Thursday, April 03, 2008

BIAW Newsletter - Not Just Name Calling

The Bellingham Heralds Politics Reporter, Sam Taylor, has blogged about a Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) newsletter article that equates environmentalists to Nazis. Sam concludes that the BIAW has automatically lost the argument by making a comparison to Nazi's.

I can't agree with Sam's conclusion that the article in the BIAW newsletter is simply a "violation of Godwin's Law". Godwin's Law refers to name calling, the inclination to sinking to the level of throwing in the term "Nazi" as an epithet.

What Musser has done is join in an elaborate effort at historical revisionism akin to the Holocaust Deniers. In an interview with David Postman of the Seattle Times, Musser admits he was inspired by right-wing revisionist Jonah Goldberg . "Musser said he began researching Nazi environmentalism after hearing an interview with Jonah Goldberg who recently published, Liberal Fascism: ...".

[historical revisionism: the illegitimate manipulation of history for political purposes]

Musser has spent a great deal of time attempting to draw a connection between stormwater management and stormtroopers. However all of his supposed connections are based on logical fallacies. A classic example of the logical fallacy is: "All dogs have four legs. My dog has four legs and spots. Therefor, all dogs have spots".

In his blog post, "Distorting Nazi history to attack environmentalists", David Postman exposes some of Musser's fallacies. Postman also reveals that the authors who's works Musser cites as sources categorically reject Musser's conclusions.

What's going on with the BIAW isn't just the use of some intemperate language in a newsletter, it's intentional disinformation intended to vilify. The BIAW has been transformed by its staff from a trade association into a right-wing extremist organization.

Compare some of our neighboring states Building Industry Association's mission statements with the BIAW's.
the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) says:
In 2007, CBIA's official publication California Builder spotlighted the association’s major functions — lobbying, education and research, member services, public affairs, and PCBC® The Premier Building Show
The Idaho Building Contractors Association (IBCA) says:
The Idaho Building Contractors Association (IBCA) is a proactive trade association representing the home building industry - committed to promoting and protecting the American dream of home ownership As a voice of the industry, we provide education, information, and networking opportunities. We are dedicated to professionalism and the highest ethical standards in our industry..
the Montana Building Industry Association (MBIA) says:
In an industry so vital to the local economy, and one so frequently influenced by government policy, no one of us can afford to "go it alone". It takes every one of us to stand together and take care of business by influencing public policy, marketing our industry, and collectively providing small business services such as education, group insurance and industry wide communications.
BIAW says:
The Building Industry Association of Washington exists to unite those in the building industry in Washington state in their fight against a government that has made this industry among the most regulated in the nation.

The BIAW Leaders and staff work full time so you can work less time, representing you and more than 12,500 member companies like yours who want taxes and regulations limited. BIAW battles 365 days a year on your behalf to reduce the scope of government and expand free enterprise.

Besides battling big government, BIAW offers a variety of programs and services...


While other Building Industry Associations are promoting and lobbying, the BIAW has declared war on the government.

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