Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pricks and Kicks

Our headline was the title of an old British novel, whose author escapes the Wonk's fading synapses just now. But we thought of this immediately upon encountering, via Instapundit, a link, leading to another link, to a small site apparently to our left, decrying the absolute condescending nastiness of the blogosphere's left sphere both here and here. Although the title of the first post brings a Christmas smile to our increasingly wizened visages: "Has the Left Been Invaded by Condescending Pricks?"

Right answer.

Loaded Mouth details his complaint:
Longtime Mouth readers know that I've always had problems with the lack of recognition that members from our side give to each other. I think it leads to important stories and commentary to be buried, and the talents of those being buried could help our side score political victories. Yet if I or somebody else complains about this, we're labeled as whiners and those who feel like their being eregiously attacked morph straight into martyr complex mode.

And on the right...? Hey, small bloggers are welcome! No insults thrown.

Does anybody else see a problem with this? With our sides seeming lack of openness?
The funny thing is that, upon a brief examination, this blogger appears to be on the left and is astounded by his marginalization by said left just because he's a little guy. Read the posts and some of the comments, too. They're quite revealing.

Political nomenclature, thanks to the Gramscian left, is getting increasingly difficult to parse. Wonk would make an educated guess that a good 65% of the folks who call themselves conservatives today, maybe more, would have been bursting with pride if they'd been called liberals in the 1920s. A significant majority of the right believes in freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to assembly, etc. They give plenty to the poor, take care of their parents, and actually do the best they can to keep their families OFF the Federal dole, all the better to conserve fiscal resources. And above all, they love the U.S. What's so wrong with this? Furthermore, as the Mouth and his readers have begun to observe, to their apparent horror, conservatives are just friendlier than the hard lefties who are elitist, exclusionary, and condescending, not to mention that they act like a bunch of fascists. All things they accuse conservatives of doing. All things that most conservatives would never do.

We'd invite Mouth and other inhabitants of the left to spend a little more time with guys like us. They might be really surprised to find a community of people who actually believe in what they preach and who are happy to admit new friends to the clubhouse even if those new friends might occasionally have a point of view that varies a bit with the "party line." Just try that kind of behavior during a hard-left cocktail party and see if you get invited back.


tas said...

Sidenote first: holy crap, I still can't get "they're" and "their" right. Intellectually, I know the difference, but it never seems to come out on the keyboard. Sigh.

Anyways, you're correct, I am from the left. Former Green Party member, so perhaps I'm from the "hard left," though my experiences with the Greens, and subsequent experience with Democrats, have left me questioning why I keep trying to participate in the political party process.

It would be easy to stereotype most people on the left as being assholes, but I don't believe that's true. I have a bunch of friends from the left, we all pretty much agree on the issues, and none of us talk down to each other. And when I attend protests, no lefty there is talking down to other lefties (save for the scant minority of hardcore socialists who attend rallies to start shit).

But, going back to the Democrats, the party doesn't embrace protesters. As far as Democrats in the blogosphere go, you'd be hardpressed to find Kos or Atrios discuss the values of protesting, or even the fact that large protests happen.

On a more personal level, I've had trouble talking with Democrats because, in my mind, they just don't seem to get it. I recall one discussion I had with a Democrat where he stipulated that we don't have to worry about Roe v. Wade being overturned because, since the GOP can use it for fundraising, they'll never overturn it. In my mind, this was his excuse for not paying attention to women's rights. I tried telling him that the Repubicans, being the party in power, have to cash in their chips that this point or their base will stray, but this didn't get through to him.

And whenever I post a diary on dKos, I want to claw my eyeballs out. The Kossacks nitpick about the littlest things, and they're attitude is that if I don't agree with each and every piece of your rhetoric, then I'm going to treat you like a pile of shit.

Honestly, I just don't get it. I know there's lefties out there who aren't assholes, but, to me, the question is how do we get these lefties into positions of power within the party.

As for being shocked that Republicans are friendly, nah. I'm not. I'm more shocked that people I'm supposed to agree with aren't friendly. And I do enjoy conversation with those whose beliefs are opposite of mine, though I would disagree that we share all of the same values -- or that I would be able to talk with some other Republicans. For example, the harder elements of the GOP; the religious right. Pat Robertson and his crew. I honestly don't believe that those people want freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country. I view them as a threat to my livelihood because, if they gain more power and are able to put their agenda into place, then I feel like their version of Christianity is being shoved down my throat. They're going to tell me what I can read, write, say, when I can have sex, how I can have sex, and who I can have sex with. And I'm not going to stand for that... They can practice their lives and their faith however they want. They can even preach about it on a street corner, I don't care. What I do care about is when they try to force their lifestyle upon everyone else.

