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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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  1. Great post E.D.! On a somewhat-related note there is a lot of complaint going on in Republican circles right now about the notion of a ‘litmus test’ for the GOP. While yes, there is a certain faction that wants ideological purity, I think the complainers are missing the larger point trying to be made. You are 100% correct that parties are a group of coalitions in the American style of government. The ‘litmus test’ is a way to try and figure out a platform we can all live with. The big question for most conservatives right now is trying to figure out what separates moderate/centrist/progressive Republicans frmo Democrats. We are having a lot of trouble these days telling the difference between the two.Report

    • Avatar SAR in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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      says:

      If a district is primarily pro-gun, would you run an anti-gun candidate?

      If a district is primarily pro-choice, would you run an anti-choice candidate?

      If a district is primarily pro-union, would you run an anti-union candidate?

      This is the point the “suicide by Clorox” crowd is missing: different districts have different values. What is conservative in one can be considered liberal in another. Just take a look at this graphic: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/scozzafava-is-conservative-republican.htmlReport

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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      says:

      I’d blame that more on the current Democratic coalition being somewhat ideologically incoherent (that is, the “centrists”/conservatives almost equal the lefties on numbers and at least equal them in influence), more than on anything any Republican did.

      Unless you’re referring to the Bush domestic-policy agenda…in which case the difference is that Democrats would have raised taxes to pay for it.

      As for Johnson, if I were a conservative I’d be saying “good riddance”.Report

    • Avatar Kevin Drum in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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      says:

      E.D. alludes to this, but it’s worth pointing out that before 9/11 Charles Johnson was a fairly standard issue lefty. He went crazy about Muslims after the WTC attack, but he’s never been an overall conservative. So it’s hardly surprising that eventually, with 9/11 getting more distant and the right wing going crazy, that he’s finally bidding them adieu.Report

  2. Avatar Lev
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    says:

    Re: Gore wars, I’d say Afghanistan, yes, but Iraq, no. The latter was almost exclusively a factor of the people with which Bush surrounded himself–Project for a New American Century types who had been agitating for an Iraq invasion for years (in the case of Rumsfeld, decades), even before “WMDs” were anywhere on the horizon.

    Joe Lieberman is admittedly a neocon, and it’s entirely possible that Gore would have picked Dick Holbrooke as Secretary of State, and he is a liberal hawk. But in practice that might well have meant more wars like Bosnia, it wouldn’t have necessarily have meant a specific conflict in Iraq, which was only really initially sought by a very specific intellectual movement on the right. These other people signed up for it (with the exception of Gore), but I sincerely doubt that, in this alternate universe, anyone in President Gore’s administration would care too much what Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney had to say about things. As for Afghanistan, you’re probably correct, but then again Nader would have bombed Afghanistan had he been elected.

    I have no quibble with your other points.Report

  3. Avatar fangedbrute
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    says:

    It’s a neat trick, ED, but you cunningly evade any real discussion of the issues by failing to specify what “conservative principles” you take to be so timeless, and why the GOP should be given credit for upholding them. Also, how do you define ‘the right”? Does it now mean more than Palin-junkie, hopped up on Fox-induced rage and with the delusion that tea-bagging represents some contribution to the national discourse? What precisely is this “right” that you pass over so hastily?

    Here are Johnson’s reasons for dumping the right-wing:
    1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

    2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

    3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.)

    4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

    5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)

    6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)

    7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.)

    8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)

    9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)

    10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)

    Which of these syndromes is not part and parcel of the right-wing today? Are you telling us you agree with them?Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to fangedbrute
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      says:

      You are conflating political maneuvering with actual conservative philosophy. It would be one thing for Johnson to say “The GOP is no longer the party of limited government. I am going to remain a conservative but not a Republican.” That would at least be coherent. But Johnson is not a conservative, and so he parts ways with “the right.”Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to E.D. Kain
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        How many times does the right wing of the political sphere (terrible geometry, I know) have to betray conservative principles before people can stop adding the footnote that the party and the ideology are incongruous?

        Even after this short year, it’s not difficult for me to ascribe the majority of Obama’s core deeds to a fundamentally liberal philosophy. Can you do the same for Bush Jr? Bush Sr.? Reagan? At some point you have to look at the party you have rather than the party you wish you had for taxonomic distinctions.Report

  4. I would take it one step further and say, “The GOP is no longer the party of limited government. I am going to remain a Republican and try and change that.”

