Plumb Lines

October 2, 2009

Conservatives Become What They Loathe

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Schaengold @ 10:03 am

It is sometimes noted that no one plays the race card as constantly and insistently as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and their white, conservative confreres. They have adopted for their own the political evil they long suspected in their adversaries. Their original suspicion was undoubtedly not without justification. There really were some on the Left who accused all their opponents of racism in transparent bad faith, exploiting the guilty conscience of innumerable well-meaning Americans. There were probably many more who sometimes used the accusation of racism as a way of avoiding the discussion of actual arguments they felt sure were wrong anyway.

Somewhere along the way, conservative commentators decided that they could give as good as they got. The difference is this:  the leftists they accused of deploying the race card too casually actually sometimes believed their own rhetoric; most of them seem to have slipped into the habit unawares; they are guilty mostly of laziness and narrow-mindedness. When Glenn Beck calls Obama a racist, whether he means it is actually irrelevant. He is not lazily disengaging with Obama’s policy arguments, but actively attacking the possibility of engagement. The term is hardly more than a snarl of resentment, an ad hominem of the vilest kind. It is exactly what the proto-Becks have been somewhat hyperbolically accusing the Leftists of for decades.

The obsessive hunt for liberal “bias” is a kind of JV relativism, exactly of the kind long decried on the Right. There is a verbal gesture towards belief in objective truth, but no more than a gesture. Via Mark Shea, a document that, with its terms reversed, must be something like what the Right has always feared goes on in Comp Lit department faculty meetings.

David Schaengold

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1 Comment »

  1. Ah, yes, the Conservative Bible Project. Instant classic. My favorite is the bit about changing “they cast lots” to “they gambled.” Definitely seems like Andrew Schlafly is trying to serve two masters.

    More on the casting of lots:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/10/gambling-with-lives

    Comment by Kevin Staley-Joyce — October 22, 2009 @ 3:39 pm


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