Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Hear, hear...


  1. Very interesting article, Vikram.

    It helps me identify a problem that I have had with so-called conservatives in this election cycle. It’s a similar problem that I have had with so-called liberals in past elections, when they go over the top into something else again, or rather, when others decide to join and redefine what it means to be in either group.

    Lilla says, “I think the two basic principles of liberalism are equal protection under the law and solidarity. We’ve lost that narrative, and we’ve not articulated our core principles in a way that anyone can see themselves in them.” That’s what I learned in college. Here it is, in action, the night after Christmas: Kwanzaa 1st Night 2016 #05.

    On to the conservatives. An important principle to conservatives is that power ought to be, whenever possible, as local as possible, towns, cities and states, being as free from Federal intervention as possible. So-called conservatives (neo-neo-conservatives, fake conservative?) are claiming now, here in Massachusetts, which may become the first “sanctuary” state, that if it has to do with illegals coming into the country, the conservative position is to allow the feds to dictate to our police forces what they can and cannot do.

    In Lowell here, where there is no majority -- in other words, we were the second city in the USA in which people, of all colors and “origins” are only in such minorities ~~ our police know what they are doing in the neighborhoods. Those who are not part of this debate, may not understand that this has nothing to do with not reporting a criminal when there is a federal warrant out. That will continue to happen. It’s the extremist anti-conservative policy of apportioning the daily tasks of our police forces by the federal government that is at issue.

    Massachusetts is a blue state, yes, but we are now being called far left -- when we are quite moderate as a whole. These so-called conservatives are using the Russian troll tactic of coming into article discussions and putting down anyone who disagrees with their “righteous” position, by hammering away with name-calling. Everyone who disagrees with them is “far left” and “liberal” as if that’s a bad thing.

    Watch what happens, even in this article:

    What do liberal academics not understand about political correctness?

    Two things. One, there are very few Republicans on campuses. And there’s an intolerance and hostility toward Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals. So liberal academics don’t rub up against other people.

    They are both putting down liberals, even after Lilla corrected the situation in the previous paragraph. Not only this, but if you claim Trump to be a conservative, then the term “political correctness” itself should be wrong, which is another discussion point. Just to say that any term nowadays can be used to denigrate another, to note, which seems the more important thing:

    Nick Kristof had a recent column pointing out that people use the word “academic” not to mean scholarly, but to mean totally detached from reality.

    What a nasty election we just experienced.

  2. Hi Rus, thank you for your detailed comment. I agree with you that there are blind spots on all points of the political spectrum, and the election of Trump has not helped matters. I do think, though, that the "classical liberal" position -- of not interfering in another's life if it does me no harm -- is most closely championed by the conservatives today. Of course, this bald definition does not capture the fraught debates surrounding, say, abortion, which I feel is an important issue that cannot be subsumed so easily in the classical liberal rubric. But yes, I do agree with your broad point!

  3. Hi Vikram,

    That "not interfering with another's life if it does me no harm" is a tricky way to put it. What if it does others harm, but not "me"?

    Part of the conservative conflation with this election has to do with the white supremacists, who called their position conservative, attended Trump rallies, and who celebrated his victory. Waving a confederate flag is a white supremacist act, as was enslaving dark-skinned people.

    For the north, and Lincoln's Republicans, to come in and say that the south could not do this to people any longer was to be liberal, as opposed to the anti-Lincoln right waving their brand of conservative flag of not allowing Federal intervention in local affairs, while going against the "two basic principles of liberalism . . . equal protection under the law and solidarity" as Lilla put it in the article (14th amendment).

    What we never got debated and what should have been, is a fault of the GOP and ultimately its convention. If this Civil War wound needed to be back on the table almost 150 years after the 14th Amendment, then that's where it should have been taken up. Instead, we have the Republican mishmash.