    When I was growing up the kids who took their toys and went home when things didn’t go their way weren’t invited back to play.Report

  5. Avatar fangedbrute
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    says:

    ED Kain, Johnson gave a long, detailed list of what he saw as right-wing and unacceptable. Where do you find incoherence? I can understand that you don’t want to deal with the list he provides, since it is pretty embarrassing for right-wing types, but it is a lot more specific about these issues than you and the other people who denounce him. Are you just evading the fact of what the right-wing actually is? You certainly don’t seem to want to address the issue. Also, this mythical “conservative philosophy” you speak of – could you tell me who is currently its mainstream spokesperson, and what that philosophy amounts to?Report

    • I don’t think ED is addressing those points because most of them are so far off they are laughable.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to fangedbrute
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      says:

      Let me offer up a counter-example. Say you are a “liberal” and believe in lots of liberal things, like gay marriage and progressive taxes and so forth. Now say the Democrats and the liberal movement start spawning all sorts of crazies. They’re talking about things you really find detestable. They have their very own Glenn Beck of the left and their candidate for the president is a leftist Sarah Palin. (Just hypotheticals here). Do you then “leave the left”? Do you abandon your liberal philosophy?Report

  6. Avatar fangedbrute
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    says:

    But the point is that those points cited by Johnson are exactly the hot-button issues and talking points exploited by the right-wing over the last decade. You can accuse Johnson of naivety in thinking that the right-wing was something other than it is, but you can’t credibly deny that this is what they’ve been pushing. Are you going to actually deal with the issues that Johnson was talking about, or are you going to simply try and duck them? If you don’t like what the right-wing is pushing, fair enough – but Johnson’s list matches what we see on the TV, in blogs and in discussion every day. Your idealized conservatism is nowhere to be found. Mike at the Big Stick – if you think of them as laughable, you had better contact the GOP, because that’s what it is selling. Don’t you and ED ever come into contact with the news?Report

    • I don’t see it because I don’t rely on MSNBC for my analysis of the Right. Let’s just take one example:

      8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)

      I would immediately discredit their comments about Hot Air, but even if we accpet it, I can only ask, why aren’t you reading other blogs? I mean, I could choose from any one of 100 really hateful and nasty liberal blogs that make the Left look like tools. I choose not to. I try to read those liberals I consider intelligent like Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, etc. I also don’t rely on assholes like Keith Olberman for my sole liberal viewpoints on TV. There are plenty of reasonable and intelligent conservative blogs out there. You just have to devote the time to find them. (Feel free to start with mine).

      My opinion is that there is a faction on both sides of the aisle that loves to be outraged. So they get their daily/weekly/ fix they only seek out those opposition resources that will give them what they want. The only thing different I can see between the two sides is the liberal contention that our outrageous folks are more mainstream than the Left’s. If by mainstream you mean successful (see Rush Limbaugh) then sure. But there’s a lot more to it than that.Report

  7. Avatar mike farmer
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    says:

    According to fanged brute — the “right” is supporting facism, bigoty, hatred, white supremacy, sexism, religious fanaticism, superstition, ignorance, homophobic bigotry, anarchy, hate speech, racism, violence, genocide, and slander.

    Damn, no wonder Johnson left. I didn’t know it had gotten that bad.

    On the other hand, the left supports puppies, feminism, peace, tolerance, understanding, moderation, diversity, gay rights, brotherhood, unified communities, global love, kittens, children, enlightened presidents, free healthcare, welfare for all, light, happiness, dental care, poetry readings, green earth, the death of capitalism, Barney Frank, and more love.Report

