Why Contemporary Liberals Frustrate the Crap out of Conservatives

Several weeks ago, one of my readers posted a link to an article that attempted to empirically prove that Islam is a dangerous religion. While I reject the article’s conclusion, a part of it did resonate with me.

Do you ever read something and a light goes off in your head and you say “wow, that’s me!” The author, David Steinberg (not the comedian), specifies what he believes to be the dividing point between classical liberals and contemporary liberals:

Liberalism withholds judgment until finding an answer bulletproofed by logic and reason, and this practice is nothing less than the bedrock of the first world.

I am of course referring to classical liberalism, now tragically mistitled conservatism. The half-philosophy known as the Left co-opted that most precious word, liberty, then stopped reading at “withholds judgment.”

He goes on to say:

Technically, the Left preaches that the most enlightened human behavior is to withhold judgment in favor of first concluding a thorough self-examination. But that self-examination process — the perfecting of America and the West prior to judging another culture — can never conclude. There will always be a poor decision, a misguided decision, or a failed policy enacted by democratically elected officials. A Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam.

Our country is run by a marketplace of ideas. Some will win support and be proven right and some will win support and be proven wrong. Representatives will be voted in and out, the future will always remain unknown, and our leaders will continually take risks with our direction. So withholding judgment in favor of a thorough self-examination becomes a fraud, a half-measure. It becomes a permanently withheld judgment, which is no approach at all. Just a worthless, subjective, illogical philosophy of government, a perennial invocation of “this sentence is false,” to the point that a definable Leftist international policy does not, in fact, exist.

Yes folks, I saw myself so clearly in that analysis. My point of view has always been to look to oneself for fault before blaming others. I had to chuckle at how Mr. Steinberg had so accurately nailed one aspect of the modern American liberal. What’s more, it gave me insight into why I (and my fellow liberals) enrage conservatives. It is as much frustration as it is rage. I see it in the comments section of this blog all the time. Readers who give me credit for having at least half a brain, cannot fathom how I come to the conclusions that I do.

What conservatives, and Mr. Steinberg, fail to see is how the other extreme is just as dangerous if not more so. When you begin from the premise that you are unquestionably “right” and therefore the fault must lie with the “other”, there is no room for discussion, for compromise, for empathy or for anything remotely resembling “relationship”. The only logical conclusion is for the right party to defeat the wrong party. The consequence of this philosophy is that all conflicts must be resolved by confrontation. All enemies must either be ignored (like “lazy welfare mothers” in the inner city) or vanquished, like the regimes of Iran and North Korea. No room for conversation. Right is right, wrong is wrong and that’s that.

This difference between extreme conservative thought and extreme liberal thought is irreconcilable. The extreme conservative refuses self examination and the extreme liberal gets so bogged down in it as to become ineffective.

While I think the bulk of Mr. Steinberg’s article is a justification for anti-Muslim bigotry, I must give him credit for holding a mirror up to me on my more extreme days and helping me understand why I frustrate the crap out of my conservative readers.


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Obama Video Address: June 27, 2009

This week President Obama shares his satisfaction with the clean energy bill recently passed in the House of Representatives. Critics such as John Boehner say that the legislation will only raise costs to consumers and put intolerable burdens on home builders, home sellers and others. From what I can see, the Republican alternative lacks any incentive for compliance nor any punishment for non-compliance. Once again, as in the case of Republican budget alternatives, the GOP has done little homework and offered flimsy thin solutions that do not provide a viable alternative to what is being championed by the Democrats. The two party system only works in this country when both parties bring good ideas to the table. If the Democratic agenda has major flaws, the Republican party has no one to blame but themselves for its passage. As I have said repeatedly on these pages, we need a Republican party with fresh and intelligent ideas, and not just a bunch of naysayers. I don’t see that yet.

And now, the President of the United States of America:

Sanford Addendum: What I Did For Love

Normally, I don’t clutter my Obama Video updates with off topic stuff but this week I just had to revisit the Mark Sanford fiasco. I was appalled by the release of private e-mails between Sanford and his mistress, Argentinian former journalist Maria Belen Chapur. Be that as it may, what amazes me even more is the near unanimous free pass the Governor is getting from lots of TV commentators. MSNBC’s Mike Barnacle has stated “the heart wants what the heart wants”. On ABC’s “This Week …”, none other than hardass Kathleen Parker tried to remind the panel of talking heads how irrational being in love can be.

What the heck is going on here? Has the media gone all mushy romantic on us? Is there some secret inside-the-beltway scuttlebutt that Jenny Sanford is a “bitch” who deserves to be cheated on? I am truly puzzled by the way several folks in the media have elevated Sanford above your standard card carrying adulterer (e.g. Spitzer, Edwards, Vitter, Ensign, Clinton, etc.) simply because he exchanged lovey-dovey e-mails with his mistress and was friends with her before he got down and dirty with her.

Have almost nine years of marriage made me forget the power of “being in love”? Or is the media full of horsepucky? Well in my home, the verdict is in, emphatically. Mrs. Lawson has stated unambiguously that Sanford, being a married man, has “no right to be in love with another woman”. To make matters even clearer, I cannot find any trace of my hiking equipment anywhere in the house.


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The Media and Family Business

Should politician’s families always be off limits? At what point does the media go over the line in the treatment of family members and private family issues?

Two cases crossed my desk this morning. One of them inescapable if you have a TV or read a paper, the other more obscure and my take on each is quite different.

The first is that of Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Now I am as guilty as the rest of using his misfortune for amusement. I’ve made several irreverent tweets about his recently revealed affair with an Argentinian woman. But I do think the media has crossed the line in one way. Why are we reading e-mails between him and his mistress? What possible decent productive purpose does it serve for this private correspondence to be aired in public? It is for pure titillation, nothing more. I don’t see how the South Carolina newspaper, The State, legally obtained these e-mails and I would love to hear their editorial defense for their publication. They should be ashamed of themselves. And yes, when I first heard about them, I tweeted “Sanford: It gets worse. There are e-mails.” But after I read them and gave the matter further thought, I decided this was nothing to tweet about. It’s over the line.

Then there is the flip-side, a politician who consistently parades her family in public to make political points and then gets angry when this backfires on her. You’ve probably guessed I am talking about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

The latest incident involves a mock photo in which a picture of her and new baby Trig was photoshopped to replace Trig’s face with that of a local conservative talk show host. You can find the photo and corresponding article here. One particular passage of Palin’s spokesperson’s response really boiled my blood:

Recently we learned of a malicious desecration of a photo of the Governor and baby Trig that has become an iconic representation of a mother’s love for a special needs child.

via Palin Attacks Blogger For “Malicious Desecration” Of Trig Photo.

An “iconic representation of a mother’s love for a special needs child”? Excuse me? What should be iconic about a mother’s love for her special needs child? Is there something heroic or outstanding that she loves her mentally retarded baby? Would it be acceptable if she did NOT love her mentally retarded baby? What kind of total foolishness is this? So far, her  youngest daughter Piper is the only one to escape exploitation by this attention craving pol. She paraded her pregnant daughter Bristol all over the place to score points with the pro-life contingent. She equated her daughter Willow with statutory rape in an unnecessarily prolonged battle with David Letterman to enhance her “women’s rights” street cred. And now poor Trig is thrown to the wolves so Sarah can get more attention.

There are limits to how the media should cover politicians and their families. In the case of Sanford, the media crossed that limit. In the case of Palin, she’s the one who crossed it. Again.


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