Thursday, July 14, 2011

Open Minded Liberals

I think I finally figured out the best way to put what I observe about certain staunch liberals in my circles that insist that they are open minded, and yet drop conversation-stopping bombs that have everything with their characterization of what I'm saying and nothing to do with the argument I am actually making.  They really can't think for themselves.  Or won't.  It's much easier to cite some alleged pedigreed opinion and never have to defend it with facts.  So here goes my assessment:
They're not open minded, they merely repeat and mimic the language and positions of people they think are open minded, right down to the recursive point of identifying those they should think are open minded -- hoping to pass themselves off as thoughtful people in the know.
How well do you think that fits?

Many of them actually believe that they are people in the know and that they actually came around to these opinions via their own through critical thinking.  All but the most ardent ones will back down with something like a Rodney King plea, change the subject, or just implode emotionally and sit there fuming.

The ardent ones, of course, will go right to the well-worn bag of "arguments".  Fascist, Nazi, racist, winger, homophobe, war-monger, hater and just all around bad person (with a sloped forehead) -- we all know the drill.

I recently picked up Harry Stein's "I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican".  Another former liberal journalist that had his eyes opened, and then opened even wider after that to the absolute orthodoxy of the Left and the complete ostracism and shunning of anyone found not to profess it.   A relatively short, easy read.  Worthwhile if only for its revelation that there are more of us out there than we think, and it's nice to revel in a little camaraderie every now and then.  And not the Red kind.

Severian, you, especially -- if you haven't read it.  Do.  Make sure to put a brown paper cover on it before you start.  Or maybe you can print up a cover for it.  "Hetero-normative Patriarchal Misogyny in Ant Colonies Living in Coconuts in the South Pacific (How Male Ants Enslave Queens and Their Androgynous Drones)"

Hey.  Just tryin' to help.  ;-)

Nah, better just keep it at home and make sure it's hidden if you invite any peers over for dinner.

On that note, I just "learned" today from a helpfully "knowledgeable" coworker that "Flatland" is misogynistic because women are always represented as lines.   What would you be willing to bet that no matter how Abbott represented women, some English grad student would rationalize a way to find misogyny as a running theme in the book?


Severian said...


own it, read it, loved it. I even have a system for hiding my thoughtcrime books when people come over -- a hardcore communist professor of feminist studies (aren't they all, though) retired a few years back and gave away lots of her old books. I snagged a few, and now whenever I have politically suspect company, I hide my Ann Coulter and John Debyshire behind Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism and Gyn/Ecology: A Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Works like a charm.

And yeah, those are real book titles.

nightfly said...

Gyn-Ecology??!? See, it's MOTHER EARTH for a REASON!!1!one!

Gaaaahhh, I can't even imitate 'em anymore for fun, without getting the shivers.

Severian said...

Sadly, the prose is even worse than the title. This is the same lady (Mary Daly) who calls her seminars "ovulars" and won't admit male students. (That's not "discrimination," though, because... well, just because).

I can't actually quote her, since my fingers simply refuse to type that garbage, but trust me - it's awful.

Feminist prose can be rewarding, though, if you manage to wade through it. I'm thinking especially of an "essay" by bell hooks [sic... of course] who, if I translated the hieroglyphics correctly, seemed to be asserting that teachers bonking students was perfectly ok so long as the woman in the relationship felt empowered... but the minute she didn't, it was rape. Just for giggles I wanted to critique Ms. hooks for heteronormativity -- what if it were a lesbian relationship? -- but I just couldn't do it. Good times.

philmon said...

"I can't actually quote her, since my fingers simply refuse to type that garbage"

Oh, my abs are getting a great workout laughing hysterically at that. Because ... the best humor is very often the humor with the most truth in it.

mkfreeberg said...

Love the part where he starts complaining about "aggressively non-threatening NPR males." Heh heh. Doesn't even mention Alan Alda's name but you know exactly who he has in mind.

Jason said...

Did anybody else look up that book title just to make sure we weren't being goofed on? And is there a word that more concisely communicates "I'm over-educated beyond any use to society" than "metaethics?" Sure, it's a perfectly cromulent word, but I can't imagine using it unless I *really* wanted to puff out my intellectual chest.

philmon said...

Oh oh, watch it. We've got "metaethics" and "cromulent" in the same thread now. I'm not sure the reputation of this blog can take it.

Where I work we are in the data warehousing and reporting area. We talk about metadata. Which is data about data.

So is metaethics data about ethics, or is it ethics about ethics?

Either way, that's what I mean about getting wrapped up in layer upon layer of abstraction and still thinking you're talking about the real world. That's what they do.