Monday, November 29, 2004

Left and right

Dec. 2: I've linked to these before, but they're must-reads in this context:
Britt Blaser on conformity enforcers vs diversity enhancers, and Ed Cone's Don't Talk While I'm Interrupting.

most of the following links are old, in fact they might already be stale.

Dec. 1, Added stereotypical hors d'ouvres:
Deliberately exploiting and furthering defamatory...stereotypes is racism...
The racism isn't in printing the images or reporting the facts, it's in the deliberate use of them to promote racial stereotypes.
...consider this ad: "A new scientific study proves that []s get rich faster than any other group. (Picture of rich []ish family)"
"Visit our website and donate money to overcome America's wealth inequality. (Picture of poor [] family)"
Completely factual -- and completely racist. Any editor who printed this sort of ad wouldn't deserve to keep his job.
If it's not ok to make group-level generalizations (even if factually accurate) based on sex, religion or race, what about based on culture? socioeconomic status? political orientation? (no answers here, just questions)
vs. Debra Dickerson:
One reason for bigotry's maddening intractability is that a determination-however knee-jerk, superficial, or unthinkingly made-that something or someone is racist ends the discussion.

(bringing this to mind)

with the above moral confusion firmly established, here's the main course:

A comment illuminating how left and right don't play by the same rules:
Do we cut Rush [with his drug problems] more slack than we would cut Al Franken? You bet. Because Rush is one of ours. He is our leader, our hero, our champion. We take care of our wounded first. Only afterwards do we worry about the enemy wounded, if we worry about them at all. *
Once at a child's birthday party, the very smart (teaches at a NY area medical school, for what it's worth) rather non-political father of one of the part-goers asked me why people were willing to put up with obvious lies and equally obvious bad policy choices, even cheering the perpetrators on. Half seriously, I told him that an awful lot of people seem to view politics as a team sport. No matter what else may happen, you want your team to win. If the game is lopsided, it is a good bit less exciting, and it is annoying to see your guys breaking the rules over and over, but still, it is the final score that matters most. *
[Research shows that] conservative editorial pages are far less willing to criticize a Republican administration than liberal pages are willing to take issue with a Democratic administration *
...even if someone isn't really your enemy, identifying them as an enemy can cause a pleasant sense of group cohesion. And groups often gravitate towards members who are the most paranoid and make them leaders, because those are the people who are best at identifying external enemies. *
Seen somewhere recently -
We are what we fear in others.
Conservatives have more nightmares.
There's an interesting pattern going on. When I write a political column for the Chicago Sun-Times, when liberals disagree with me, they send in long, logical e-mails explaining all my errors. I hardly ever get well-reasoned articles from the right. People just tell me to shut up. That's the message: "Shut up. Don't write anymore about this. Who do you think you are?" *

From a characteristic reaction to research on personality correlates of political orientation:
I'm sorry. I really wanted to say something incredibly clever about how dumb I think a new study from Berkeley is....what is it about this that makes me think of bovine flatulence? Well, everything. Scientists spend millions of taxpayer dollars...Whatever their reasons, they think it's important work
I tend to be basically conservative in my philosophy and my politics. This is not due to any strict religious beliefs. It is just a pragmatic viewpoint. Traditional values have stood the test of time. A culture based upon them works. ................. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. *

In discussions with conservatives...I always come away with the same nagging sense that I'm attempting to reason them away from a deep-seated gut feeling. This accounts both for their self-described moral "clarity" and their immense defensiveness and paranoia. They don't "believe" conservative "philosophy"--they are conservatives. It is viscera you attack when you argue with them, it is their very identity, and they react accordingly.
But here's the rub: the fact that these positions are rooted in aesthetic preference makes them stronger, not weaker, in today's media culture. Liberals persist in clinging to reasons and rationales...What's happening is a competion of symbols, of myths... *

No comments: