Mrs. Instapundit writes about the terrible, awful story of poor Jeff Goldstein, who is a calm, rational person who was called one of the most terrible names imaginable just for stating his opinion!
I often feel bad for those on the right such as Jeff Goldstein who try to make sense of someone on the left who treats them with disdain and disgust. Goldstein received an email from an old creative writing professor recently saying that he was disturbed by Goldstein’s writings and wanted Goldstein to remove his name from his “about page.” When Goldstein called Brian Kiteley, the professor, up on the phone for clarification, Kiteley called him names:
So I dialed him up and he answered. When I told him who was calling, he let out a forced “laugh” — I presume to show his bemused exasperation with my gall at having contacted him — and, when pressed, he called me a “jerk”.
No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Never mind that Jeff Goldstein is a grown ass man who actually does jerky things on a fairly regular basis. And never mind that “jerk” is about as milquetoast an insult as you can get without quoting Victorian-era riposte about family lineage. Our sobby man-child is hurt, and hurt because he would never say mean or bad things about a person he’d disagree with. And certainly would never keep someone on his site who ran pictures of Obama dressed as an African tribal king. Alas, I digress from the awful victimization of good-hearted conservatives.
Initially, Goldstein says he was hurt by his professor’s intolerant attitude, but then, his hurt rightly turned to anger. This professor tolerated free speech only for liberal ideas. But shouldn’t we all have the right to free speech? Apparently, only if it’s left-leaning. And one would think a creative writing professor might be above this. But the problem is, he may have a blind spot when it comes to those on the right.
Whaaaaaa? He asked Goldstein to remove his name from a page because he didn’t want to be associated with Goldstein. Free speech doesn’t mean mandatory approval of ideas. I personally think Jeff Goldstein writes the internet version of splattered pig feces on a wall, but it doesn’t mean I don’t tolerate his writing of his unremitting crap – it just means that I don’t like it. There is no justification, no constitutional background, no anything for saying that you should be protected from people disliking what you say. To argue otherwise is the ultimate form of narcissism.
Why are liberals unable to sympathize with conservatives? I offer three possibilities. First, I often wonder if this “blind spot” for conservatives is similar to the psychopath who cannot comprehend the morality of those who are “normal.”
Ah, yes, liberalism as a form of psychopathic mental illness. Unfortunately, I’m too busy stalking Andrew Breitbart to a Panera this afternoon to track down Helen Smith and kill a puppy in front of her. Being a member of the DNC is such fucking hard work.
I am not saying here that liberals are psychopaths, for this would be incorrect for the most part. What I am saying is that their inability to understand the morality of conservatives makes them unable to understand their point of view, just as a psychopath does not understand the morality of normal people.
I am not saying that Helen Smith is the BTK Killer, I’m just saying that she has a tendency to bind, torture and kill arguments as if they were people. And by “arguments”, I actually do mean “people”.
The second possibility is that liberals do have the capacity to empathize with conservatives, but they do not have to do so because of the liberal bubble they mostly live in. Schools, the media, and many of the cities they live in lean left. This means that there is no incentive to understand other ideas and there are no consequences for showing disgust and ugly feelings towards conservatives. Thus, Goldstein’s ex-professor feels free to vent at him — knowing that few will care.
Let’s just stop this right now. The most likely possibility is that conservatives, particularly prominent movement conservatives, have been buffered by thirty-plus years of an increasingly dominant media and social structure babying them into a state of infantile rage about the fact that everything they don’t like makes them a victim. Liberals are every evil in history, conservatives are every victim in history, and if any conservative does something wrong, they’re not conservative any more.
The reason liberals are so mean to conservatives are twofold: the first, and most important, is that many conservatives tend to take every disagreement as a personal affront and a violation of their God-given right not to be uncomfortable. The second is that conservatives and liberals don’t agree on much, and people who disagree tend to disagree. Shocking, I know.
When Teabaggers cut gas lines and throw rocks through windows, the response is that liberals are big mean nasties who refer to them as Teabaggers. Well, in all honesty, shut the fuck up and start making arguments that make any sense whatsoever. You know why I curse when I talk about politics, and characterize people who I think are ridiculous in terms amplifying their ridiculousness? Because it’s a way of debating and arguing that makes clear there are differing levels of argumentation. And chances are, your argument that the baby-killing social fascists are taking all of your tax money based on this study from the Heritage Foundation is just really, really goddamn stupid. Sorry about that. I still think you’re probably a fine person (unless you aren’t) but the simple fact of vehement disagreement on legitimate ideological and factual grounds does not turn other people into monsters.
Now, the racism and the bigotry, on the other hand…