EVERYTHING: STILL OUR FAULT
Shorter Mark Steyn:
America desperately needs a more civil political discourse, but the moronic scumbags on the other side won't allow that to happen.
That's really what he's saying. Here's the problem, according to Steyn:
A year before this next election in the U.S., the common space required for civil debate and civilized disagreement has shrivelled to a very thin sliver of ground.
And here's the cause:
... if you want to discuss the best way forward in the war on terror, you can't do that if the guy you're talking to doesn't believe there is a war on terror, only a racket cooked up by the Bushitler and the rest of the Halliburton stooges as a pretext to tear up the constitution.
... If you drive around an Ivy League college town -- home to the nation's best and brightest, allegedly -- you notice a wide range of bumper stickers, from the anticipatory ("01/20/09" -- the day of liberation from the Bush tyranny) to the profane ("Buck Fush") to the myopically self-indulgent ("Regime Change Begins At Home") to the exhibitionist paranoid ("9/11 Was An Inside Job").
...The grade schools no longer teach American history as any kind of coherent narrative. "Paint me warts and all," Oliver Cromwell instructed his portraitist. But in public education, American children paint only the warts -- slavery, the ill-treatment of Native Americans, the pollution of the environment, more slavery ... cumulatively, heroism comes to be defined as opposition to that towering Mount Wartmore of dead white males....
And that (and only that) is we don't talk anymore. How much is the right to blame? The right is absolutely blameless:
Well, it takes two to have a cold civil war. The right must be doing some of this stuff, too, surely? Up to a point. But for the most part they either go along, or secede from the system -- they home-school, turn to talk radio and the Internet, read Christian publishers' books that shift millions of copies without ever showing up on a New York Times bestsellers list.
Oh, is that all they read? Just cozy little inspirational texts that give offense to no one? They don't read, say, From New York to L.A., Liberals Are Evil? Or The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2008: The Arguments You Need to Defeat the Loony Left This Election Year? Or Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party? Or Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN Are Subverting America? Or Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild? (I've limited myself to books Steyn ought to be familiar with, because they're recent and forthcoming books from his own publisher.)
Oh, never mind. Maybe I should just stop here and go listen to some of the pleasant, inoffensive talk radio that Steyn assures me has no negative effect on our discourse.
(Cross-posted at If I Ran the Zoo.)