Bullshit, she’s never been “outed” because she’s repeatedly volunteered the fact in her writing.
Matthew Norman Davies

I am glad you think my arguments are clever. Why you believe they are false leaves me perplexed in a sea of hollow assertions and, ever popular but equally fraudulent, cynicism for the sake of cynicism. As these cold waters of childish dissent wash over me and leave wondering what happened to the burdensome nature of arguments, it occurs to me you also lack a sense of humour.

Of course Johnstone was never outed… it’a a joke. It’s a joke that works (in theory because it clearly did not work) for three reasons. One, it is absurd to describe describing yourself as Australian as outing yourself. Two, it is only possible to tell someone who spells like an American and writes topics that are exclusively about America (of the handful I have read) from a perspective of revolution in America isn’t American because they say so. Three, I wrote “outed” not outed so that you could see the word was not quite right.

As to empty premises? You shall find none, because there are none. Being right is hard. It takes effort. It takes work. And it certainly was never achieved in pithy soundbites or Johnstone’s illogical diatribes… if she ever hits the “truth” on the head, it is the same way a poor carpenter can’t be expected to hammer every single nail incorrectly (ah… what a contortion to avoid the mixed metaphor of the stopped clock). All this interest in TRUUUUUUTH with a deranged manic look in my eye must make sound a bit like a certain Keith Windschuttle.

However, you are right about one thing… the world is leaving myself and my ilk behind. It is far from post-truth but there’s a reason I am left perplexed in a sea, not in a puddle. People simply aren’t interested in anything that doesn’t abrogate their intellectual responsibility. In the same way Johnstone must find it terribly difficult for her very premises and logic to be questioned, it must be monstrously burdensome for you to find more catty remarks in order to so thoroughly side step your sins. Which, to be clear are:

  1. Failing to acknowledge that I was not engaged in a substantive debate over the wrongness of the Clinton Campaign’s relationship to the Steele Dossier.
  2. Failing to acknowledge that my primary interest was in characterising, not judging, the Trump jr. email scandal and the Steele Dossier.
  3. Failing to defend, in the face of criticism, many of your own (if tenuously relevant, by the above sins) arguments (e.g. on the synonymity of Clinton Camp and Clinton Campaign).
  4. Failing to acknowledge that there are gross errors of, pathetically simple, logic in Johnstone’s commentary even disregarding the essential falseness of her premise that they’re exactly the same.
  5. Whatever other ones I can’t be arsed to write right now.

It’s all very well to go about onanists and the like but all this achieves is to make plain that you think it wrong to appreciate context, that you think it erroneous to conceive of such rarefied notions as relevance and that you await your forthcoming invitation to the barbecue and hangi of all stationary goalposts. Good God, man, you present yourself as slime upon my boot… a renegade not bound intellectually by humanity, ready to be stepped on by anyone willing to deal with the foulness of the swamp of intellectual irresponsibility and petty insults substituted for arguments. It is your misfortune that a vagrant from the (surprisingly distant) bog of hypocrisy, somehow wearing boots, was the one who happened to step on you.

I realise the above is flawed (aside from its other properties, you replied to me) but the point is that while people like to talk about a post-truth world¹ the internet remains invested in wrongness. You do. I do. Johnstone does. The difference is that I will run myself into the ground for what I believe… and that I know the only reason I am lost in a sea is that my ilk, those willing to at least try and meet the burdens of what we say, are no longer the only people able to publish: if, indeed, we ever were… which we doubt.

If you wish to respond, that’s up to you. I will still be here, and I will remain willing to write whatever it takes to try and force you to where we’re meant to be. That is, your saying “Sorry, Harry, I misunderstood your purposes but Clinton ought to be locked up all the same” and my reply, “That’s okay Matthew, I don’t care that you think Clinton ought to be locked up, and I forgive your mistake.” Or, alternatively, we begin to argue and rebut the notion that Trump jr.’s email scandal is the same as the Steele Dossier until one of us tires, possibly with a side of intellectual disagreement over whether I’m right that Johnstone committed gross errors of logic. Come to think of it, I would rather assume Johnstone understood what I wrote (unlike you) and decided that she’d much rather have an argument about her conclusions rather than quibble over the idea that how she reached her conclusions was wrong. It’s time for you to make the decision she already did… do you wish to ponder intellectual burdens or are you more interested in finding a soapbox to peddle your conclusions?

Best wishes in these turbulent² days,

H. East.

¹ Except, no, they don’t… the world has kept turning remarkably consistently and people still believe in lies (in fact, they are extremely invested in lies, i.e. fake news). Which reminds me: contrary to your “global debate” Trump and Trump’s misfortunes remain affairs in American politics… no more interesting or amusing than anything Dubya ever did.

² Although, again, not really. The world keeps turning.

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