Dialogue more valuable than ever

Here's another article about how liberals condescend to conservatives.  It begins:

It's an odd time for liberals to feel smug. But even with Democratic fortunes on the wane, leading liberals insist that they have almost nothing to learn from conservatives. Many Democrats describe their troubles simply as a PR challenge, a combination of conservative misinformation — as when Obama charges that critics of health-care reform are peddling fake fears of a "Bolshevik plot" — and the country's failure to grasp great liberal accomplishments. "We were so busy just getting stuff done . . . that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a recent interview. The benighted public is either uncomprehending or deliberately misinformed (by conservatives).

This condescension is part of a liberal tradition that for generations has impoverished American debates over the economy, society and the functions of government — and threatens to do so again today, when dialogue would be more valuable than ever.

Perhaps this guy is joking.  Or he is just very seriously misinformed, because it has been a mainstay of conservative opposition to any Obama initiative to call it "socialist" or worse (Liberal fascism anyone).  I'm not going to bother linking to anything because just googling the combination of "Obama" and "Socialist" nearly crashed the Google server. 

It's not, in other words, condescension.  It is a plain and to my mind surprisingly charitable interpretation of an opposition many of whose key members and leaders have excluded themselves from minimally reasonable discussion.  That's just true, whether or not many liberals are condescending a–wholes. 

As he wraps up this factless and meme-driven piece, the author goes for a little balance:

Of course, plenty of conservatives are hardly above feeling superior. But the closest they come to portraying liberals as systematically mistaken in their worldview is when they try to identify ideological dogmatism in a narrow slice of the left (say, among Ivy League faculty members), in a particular moment (during the health-care debate, for instance) or in specific individuals (such as Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom some conservatives accuse of being stealth ideologues). A few conservative voices may say that all liberals are always wrong, but these tend to be relatively marginal figures or media gadflies such as Glenn Beck.

Really.  Again, I'd say this is plainly false.  No bother.  This guy doesn't even try to produce evidence (here's an assignment, google "liberals" and see what comes up–it's entertaining.  Then google "liberals" and the name of any leading conservative, you won't find George Will making fine-grained distinctions).  Perhaps, however, as a conservative, he doesn't know that claims about reality stand or fall on the basis of the evidence offered.  "Just trust me phrases" in an advocacy piece don't count.

About John Casey

Blogger
This entry was posted in Academics, Ad Hominem Abusive, George Will, Things that are false. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Dialogue more valuable than ever

  1. the fact is that conservative-leaning scholars, economists, jurists and legal theorists have never produced as much detailed analysis and commentary on American life and policy as they do today.
    And somehwat astonishingly, almost all of them get paid by the American Enterprise Institute, much like the author of this piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>