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Conservapedia:Schlafly Definition

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A Schlafly definition is a special type of debate tactic one observes most typically in an argument with Conservapedia founder Andrew Layton Schlafly. When backed into a corner, Schlafly simply will change the definition of a key word in order to effectively win the agument.[1]

While related to the Schlafly Stretch, the Schlafly definition does not require the same recursive pattern. Rather, a Schlafly definition can be used at any time to turn around the argument, making it close in function but not in content to the Schlafly Reversal.

Examples[edit]

Subjective vs. Objective[edit]

The most frequently-used Schlafly definition is his idiosyncratic usage of the terms "subjective" and "objective." For a quick refresh, see the dictionary definitions of subjective[2] and objective[3]. From this, it appears that Schlafly's definitions are almost backwards, but he still favours "objectivity" over subjectivity.

For example, in the following situation, Schlafly expresses disapproval on the main page of a "100 Most Influential Conservatives" list compiled by "clueless Brits" at the Telegraph. A user questions this overreaction on the main talk page:

The list from the Daily Telegraph states that it is conservatives who influence American politics, whereas the list produced here was simply top conservatives. So the Telegraph's list is really a rating of conservatism combined with influence rather than just the former. This explains some of the differences, and any others can simply be put down to differences of opinion...I see no need to go calling people 'clueless' for simply having a slightly different opinion. I bet every person on this website would produce a slightly different ranking of conservatives.[4]

Schlafly, not able to accept failure no matter how reasonable his opponent, responds with the Schlafly definition of "subjective":

Ranking conservatives is not as subjective as you pretend. It's less subjective than, for example, ranking the best baseball players. There may be minor differences, but most baseball fans would generally agree on the ranking. The ranking of conservatives is more objective, and the Telegraph is clearly clueless as illustrated by its ranking Lieberman ahead of Scalia.[5]

In case the rational observer has a hard time parsing this one, Schlafly's logic can be broken down the following way:

  1. A list of the greatest baseball players is subjective (which is odd, as rankings tend to be points based or stats based, which is pretty objective), however most fans would agree with it.
  2. A list of the greatest conservatives is less subjective than a baseball listing - because I say so.
  3. Therefore, such a list is completely objective, and anyone who disagrees is clueless.

Other Examples[edit]

Key Term Real-world definition Schlafly definition
abstract 1. considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept.
2. not applied or practical; theoretical.
3. difficult to understand; abstruse
something I could never prove, but want to claim anyway.[6]
obscure of undistinguished or humble station or reputation something or someone I haven't heard of (e.g. Giuseppe Verdi[7], Lord of the Rings)
open-minded receptive to new ideas or information unquestioningly receptive to my ideas or information (e.g. moral relativism and the Conservative Bible Project)
rant a bombastic, extravagant speech a post disagreeing with me which is longer than 3-4 sentences

See Also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. This often leads one to wonder, perhaps with good reason, if the man has opened a fucking dictionary since he left Harvard.
  2. The definitions from other dictionaries are available for validation purposes.
  3. The definitions from other dictionaries are available for validation purposes.
  4. http://conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Talk%3AMain_Page&diff=745212&oldid=745011
  5. http://conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Talk%3AMain_Page&diff=745212&oldid=745011
  6. See Liberal Inability To Abstract.
  7. See this discussion