Free Markets, Free People


Michael Gerson Is Better Than You

Oh, and you’re ugly too:

My political friendships and sympathies are increasingly determined not by ideology but by methodology. One of the most significant divisions in American public life is not between the Democrats and the Republicans; it is between the Ugly Party and the Grown-Up Party.

[...]

The rhetoric of the Ugly Party shares some common themes: urging the death or sexual humiliation of opponents or comparing a political enemy to vermin or diseases. It is not merely an adolescent form of political discourse; it encourages a certain political philosophy — a belief that rivals are somehow less than human, which undermines the idea of equality and the possibility of common purposes.

This distinction came to mind in the case of Washington Post blogger David Weigel, who resigned last week after the leak of messages he wrote disparaging figures he covered … Unlike Weigel, most members of the Ugly Party — liberal and conservative — have little interest in keeping their views private.

[...]

The alternative to the Ugly Party is the Grown-Up Party — less edgy and less hip. It is sometimes depicted on the left and on the right as an all-powerful media establishment, stifling creativity, freedom and dissent. The Grown-Up Party, in my experience, is more like a seminar at the Aspen Institute — presentation by David Broder, responses from E.J. Dionne Jr. and David Brooks — on the electoral implications of the energy debate. I am more comfortable in this party for a few reasons: because it is more responsible, more reliable and less likely to wish its opponents would die.

Well, not in public anyway.

If I had a nickel for every time some hand-wringing, garment-wrenching, media “elite” rides to the rescue of one of their liberal brethren being caught slurring the political opposition, I could buy the entire archives of JournoList.

I’d even have enough money left over for some popcorn and a comfy chair. Then I could release those archives and watch the stampede of “Grown-Up Party” snobs falling all over themselves to explain how sophisticated they all are for only “urging the death or sexual humiliation of opponents or comparing a political enemy to vermin or diseases” in the privacy of their own chatrooms. It will be uproariously entertaining to hear how talking behind people’s backs is the epitome of class, while publicly challenging opponents is so lowly and juvenile.

You know, Mr. Gerson, being a “Grown-Up” douchebag isn’t much of an accomplishment.

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22 Responses to Michael Gerson Is Better Than You

  • What can we expect from self-appointed elitists except condescension?
    Oh yeah…projection…!!!
    Grown up by ass.

  • The final line of this post is brilliant

  • Yet the fact is that too many people now see those with differing views not as what Walter Lippmann called “the indispensable opposition,” a group to be engaged, listened to, and even learned from.    Instead on both the left and right politics has become emotional sport.  Reason is trumped by passion.   Ideological blinders cause people to not only not see that there are other possible ways to view an issue reasonably, but cause people to consider those of different perspectives to be bad.   Mockery has replaced debate.   That kind of discursive immaturity can cause a democracy to collapse.   And, for all the talk by some of an uprising against the government, democratic collapse would probably lead to a massively more powerful government.    It would be nice if both sides could respect and engage each other.   Bush and Obama have been demonized by each side (BDS on the left, ODS on the right) as the politics of personal destruction trumps the idea that we share a common set of interests.   Both Bush and Obama were men trying to do the hardest political job in the world in very, very difficult times.
    But “ugly politics” strikes an emotional chord, especially with people who need to feel superior, and who have a very simple but clear idea that one thing is obviously right and the other wrong, with no possibility of error or middle ground.   Those people only deceive themselves.

    • There may be no better examples of reason being replaced by emotion than Erb’s ‘defense’ of his positions on Iraq, AGW, Health Care, Obama, etc. For a full explanation of Erb’s view about the right, see the first comment. 

    • No.  It isn’t “emotional sport”.  It is a blood-struggle, and your side is a pack of outlaws.
      http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/06/ohio_democratic_party_unsucces.html

    • Amazing. Boring and laughable at the same time.

    • “not see that there are other possible ways to view an issue reasonably”

      This from a guy who’s favorite phrase during a discussion with a contrary view  is “that’s just silly”.  Not at all condescending, and of course very reasonable.
       

    • Scott…..you’re the prime example of what you post.

      Thanks for self-identifying.

    • Well see Dr. ERB your erroneous description of the situation is part of the problem. We didn’t just slowly descend into a situation where both left and right attack and demonize each other.

      Rather the truth is that the LEFT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. Go back to the oldest records ot the Nation magazine and read the kind of ad hominem tripe they lavished upon their opposition. Or Go back a few decades and read Saul ALinsky’s Rules for radicals.

      The left have always been nasty and morally bankrupt, but they counted on conservatives being mostly gentlemen in debate, and thus walked all over them.  It got really bad during the Reagan years, I heard Reagan called every vile and viscous name, I head calumnies and out right lies. (remember how Reagan was responsible for Aides?)

      I also remember viscious smear attacks against John Tower, Micheal Deaver, Robert Bork, john Sununu, and Newt Gingrich.

      But in Erb’s world everyone has the same culpability and a curse upon both your houses. But that is not reality.

      Now the viscous left have discovered a new breed of right winger, one who will give as good as they get. No, I am not going to lay down my arms and lie down by the liberal wolf in sheps clothing.  I see them truly as bad people, horrible, evil people aho want to take away my rights and my property to create their own blikered version of utopia.

      They are criminals. All the way from Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, down the Obama and Soros, they are all crooked.

