Is that lipstick on my rightwing talking points?

In an earlier email to M. Simon, I remarked,

If a woman has a right to an abortion, all people have a right to medicate pain.
That happens to be what I think. Yet as I learned recently, there are some people who interpret remarks I've made like that as an attempt to -- let me get this right --

Redefine liberty to exclusively represent rightwing talking points.

I am absolutely serious. That is exactly how noted Village Voice columnist Roy Edroso described my thoughts about legal abortion vis-a-vis illegal drugs. Writing in his blog, here's his attempt to show how I redefined liberty:

This Classical Values post attacks the government's environmental policy ("This time, it's a real war. I say it's time to get the government out of all of our emissions, for good. Emissions are a human right!"), and muses:

Sometimes I wonder whether "getting the government out of our bedrooms" (supposedly accomplished by Lawrence v. Texas) wasn't just a ruse so people could imagine they were more free.

Yeah, I know that women are free to destroy their fetuses too. Getting the government out of wombs is also marketed as another ultimate form of freedom (based on "privacy"), but what I've never been able to understand is this: if "privacy" gives the woman a right to have a scalpel inserted into her body to cut out her fetus, then why doesn't "privacy" also allow that same woman to put whatever drugs she wants into that same body?

To put it another way: why worry about control over one's own body, however constantly threatened, when the government is forcing cars to get 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016? Forbid it, almighty God!

As for the drug reference, don't worry if you find it confusing -- you haven't missed any recent change in Republican or mainstream conservative policy. The idea is to for conservatives to associate themselves with as many libertarian ideas as they can possibly get away with (reproductive rights, as we have seen, doesn't make it), and to associate liberals with their suppression.

What is so confusing about my drug reference? I pointed out a major inconsistency in the application of the right to privacy. How is it that "privacy" can include the right to cut out a fetus but not a right to take drugs? I have never been able to understand it, any more than I can understand how feminists can argue that a woman has the right to allow someone to remove her fetus, but no right to pose in pornographic pictures. She can consent to an abortionist's scalpel, but not to a pornographer's camera?

But even though he didn't like my analogy, I guess I should be flattered that Roy Edroso thinks that my musings reflect "Republican or mainstream conservative policy."

It's news to me, and it's a shame this fact isn't more widely known.

I should point out that Roy Edroso and I go back. Waaay back, to the summer of 2003 when I had only been blogging for a few months, and Edroso hadn't moved up in the world to writing a column for the Village Voice. While I probably shouldn't voice my inner feelings like this, I'm actually like sort of really jealous over the fact that only certified ideologues -- the sort whose politics can be considered "reliable" to party boss types -- get paid to write by official mainstream organs like the Voice. Like it or not, the ideological world is still divided into left and right, liberals and conservatives, but because the world of paid journalism is overwhelmingly liberal, if you want to be a paid writer, you pretty much have to be on the left. True, there is an occasional token conservative or moderate here and there, but with a few exceptions, libertarian writers tend to starve. Besides, they're a dime a dozen thousand.

Edroso is, I think, a more loyal servant of the left than I am of the right, and this may explain his desire to characterize my libertarian views as reflecting mainstream conservative policy. If only that were the case! But I think he knows that it isn't the case, and he does not want it to be. I don't think his goal is so much to conflate libertarians with conservatives, as it is to insult both conservatives and libertarians at every opportunity, while singling out the latter for special scorn and contempt. Guys like Edroso (and his admirer James Wolcott) tend to see conservatives for what they are even though they don't like them, but libertarians are seen as inherently dishonest -- as conservatives in leftish drag.

By painting libertarians as stealth conservatives, the net effect is to make even their libertarianism somehow suspect. Edroso bestowing on Megan McArdle the title of "lipstick libertarian" is a perfect example of this. And I say this as a libertarian who does not wear lipstick! (Er, except maybe on an occasional Halloween....)

Really, it's as if they think that "we" are basically a bunch of weaselly right-wing hedonists -- trying to snooker young people into the evil right wing tent by offering them the candy of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll before handing them over to James Dobson for religious brainwashing sessions. (As a form of projection, this is quite understandable, because to the left, personal freedom is a tactic in a grab bag of tricks, with conditions attached.)

As to how Edroso got his job with the Voice, I can only speculate. The well-connected and passionately left-wing James Wolcott used to praise his writing to the skies, so I don't think it's out of the question that the Wolcott connection is what ultimately paid off. And why not? They are both talented writers, and vituperative snark loves vituperative snark.

