Contributors

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What Color is The Sky in Their World?

I still read Kevin Baker's blog, The Smallest Minority but have felt no real compulsion to post the last few weeks. There are a few reasons why I have taken a time out (perhaps permanent) from posting. The main one is that I have neglected my own blog and would spend a longer amount of my limited time creating responses there and not writing here.

Kevin has been reading Liberal Fascism, the new book by Jonah Goldberg. He put up a quote today from the book that made me laugh for.....oh...about an hour. And then the sheer ignorance of it made me sad. I really have to get this book because from what I have seen so far it could be the finest piece of propaganda of the last century and, thus, an historical artifact. Here is the quote:

"Liberals are never responsible for historic misdeeds, because they feel no compulsion to defend the inherent goodness of America. Conservatives, meanwhile, not only take the blame for events not of their own making, but find themselves defending liberal misdeeds in order to defend America itself."

I would like a conservative to show me detailed examples of how they have taken the blame for events in the last eight years. The only time I can recall is President Bush apologizing for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina after a long amount of time elapsed. It really makes me wonder if Goldberg decided to come up with the largest amount of bullshit he possibly could-bullshit that would enrage the left, provide spanking material for the right, ingratiate him as a perennial butt boy of the thought leaders, and give him one large check from book sales.

Hmm...on second thought, maybe I should just check it out from the library.

35 comments:

vheights said...

Conservatives can't understand that they only time liberals criticize America is when criminals are running it.

pl said...

It always cracks me up that so many people of the liberal ilk cannot post without the obligatory shot at conservatives. It must be one of the few pleasures they can glean from life.

I have to agree with your assessment of that quote. It is beyond ridiculous.

blk said...

Look up "Big Lie" in Wikipedia and you'll find the following interesting tidbit:

The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler's psychological profile:

"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."

This describes George Bush and the Republican Party to a T. These are the tactics of demagogues and tyrants, be they liberal or conservative.

What some American conservatives -- those that defend Bush -- fail to understand is that the cause you espouse does not define whether you are good or evil. Your tactics and behavior do.

The ends do not justify the means. It is the essence of evil to rationalize away killing, murder, torture by claiming that it is for the greater good, or to "save" us from "them."

All the tyrants of the past -- Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and so on -- did not sit around and chortle about how nice it was to be evil. They justified their murder and torture by claiming they were protecting their people from Jews or Fascists or Capitalists, or whatnot. Evil people always claim their despicable actions are necessitated by the evil of their enemies.

Bush and Cheney are doing the same sort of thing that Hitler did, though on a much smaller scale. Bush's enemy is the "Axis of Evil" and he thinks it's okay to murder and torture them because they're evil.

Not all conservatives are on this band wagon anymore. In particular, John McCain doesn't think we should torture people. But way too many conservatives to this day defend -- and in some cases cheer -- the torture of innocent people, the violation of Americans' privacy and the starting of a war without provocation.

sara said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, blk. Your quote from the OSS sums up the psychology of people like Kevin Baker and some of the louder mouths on his blog. I still don't get why you even bothered going there, Mark. Some of the things that are written there are so wrong and complete nonsense. You were actually trying to see their side?

Didn't you mention the word putz lately, Mark? We are quickly coming to an end of the age of the loud mouth putz which includes most of talk radio, three quarters of the blogshpere, and Fox News. Their ramblings see more and more insane and less and less relevant to reality.

pl said...

If you replace the word "conservative" with "liberal" in blk's posting, and you change the context of "their" in sara's posting, you get the exact sentiment that many people on the right feel about people on the left. Huh. Weird, isn't it.

Hopefully you guys are right, though, and "they" will be going away. It sure would be a much better country if everybody started believing in the correct things.

Markadelphia said...

PL, blk's quote regarding the Big Lie describes the current administration and supporters perfectly.

Please illuminate the rest of us, regarding the current crop of Democrats, as to how and which liberals have followed this path.