  8. Avatar fangedbrute
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    says:

    I can see that you don’t want to offer any assessment of the right-wing – instead, you back to the old “but the left is bad too” defense, which amounts to conceding that yes, the right-wing are vile, but we like being part of that group, so we’ll pretend that it’s all really the left’s fault. It’s never been a persuasive defense, and the crude versions of it here don’t make it more coherent. In any case, Johnson was talking about leaving the right, not joining the left, which makes the whole rhetorical equivalence irrelevant. As for the news: I would have to ask what you think Fox has been showing and in some cases promoting. The facts are clear: the right is promoting the things Johnson complained about, and trying to make out that somehow MNSBC is to blame is simply dishonest. As for the point about blogs – whether I read the blogs isn’t the point. What matters is that the ones he lists are the big right-wing blogs, and they are doing exactly what Johnson claims. I would add Redstate to the list, by the way, as well as Malkin. Yes, there may be more reasonable, rightwing blogs, but they simply don’t have much impact, precisely because they aren’t selling what the right-wing wants. Note that neither I nor Johnson said that ALL right-wing blogs/people and so forth follow the 10 points he lists, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is that the right-wing is massively dominated by people who are selling this sort of pernicious nonsense.Report

    • “As for the point about blogs – whether I read the blogs isn’t the point. What matters is that the ones he lists are the big right-wing blogs, and they are doing exactly what Johnson claims. I would add Redstate to the list, by the way, as well as Malkin. Yes, there may be more reasonable, rightwing blogs, but they simply don’t have much impact, precisely because they aren’t selling what the right-wing wants. Note that neither I nor Johnson said that ALL right-wing blogs/people and so forth follow the 10 points he lists, but that isn’t the issue. The issue is that the right-wing is massively dominated by people who are selling this sort of pernicious nonsense.”

      So basically even though there are plenty of intelligent, reasonable conservative voices out there, until they achieve the same level of fame/traffic/etc as RedState, then the ‘right-wing-blogosphere’ gets to be fairly stereotyped as crazed and hateful by the Left.

      That strikes me as a sort of intellectual laziness. You know the voices are out there but they don’t count until they are popular?Report

  9. Avatar 62across
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    says:

    You are all evading fangedbrute’s point. Please, any of you, can you name any prominent public figure who is out there right now that is a spokesperson for the true conservative philosophy you believe in?

    If so, is this person standing up to the crazies on the right and having any success at all in marginalizing them? Or rather are they being marginalized as RINOs or apostates?

    If “the point is to move your coalition into a position of dominance within the larger team”, then tell us who exactly is working toward that end and explain why they aren’t being heard above all the other noise.Report

    • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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      says:

      I can name bunches: David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Megan McArdle, Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, Reihan Salam….shall i continue? Now the stereotypical liberal response is, “Those guys don’t have a big enough audience!” My reply is that if you want to have intelligent conversations, sometimes it takes hard work.Report

      • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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        says:

        But none of these figures identifies as anything like a right-winger, and other than Brooks (who is more of a squishy centrist type anyway), none of them has anything like a mainstream audience. McArdle claims to be some sort of libertarian, Dreher is a crunchy con, Douthat and Salam wrote a book advocating a new approach to policy, that was promptly ignored. Larison is a palaeocon, and has made his distaste for the right-wing abundantly clear. None of them, with the possible exception of McArdle, have shown much sympathy to the right-wing as defined by Johnson and mainstream America. More important – none of them have ever held elected office on the GOP ticket. These are not political or prominent figures, and none of them claim to be. Show us a prominent GOP politician or public figure who has dared to stand up and rebuke the right-wing and advocate your mysterious “conservative” principles. Incidentally, are we ever going to hear what those principles are and what makes them conservative?Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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        says:

        All those you name have significant audiences (I try to read them all), so I won’t be giving the so-called “stereotypical liberal response.” I will, however, ask again if you think they are having any success in marginalizing the voices you say do not represent the Right and if not, why they are having trouble doing so. I tend to agree with fangedbrute that they are not succeeding and it’s because they are not selling what the Right wants.

        You are correct that gaining influence over a big movement is hard work. It is made harder when the reasonable decide to deny the problems within their movement out of loyalty.Report

        • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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          says:

          “I will, however, ask again if you think they are having any success in marginalizing the voices you say do not represent the Right and if not, why they are having trouble doing so.”