      • Sigh.  And many on the left would go on a similar diatribe against the “right.”  This need to see the other as somehow morally bad and evil seems more psychological than based on anything real.  I mean, you definitely are right that there have been smears by leftist true believers against those on the right (the attacks on Lott on Thurmond’s birthday comments were especially vile in that they unfairly destroyed Lott’s career).  But that doesn’t mean everyone who disagrees with you is like the most extreme!
        You can have jihad if you want, but I think that’s a bit of delusion.  I don’t mean that to insult you, only to note that I think you’re so caught up in the game (and that happens to all of us sometime) that you’ve lost sight of the fact there are good people on both the left and right.    I really enjoy good discussions with people who disagree with me.  When people feel secure and confident, the debate does not descend into insults and mockery.

        • guess I have never met any “good” people on the left. I have met a lot of snarling narcissists with left wing views, but never any of the ones you describe.

    • Well see Dr. ERB your erroneous description of the situation is part of the problem. We didn’t just slowly descend into a situation where both left and right attack and demonize each other.

      Rather the truth is that the LEFT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. Go back to the oldest records of the Nation magazine and read the kind of ad hominem tripe they lavished upon their opposition. Or Go back a few decades and read Saul ALinsky’s Rules for radicals.

      The left have always been nasty and morally bankrupt, but they counted on conservatives being mostly gentlemen in debate, and thus walked all over them.  It got really bad during the Reagan years, I heard Reagan called every vile and viscous name, I head calumnies and out right lies. (remember how Reagan was responsible for Aides?)

      I also remember vicious smear attacks against John Tower, Micheal Deaver, Robert Bork, john Sununu, and Newt Gingrich.

      But in Erb’s world everyone has the same culpability and a curse upon both your houses. But that is not reality.

      Now the viscous left have discovered a new breed of right winger, one who will give as good as they get. No, I am not going to lay down my arms and lie down by the liberal wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I see them truly as bad people, horrible, evil people who want to take away my rights and my property to create their own blinkered version of utopia.

      They are criminals. All the way from Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, down the Obama and Soros, they are all crooked.

  • I have this recollection of Ralph Nader calling “Ugly Discrimination” as the last an most difficult form of discrimination that needs to be challenged.  I wished him good luck  … it obviously would be ugly.

  • Unlike Weigel, most members of the Ugly Party — liberal and conservative — have little interest in keeping their views private.

    Ah.  This is, I think, what REALLY chaps Gerson’s a**: people who don’t happen to agree with him don’t have the courtesy to keep their mouths shut.  It’s part ‘n’ parcel with the left’s obsession with “hate”: anything they don’t want to hear is labeled as “hateful” or “ugly” and therefore has no place in civil, intelligent, informed discourse.

    The Grown-Up Party, in my experience, is more like a seminar at the Aspen Institute — presentation by David Broder, responses from E.J. Dionne Jr. and David Brooks — on the electoral implications of the energy debate.

    Good grief.  Who DOESN’T like to think that he prefers a political discussion that is measured, quiet, rational, informed, intellectual, and convivial?  Here’s a couple of tips for him and the rest of the “grown ups”:

    1.  Politics is not an abstract subject.  At the end of the day, political decisions have real – perhaps life-changing or even life-threatening – consequences for people.  Therefore, it is reasonable to expect people to be passionate and even (dare I say it?) angry and hateful toward their political opponents.

    2.  It’s easy to be rational, convivial, and “intellectual” when discussing an issue that is essentially hypothetical, especially with like-minded people.  I wonder if Gerson would welcome a seminar at the Heritage Foundation about the “electoral implications of the energy debate” with presentation by Glenn Beck and responses from Dr. Walter Williams and Ann Coulter.  I’m guessing not.

    3.  Politics and political views are not intended to be private.  Indeed, democracy depends on public debate, even if that debate is sometimes (often) heated or “ugly”.  I would even say that a stable society and government rely on people knowing that their voices can be heard; when a man can’t voice his ideas and objections, the only recourse is violence to make himself heard.

    I also suggest to Gerson that he is a bloody hypocrite: even as he bemoans the lack of civil, calm, intellectual, courteous debate, he writes off people who don’t share his views as “the ugly party”.  Pot, meet kettle.

    Finally, I suggest that, while Gerson may be written off as a mere snob for desiring that public debate resemble a chat over cocktails at the Club, the lament about “ugliness” and “hatefulness” is actually intended to serve a political purpose: demeaning certain ideas and opinions such that they cannot even be uttered, much less taken seriously by “intelligent” people.  This is an old propaganda trick.  I suspect that Gerson doesn’t find certain groups “ugly” because of the way they express their ideals.  Rather, he finds them frightening because they are growing into a threat to his own side’s agenda.

  • If I had a nickel for every time some hand-wringing, garment-wrenching, media “elite” rides to the rescue of one of their liberal brethren being caught slurring the political opposition, I could buy the entire archives of JournoList.


    So do you think you would earn a nickel here?  That’s the implication.
    So it must mean you believe Weigel to be a liberal.  Why?  Because he doesn’t like tea partiers?  Does that make him a liberal?

    I’ve read quite a bit from Weigel since he was a contributing editor at Reason magazine and I certainly wouldn’t describe him as a liberal.
    Although, you probably really see Reason magazine as a liberal publication – probably because they’ve spoken ill of Palin or something.

    • To be fair….he does seem to have trended left post-Reason,  Pogue.

      • To followup…..I mean sometimes people shift.  I still remember when Sullivan was considered a “conservative”

    • a lot of the crap in Reason is left wing, I am not saying all of it is, but a lot of it is.

  • God help Gerson if anyone ever cashes in on Breitbarts $100k bounty for the JournoList archives.  I’d be amazed if its participants live up to his lofty descriptions when they think no one else is looking.

  • Gerson wrote:

    “The real obscenity is an unjust war, or imposing socialism or devotion to Israel.”

    Can anybody explain to me his problem with a devotion to Israel?    And what that has to do with the price of tea in friggin’ China – or even the topic at hand?