The outpouring of support and commendation I have received regarding my analysis of the Pennsylvania grand jury report is much appreciated, especially when it comes from priests and bishops. The response has been so positive that it is being translated into Spanish and will soon be widely distributed.
Not surprisingly, there has also been a wave of hateful and often obscene phone calls, emails, and tweets. We don't reply to the crazies.
A few years ago I was talking to Alan Dershowitz about some issues—he has been the target of much vitriol lately as well—and he said something to the effect that "Bill, I'm older than you. I've lived through McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, but never have I seen more hatred in America than today."
Matters have only gotten worse. To cite one example, there is an article by Andrew Ferguson posted online by the Weekly Standard that reeks of hatred. Never once does he challenge anything I said in my analysis of the grand jury report. All he does is rant.
"Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report Debunked." That's the fairly unremarkable title of my article. But it sent Ferguson reeling—he accused me of choosing a "grandiose and self-congratulatory title."
My first sentence also pushed him over the edge. "Unlike most commentators and reporters," I wrote, "I have read most of the Pennsylvania grand jury report." Again, fairly pedestrian stuff. Here is what Ferguson said about that one sentence:
"This is what the philosophers call an 'argument from authority,' with a special twist: the authority Donahue [sic] cites is his own. While all you bedwetters were getting your panties in a twist, old Bill D was stayin' up doin' his homework."
Ferguson's piece continues to go downhill from there. Never once does he show that anything I said is false. He can't—he marshals not a single fact. His entire screed is an ad hominem attack that is strewn with name calling, and void of any empirical evidence, data, logic, or reason.
It is impossible to argue with such folks. But the next time Ferguson flies off the handle he should at least learn to spell my name right.