Several posts (for ex., here and here) have ignited quite a firestorm of comments and degenerated into Left vs. Right name calling. This being a blog and we being Desi, I suppose it’s understandable that eventually, things have gotta get political.
I found this post from Eric Raymond an interesting read for many of our “lefty” commentors (Sluggo/Liberalpundit, Anjali, Desinar, etc.) trying to understand why the “righty” folks (myself, GC, Razib, etc.) react the way we do to so much of the rhetoric -
IÂ’ve been reading a new blog called Left2Right, founded in mid-November 2004 as an attempt by a group of left-wing intellectuals to reach out to intelligent people on the right of the American political spectrum. It is indeed a thought-provoking read, but the thoughts they are provoking are not necessarily of the sort they intend. …One advantage my libertarianism gives me is that while I disagree violently with a lot of right-wing thinking, I understand it much better than most leftists do. The reverse is not quite as true; while I do believe I understand left-wing thinking pretty well, most right-wing intellectuals are not so ignorant of leftism that I have an unusual advantage there. They canÂ’t be, not after having passed through the PC indoctrination camps that most American universities have become.
What proceeds is a GREAT “Lefties are from Mars, Righties are from Venus” sort of discussion. In this particular case, how the Left often talks past the Right even when they’re trying to meaningfully engage them. (the fact that Raymond is writing from a Libertarian perspective is, as usual, major bonus points
For example, this quoted passage and its response could practically have been lifted verbatim from some of the stuff in our comments -
[quoting a "lefty" author] Â“If interests were all that divided us, the Democratic Party (what there is of the Left that has institutional power) would enjoy an overwhelming majority, since it represents the interests of the bulk of the population, while Republican policies favor mainly the rich. Most people understand this, and the Left can offer sound arguments and evidence to persuade those who disagree.Â” I am not a Republican. I have never been a Republican. But claims like this, presented as though they are unassailable fact, utterly infuriate me. And if they infuriate me, imagine how they would affect an actual conservative!
Another example – I’ve gotta imagine that for many lefty commentor’s, GC’s repeated invocation of the death toll from Communism feels like a red herring argument from, uh, right field. As if in GC’s honor, Raymond discusses the centrality of the fight against Communism in framing much righty thought.
Anyone out there have a similar “Right2Left” deconstruction? Now back to our regularly scheduled flamewars.