A Discussion of the Political Situation

by a postliberal, Well-Meaning Opposition.

Here’s the sticking point: there seems an inability to back all the way down the road and re-look at the question Is this the right thing to do? Failing that, they are locked endlessly in the impression that ours is a moral failing, that must be addressed on moral grounds. They assume we must not like universal coverage only because it is too expensive; that we are reluctant to extend citizen’s rights to detainees only by failure of generosity and justice. They can’t think of other reasons. When we say something else they think we are just rationalizing, and are really just fearful and morally flawed.

Thus the things they say are horribly insulting and accusing. They are not generally horrible and accusing people, and are hurt when they are called on it. We must have misunderstood their intent or meaning. Longtime followers of this site know that this is where village idiots come in, and why I aspire to be one. When you are accusing others of evil motives, that is in itself reason to backtrack as far as need be to make sure you have understood.

It is fair to ask whether this unwillingness to backtrack is not a sort of intellectual sin, or a moral cowardice of its own. Often it is, and I have been strident over the years that any progressive’s refusal to consider that such a thing is even possible tells me when I am onto something. Once the door is opened to the possibility that these supposedly moral stances are suffused with more primitive tribal values, or class values, or mere fashionableness, there is going to be pain in store for any of us who walk through. But when they hear “fashionable” they think that’s not me, I’m anti-fshionable; “tribal,” they think no that’s ethnic, racial or sexual – I don’t have those prejudices. That there might be a deeper tribalism, a deeper fashionableness, does not enter their minds. They can easily reject the superficial meaning, and so are well-defended against the deeper one.

So we all pretend there is no door. I have walked through the door a few times, which is why I am postliberal. But I have little doubt there are still further doors I refuse to see as well. It’s human nature. There are always more doors, that both our faults and our virtues are influenced by factors we did not suspect.

To conclude, I give the reasons that non-liberals believe motivate them. All we neocons and neoliberals, libertarians and postliberals, think these are our real reasons. We may delude ourselves in this, and we may turn out to be nothing more than the shallow, selfish, prejudiced boors we are accused of being. But it would be wise to at least consider that we might actually believe these things.

1. These schemes seldom actually fix very much, they just make us all feel that we have done something about it.

2. Progressive plans have obvious benefits, but non-obvious consequences which are dire. The simple benefit to individuals is in the open; the complex cost to society is disguised.

3. “Cost” doesn’t mean just money. Loss of values, culture, and character are important costs.

There is much more on the website, which I will add to my daily reads. Visit Assistant Village Idiot to read the post.