Monday, March 21, 2011

In Reply: When someone uses the rhetorical trick of aiming one's "own" against them, there's going to be pushback.

In reply to Why I’m Writing About Lockstep Liberalism

As you know, Lee, I don't believe you are a liberal. Every tweet and post I've seen thus far has taken or defended the conservative position. I'm the first to admit I dislike seeing conservative outfits use "liberals" (in quotes, at least by me) to say, Look, even "my new favorite lefty Lee Stranahan"... "...thinks the long term unemployed have a self-defeating attitude" (with the implication that they just need to get off their asses, maybe read a self-help book or two, and for gosh sakes try harder, and jobs will rain from the sky) or "...denounce(s) the violent advocacy that's become the signature identity of today's progressives.". And (to borrow the meme) even some conservatives think your politics are changing.

As I said in one of my first tweets to you, I think you're being trotted out as a token lib, in much the same way FoxNews used Dick Morris as "a liberal voice who agrees with pretty much every editorial POV we offer here at Fox," when the fact is, he was never anything more than a politically conservative opportunist who hitched his wagon to the Clinton folks for the dough.

What I think is, your writing stands on it's own, and doesn't so much need the political label to be put on it for cover or as a rhetorical weapon. When you bill yourself as "a pro-choice, pro-single payer, anti-war, pro-gay rights independent liberal," and allow the right to preface your pieces with all that "even this loony leftist thinks..." stuff, you're inviting some of the pushback you're getting from liberals who don't need to tell anyone they're liberals, because they actually espouse liberal positions.

So when your liberalism is questioned, it isn't out of animosity; it's because the question you're asking about long term unemployment implies a conservative point of view, and isn't being asked in a vacuum; one only need read your prior tweets on the subject of 99ers to get a pretty clear picture of your POV on the issue. To be a "liberal" (or a "conservative," for that matter) implies that one holds a certain set of ideas and ideals about political and social issues. There can be some variance--in fact, I think it's rare to find a person completely in lock step with the mainstream ___ agenda they purport to believe in--but there comes a point where the variance becomes too great to continue to claim you're a part of the group. I don't rightly know whether you've hit that point or not--the sample size of your writings I'm using is admittedly skewed, being from just the last week or two--but I don't blame folks for asking, given that the billing by you and by others is "liberal, lefty, ..., and is so often followed by a decidedly non-liberal offering.

This isn't unique to libs, Lee. There are whole blogs dedicated to getting RINOs out of office and out of the party. I remember a whole lotta blog posts in 2007 & 2008 about how McCain wasn't a "real" Republican, but was the only candidate Republicans had to vote for. Attacks on "so-called conservatives" by "real" conservatives abound. Again, it happens.

Now all that said, those folks who block or ban you for espousing your point of view in comments on their public blogs and sites are being foolish and closed-minded. I understand where you're coming from, as I've had the same thing happen to me, including at one of the sites to which I linked earlier. While I understand the appeal of those who wish to create the illusion that everyone who reads their blog post agrees with them, by blocking or moderating away those folks who don't, it's a cowardly act. But, it happens. Some individuals are cowards, and they're situated all across the political spectrum. Look how many conservative sites don't allow commentary at all, or require registration and approval before allowing one to speak. It happens.

I think it's a generalization to say that because that blog above refuses to allow my commentary to appear, all conservative bloggers are cowardly and closed-minded, though. I've been moderated by a liberal blogger or two as well. It happens. But it doesn't reflect on anyone except the blogger who's doing the moderating. (Or on me, I guess.)

The same goes for your experiences with Kos and the rest. By all means, slam the individuals doing the moderating or banning... but I think it's a mistake to try to make your being tossed off Kos--by one guy, more'n'likely--representative of all, most, or even many liberal blogs. Like pointing to a few signs or blog comments as "proof" that (liberals, conservatives, tea partiers, union folks, ...) as a group are in some way evil, it just doesn't wash.

You or I (or any other individual) no more represent(s) a single political point of view than the well-behaved guy--or the nasty, bigoted, or violent guy--at the protest does. When the billing is "even this liberal thinks...," there's going to be a negative response from liberals espousing the mainstream liberal position on the subject, just as there is when liberal bloggers say "Even this conservative says...." When someone uses the rhetorical trick of aiming one's "own" against them, there's gonna be pushback. It's not personal (though I'm sure some opposed make it personal, and some on the receiving end take it personally), and it's really not all that shocking a reaction, to have.

Submitted for moderator approval March 21, 2011 at 7:55 am, LS blog time. (And yes, I do find it a little ironic that first comments at each post on Lee's blog are moderated, though I hasten to add that I've seen no evidence that he moderates for ideological content... FWIW, one fellow on Twitter does allege that Lee blocked him, on ideological grounds, but I have no clue as to the veracity of that, either way.)

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