THE MONSTER HAS ESCAPED FROM THE LAB
"Crunchy" conservative columnist Rod Dreher has discovered to his dismay that many of his fellow righties simply aren't rational:
Whether they realize it, ordinary people have become more comfortable with the idea that truth is relative and that emotion is a reliable and sufficient guide to finding it....
Relativism in this sense is no longer a specialty of the left. Here's the nut of an exchange I've had many times over the past year with fellow conservatives:
"Barack Obama is a Muslim."
"No, he's not."
"You have your opinion; I have mine."
There is no way to argue with this....
I'll ignore the swipe at the left (noting only that I don't know any lefties who really don't believe in the existence of objective truth). I'm deeply amused at Dreher's despair -- from which he moves on to Sarah Palin:
Her mind isn't geared toward resolving basic philosophical contradictions like her observation that corporations and politicians often collude against the common good, and her dogmatic belief in the sanctity of free enterprise. Well, which is it? You can't hymn the majesties of capitalism's "creative destruction" on one page, while proclaiming yourself a staunch defender of traditional families and institutions on another.
Well, Rod, you righties are reaping what you sow. Your side made attacking Democrats and liberals from every possible angle at every possible moment the main focus of your political lives, reaching for whatever argument would provide the most effective wallop even if it contradicted your previous argument, and inevitably you were going to inspire younger followers who actually believe every contradictory thing you say.
Palin's political mind, such as it is, is formed by nothing but attack-dog movement conservatism. Recall this from Sam Tanenhaus in The New Yorker:
When Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard editor and writer, asked Palin who her favorite thinker was, she replied, "You."
The mind reels.
If there were anything to conservatism these days apart from attack-doggery, young right-wing stars might have an actual thought or two in their heads. But there isn't. So they don't.
In a subsequent blog post, Dreher fretfully quotes an e-mail he received in response to this column, which says in part:
Read your article in my local news paper. You came across as having a distorted thinking pattern disorder.
Obama is a Muslim. His father was a Muslim and Obama was brought up as a child in Muslim schools in Kenya....
He is reluctant to use force to kill Muslim terrorist limiting it towards Osama Bin Laden, who is considered an out law by Muslims....
I just love that last bit -- Obama's willingness to go after bin Laden proves he's pro-Muslim! No, really!
Well, rank-and-file righties have always had to engage in some complicated doublethink to deal with the fact that their one-time hero George W. Bush didn't really care after a while about going after Bin Laden, even though nothing in the world is or has ever been more evil than "Islamofascism." A few years ago, on the day of the London bombings, I quoted at length from a Free Republic thread started by someone who asked whether it was time to go after Bin Laden -- and was sternly rebuffed:
You go find him and show us how easy it is.
Sure. Go barging into the Northwest Frontier - a region no foreign power has ever controlled. Make it to where our presence in Afghanistan will no longer be tolerated and spark a widespread tribal war that will make the Sunni Triangle look like a school zone. Makes loads of sense.
People like you both amuse and disgust me. You expend energy to mock and impede the war on terror, you're nowhere to be found as daily we post victory after victory in the GWOT, but the second something like this happens you proclaim defeat, using the Brits' suffering for your own weak position. You should be ashamed.
Nothing but more hot air from you.
Bush was a saint back then, so raising this point was heresy. On the war, to righties, he still is a saint -- even though he failed at what was presumably Job One. The only way for them to reconcile that was to redefine Job One. And Dreher's e-mail correspondent is still doing that.