Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Delusions of virtue

My piece on the differing views of reality last week was primarily background, so I could address pieces like this Washington Post opinion piece in context. Because Sally Kohn is as disconnected from the reality in which I live as anyone out there.
The real problem isn’t a liberal weakness. It’s something liberals have proudly seen as a strength — our deep-seated dedication to tolerance. In any given fight, tolerance is benevolent, while intolerance gets in the good punches. Tolerance plays by the rules, while intolerance fights dirty. The result is round after round of knockouts against liberals who think they’re high and mighty for being open-minded but who, politically and ideologically, are simply suckers.
Ok, does anyone actually watching the process think that the "liberals" in this country have been "benevolent" in the recent political past? Has the "conservative" position dominated on issue after issue? Was that a "tolerant" and "open-minded" effort on the part of President "I won" and the Pelosi/Reid Congress that jammed Obamacare through on a strictly partisan vote? Were the liberals who occupied the state house in Madison, and tried to turn a non-partisan judicial election into a civil rights battle demonstrating "tolerance" and "open-mindedness"? And as for playing by the rules vs. playing dirty, are ACORN and Planned Parenthood and NPR and the SEIU "conservative" organizations?

Obviously not.

It's long been my position that, for the most part, the difference in the Liberal/Conservative partisan split is biggest when looking at the other side. Conservatives tend to see Liberals, not all but most, as well-meaning but wrong. Liberals tend to see Conservatives as bad. Conservatives look at liberals and see "bleeding hearts" and "tree-huggers" and "big government free spenders" and Liberals look at Conservatives and see "racists" and "homophobes" and "fascists." And their positions let the liberals "think they’re high and mighty for being open-minded." Delusions of virtue. Basically, liberals demonstrate tolerance on some issues, primarily sexual, but have no tolerance whatsoever for anyone who thinks about things differently than they do.

But this was the comment that I really wanted to address.
In the weeks leading up to the budget showdown, the Pew Research Center found that 50 percent of Republicans wanted their elected representatives to “stand by their principles,” even if it meant causing the federal government to shut down. Among those who identified as tea party supporters, that figure was 68 percent. Conversely, 69 percent of Democrats wanted their representatives to avoid a shutdown, even if it meant compromising on principles.
Gosh, why would one party's supporters be more concerned about the government remaining open than the other party's? What could possibly account for that? (Other than, obviously, superior "tolerance?") Hmm... That's a puzzler, for sure...

Here's a thought. Is it possible that one side is more concerned about the size and cost of government than the other? Could it possibly be that one party disproportionately represents those that fund the government and the other disproportionately represents those that receive funds from the government? That the party doing the funding thinks it spends too much and wants to cut back while the party doing the receiving just wants the funds to keep coming, or even increase? That one party is the party of free markets and liberty and the other is, fundamentally, the part of big government?

I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader to decide. I know what my position is...

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