          Think of Sarah Palin’s current level of visibility. Who is driving that? It’s the media. She sells papers. I talk to conservative after conservative who scratches their head about her…yet according to a LOT of liberals she is the ‘voice of the Right’. So there is a real disconnect about what the Left believes about the Right and what is actually happening.Report

          • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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            says:

            So where are the mainstream “conservative” politicians calling her out? Or calling out Beck? Or Limbaugh? You can’t put all this on the media – no-one forced Grassley to follow Palin in the death panels lunacy. No-one forced Joe Wilson to behave like an adolescent. Even his own wife called him a “nut-job”. At what point are you going to realize that the right-wing dominates the GOP, and the right-wing is dominated by exactly the sort of thinking and folly that Charles Johnson rejected?Report

            • I realize that ‘calling out’ the more distasteful voices of our party would delight liberals from a voyeuristic perspective, but it’s certainly not going to suddenly make you like Douthat’s ideas just because he calls Beck an ass. The better voices of the Right are often choosing to take the high ground by offering their own ideas for consumption and the public can decide.

              I see this time and again with liberals. It’s a predicatable pattern:

              A) Remark that the Right is filled with crazy loonies.

              B) Conservatives rebutt by naming non-crazy loony conservatives

              C) Liberals respond by saying that those people aren’t popular enough to count.

              D) Conservatives argue that it’s not the size of the audience but the content of the message.

              E) Liberals respond that if these people had any balls they would publically insult the crazy loonies, therefore proving how dedicated they are to reform.

              F) Curious observer asks liberals if those public insults will make them more inclined to accept he message of the non-crazy loony conservatives.

              G) Response: “Hell no..they’re still f*cking conservativesReport

              • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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                says:

                Mike –

                Is your objective to persuade liberals or is it to regain dominance for your philosophy within your party? These are two very different projects that would require two very different approaches. I would contend you’ll have to regain dominance before you’ve got a shot at persuading centrists, let alone liberals.

                What you are doing here is precisely what fangedbrute is busting your chops over. The better voices of the Right are not holding sway and people like Johnson (or John Cole) are leaving your coalition – some loudly and others in silence. Rather than lament that and try to win them back by doing the hard work of marginalizing your crazy loonies, you choose instead to say “ugh, liberals suck.”

                Well played.Report

              • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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                says:

                I think what we’re all sort of trying to saying here is thatthis is no coup for the Left and liberals are mostly completely wrong about what does and doesn’t constitute a ‘voice of the Right’. You all minimalize any coherent voice and give undue credit to the most rabid…isn’t that Spin 101? I just don’t think the American public is that gullible (see Bush 2000 and 2004).Report

              • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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                says:

                I’m claiming no coup for the Left and, as I said before, I don’t give a damn who the voice of the Right is. I actually seek out the coherent voices (that’s why I read LOOG) and wish the most rabid would go away (that’s why I am dismayed when LOOG chooses to distance themselves from Charles Johnson rather than what the movement has become).Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to 62across
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                says:

                I still think you’re misreading the post.Report

              • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to 62across
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                says:

                Well the thing is that Johnson was one of those rabid voices himself. And now he’s packing up and leaving. It’s hard to respect that.Report

          • Avatar 62across in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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            says:

            You’re really going to claim that Palin’s prominence is because of the media? Really? The media didn’t know Palin at all until the Republican candidate for President, the nominal leader of the Party, plucked her from obscurity. I don’t know (or care) if she is the voice of the Right, but the base loves her!!! And the media didn’t make that happen, no way – no how.Report

        • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to 62across
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          says:

          Significant in the blogosphere, but not outside it – hence my assertion that they are not mainstream. I happen to respect Larison, and, more intermittently, Dreher and Salam, but there is no way that they are typical of the right-wing as it stands today. Douthat used to be a decent blogger at the Atlantic, provided that one ignored some of his more bizarre Catholic kneejerk responses. Brooks strikes me as a confused stuffed-shirt, and McArdle tends to be too cavalier with facts for my taste.Report

          • So unless they have a contract with MSNBC…we should discount them? What about an invite to Meet the Press?Report

            • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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              says:

              Are you going to get tired of peddling a debunked strawman, Mike? This desperate attempt to make it all about MSNBC is pretty unimpressive stuff. Why not address the facts about the right-wing instead?Report

              • I’m just curious what your criteria is for a conservative voice to be considered mainstream. If not a spot on MSNBC then what? A column in the NY Times? Book sales? Alotted time on CSPAN? A 5 minute piece on NPR.

