be willing to respect:
I can only hope that the conservative movement stays the course, and continues to run this thing into the ground. Total self-destruction is necessary for it to be replaced by any viable, honorable, or intellectual conservatism.Right. Kain hereby asserts that conservatism, as developed as an American political movement since the 1940s, is neither viable, nor honorable, nor intellectual. Having wielded the stick of abuse (You're nuts!), Kain next dangles the carrot: If you will adopt a "conservatism" that does not fundamentally contradict the liberal agenda, you will be credited with being bien pensants -- just like them!
And such is Kain's arrogance as to imagine that conservatives are too stupid to see the game he's playing.
UPDATE: Notice that Sullivan makes a grand gesture of "researching" the Tea Party movement, proclaiming himself mystified, and denouncing the whole thing as a "tantrum." And this is the man who habitually accuses conservatives of mala fides.
UPDATE II: Linked at Memeorandum along with William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection and Pat of So It Goes In Shreveport., while Donald Douglas of American Power has further thoughts on the April 15 nationwide Tax Day Tea Party.
UPDATE III: Dan Riehl weighs in with a more in-depth fisking. Please note that Dan is sympathetic to Sully's gay-marriage obsession, but still doesn't let Sully off the hook for his sloppiness. And, in point of fact, Dan doesn't ever let me off the hook for sloppiness, either. He's very consistent that way.