January 19, 2008

This Is So Sweet!

It's a Concern Troll with his own column!

A Concern Troll, for those not in the know, is someone who will go to a blog and leave messages like "You're only hurting your own cause by being so mean!" or "This attitude isn't helping." or "You shouldn't say that!" That sort of thing.

So here we are, hot (is that brimstone?) off the presses of the Wall Street Journal (why yes! Yes it is!) is Arthur C. Brooks, explaining why the nasty liberal (fascist?) type folk are so nasty, and why that's a bad thing. He's telling us for our own good, of course, so the least we could do is listen.

(And, perhaps occasionally, comment.)

Early warning: this is a long one. And for some reason, the linking words are hidden. Love me some Blogger some days...


Liberal Hatemongers
(Good title! So, what's it about?)

Arthur C. Brooks
January 17, 2008

A politically progressive friend of mine always seemed to root against baseball teams from the South. The Braves, the Rangers, the Astros -- he hated them all. I asked him why, to which he replied, "Southerners are prejudiced."

(Please note, Mr. Brooks has politically Progressive friends! At least one, anyways; and really, isn't that enough? The fact that the friend has the intelligence of a hayrick must NOT be held against him! Otherwise you're just proving your own prejudice! And do NOT associate him with a man made of straw!)

The same logic is evident in the complaint the American political left has with conservative voters. According to the political analysis of filmmaker Michael Moore, whose perception of irony apparently does not extend to his own words, "The right wing, that is not where America's at . . . It's just a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics of hate . . . They are hate-triots."

(And as Michael Moore is the spokesman for the American political left, what he says is true for all of them. Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Bill O'Reilly however, are NOT spokesthings for the American political right, no matter how many books, radio programs, and television appearances they have! Whatever they say is NOT representative for all of us!)

What about liberals? According to University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, "Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others." They also "believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference."

(But not according to Merriam-Webster's!

Main Entry: 1: lib·er·al
Pronunciation: \ˈli-b(ə-)rəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin liberalis suitable for a freeman, generous, from liber free; perhaps akin to Old English lēodan to grow, Greek eleutheros free
Date: 14th century
1 a: of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts b: archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth

2 a: marked by generosity : openhanded b: given or provided in a generous and openhanded way c: ample full

3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious

4: not literal or strict : loose

5: broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

6 a: of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b: capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives.

See? None of those say "tolerant and respectful of difference"! Which proves liberals are lying. Go ahead, look it up!)

Indeed, generations of academic scholars have assumed that the "natural personality" of political conservatives is characterized by hostile intolerance towards those with opposing viewpoints and lifestyles, while political liberals inherently embrace diversity.

(Yes, generations of scholars have been carefully bred for only the highest quality liberalism here at Manfred Foods. Only the most succulent, choice ideologues make it to harvest, the rest being released to East Village and Haight Street to maintain the wild population. These areas are naturally abhorrent to conservative thought, making them ideal habitats for liberals.)

As we are dragged through another election season, it is worth critically reviewing these stereotypes.

(For an excellent reason! Liberals may, after all, possibly run for election somewhere someday; and if they don't get stopped now, there may even be a party calling themselves that.)

Do the data support the claim that conservatives are haters, while liberals are tolerant of others?

(Which is utterly unfair: conservatives have never claimed to be tolerant of others, after all; so why should they be judged by "levels of tolerance"?)

A handy way to answer this question is with what political analysts call "feeling thermometers," in which people are asked on a survey to rate others on a scale of 0-100. A zero is complete hatred, while 100 means adoration. In general, when presented with people or groups about which they have neutral feelings, respondents give temperatures of about 70. Forty is a cold temperature, and 20 is absolutely freezing.

(Don't ask an academic what absolute freezing is! Academics are all a bunch of liars!)

In 2004, the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies (ANES) survey asked about 1,200 American adults to give their thermometer scores of various groups. People in this survey who called themselves "conservative" or "very conservative" did have a fairly low opinion of liberals -- they gave them an average thermometer score of 39. The score that liberals give conservatives: 38. Looking only at people who said they are "extremely conservative" or "extremely liberal," the right gave the left a score of 27; the left gives the right an icy 23. So much for the liberal tolerance edge.