The problem with me is that I sometimes feel overdosed on opinions. There is too much out there to keep track of, and it tires me out. I even find myself feeling overdosed on my own opinions. I freely admit, this is probably a symptom of burnout, and maybe I should seek professional help, because it has been six and a half years, and I'm not getting any younger. So, when I say I'm "like sort of really jealous" of the talented Mr. Edroso, I sort of like really mean it, but only in the sarcastic senses of "like," and "sort of," and "really." (No, really!) While it might be flattering to be hired by a large established outfit, OTOH I'm not sure I would like being a paid snarkist, as I would have to insult people for a living. Sure, I can insult people, but the daily grind would get to me, and being paid to write would interfere with my ability to write. (As things stand now, sometimes I can barely crank out posts.)

For these reasons I try to minimize my reading of the more insulting blogs, whether on the left or the right. For example, when a blog war between the two bloggers I will not name erupted, I stopped reading both of them, because each one radiated such boundless contempt and hatred for the other that I had the feeling it extended to other bloggers and even readers who were insufficiently on one side of the fence or the other. That sort of monumental egotism annoys me, but it also goes to why I won't name them, and why I will not disclose what I think about the merits of their respective positions.

As Edroso falls into the insulting blogger category, I have not kept up with him as I perhaps should. I didn't even know he had moved up from the insulting blogger category to the insulting "journalist" category.

Had it not been for Glenn Reynolds, I wouldn't have known about Edroso's new Village Voice life at all.

Hmmm... I don't know whether to thank Glenn or file an official complaint.

Anyway, I would have totally missed out on Edroso's unfounded attack on Don Surber (for not writing about what he had in fact written about). And while I read Ann Althouse (and thus saw her refutation of Edroso's trollish attempt to link her to fundamentalist Christianity by resort her commenters), when I saw Glenn's link to that, I actually started to feel sorry for myself. I know it's irrational, because I don't like being insulted, but really! Put yourself in my position. A burnout I may be, but I still have pride, and I was one of Edroso's earliest targets!

And now that he's moved up in the world, giddy with success and basking in his new paradise, has he forgotten about all the little people he used as stepping stones along the way? To use the Christianist vernacular of which he's so fond, I felt that Edroso had been Raptured up, while I had been left behind.

But no! Imagine my joy when I learned that notwithstanding his new place in the heavens, he had not forgotten to look down on little me :

As sometimes happens with these things, the Galt-Goers have encountered some mockery. Classical Values found this a good sign: "I'd say that once comedians start working a topic into their routines, that's a sign that its time has come," he asserts, though if that were true, Joey Buttafuoco would have been elected President of the United States.
Well, maybe not president. But statutory rapists like Buttafuoco can usually at least find a place in Hollywood. Amy Fisher is doing OK too. At least two book contracts, a movie deal.

Even though neither of them landed a spot at the Village Voice, it all seems quite unfair.

But I hate to sound like such an ingrate. I mean, if I can redefine liberty as rightwing talking points, surely I ought to be able to turn my self pity into gratitude!

posted by Eric on 11.20.09 at 02:08 PM










Comments

I don't know if I'm as much libertarian as you or how to even measure it, but I always laugh when people attack me as a crazed right winger. They always, always, always accuse me of being a God-shouter.

Watching them attack you that way makes me laugh even harder.
I mean, I am pretty evil and write pretty bluntly but you seem much more intellectual and detached.
I was never a liberal or lefty like you, I've been trying to be Jubal Harshaw since I was like 9, so my writing shows that.

Maybe that's why you're worth attacking. There's no one more evil to the religious than the apostate. Not knowing what you're supposed to believe is one thing, but knowing it and rejecting it is an insult.

I have to admit I'm jealous. I've been insulted by a few decent sized bloggers, but never a Village Voice polemic... columnist.

If you're dangerous enough for the Voice to attack then you must be doing something right.
Now the next step is for the Chron to call you a racist.
Then you'll know you've reached the big time.

Veeshir   ·  November 20, 2009 3:56 PM

Oh dude, repeat after me- All Edrosos are equal, but some Edrosos are more equal than others.

See, it is really very easy.

dr kill   ·  November 20, 2009 4:05 PM

Eric,

Thanks!

Veeshir,

Here is how to tell:

My Body, My Money, My Country

M. Simon   ·  November 20, 2009 5:49 PM

How to tell what?

Veeshir   ·  November 20, 2009 7:43 PM

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