Law blogger Ann Althouse had an interesting observation about the blog tendencies of conservatives and liberals (hat tip: James Taranto of Best of the the Web)
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. . . .
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.
The irony is in the similarity between the accusations of the left and the stereotypes they use to prop up their fatuous claims. Blinded, or at least distracted, by an ever present anger–sometimes driving them to apoplectic attacks (see Dem. Chairman Howard Dean, also Hillary Clinton) they refuse to see the successes that have taken place in Iraq (read: three democratic elections).
DAZED AND CONFUSED
Iâ€™ve never been one for â€œwinning the hearts and mindsâ€ of Iraqis. Heart-wise, an awful lot of them dislike infidels and Jews and American soldiers, and, while one may deplore that, itâ€™s just a fact of life. But, in their minds, as those poll numbers indicate, the Iraqis are rational enough to work out where their best interest lies. And, quite reasonably, they figure it doesnâ€™t lie with a psychotic death cult that nowadays mainly blows up Muslims on buses, in shopping markets, schools, and even mosques. Thatâ€™s the worst corporate diversification since Seagramâ€™s bought Universal Pictures. And at least Seagramâ€™s still made whisky; Zarqawi isnâ€™t killing a lot of infidels these days.
So Iraqâ€™s hearts and minds are operating far more rationally than the Democrats, who these days are both heartless, in their indifference to the aspirations of ordinary Arabs, and mindless, in their calculation of their own best interests. I find Chirac-Schroeder obstructionism easier to understand than the Dean-Boxer variety. For EU politicians, as those French and German poll numbers indicate, thereâ€™s not a lot of good options when half the babies in your maternity wards are Muslim. But whatâ€™s the thinking behind what the Democrats are doing?
Easy, you say: Itâ€™s naked partisan politics. And, to be sure, the broader culture has kind of internalized it as such, to the point where, for example, Dan Balz can publish a huge piece in the Washington Post that from its headline down â€” â€œHillary Clinton Crafts Centrist Stance on Warâ€ â€” assumes that itâ€™s perfectly natural to talk about the foreign policy and national security of oneâ€™s own country entirely in political terms. For Balz and for everyone he quotes in the piece, the point of a â€œpolicy on Iraqâ€ is not to have a policy that affects Iraq in any real sense but to have a policy that advances domestic political fortunes. â€œIraqâ€ might as well be a board game youâ€™re in the national playoffs of.
Example: â€œHer refusal to advocate a speedy exit from Iraq may reflect a more accurate reading of public anxiety about the choices now facing the country.â€ Note that Balz takes it for granted that Senator Rodham Clinton should have no principled position on Iraq, no strategic view of the Muslim world, no philosophical preference as to Americaâ€™s mission abroad, no genuine concerns about security, etc. Indeed, heâ€™s implicitly arguing that the greatest strength of Hillary as a viable Democratic presidential candidate â€” poor Joe Liebermanâ€™s â€œJoementumâ€ wonâ€™t even place him in the Top Ten in the Iowa caucus â€” is that sheâ€™s the least encumbered with anything that will prevent her from agreeing with whatever the 10 p.m. internal polling numbers are showing.
Take that headline: What would a â€œcentrist stanceâ€ be on, say, the Second World War? Every few days, some media outlet or other runs a piece about how Bush is â€œin a bubbleâ€ â€” and no doubt he is, to one degree or another, as busy world leaders tend to be, by definition. But the American media raging that Bush is in a bubble are the equivalent of that famous British newspaper headline: â€œFog in Channel. Continent Cut Off.â€ Whatever bubble Bush is in, itâ€™s a vast jostling metropolis of diverse peoples stretching to the horizon compared with the shrunken little bubble the Democrats and the media inhabit, reinforcing each otherâ€™s illusions, like two madmen playing Chinese whispers. No serious person â€” by which I mean a fellow whoâ€™s aware thereâ€™s a real country called â€œIraqâ€ and itâ€™s in a part of the world called â€œthe Middle Eastâ€ â€” could read that Balz analysis without weeping with laughter. Pseudo-policies are soberly considered as if they had any meaning in reality: Should we withdraw from Europe six months after D-Day? Or commit ourselves to a phased drawing down over three to nine months? Clearly, if we announce weâ€™ll be leaving the Continent by October 27, that might embolden Herr Hitler. But, if we say 10 percent of our forces might remain until February 1947, that will give us a more flexible exit strategy with strong centrist appeal.
There exists a sycophantic symbiosis between Democrats and a liberal dominated press. They are constantly parroting each other’s talking points. For a liberal generation of politicians and press, whose political history mother’s milk was Vietnam and Watergate, they are constantly trying to conflate those two experiences with George W. Bush and Iraq. Think I’m wrong? Pick up a newspaper or other periodical and read any commentary by any liberal writer about the current situation in Iraq or the overblown non-scandal that is the anti-terror wiretapping conducted by the Bush administration.
The points is, too many Democrats (not all, thank you Joe Lieberman) don’t hear anything else other than their own ideas because they are repeated back to them by the press. Conservatives can’t help but hear them. By and large, American universities (BYU excepting) are dominated by liberal professors who knowingly and otherwise push their ideas onto an eager and naieve young student body–a student body full of world-problem solving zeal. Unfortunately, many of these trusted gatekeepers simply use their students as tools to further their own agenda. Talk about indoctrination. It may not be organized religion, but secularism and liberalism have all the same characteristics. Are their proponents any less zealous than the “seminarians” at BYU?
If BYU pushes a certain bias they are hardly alone–though they may be alone in pushing a conservative ideology that includes elements of faith. I am a teaching assistant for a course that incorporates American history, politics, and economics and teaches a certain level of American exceptionalism. God may not have hand-delivered the Constitution to the delegates at Philadelphia, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate involvement of a higher power. This much I am familiar with and believe in. At the same time we teach these things, we acknowledge the hypocricies of American history. We recognize and teach about the incongruities of ‘all men created equal’ and the owning of slaves, treatment of Native Americans, and the less than equal status of women. We don’t gloss over or ignore any of these issues. I think it is a mistake to assume that any dissenting opinion is based on brainwashing or stupidity.