(Hah! There you have it! People on the "extreme left", like folks who support universal health care or are pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, are more hateful of the "extreme right" than those on the "extreme right", like folks who are in favour of legal torture or imprioning people for five years without cause or the disbanding of women's rights groups or the removal of habeas corpus are of the "extreme left"! Or wait - are those "extreme" positions, or normal ones? I can't tell any more.)

Some might argue that this is simply a reflection of the current political climate, which is influenced by strong feelings about the current occupants of the White House. And sure enough, those on the extreme left give President Bush an average temperature of 15 and Vice President Cheney a 16. Sixty percent of this group gives both men the absolute lowest score: zero.

(How unfair! The people to the "extreme left" hate the two men who led their country to war, weakend or eliminated environmental protections, manipulated legislation to maximise their personal profits, stopped transparency in the administration, turned a military base into a prison in their name, encouraged the use of easily manipulated voting machines, provides support for dictators consolidating power in supposed democracies, has strong personal relations with the same people he was at least partially elected to confront, and hasn't done a thing about oil costs. Okay, extreme lefties aren't likely to care much about that last one. Sorry.)

To put this into perspective, note that even Saddam Hussein (when he was still among the living) got an average score of eight from Americans. The data tell us that, for six in ten on the hard left in America today, literally nobody in the entire world can be worse than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

(Which is completely unreasonable! After all, who has done more against the people of the United States than Saddam Hussein? Who has changed the lives of the people who live there than Saddam Hussein? Who has turned former allies against the United States if not Saddam Hussein? Who has plunged America into a debt of such staggering proportions that the only way Saudi Arabia could afford to loan more money to the U.S. would be if oil stayed at $100/barrel? Saddam Hussein, that's who! The "hard left" has to learn that!)

This doesn't sound very tolerant to me -- nor especially rational, for that matter. To be fair, though, let's roll back to a time when the far right was accused of temporary insanity: the late Clinton years, when right-wing pundits practically proclaimed the end of Western civilization each night on cable television because President Clinton had been exposed as a perjurious adulterer.

(Ah, yes: the Hummer That Destroyed America, back when that was the only thing that mattered. Good times! Though the phrase seems to have changed meaning, somehow...)

In 1998, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were hardly popular among conservatives. Still, in the 1998 ANES survey, Messrs. Clinton and Gore both received a perfectly-respectable average temperature of 45 from those who called themselves extremely conservative. While 28% of the far right gave Clinton a temperature of zero, Gore got a zero from just 10%. The bottom line is that there is simply no comparison between the current hatred the extreme left has for Messrs. Bush and Cheney, and the hostility the extreme right had for Messrs. Clinton and Gore in the late 1990s.

(Damn straight! After all, they were both elected presidents late in their second terms, which means they were identical in every way that matters.)

Does this refute the stereotype that right-wingers are "haters" while left-wingers are not? Liberals will say that the comparison is unfair, because Mr. Bush is so much worse than Mr. Clinton ever was. Yes, Mr. Clinton may have been imperfect, but Mr. Bush -- whom people on the far left routinely compare to Hitler -- is evil.

(True. Comparisons should only be made to Satan, pseudeo-Satan, or Mussolini. Will these "far lefties" never learn?)

This of course destroys the liberal stereotype even more eloquently than the data.

(The beauty of eloquent stereotype destruction - something liberals just don't appreciate.)

The very essence of intolerance is to dehumanize the people with whom you disagree by asserting that they are not just wrong, but wicked.

(Yup. And when you're right, that's something you never have to do.)

In the end, we have to face the fact that political intolerance in America -- ugly and unfortunate on either side of the political aisle --

(But it's not on our side!)

is to be found more on the left than it is on the right.

(See?)

This may not square with the moral vanity

(Vanity? Ooo! Ooo! See also: John "Pretty Boy" Edwards! Ha ha!)

of progressive political stereotypes, but it's true.

(It's not just true: it's the TRUTH!)

So there you have it. Absolute, conclusive evidence that lefties are evil and they call people names. All provided in a column that's not only sweet, it's also crunchy.

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posted by Thursday at 1:50 pm

2 Comments:

Anonymous Monkay said...

Thanks for the commentary. I read this neo-con stuff sometimes, and feel frustrated. You neatly identified the parts that needed snarking and snarked 'em.

5:11 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

No worries - I have a sense of everything being funny to someone, so it might as well be me.

Thanks for the comment.

11:24 pm  

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