As far as I can see, LBJ was the last Democrat to adhere to the big lie policy. Since that time, the only lying that has been going on has been about blowjobs which, while important, don't really matter when compared to young people losing their lives on lies.

pl said...

Just because they haven't been in the White House doesn't mean they don't utilize the Big Lie. blk was astute enough to include liberals and conservatives in his discussion. You don't need to look any further than the current leadership of the Dems - Reid, Pelosi, and Dean - to find liberals that utilize the Big Lie. Tom Daschle leaps to mind as another recent lib whose sole purpose on the planet seemed to be foment anger and indignation among his supporters because of what the Repubs were doing to them, rather than actually focusing on and solving issues.

It exists on both sides of the aisle, Mark. You yourself admit the system is broken.

Markadelphia said...

In the end, I guess I just see Reid, Pelosi et al as being too weak to implement the big lie. Harry Reid opens his mouth and I instantly fall asleep. Nancy Pelosi used to impress me but lately she just seems to be enjoying the pomp of being the first lady speaker of the house.

I don't see any power behind any Democrat at the moment except Hillary Clinton and look at how well the lying worked out for her. The majority of the rest are all terribly weak and ineffectual. Look behind the current administration and you see some real power--power to influence people and the way they think through fear. Of course, they do rely on the ignorance, whether willfull or otherwise, of the people.

elizabeth said...

I don't know why you wasted your time over at that blog, Mark. They are so far gone into a world of unreality from which nothing productive can come.

Markadelphia said...

I didn't consider it a waste at all. I really understand that mindset now and can see where they are coming from. They make some good points here and there but for the most part they are very deeply rooted in a belief system. Ironically, they think I am.

Kevin said...

They make some good points here and there but for the most part they are very deeply rooted in a belief system. Ironically, they think I am.

Ironically, you think you aren't.

And no, you do not "understand" the philosophy I and my readers are aligned with, but I'm sure you are sincere in the belief that you think you do. You made that blindingly obvious over the months of discussion and argument in my comments.

Anonymous said...

You know, Mark, an actual refutation, of that quoted statement does not consist of merely claiming "tu quoque". That's pretty lame.

--
Larry

Kevin said...

I'll add one comment to Larry's:

HISTORY goes back much farther than EIGHT YEARS.

But apparently not for Liberals.

Markadelphia said...

I don't really have a belief system, Kevin, other than my belief in Christ. I have plenty of problems with liberals. In fact, the list is probably at least two thirds as long as the problems I have with conservatives.

If I don't understand your philosophy, it certainly isn't for lack of trying...it is for lack of clarity on your part. You say you are a classic liberal, the champion of freedom and liberty, and yet you are willing to sign it all away in the name of national security. You shout at the top of your lungs about free speech and yet you blow a bowel when any book, tv program, or film questions our current international policy-calling them kooks and/or traitors and discouraging critical thought.

You aggressively advocate an "alternative" education to the "socialist crap" being taught in our "collapsing" schools and yet it is clear to me that what you really desire is dissemination of propaganda--propaganda which does go farther back than eight years.

The irony of your view on education is that the exact opposite of your view is the reality: virtually all American History textbooks include your version of US history. We are always acting as a force of good and when we are misunderstood it is the fault of the other and not us. I would recommend you read the book Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen for what is actually the problem with social studies curriculum as opposed to the psychosis that is Goldberg's view.

Don't you find it ironic that you bemoan Rousseau and yet, when it comes to you country, all you see is the good in it?

vheights said...

One would think Kevin would be happy with the current state of American textbooks. They are all massively pro America and leave out all of the warts in our country's history. I have had students that have yelled at me and other teachers for the text not having the fact that our first presidents owned slaves.

Kevin said...

Mark, that response deserves a reply.

I'll give you one this evening when I have the time to do it properly.

vheights: How old are the students you reference?

vheights said...

I have had complaints from both junior high and high school students. I have taught both in my 30 year career. If you really want better insight to all of this, you should read the book by Loewen that Mark recommends above. It has really helped shape my curriculum for the last 12 years.

sara said...

