There is a phenomenon of ‘ad hominem’ being the trump card of self-proclaimed philosphical, logical white men ever since they’ve reared their self-righteous heads on the internet. They tell me they are rational, detached, unbiased, objective, seeking the truth, egalitarian, etc. ad nauseum. Which is funny, because the next thing that will come out of their mouths next is going to be biased. Bias is under every human being’s perspectives.
It is ‘ad hominem’ to talk about the racism of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. It is ‘ad hominem’ to talk about the double standards of Abraham Lincoln when it came to the abolition of slavery. It is ‘ad hominem’ to call kinksters racists for publicly wearing Nazi uniforms and swastikas. It is ‘ad hominem’ to make a scandal of a politician if he publicly agrees with homophobia but in private was discovered to be having sex with another man. But you know what? Ad hominem is irrelevant.
Painting Abraham Lincoln as an abolitionist is a myth; many other men in his time were arguing for slavery as consensual, and no doubt they’d take to heart some freed men claiming that conditions were better in slavery. Actually, Lincoln was a moderate and did not originally want to abolish slavery in the South; he wanted to end the North-South conflict.
Now, for Margaret Sanger. She was a racist and was all for forced sterilization of black women. Fortunately, her racism did not seep into what we know today as Planned Parenthood. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important to recognize that she was a racist and one of a number of people who supported forced sterilization of minorities, even eugenics. On the other hand, the racism aspect of reproductive science has been used as ammo by anti-choicers and nationalists. I do not need to label this as a logical fallacy; in fact, I’d rather not waste time looking up logical fallacies to see which one this applies to when I can refute the hype without it.
Next, the Nazi symbols. It is quite Hegelian to presume you can reinvent or redefine the meaning of a symbol, in fact any choice as being outside of or independent from material reality. Perhaps this is possible on an individual level, and only in certain cases, but not a collective one. Jews and other peoples who were persecuted in the Holocaust have every right to be offended when they see a swastika, because we know it as a Nazi symbol – it is the most vivid and fresh in our collective memory as being synonymous with hate. It does not matter if some Jews have a Nazi fetish, either. Nobody on the street has the time to listen to some white man’s lecture about how swastikas exist in many cultures; he is appropriating from them.
Finally, the politician. Nobody wants someone as a leader, making legal or political decisions for them, whose values don’t match up. They don’t want a hypocrite. Well, that one was easy.
According to the aforementioned men, if you are justifiably upset, or even so much as criticize what they say, you’re ‘imbalanced’…you must be fence-sitters like them…you must not have strong convictions or be passionate about anything because if you are, then you’re an extremist. And they fear that. They will say if you do not argue the way you want them to, that you are wrong. It is a way for them to avoid context and addressing what is being said; do not be loud and uppity. It is how they view everything, compartmentalized and disconnected. ‘Ad hominem’ is just a way of their saying,’That thing has nothing to do with the other’ and they leave it at that, without proof.