[Unknowingly, the Baron and I both wrote a response to an email from a reader using the pseudonym Beverly Hills. Her letter is posted below, along with the Baron’s reply. This is my response, which assumes the reader has seen what Ms. Hills has to say. – Dymphna]
Thank you for the effort you took to write us about an important issue. As I said in a recent post, there is definitely power in the names or labels we assign to ourselves and one another.
The meta-argument you make, which is that conservative bloggers could change the course of the national conversation by changing the labels we use, assigns to us far more power than we could ever have to engender such a fundamental alteration. Not only that, we would have to preface every discussion by explaining what we mean by “socialist” and why we don’t employ the more commonly used phrase “left” or “liberal” – even though these are the designations that those who assume those positions assign to themselves. Many would be insulted by “socialist”; some simply wouldn’t get it.
It is a surprise to have a liberal reader who does not vilify us. In blogs written by those who favor people like Barak Obama, Cindy Sheehan, or for those who read Daily Kos, we are called “Bacon” and “Lymph Node.” Our blog is called “The Darkies Are Coming”…
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Vitriolic ad hominem attacks which never address the content of our posts are the usual fare. James Wolcott, from Vanity Fair, calls himself a liberal and he votes Democratic. He has ridiculed our blog in scatological terms for our philosophy – and that philosophy can most usefully be described as conservative. I say “usefully” because the majority of people understand the word “conservative” in the sense we use it; the only difference is whether they consider it complimentary or pejorative.
Our son spent four years at college getting spittle on the front of his shirt if he questioned the liberal party line. Students who identified themselves as Democrats went into a frenzy when they learned he was not in agreement with their assessment of what they called “conservative s**t”. In fact, during his middle school years, at a Quaker institution he attended on scholarship, he and one history teacher were the only voices of conservatism in the whole school. The others did not self-identify as socialists and would have had no idea what he was talking about had he used the term. They called themselves “liberal” and their general dismissal for those who did not tow the party line was, “you suck.” These were the children of the very wealthy and they held the poor in contempt even while they supported government funded programs to “help” the underclass.
At work, I lived in a liberal world — again, self-defined. People did not call themselves socialists, and, like my son’s peers would have argued the point had they been so designated. These adults, like the school children, believed in large government programs, higher taxes to fund them, abortion without limits, and “gender equality” which included a large dose of hostile, anti-male feminism that I found unpleasant and intellectually sterile.
People choose the names/labels/points of view that they think fit them. The media puts its own gloss on those names. Thus, there are “left-wing activists” and “right wing extremists.” Somehow, Cindy Sheehan has never made it to the “extremist” position in the MSM.
I have edited books for people who define their own political views as “left of center.” Even though their books were not about politics at all, there would nonetheless be de rigueur political jibes aimed at Republicans and conservatives. These would be just stuck into the manuscript for no other apparent reason than to vent their spleen about, say, Margaret Thatcher — many years after her exit from office. It would be like pulling teeth to get them to remove these irrelevant gems.
Even those who write fiction indulge in this reflexive mean-spiritedness. They obviously assume the vast majority of their readers will agree with them. Read Tony Hillerman and you’ll find at least two anti-Republican remarks per book. In contrast, I’ve not found anything positive about the Democrats in his work, just this mandatory conservative-bashing.
In Robert Parker’s mystery novels the villains are often extremist or fundamentalist Christians. They are portrayed as both stupid and ignorant, prejudiced, and socially evil. Otherwise, regarding religion, Mr. Parker is silent about matters spiritual. In the world he creates in his books, it is as though religion didn’t exist. I like the stylistic nature of his novels and continue to read them, but I do notice the bright thread of contempt for Christians he weaves into his stories.
These are just some examples of a pervasive mindset. This phenomenon is an interesting characteristic of many people who are “left of center”: they do not begin by describing what they are for, or what they value. Instead, they use vitriol and ad hominem attacks against those who disagree with their world view. That seems to be their version of a level playing field – i.e., one that has been leveled and cleansed of anything they find disagreeable.
As far as “political correctness” goes, I do not see this label being used to squelch anything but the viewpoints of conservatism. And the people wielding these bludgeons do not consider themselves socialists, Marxists or Communists – unless you factor in the academics, who do indeed understand the truth of what you say. But they also know the negative effect that using these designations publicly would have on their cause; thus such labels are often veiled in public discourse by those who hold the socialist or marxist views you describe.
I do not agree that the countries of the Anglosphere are “about finished.” These are the bright spots of robust economies, active electorates, and a strong sense of identity. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented wave of global migrations fueled by a mixture of hope and envy and the desire for freedom, not to mention the need to find a safe, orderly place for their children. These mass movements of people have created a kind of disjointedness that will take time to resolve. The old solutions do not work, but new syntheses have not yet been created which can effectively address the problems created by our technology — successes that make us a Mecca (so to speak) for those who cannot survive the corrupt, failed states into which they are born.
If, as you say, there are many liberals who visit our website, they are not much in evidence. Occasionally one shows up to excoriate us for our point of view, and liberal websites link to us for ad hominem vitriol, but none have appeared to join in any honest debate of the issues.
It is the common experience of many conservatives that it is better to keep one’s political views private. Liberal friends simply presume we think like they do. And if we explain that we do not and have sound reasons for our conclusions, their animosity becomes overt.
It is not our purpose to change anyone’s mind. We exist to provide a forum for those who are concerned about the exponential spread of government, the dangerous situation Israel faces, and the cancerous growth of Islamists bent on our destruction and the establishment of a fascist Utopia they call the Ummah.