Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 2, 2005
POLITICS: Liberal Meanies?
Ann Althouse complains about the different treatment she gets from Right and Left:
In the year that I've been blogging I've taken a lot of different positions, some left and some right. What I've noticed, over and over, is that the bloggers on the right link to you when they agree and ignore the disagreements, and the bloggers on the left link only for the things they disagree with, to denounce you with short posts saying you're evil/stupid/crazy, and don't even seem to notice all the times you've written posts that take their side. . .
Well, as Charles Krauthammer once opined,"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."
Hawkins is partly right, especially because the Left's self-identification is tied so closely to the notion of themselves as lonely crusaders against bigotry, a posture that requires you to regard all your opponents as bigots. I suspect at least two other factors at work:
1. Althouse is widely thought of, much against her will, as more a conservative than a liberal. She voted for Bush. Thus, lefty bloggers think of her as an enemy, while conservatives think of her as an ally, if an unreliable one.
2. The influence of academia and pop culture. Quite simply, college ensures that, at a fairly young age, most conservatives get the experience of being surrounded by people who vocally disagree with their political opinions, which teaches you to keep your head down a bit and stay civil. This is reinforced by the fact that a lot of us watch movies and listen to music made by people whose political opinions we find repugnant. I think a lot of liberals, particularly the more vocal ones on the internet who grew up in blue-state cities and went to blue-state colleges and got into blue-state occupations like the law or academia, just don't have the same formative experience of having had to reconcile themselves to political disagreements with people they otherwise like or respect, and it shows.