Wonker said...

Welcome, tas. Sorry my response was late. I've been on the road for the holidays.

I appreciate your dropping sharing your frustrations with the hard left. I was at one time, quite long ago, a bit liberal myself. But my interactions with the left in those Vietnam and post-Vietnam years soured me on these guys irrevocably, and so I left the left and the Dems behind forever.

Why? Simple--too much orthodoxy. The way their minds functioned were the way a Stalinist mind was taught to function. One was a comrade as long as one did not deviate in the slightest from Marxist Church teachings. Should one do so, however, one could end up at best quite intimidated and at worst without a single one of the friends he thought he had. This was confusing to me at the time because it seemed like fascism. (Now I know that it is.)

Anyone with half a degree of intelligence can only put up with absolutist orthodoxy for so long before losing self-respect. This is why a lot of people abandon their religion. And this is why the Wonk, and lots of folks like him--sometimes derided as neocons--split off forever from the left. We simply don't like being told what to do because someone else said so. Most of the folks on today's right have exactly the same attitude. We can examine the facts (if our opponents actually have any) and make up our own damned minds.

You might be surprised, for example, to discover that all conservatives are not necessarily die-hard abortion opponents, although most of us think the state has no business funding this stuff. But many on the right, particularly the libertarians, oppose Roe vs. Wade because they view the very fact that the courts have ruled on this issue as unwarrented governmental intrusion into people's bedrooms. In other words, none of this was ever the government's business and in Rowe they overstepped their bounds as was done earlier with the opposite kind of statute. But you'll never find this in the New York Times. Too complicated for orthodox leftists to contemplate.

The hard institutional left--which currently controls and/or intimidates the Democratic party--would throw guys like these right out the door, because their system deviates from the Party Line. (Even though the libertarians are essentially on the same side of this issue.) A lot of Repubs grouse at libertarian positions like this, but we argue with them. We don't throw them out on one issue. They are mostly like us and are simply kicking the notion of personal freedom up a notch.

I view the world left today as basically insulting to a thinking person's intelligence. You don't have to believe things because someone who thinks he's better than you says so. When someone pitches something at me, he'd better have an answer to the "why?" I'm going to throw right back at him. But asking "why?" of a hard leftist today will get you swiftly denounced. Or, worse, if you happen to be in a public forum, the pre-prepared brownshirt goons of the left will be sent in to disrupt or terminate, your right to freedom of speech.

In clinging to a fading orthodoxy for so long, and in failing to debate opponents (in favor of the easier course of denouncing them), leftist ideologues have allowed their debating skills and argumentation abilities, along with their ability to reason, to atrophy, to wither away faster than Lenin's proletarian dictatorship ever did.

I just don't have a lot of respect for guys who cram an orthodoxy down my throat and expect me to take it and like it. It reminds me of the organized religions that the left rather religiously and self-righteously denounces. The hard left has become in point of fact no different from the Falwells and Robertsons they enthusiastically denounce. The left just can't see themselves in the mirror.

I suspect a lot of this is what makes you, at least on some level, uncomfortable as well. I recall that wonderful line from "Maltese Falcon" where Bogie tells the Peter Lorre character that when he's slapped around "he'll take it and like it." That seems to be the attitude of today's left, but I won't take it and I don't like it. With their increasing inability to articulate and defend ideas, the hard left is no longer worthy of anyone's respect, and I think you're not the only one who's considering peeling off of this mess, at least to some degree.

In your spare time (if you have any and if you haven't already started doing this), check out some of the more established blogs on my side of the aisle, from Instapundit (basically libertarian and probably an ex-Democrat), to Power Line (very good on the legal stuff), to Jim Lileks' Screedblog (he nails his patrons at the Strib quite frequently), and, for warblogging, Michael Yon and Omar at Iraq the Model. These are feisty guys on the right who can and do disagree with one another. The only guy who seems to approach them coming in from left field is the rather unorthodox Mickey Kaus who blogs on Slate. He's an avowed lib who somehow has managed to retain most of his brain cells--and, increasingly, I'm finding some of his political observations are rather deadly accurate because of this. Some of my conservative friends would disagree. Too bad.

The more of us on either side of the aisle who are willing to expose, if you will, the nakedness of the Emperors of the Left, the likelier we are to be able to send them packing. And the better the chances of the more rational Dems (who do exist) becoming truly competitive again sometime before the next century.

My two-cents' worth anyway. As lawyers often like to tell me (in what has proved to actually be bogus Latin) "Illegitimum non carborundum." Don't trust my Latin spelling, but this is generally translated as "Never let the bastards wear you down."

Meanwhile, welcome to the universe of non-controlled thought, wherever it takes you.