Wednesday, October 15, 2003

News flash:
Not all Right-wingers are nuts. Not all are stupid. Not all are evil. In fact, some are non-nuts, non-stupid, AND non-evil. I suppose it goes without saying that this is a strange thing to have to say... But I suppose it's no secret that there's something very, very wrong with a big chunk of the right wing these days. Consequently, I, for one, sometimes need to be reminded that the Right is not monolithic. Consequently, I'm guessing that YOU sometimes need to be reminded, too. A big chunk of the Right has gone insane, but that still leaves a big sane chunk, and we in the Liberal Center need to take the sane Right seriously. It is absolutely beyond any doubt that they are right about some things that we are wrong about. I have this hunch that we form up in informal tribes by--to a great extent, anyway--focusing overmuch on the loons that we find most loathsome. By focusing obsessively on the Karl Roves, Peggy Noonans, Sean Hannitys, Ann Coulters of the world, we run the risk of driving ourselves too far leftward (not to mention nuts). Think about John McCain. Think about...about...oh, look, there're some other ones, too... But the odds that the Right is wrong about everything and we are right about everything are vanishingly small. Even from a crass, purely political perspective there are reasons to think carefully about the positions of the Right. I learned a long time ago that the best way to win an argument is simply to be *right.* By allowing ourselves to become partisan, to be pushed farther left, to adopt positions merely because they are traditionally thought of as part of the standard-issue liberal or Leftist package of beliefs, we guarantee that we'll end up adopting some irrational and indefensible positions, and we foolishly cede certain true positions to the Right. The positions we've adopted because they are part of the liberal (or even Leftist) package--positions we'll have no real commitment to anyway--will be more easily attacked by the right, thus making our overall position weaker, and making the legitimate parts of our position seem weak.

But, of course, the more important reason to avoid these pressures is that they drive us to falsehoods.


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