February 27, 2009
How I (barely) managed to avoid tantrums
I was quite honored to be invited to attend CPAC In Washington as a Pajamas Media blogger, but alas! The timing of my trip prevented me from attending (especially the timing of my return to Michigan, where things had piled up after a three-month absence). It was simply not logistically feasible for me to return home and then immediately leave.
A shame, really, because I am a fervent believer in dialogue, and that includes dialogue with ideologues. CPAC, of course, is not known to suffer from a shortage of conservative ideologues. I'm hardly a conservative ideologue, although my thinking tends to put me more on the conservative than liberal "side." But as I've discussed in countless posts, I have a serious problem with being on "sides," not only because I don't fit neatly, but because once you're identified as being on (or even tilting towards) a side, the louder and shriller voices will inevitably tell you how and what you are to think, and if they think you are wrong, they'll say you belong to (or threaten to relegate you to) "the other side!" To the left, I'm at the very least "politically unreliable," a "conservative," or even a right wing nut. One difference between the right and the left is that the right tends to be much more polite. They'll say the party would be better off without all the "RINOs" but they're not as personally insulting on an individual level, even in the face of strong disagreements.
Still, I have a problem listening to people on either side who are steeped in echo chamber stuff, and when they get together they egg each other on, and if you sit there and say nothing, pretty soon they'll just assume you agree. I find that a pain in the ass, as I don't enjoy arguing with people, but OTOH I don't enjoy listening silently to ideological stuff with which I disagree. It's no more fun hearing someone scream about how Dick Cheney belongs in prison than it is hearing someone scream about how Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Similarly, the anti-white or anti-Israel bigotry on the left is about as fun to listen to as some of the anti-gay or anti-Mexican bigotry on the right.
Glenn Reynolds' link to Rick Moran (who is there at CPAC) made me feel less guilty for not being able to make it to CPAC. Reading Rick's observations, I found myelf oddly reassured that it was probably just as well that I was missing, well, precisely what I suspected I was missing:
...conservatism has gone off the rails, becoming in some respects a parody of itself. A philosophy that is all about honoring and conserving tradition while allowing for change that buttresses and supports important aspects of the past, has been hijacked by ideologues who brook no deviation from a dogma that limits rather than expands human freedom. Conservatism has become loud, obnoxious, closed-minded, and puerile, while its classical tradition of tolerance and hard-headed rationalism has been abandoned in favor of emotional jags and a vicious parochialism that eschews debate for "litmus tests" on ideological purity.Except I'd never say something like that to their faces. I'd have a silent tantrum, and I'd try to avoid them in the future.
Of course, my throwing a silent tantrum in the privacy of my own home won't stop people who believe in throwing loud ideological tantrums.
Until conservatives can practice some painful introspection, looking with a self-critical eye at the reasons for the debacles of 2006 and 2008, most in the movement will continue to delude themselves that simply reaffirming conservative love of small government, low taxes, and less regulation will be enough to convince a majority of Americans that they recognize their shortcomings and have changed their tune. There must be a reckoning with those who violate the very nature of conservatism by obstinately adhering to exclusionary, anti-intellectual precepts that have thrown classical conservatism over in favor of ranting, ideological tantrums.Personally, I find it a bit embarrassing to find myself in the same camp with tantrum throwers who think conservatism means combating the evils of homosexuality, marijuana, condoms, pornography, and even the theory of evolution (and that the term "Christian" should be used to describe only fundamentalist Christians.)
It's very convenient that the mainstream media do all they can to promote the definition of conservatism that the tantrum throwers propound.
Almost makes me want to throw a tantrum.
MORE: Rick is of course being savaged in the comments by conservatives, who call his essay an "ideological tantrum," and (by a commenter calling him "call him "Rick Moron") "a fetid rant may serve your apoplectic, race-bating, Bush hating lefties."
Gee, I've been reading Rick a long time and I never knew the apoplectic, race-bating, Bush hating lefties were "his."
posted by Eric on 02.27.09 at 12:48 PM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood