‘Puter perused the Sunday New York Times yesterday, including its normally hard left Review section. ‘Puter came across a piece by Katherine Mangu-Ward, When Smug Liberals Met Conservative Trolls. It’s a good piece and you should take the time to read it, if you can get around the NYT’s paywall.
‘Puter wants to pull out one small part of Ms. Mangu-Ward’s piece to take issue with it. ‘Puter believes Ms. Mangu-Ward misses the point in her characterization of liberal politics versus conservative politics.
Liberals and people of the left underpin their politics with moral concerns about harm and fairness; they are driven by the imperative to help the vulnerable and see justice done. Conservatives and people of the right value these things as well but have several additional moral touchstones — loyalty, respect and sanctity. They value in-group solidarity, deference to authority, and the protection of purity in mind and body. To liberals, those sincerely held values can look a lot like, in Dr. Haidt’s words, “xenophobia, authoritarianism and Puritanism.” This asymmetry is the fountainhead of mutual incomprehension and disdain.
There’s some truth here, but ‘Puter thinks the better distinction between liberals and conservatives is this:
Liberals believe in larger, more intrusive government in order to use it to force their policy preferences on unwilling Americans. Conservatives believe in smaller, less-centralized government in order to prevent it from using force to implement policy preferences on unwilling Americans. To liberals, this sincerely held value can look a lot like, in my words “racist, fascist, evil, child-hating, woman-hating, LGBTQLMNOP-phobic Nazism.”
Neither liberals nor conservatives have cornered the market on morality. Both sides do their level best to convince Americans they have, though. Both sides agree government is necessary but disagree on its proper size and scope. For decades, only one side* has insisted it was correct and the other side was evil. Now that conservatives are playing by liberals’ longstanding rules, liberals are losing their minds.
To be fair, Ms. Mangu-Ward made her distinction in the context of explaining the degeneration of civility and discourse between the two sides. ‘Puter took her work and stepped it back one level. But ‘Puter thinks it’s important to do so to show the first truth in each side’s philosophy.
Liberals value what they see as the collective good even if it means trampling individual rights. Conservatives value individual rights even at the expense of the collective good.
And therein lies the seed of all conflict between the two.
* Hint: Not the conservatives.
** ‘Puter didn’t really put another asterisked notation above. He just likes to write asterisked things below, if you know what he means (and he thinks you do).
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.