Is left wing visual impairment more profitable than right wing blindness?

"The campaign of character assassination waged by the right was a singular, unprecedented effort. Nothing like it exists on the left. What I object to on the right is the obsessive hatred, the bigotry, and the personal savaging of their opponents, all achieved through an echo chamber of talk radio, the Internet and Rupert Murdoch's media outlets. That kind of well-funded disinformation campaign has no analog on the left."

-- David Brock, The Washington Post, 2/26/02

Have times changed? Or has David Brock changed with the times?

David Brock has never made much sense to me, and he still doesn't. Years ago I read his book, Blinded by the Right (which should be subtitled "How I used to be a libertarian until I discovered that conservative non-libertarians hated homosexuals even though they hired me knowing I was gay so now I'm a socialist"), and I was as baffled then as I am now as to what explains his philosophical change.

In college (at UC Berkeley) Brock realized he was a libertarian. That I can understand; the same thing happened to me. But eventually he fell in with what he obviously feels was the wrong crowd: the right wing attack dogs, which he joined wholeheartedly. At least, until he had a change of heart. He "discovered" that the Washington Times/right wing think tank axis was populated by a bunch of anti-homosexual bigots, who apparently tolerated him only to the extent that he was willing to do their dirty work. When he saw the light, according to Brock, they showed their true colors, and turned against him for his sexuality -- something he does not dispute they knew about before. He then turned over a new leaf, and since then he has been living happily ever after as an advocate of socialism.

My question is: what happened to this man's stated libertarianism?

Assume for the sake of argument that all "real" (non-libertarian) conservatives are angry homo haters. I haven't found that to be true, but let's just give Brock the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, he hates many of them and the feeling is apparently mutual.

What was stopping him from joining, say, the Cato Institute? The Institute for Justice? Why didn't he start a gay libertarian think tank?

Unless he was lying about his core libertarian beliefs, I'm very skeptical.

This touches on a related question which has remained unanswered for many, many years: from what logic does it follow that if you are a homosexual, you have to be a socialist? Despite his very articulate bashing of conservatism, Brock substitutes emotion for logic, and I'm sure his new book offers more of the same. But I'm still inclined to agree with Christopher Hitchens original assessment of Blinded by the Right:

....[David Brock] is incapable of recognizing the truth, let alone of telling it.
I'll say this: it's much easier to achieve political success (and make money) when you simply jump on one of the major party bandwagons and stick with it. And if you can dramatically switch sides and market an apologia for your past misdeeds, so much the better.

posted by Eric on 08.05.04 at 10:26 AM


Having no independant knowledge of the man's work, here is my supposition based on your thoughts: there are two avenues. One, he could still be libertarian of the Objectivist sort. A lot of people have a hard time reconciling Rand with the Objectivist Cult. I have no problem reconciling them, if you look at it as Rand taking advantage of those who should know better in the first place. I think that she looked at the people who joined the Randian cult despite it being in direct contradiction with her stated philosophy as getting what they deserved, and I think that outlook is 100% compatible with Objectivism. In that sense, he is a stated socialist because homosexual socialists get more money for less work than homosexual conservatives.

The other avenue is the elitist bent of libertarianism. In a libertarian meritocracy, it is great to be better than everyone else. The better you are, the more you are rewarded. In a socialist society, it is better to be weak. The more flaws you have, the more your "needs". To conservatives, homosexuality is a flaw on many levels. It limits you in a lot of ways. At that point, the "I will be part of the elite" advantage of libertarianism disappears. To borrow from Rand again, he has more to gain as a looter than a producer, so it is logical for him to pursue the goal of a looting society.

Phelps   ·  August 5, 2004 1:53 PM

Very interesting analysis. As I see it, homosexuals -- like Jews -- _are_ an elite, being approximately 1%-2% of the total population, yet acheiving in the arts, literature, and the world of ideas far out of proportion to their numbers. That, along with the hatred for sex which permeates our culture, is why they are so hated. Observe that it is the poor whites, the poor blacks, and populist demagogues who denounce them.

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