Baseball Crank
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. . .

I'm just saying that I'm struck by the way the right perceives me as a potential ally and uses positive reinforcement and the left doesn't see me as anything but an opponent -- doesn't even try to engage me with reasoned argument. Maybe the left feels beleaguered these days, but how do they expect to make any progress if they don't see the ways they can include the people in the middle?

Read the whole thing, which has some similar thoughts from readers. (Link via Dales). John Hawkins thinks he has the answer:

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."

I'd probably replace "stupid" with "hopelessly naive" or "let their emotions cloud their judgement," but I think Krauthammer is basically on target. On many issues, most liberals don't look at deviations from the holy scripture of liberalism as differences of opinion, they view them as moral failings. You aren't just wrong, you are as Ann's reader puts it a "heretic".

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.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:03 AM | Politics 2005 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (2)
Comments

I think a lot of liberals ... 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.

Given the kind of people conservatives are, I would say that it's not the liberals fault.

Posted by: Mithras at February 2, 2005 1:13 PM

Mithras, thank you for providing a perfect, single-sentence example of the attitude that the Crank explains so well in this post.

Posted by: Sub Specie AEternitatis at February 3, 2005 3:44 PM


"I'd probably replace "stupid" with "hopelessly naive" or "let their emotions cloud their judgement," but I think Krauthammer is basically on target. On many issues, most liberals don't look at deviations from the holy scripture of liberalism as differences of opinion, they view them as moral failings. You aren't just wrong, you are as Ann's reader puts it a "heretic."

I find Republican doctrine to be far more intellectually naive than what I see from most Demos. And what the Republicans are selling to the voters today is intensely, unapologetically emotional.

You might want to read a couple of articles about Bush's worldview--including one by David Gergen--before you start tossing around adjectives like this.

Posted by: robinred at February 5, 2005 4:17 PM

If you want another perfect example of this difference of attitudes, look at this discussion, about how liberals brand anyone who isnĀ“t pro-homosexuality as "evil" and Full-of-hate."

http://alessandrab.blogspot.com/2005/02/pro-homosexual-liberalism-is-religion.html

Posted by: Alessandra at February 6, 2005 8:58 PM
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