Friday, February 05, 2010

ICWUDT. I usually find myself having to play catch-up on the issues of the day before I can talk about them, so it's kind of a shock to see something like Gerard Alexander's "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" which discusses something I already know a little about, and find it completely at odds with what I've observed.

He talks about concerns with boob-baiting tactics as if such concerns had no cause but the vain wish of an intellectual cadre to feel good about themselves by feeling bad about someone else. This could be an interesting philosophical premise -- this is a republic, after all, and maybe baiting boobs is the only game in town. And complaints such as those I make, with increasing weariness, on these pages are on such grounds irrelevant, like going to a dance club and complaining about the loud music. It's an argument I'd be willing to entertain, especially on bad days.

But he also thinks one political group specializes in it to the exclusion of its opponents:
Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.
He also says liberals believe "the thinkers, politicians and citizens who advance conservative ideas must be dupes, quacks or hired guns selling stories they know to be a sham," and also believe "conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic."

This, I have to say, threw me. Has he never seen a conservative blog? Has he never noticed them explaining to black people that they're stupid and ungrateful to vote for Democrats? Or their belief that the media is hypnotizing the American people, and their threatening to take vengeance on it while simultaneously whining that it is all-powerful? Or Jonah Goldberg's insistence that his opponents are not just wrong, nor even just "driven purely by emotion and anxiety," but fascists?

It's almost too much to believe that such a person is arguing in good faith -- which, whoops, makes me one of those liberal elitists. Well, that's how it goes.

And very unfair of me too, after Alexander has gone to the trouble to almost admit the vague possibility of something resembling the Republican Southern Strategy:
Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then...
This is like saying violence played a role in the impalement of the victim on my client's knife, but the prosecution insists on taking this thing to trial.

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