That is a great book, vheights. I read it a couple of years ago and was surprised to find out how many of my conservative friends liked it as well. Loewen really busts out the whupping stick on Woodrow Wilson. His approach to history is admirable and should be duplicated.

Kevin said...

My reply is too long for a comment. You can read it here.

Haplo9 said...

I have to say, as a long time lurker-but-never-commentor from Kevin's blog, that Mark and Kevin seem to be from completely different worlds and there is little chance of common ground. The reason I say this is because from my standpoint, in comment thread after comment thread, as I watched, Mark would consistently get crushed in the debate. He would (very often) ignore points that strongly undercut his own positions, and consistently fail to understand what others were saying to the point of misrepresentation. Even given that, Mark would pick himself up, act as if nothing happened, then the same thing would happen in the next comment thread. Eventually the people over there began to suspect bad faith on his part, and I don't blame them - Mark was like rubber, anything and everything bounced off of his difficult to discern world view, no matter how relevant, no matter how thought provoking.

Mark, I would assume, believes that he held his own pretty well. While I would strongly disagree, that disagreement underscores just how far away the two sides are. It would be interesting to see more impressions from people who have read through all those comment threads..

elizabeth said...

haplo9, I would say the exact opposite is true. Mark consistently tries to get valid points across backed up with facts and the majority of people who post at Kevin's blog stick their fingers in their ears and hurl personal insults at him. In all the threads I read, never once did I see a personal insult coming from towards anyone else.

In fact, the level of outrage and anger on the side of the people who post on Kevin's blog prove to me that Mark hit a nerve in a place that they don't really want to go to...admitting fault with their argument.

sw said...

Backed up with facts? Yeah right. That's hilarious.

the iowa kid said...

I only read a couple of posts on that blog but from what I did read none of those people are "conservative." Speaking as a conservative, I would urge all of you to not think of our party as the people who post on Kevin's blog.

They represent a fringe element that, at times, seems conservative, but then loses all credibility when they start talking about Iraq and Al Qaeda. The one thread I saw had many of them cutting down Ron Paul who, even though I don't agree with everything he says, is a true conservative at his core.

sandra said...

SW, here is a fact for you. Obama voted in favor of the Vitter amendment, which would allow a person , in times of crisis, to keep his or her firearms and NOT have the government seize them. In Illinois, he voted that retired policeman have a right to conceal and carry. From what I read on that blog, those posters said that Obama voted 100 percent of the time in favor of all gun control. There are two examples of when he didn't, thanks to markadelphia. And did anyone acknowledge that?

No, because they are under the mistaken belief that they speak for "true" conservatives, like me, when they are, in fact, in the smallest minority. Thank God.

Markadelphia said...

Sandra, I re-entered your post above and added the word "for" before "true." I hope you don't mind.

Kevin, I will respond to your post here later today when I have more time.

haplo9 said...

Elizabeth: too funny. It's like we speak two different languages. The only point I'd add is that the quality of the discussions over there did degrade over time, as the commentators over there (quite understandably from my standpoint) lost patience with Mark and his apparent refusal to honestly engage with their viewpoints.

sara said...

haplo9, I would point to the thread a while back in which Mark asked everyone to list off the fundamental problems with conservative ideology and only one person, Kevin, answered. Mark has stated repeatedly on this blog and on Kevin's the multitudes of gripes he has with Democrats. I think this really demonstrates who is willing to engage and who isn't...who is more open minded and who isn't, hmm?

I'm not sure where you stand politically but based on your two comments you have a very skewed view of liberalism and progressivism that has been terribly distorted by the groupthink that goes on over there. As far as I could see, Mark was the only
liberal/progressive that posted there. He has plenty of people from all over the spectrum that post here.

I actually view Mark as being more moderate, like Kennedy was.

sandra said...

No problem, marko. I suck at typing.

