Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stereotypes and the Right

McQ has a post at QandO today "White lies and the left" in it he links to and quotes this article by Andrew Klavan.

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

I have to admit I got a chuckle out of that. As a libertarian, I couldn't agree more with his point. I've always wondered, given the basic truth of what Klavan writes here, how the left has managed to brand themselves as the 'reality based' community. Their beliefs, as outlined, are anything but reality.

Their beliefs, as outlined. I am not really clear on what "the left" as a group believe. ( I don't generally consider myself to exist in any particular location.) But I'm not sure that that really summarizes all of their beliefs. Nor do I think the assumption that all of those are false is really accurate.

"I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same." Men and women are demonstrably not the same, we look different we smell different so on and so forth. So while I as a woman am not the same as McQ who is a man, does that mean that I am necessarily more like Michelle Malkin than I am like McQ? Michelle and I look different, we smell different, we have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and interests. So why should we be grouped together under some huge category "Women" that is used to describe us. And more than just "describing" us as women, this categorization allows others to make assumptions about us:

And because we’ve allowed leftists to define the language of political good manners—don’t say women are less scientific;

Emphasis mine. Apparently McQ and Andrew don't understand exactly WHY they aren't allowed to say that women are less scientific. Possibly because, it might not be true? And that by saying this you might be hurting the careers and opportunities of women who are in fact more scientific? I know a plethora of women who I can guarantee are more scientific than McQ or Andrew, so who are they to say that women are less scientific? If perhaps Steven Hawking would like to make the judgement that women as a whole are less scientific than him, we could work something out.

Here we have two guys just itching to say that "All women are X." And this is why liberalism is bad? Because the do not let people make value judgements on half the population of the world based on stereotypes? That's the "little white lie" really?

Essentially these "lies" that are being told are just ideas that Mr. Klavlan doesn't agree with, and the big problem he has is that he has to interact with the world as though everything he says isn't unverifiable fact. Instead of having to prove his case that what he's saying is true Mr. Klavan can just say "Hey isn't it great that I can say this because I'm a Conservative!" Mr. Klavan can say that Alice Walker is a bad writer just because he personally doesn't like her, but that doesn't make it true. Under the horrid regime of the left Mr. Klavan would be forced to prove that Alice Walker is a bad writer, and prove why he thinks that, and perhaps discuss it with someone who disagrees, and possibly find out horror of horrors, that not everyone agrees with his upper middle class white male worldview.

Political correctness is a touchy subject that he gets into, how different groups use language to hide their real points. And I agree that that is a real problem. People need to be clear about what they think, no matter what it is. I don't think that Islam is a religion of peace, but I also don't think all Muslims are terrorists, so where does that leave me? But I can be honest and tell you what I think, and now you are free to convince me either way.

I think the biggest problem in this article is the implication that people are "forced" to say certain things by liberalism, not that this is what liberals actually believe. A lot of liberals actually think that men and women are equal, that's why they say it, not because they are lying. If you have to lie about what you think then you need to re think your choice of party.

(I know after reading McQs article I certainly have, gosh I just can't wait to join the libertarian party where the big strong men can explain science to me. I'm so glad I've finally found a place where I can be patronized and then we can all complain about how much we hate the darkies and those pesky poor people. )

A much better response to this article via Pandagon, at Whiskey Fire, The conclusion:

Also, I wish these assholes would make up their fucking minds already if
liberals are too civil or too incivil. I just want to know whether people like
Klavan prefer being politely or impolitely told to fuck off with their straw man
passive-aggressive bullshit. Because as a liberal I of course consider even my
rhetorical opponents' feelings to be of prime imortance at all
Heh, Indeed.

1 comment:

DED said...

As a libertarian, I can say that these two guys don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Libertarianism has nothing to do with political correctness. Pure and simple, it's about less government interference in Americans' lives while still performing its duties as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution.

What these guys are talking about is cultural conservatism, which is all about keeping America as a patriarchal state, a trait that is still all too common in the world.

Whiskey Fire's rebuttal is spot on.

From McQ:
We have to get the language back and not apologize for pointing to reality as it exists instead of how the left wants to pretend it exists.

Gee, I was thinking the same thing needed to be done after the "right" laid waste to the Constitution these last six years. And if anyone can be accused of lacking a grip on reality these days, its this administration.

As for Klavan, he's right for wanting to be able to "discuss" certain issues, but by giving a nod to the Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's of the world, doesn't rally the support of moderates to his side, nor does it strengthen his argument for rationalism.

And statements like "If you molest a child, there’s always a chance that you can get the ACLU to defend you as a cultural innovator" cross the line. It's the equivalent of the Hitler invocations that are tossed around with casual ease to bolster certain neocon arguments.