Sunday, April 10, 2011
Being a "blue state" Republican with libertarian tendencies, I have many liberal friends. My friends, at least, are sweet and kind, and not generally the people of Rush Limbaugh's fevered dreams. But sometimes they crack me up. Today's favored Facebook link is a breathless article in Salon by a Los Angeles woman, who confesses that she can't believe that her "best friend is a Republican."
Of my three or four closest friends, only one is manifestly a Republican and he never votes. Another is a libertarian and no fan of the GOP or the nanny-staters, and the others are Democrats. I, however, neither beat my chest nor twist my hanky because I have friends who are Democrats, and no other Republican of my acquaintance, all of whom have good friends who are Democrats would. Has any Republican ever penned a similar such confessional?
It's the same reaction when anyone's bigotries are proven false.
"I can't believe my best friend is a Jew!"
"I can't believe my best friend is a Negro!"
"I can't believe my best friend is a Muslim!"
Et cetera. Modern liberalism is virtually defined by intellectual bigotry. This should surprise no one.
Many have generalized that the wingnut view of libs is that they are ignorant, while the lib viewpoint of wingnuts is that they are evil.
It is no big deal to be friends with someone who is more ignorant than you. But to be friends with someone who is evil?
My two best, and probably smartest, friends are both well left of center, though one registers Republican because in his view that is where the most good work can be done in the primaries. They are both awesome human beings. In fact here in the Bay Area just about all the people I know and work with are liberal Democrats. In fact there are so few Republicans that when I find a friend who is a Republican I think to myself,
I can't believe my friend is a Republican!
That article reminded me of the Chris Rock routine. In response to the proudly stated "I take care of my kids" he says "What do you want? A cookie?"
Like its such a remarkably expansive act to care about someone who has come to different conclusions about the role of government, or abortion, or whatever...
RE "conclusions" ... for me it's that they might actually care so much about one of those particular issues to vote it. I marvel that there are folks standing in silent vigil outside what has to be an abortion clinic each time I go to the local Lowes.
It's interesting to ask a person what the three issues they vote are, since I assume they have an opinion on all the hot buttom issues used to divide the electorate. Mine are easily taxation, national security and guns.
As I related to a friend yesterday ... if they don't look like me (meaning, my offspring) why would you expect I am happy to feed, clothe, medicate or provide them shelter? that clearly makes me an evil republican, likely painted with an opinion adverse to those left of center, and I'd note they'd make the wrong assumption on almost all of them.
Boludo, I agree. And I blame the typical university experience.
A young, idealistic relative of mine is nearing the end of his second year in college. He wrote to me about a white neighbor of his who was resentful and angry because a less experienced but more educated black man got the job the white guy had wanted. I pointed out this kind of resentment was a natural result of affirmative action because it casts suspicion on the qualifications of minorities even when they are highly qualified.
My relative concluded that many of the people he knew considered People of Color to be parasites who should be exterminated. Whew. He won't speak to me now and has convinced his siblings not to speak to me, either.
We would be making some real progress if we could teach young college students to re-state the position of a conservative or libertarian to the satisfaction of the person who had stated the position WITHOUT jumping to the conclusion that evil intent was behind the position. Where has intellectual curiosity gone?
Can't remember who said it, but it rings true: "Conservatives want liberals to keep talking. Liberals want conservatives to shut up".
Just wait for liberals who will claim that the would is balanced on the backs of four elephants that stand on the back of a big turtle that walks slowly around the sun and the stars are little lights lit by the sky people at night and blown out in the daytime and there will be other liberals dumb enough to beleive them
I posted the "Slate" link on my Facebook page. I posted it because I agree with Boludo, that the libs have been painted as ignorant and the conservatives evil. But it's more than that. The language used to tell me I am ignorant often demeans me, patronizes me, and otherwise makes me uncomfortable enough to refrain from speaking. The language used to demonize me offends, denigrates, and debases me and likewise makes too uncomfortable to speak. Either the speaker is malevolent or the words as useful as marshmallow taffy. No real good choices there. So, I posted the "Slate" piece. Won't change the vitriol I wade through when I try to figure something out, won't thicken my skin, but it was fun hearing what my Facebook buds had to say.
Bird of Paradise, recent scientific investigation has shown it's only three elephants.
Boludo and Carolyn, I have a chicken/egg puzzle for you to contemplate. Does the association of liberalism with college result from the social vulnerability of the majority at that age, needing to reassure themselves they will fit in with the "best people" in their age cohort going forward? Or, is there something peculiar to the minority of people who will always socially need to be liberals, that they happen to activate at this age, perhaps because their attainment of formal operations stage is only partial?
I have long thought the former, but am leaning to the latter at present.
AVI, regarding the latter : there are those who will never acquire that ability to use reason and logic at a high level. The mush-head reasoning of the politically correct come to mind.
I tend towards the former, and will use an example of someone whose ability to use abstract thought has been shown to be rather high. On a Venezuelan politics blog, some commenters objected to using a given source, such as Ayn Rand, because to do so would discredit one’s cause.
I replied that the source should be evaluated according to the veracity of what was being said, not who said it. I also pointed out that my experience in real life coupled with extensive independent library research had led me away from the libs and towards wingnuts. In that process, I dealt not with who wrote something but with what was written.
A commenter who was a then a Ph.D, student in mathematics, and who is now doing postdoc work, jumped on my case. That’s just like a bigoted Republican to say that, he replied. ( I never identified myself as a Republican.) He later apologized in a rather smarmy way, saying that while the Republicans he knew were bigots, he didn’t know me, so he retracted what he had said about me. He also said that one reason he responded so was that he felt condescended to by my stating that I used to be a lib.
I doubt he knew many Republicans hanging around his grad student cubicles, so I surmise that the assumption he made about me he also made about others. But that is not my main point.
This is someone who has used abstract reasoning at a high level. No mush-head he. While doctorates in Education are handed out in truckloads to mush-heads, the same does not apply to doctorates in Mathematics. He was a lib because he wanted to be one of the “best people.”
There are many Venezuelans opposed to Hugo Chávez who view US wingnuts with horror. The irony is that wingnuts in the US saw through Chávez well before the libs did.
TH, your blamed span software hit again. Not only that, I had no link whatsoever in the comment. You need to tweak it again.
I would say that your spam software is the worst I have ever encountered. When comments get deep sixed when there is no link whatsoever, something is wrong.
AVI, I think that there are noble impulses which often kick in at about that age - particularly toward fairness and charity - which sort of lead young people in a socialist direction because it is much easier to be fair and charitable in the abstract at that age than it is to be fair and charitable on a personal level. The latter takes experience, skill and means. Of course there are also other motivations, as you suggest.
Many of those who "recover" from liberalism incorporate some of the idealism which led them toward liberalism into their personal lives. Some do not.
Many liberals try to treat others justly and with charity on a personal level. Perhaps this is the type Mr. Ed calls "awesome human beings". Most liberals who seem rather nasty on a personal level could be divided into two basic groups, the passive and the aggressive.
Lawrence M. Miller recognized passive and aggressive types of bureaucrats. Both types cause problems. The same is true of passive and aggressive types of liberals. Passive liberals want to feel good about themselves for supporting the "right" positions. And they may hope for personal gain at the expense of others. Aggressive liberals, even those who don't have ulterior financial motives, want to control the lives of other people.
One interesting phenomenon is that the "awesome human being" type of liberal fails to recognize the destructiveness of the "passive" and "aggressive" types of liberals. Or they tend to deny the connection between liberalism and the existence of these personally nasty liberals. The nasty ones must harbor secret conservative or libertarian leanings.