I also wanted to add that Bush's reckless spending, especially in Iraq, should be cause enough for all conservatives to really rethink why they support him on anything. The tirades on Kevin's blog about Obama being a socialist are ludicrous and serve to show how nutty our side can be at times.

vheights said...

haplo9,

The points which Mark "ignored" or strongly undercut his position were not really points at all...just more of the tap into the inner rage and pass it off as fact thing. I saw no links provided to primary sources let alone secondary ones. There were many links to other conservative bloggers which only show the sad level of groupthink that goes on over there.

They also suffer terribly from confirmation bias, seeking out only those things which prove their points and never anything that challenges that. I will say that Kevin watched Why We Fight which is something but it doesn't seem to have had that much effect on him. He spends much time bemoaning the death and destruction that Communism has caused, which is valid, but he doesn't look at the millions we killed in Vietnam, the hundreds of thousands in Iraq, and the tyranny we continue to back around the world.

Seriously, who is ignoring facts here?

jeff u said...

"as I watched, Mark would consistently get crushed in the debate."

I didn't see it that way at all. To begin with, the "rules" applied to him in a different way then they did to everyone else. He was ordered to respond to every question EVERY time while the others could pick and choose. He was not allowed to provide opinion pieces to back up his points while they others could link to any wingnut blog they wanted to.

I would suggest that you read this, from blk in an above comment, if you want an accurate description of the people that post there:

"never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong"

It is how the conservative side of the aisle has consistently operated over the last decade or so and that is exactly what happened to Mark when he posted there.

Haplo9 said...

Sara:
You presume that Kevin and his commentors are conservatives, which I'm not entirely sure is accurate. The primary reason I say that is because "conservative" tends to attach the baggage of social conservatism, which I suspect many of them would reject. I'm not certain though; from my standpoint, there isn't much that is defensible in the social side of conservatism.

I don't quite see your point though - Mark has apparently noted that he has problems with Democrats, Kevin apparently has mentioned his problems with Republicans/conservatives. How does that make Kevin less open minded than Mark? His commenters not taking up this challenge is significant then?

>based on your two comments you have a very skewed view of liberalism and progressivism that has been terribly distorted by the groupthink that goes on over there.

My view may certainly be skewed - I used to be very liberal/progressive in college, got older, rejected parts of it, swung to the right, swung back a bit to the left. I'm not sure where that puts me. Your comment about groupthink is unintentionally funny - people on the right accuse people on the left of the exact same thing.

Haplo9 said...

vheights,
>The points which Mark "ignored" or strongly undercut his position were not really points at all...just more of the tap into the inner rage and pass it off as fact thing.

As you might imagine, I don't agree with your take. If I was to try to distill down the essence of the conversations, I'd say the primary source of miscommunication was mostly about describing a coherent world view. Kevin et al have a few easy to understand principles from which their world view flows. Mark's views seemed to be all over the map based on what seemed right to him. That approach leaves him very open to pointed criticism about why it makes sense to be in favor of x but not be in favor of y. It is those sorts of points that Mark consistently avoided addressing. I don't think it was bad faith on his part, he just didn't think they were important considerations. I (and the commenters at Kevin's blog) thought they were very important questions, because if you don't have some sort of consistent guiding principles when making government policy, you end up with a government that is arbitrary and capricious. YMMV.

Haplo9 said...

>I didn't see it that way at all. To begin with, the "rules" applied to him in a different way then they did to everyone else. He was ordered to respond to every question EVERY time while the others could pick and choose. He was not allowed to provide opinion pieces to back up his points while they others could link to any wingnut blog they wanted to.

Very interesting how multiple of us would have so very different takes on the discussions over there. I do have a question with the above - how exactly was Mark "ordered" or "not allowed" to do things? Did Kevin censor his comments in some way?

>"never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong"

Oof - your side is the good side and the other side is full of bad huh? I hope you never have to wake up from that comforting dream.

Markadelphia said...

Hey everyone, look for my response to Kevin's post on his blog tomorrow night or Thursday. Been really busy today and I have to put up something about MS-01 election tomorrow morning.

sw said...

ms01? Be sure to tell us how liberal the democrat who won is.