                What do they have to do to get your stamp as ‘mainstream voice of the Right’?Report

              • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
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                says:

                Oh I don’t know… be a national politician, perhaps? Isn’t it time you stopped weaselling around the basic issue: Charles Johnson says that the right-wing is behaving unacceptably and advocatiing repellent positions. He leaves because of this. There follow some singularly unreflective condemnations and accusations that he was never “one of us”. Strangely enough, when challenged on the point, you don’t deny that what he rejected is what the right-wing is offering, nor do you explain how it differs from your hypothetical conservatism. Instead, you start blaming liberals, the media, anyone but the actual right-wing, who are actually putting out these views and advocating these policies. You obviously are ashamed of them, otherwise why resort to such pitiable frauds as “But you can’t judge us all by what the majority of our party wants. You have to judge us by the real conservatives that no-one listens to”. The saddest thing in all of this is that you seem to expect to be taken seriously after this series of evasions and refusals to deal with the actual issues.Report

              • So now it has nothing to do withthe blogosphere and it’s about national political office? You are really raising that bar. But I’m glad we can take Rush and Beck out of the conversation.

                I refuted one of Johnson’s points i.e. the blogosphere. If you’re looking for a point by point rebuttal I thought James Joyner had a prety good one and that was covered here at The League earlier this week.Report

      • My response to that response would be, what does the size of the audience have to do with it? Just because Rush gets big ratings doesn’t mean he is the “real Right” while David Brooks isn’t.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Dennis Sanders
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          says:

          “Just because Rush gets big ratings doesn’t mean he is the “real Right” while David Brooks isn’t.”

          I’ve listened while a GOP Congressman called Rush up and apologized for criticizing him. I’ve watched Rush b*tch-slap the head of the RNC, and make him back down. Yes, Rush’s ratings do matter.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian in reply to 62across
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      says:

      Ron Paul?Report

  10. Avatar fangedbrute
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    says:

    62across, I believe you’ve created one of those awkward silences. My hat’s off to you.Report

  11. Avatar E.D. Kain
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    says:

    Here’s the point that people are missing. All the conservatives that Mike mentions above have not abandoned the right. They are still conservative. They just represent a different coalition(s). Johnson, on the other hand, has left the right altogether because of the leading coalitions within the movement. In other words, he has abandoned the philosophy because of the members who represent a different coalition within the movement. Dreher, Larison, Joyner, etc. – they may disagree with the trajectory of the party or the movement, but they have never penned manifestos on why they have left the right itself, but rather on why they disagree with this or that policy, position, etc. There is a difference.Report

    • Avatar fangedbrute in reply to E.D. Kain
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      says:

      But you assume that they are real conservatives without arguing the point. Johnson would reply that the right-wing shows no sign of being authentically conservative, which is why he chose to leave. I notice that you still haven’t addressed his ten points, and are trying desperately to reduce this to a rhetorical thesis: those who stay = conservative and get pat on head, those who leave = not conservative, bad people, denunciation. Why would a principled Burkean or Disraeli-style conservative want to stay in the right-wing coalition? What exactly is conservative about their behavior or policies?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to fangedbrute
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        says:

        This is really weak-manning the whole thing. Sure, I am not “right-wing”. I might have been in my youth. Now, I think of myself as a heretical-conservative. I disavow the Palins (and the Rittelmeyers for that matter) but I’m not about to jump into the arms of Obama or the Dems.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to fangedbrute
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        The extremists are one element of the coalition that roughly makes up the American Right. An overly influential element perhaps, but still just one element. Those who continue to identify with the Right but are not part of that element broadly recognize that we live in a two-party system. They further broadly recognize that politics is only important because of policy. Antics, craziness, and all of that are ultimately but sideshows to the actual purpose of political coalitions, which is to elect politicians who broadly prefer particular types of policies.

        One does not leave a political coalition because a sizable percentage of that coalition acts in ways that one diapproves of, or holds personal beliefs that one finds abhorrent. One leaves a political coalition because one finds fewer points of agreement with the coalition’s official positions on issue important to oneself than one finds points of disagreement.

        Some of Johnson’s points are valid as to him, but those points do not reflect changes to the coalition’s overall political views. They were arguments against someone of Johnson’s viewpoint joining the Right in the first place, not new developments.

