May 04, 2010
Does making an alliance with Stalin make allies Stalinists?
Anyone remember when being against Bush was the litmus test for liberalism? These days, it often seems as if being against Bush has become a litmus test for conservatism.
The old rule used to be that "the Right is looking for converts and the Left is looking for heretics." Now it seems to be the other way around.
This is all so screwy. Conservatives would do well to remember that it takes a coalition (including independents) to win. What I cannot understand is why conservatives were so welcoming of any and every potential ally when they had power and yet now that they are out of power (and most need to win it back) they've replaced the big tent with ideological suspicion.
For years, I was quite accustomed to saying whatever I thought about whatever issue I wanted. But since the election of Obama, I find myself holding my tongue, as the fallout from that one event caused a major attitude shift on the right which has had the result of transforming people like me from useful idiots to ideological suspects. Yet I have not changed my mind on any issues.
Especially the damned Culture War, which pits people against people based on their lifestyles and individual characteristics, and which posits that the values of the 1930s are more "traditional" than any that came before it.
But being in a coalition means sometimes having to put up with people with whom you disagree, and with whose lifestyles you don't like. It would be nice if everyone could shut up, but I think it's a little unreasonable to expect the likes of Michael Savage, WorldNetDaily, and Alan Keyes to shut up and get along. But I guess if they won't shut up, why should I have to?
I guess don't want to be in their tent any more than they want to be in mine. What the hell, though. If we want to get relativistic about these things, didn't the United States make an alliance with Stalin to beat Hitler?
I have no philosophical problem with such an alliance (which of course ought to work both ways). But having to pretend Stalin was a good guy, and a force for democracy, that would have been too much.
Something about the American character, though, lends itself to thinking of our allies as "good" -- even if they are not. So, if such Machiavellian alliances must be made, isn't it better to avoid such misunderstandings in advance?
posted by Eric on 05.04.10 at 04:16 PM
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