I received a comment on my last post, the content of which suggested a more, shall we say, “liberal-minded” individual, and so I took the liberty of clickin’ on over to his(her?) site. Turns out, the guy’s not only a Progressive, but one who figures that people who let Pres. Bush finish his duly-elected term without taking matters into their own hands are getting what they deserve. People like this guy confuse me. He’ll be rolling along on a pretty good rant, actually making his case cogently, to the point that I find myself thinking that he might almost have something there, and then in the space of one comma and a preposition, he switches back to spewing the typical BushHitlerChristoFascist all-you-people-are-stupid claptrap.
It’s almost like some sort of Tourette’s syndrome. Talking along, making headway, laying out a pretty good case, and then BAM, totally blows his credibility by spouting mainstream Prog party propaganda. Frustrating.
But I digress.
This blogger, like so many others, can’t seem to see the philosophical disconnect between (on the one hand) suggesting that military service members accused of war crimes are prima facie guilty simply because they are in the military, and then on the other hand getting all twitterpated about someone holding much the same view towards a group of Muslim Imams behaving erratically before boarding a US airliner.
He/she also seems to suggest that holding a belief that service members accused of war-crimes or atrocities are entitled to a fair and capable defense in their trials is akin to being an apologist for their actions. His view seems to be that attempting to provide for the defense of those accused of indefensible actions, equates to endorsing or condoning the actions themselves.
But, as said before, his view is also that these individuals are “CLEARLY” most likely already guilty, so why bother worrying about whether or not they receive a fair trial? Dare I draw a parallel to the Duke Hockey-rapist case? Hmmm, perhaps I dare.
To such as these (as a member of the military) my viewpoint about actions in Iraq are inherently suspect, as I’m “one of them,” and am probably incapable of being truly objective since I’m too close to the issue.
But apparently, being a heterosexual, I’m also unqualified to talk about gay issues, and being a male, I’m ill-equipped to opine on feminism.
Yet so many liberal commentators are so quick to assume a disdainful “those people” kind of attitude about the military, handily enabled by never having served themselves. Of course not. It would be morally reprehensible to support the Bush junta, and all that. Yada. Yada.
What seems inescapable to me in these cases is the fact that this viewpoint must therefore be based solely on socialization, on a progressive culturalization, as there is little-to-no personal experience on which to base the view. This is also known as, “talking out your ass.”
You can see this same paradigm at play in the always-popular “church and state” debate. Allowing religious (read: Christian) organizations equal access to public facilities is somehow equated to the Federal government prejudicially promoting or enabling the Christian worldview; some sort of special dispensation from the radical Christian syncophants who’ve taken over the government (I guess). Again, in this case, “equal” access is gerrymandered into excluding certain groups, so that “public” and “equal access” applies only to those groups within the accepted milieu.
This is the country he wants to “rebuild” (after of course, tearing down the one we have now)? I suggest that perhaps he does not want to “rebuild,” but in fact to create something new. A phoenix from the ashes, asitwer. I also suggest that this is rather like burning down a house to get rid of your termite problem; standing amidst the smouldering ashes, hands on hips and a proud smile on your face, as you state with a definite air of satisfaction, “THERE!”
You see these types of worldviews so often represented by editorialists and commenters at places like Democratic Underground, DailyKos, and Huffington Post. Something akin to the idea that the country must be “rescued” from the vicious abuses of the Republicans, an oppressed people to be brought out of the Conservative dark ages into the Progressive’s New Dawn..if they can cure the sheeples of the ills wrought by years of right-wing mind control, making them see the errors of their ways, etc., etc.
As Jeff Goldstein is able to state so eloquently, by establishing yourself as the moral arbiter of what is right and good and true, and then in turn applying the same methods you so profess to hate against those with the temerity to disagree with your positions, you delegitimize your “moral authority,” whether you choose to see it or not.
There is a great divide between presenting a suggested worldview, and defending an acceptable worldview. By establishing the narrative in the context of an acceptable worldview, you automatically discount any views outside the consensus. You quickly transition from comparing viewpoints, to requiring conformity with a predetermined worldview — often with dogmatic intransigence. Any dissent is labeled as radicalism, irrationality, and of course, bigotry, homophobia, et. al.
Is this the country our blogger friend wants to “rebuild?” A country where conformity to the corporately established meme is rewarded, and viewpoints held outside the approved consensus are viewed as threats to be destroyed? Wait a minute….isn’t that exactly the sort of thing of which the Progressives accuse the conservatives/Republicans? Don’t they write about how Bush’s authoritarianism is putting gays and progressive editorialists at risk as He ratchets down on dissent? You know, the Christo-fascists, “Rethuglicans” (Oooh, ooh. You’ll love this one I saw on another site –“Rape-publicans.” Nice.) and jack-booted stormtroopers rounding up the brave Prog underground and shutting down lefty websites wholesale? You know, like they did with…uh….uh…..uh…
He seems to hold that dissent for dissent’s sake is a noble and encouraged undertaking. Activism for the sake of activism; not so much to seek change, as to express displeasure with the status quo. Sure, whatever, ok. Free Speech, and all that. The problem lies when that activism, that dissent crosses from expressing your view to suppressing other views. When you come to see your viewpoint as the only morally correct or defensible view, you are that much more likely to feel little compunction about shouting down counter protesters, defacing or destroying competing signage or handouts, or even physically threatening others.
You have gone from presenting your view to purging the marketplace of alternative views. You have gone from the free exchange of ideas, to intellectual gatekeeping.
Therein lies the crux of my argument. Progs do not want equanimity for all, but rather, THEY want to be the ones crafting the narrative. They do not want a level playing field, they want to turn the tables. On the surface they vilify what they see as conservative methods of thought control, disenfranchisement, and quelling dissent, when in fact, their real disgruntlement is not with the METHODS being used, but rather, that the “wrong” philosophical underpinnings are driving them!
Progs have no problem quelling dissent, and cutting certain “unacceptable” viewpoints out of the public forum, because they see themselves as “protectors” of the social narrative. There is little room for any type of “dissent” among the progressive elite. Whether it’s global warming, gay rights, abortion, or any number of other topics, there is an “acceptable” viewpoint, and then there is the “bigoted, hateful, exclusionary” viewpoint. I think it’s pretty clear which is which.
This, to me, is the fundamental dissonance at play here. In true Godwin-esque fashion, Progs continue to use the timeworn Nazi analogy to lay all manner of ills at the feet of the conservatives, equating the Patriot act to the burning of the Reichstag, and Homeland Security to the Brown Shirts. Then, in the same breath, they will suggest that certain groups or religious viewpoints are inherently suspect, that soldiers accused of war crimes are presumptively guilty, and that the marginalization and exclusion of certain worldviews is not only accepted, but required for the preservation of a truly “enlightened” society.
I’m sorry, but I sort of lost track of the distinction between the two in there somewhere.