        Right now, the most important issues before the public are the economy and healthcare. If one finds oneself broadly in agreement with the Right than the Left on those two issues (ie, opposed to stimulus or favoring only very specific types of stimulus, opposed to health care reform or favoring a very different type of health care reform than what the Dems are offering), one is exceedingly likely to identify as a part of the Right simply for those reasons. That is the nature of politics – if you’re actually serious about seeing your policy preferences enacted, then you don’t stop fighting for those policy preferences simply because some (or even most) others who hold those policy preferences are unsavory or fight dirty or are insane. One can pick one’s policies, one can pick one’s political philosophy, but one cannot pick the people who most closely align with that philosophy.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to E.D. Kain
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      says:

      Charles Johnson is an apostate and a traitor. He isn’t a conservative and he likely never was. He probably kicks baby seals, too. So what? I have no stake in defending Charles Johnson’s screed, so I’ll grant you all of this.

      However, this morning you came across Rittlemeyer’s post and you felt compelled to respond. At the point, you thought it better to distance yourself from Charles Johnson (he’s not really part of the right, his argument is not only disloyal, but dishonest, etc.) than to distance yourself from the factions he was complaining about (as in making your case to “move your coalition into a position of dominance within the larger team”, as you put it). Why was disavowing Johnson the more constructive use of your time?Report

  12. Avatar sidereal
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    says:

    I find the whole argument (including both Johnson’s cri de ceur and ED’s response) baffling. Both apply clannish social constructs like ‘team’ and ‘loyalty’ to mental constructs like ‘philosophy’ and ‘beliefs’. Now I appreciate that lots of people do it, but I wouldn’t encourage it, and I’d like to think the LOG is one of those places that tries to undercut those lazy associations.

    Put another way, what exactly was Charles ‘leaving’ when he ‘left’? Presumably he wasn’t leaving his philosophy or beliefs. Nothing in his post suggests he’s changing his mind about any core values. Instead he’s engaging in a social act — dissociating himself from people he now considers unsavory. That’s fine and people do it all the time, but it’s not newsworthy. But why did it take so long and why was it just a dramatic event? If one of my abortive attempts at blogs actually had any relevance and I found some post from someone that I thought was asinine, I just wouldn’t like to it or I would link to it and say ‘this is asinine’. But if I was a conservative and that other person was also a conservative, now all of a sudden it’s SHOCKING and apostasy.

    Because we assume ideological loyalty. We assume that if I see something stupid that some guy on ‘my side’ says I’ll keep my mouth shut. That’s horrible. Ideas aren’t teams. If a guy on ‘my side’ says something stupid, he isn’t really on ‘my side’, because ‘my side’, ideologically, does not encompass whatever idea of his was so stupid. But because I’m only allowed to pick 2 sides in our modern political debates, we have to be on the same side because the other side is even worse. So now we’re on a side and criticizing him hurts my side and Reagen’s 11th Commandment blah de blah. The whole thing is a political clusterfuck and it’s gutting our country. The only way out is to constantly remind yourself and everyone around you that there’s more than 2 sides, that criticizing someone for saying something stupid or praising them for saying something smart should not require a badge-check to see which side they’re on first, and that people who put partisan loyalty above honesty are cowards willing to debase our democracy for their own satisfaction.Report

    • Avatar JosephFM in reply to sidereal
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      says:

      Thank you, that is EXACTLY how I feel about this too.

      I’m still a Democrat (for reasons, as best I can tell, similar to those for Mike staying Republican), but this whole tribalist attitude – which Rittelmeyer seems to think all politics is – is just idiotic.

      You will never catch me making excuses for someone solely because they and I are both, broadly speaking, “liberals”.Report

  13. Avatar angullimala
    Ignored
    says:

    No, you may decide that you disagree with various policies, you may not participate in the ‘bad craziness’ and you may shudder at the depths to which those who share your beliefs have stooped, but you don’t ditch the philosophy altogether.

    What about when you realize that the people you were associating with don’t actually seem to believe in the very “core” ideas that you both use to espouse and that, in turn, makes you cynical about those same ideas?

    When you realize that your teacher didn’t actually believe in what he was teaching you, it makes sense to rethink what youve been taughtReport

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