Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amanda Marcotte: "The Actual Values of the Country"

Well, since Pam Spaulding lied about American Power, I've gotten more than my fair share of hits from Pandagon. So, checking my Sitemeter right now turns up this nugget from Amanda Marcotte on "wingnut psychology":

Conservatives have a major issue. The reason they feel under attack is that the dominant values of the country are officially liberal - it’s bad to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, it’s bad to suggest poor people are subhuman, etc. Couple that with the perception, often correct, that the actual dominant values of the country are sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-poor, etc. (Though less so all the time.) People don’t like to be thought of as sexist or racist, but they want to hang onto their beliefs, and Republicans need to communicate with those people.
Yeah, right.

There's a lot here, but I'll just make a few points: Yes, the dominant values in America are liberal, but classically liberal in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (more on this stuff,
here). The classical liberal perspective wants limits on governmental power and respect for the rights of the minority within a constitutional regime of delegated powers. Classical liberals prefer markets to states, and they have faith in the capacity of human reason and reverence for the God-given natural rights of humankind.

Flowing from classical liberalism is a belief that the individual should be left alone by the state, and that the distribution of society's opportunities and resources should be determined by ability and merit. When government intervenes to "level the playing field" negative externalities result. If taxes are raised beyond a bare minimum required for adequate public goods provision, people will not work and invest for fear of confiscatory power and minimal returns to entrepreneurial activity. Society's overall product will reach a less optimal level as the state "disincentivizes" individual dynamism.

All advanced democratic states have passed through a developmental process of modernization of the regime, where elitist, racist, and sexist hierarchies were challenged and then overturned through extended democratization. In the United States, the process was long and violent, but throughout the twentieth-century the expansion of rights - through the suffrage and workplace democracy - has been extended to the point of widely acknowledged equality of opportunity across the land. The 2008 Democratic primaries marked the legitimation of the norm of political equality, when a black man and a white women - two members of a "previously disadvantaged group" - vied for the mantle of the Democratic presidential nomination, and thus the practically-assumed accession to the presidency.

For women and minorities today, a classically liberal ideological orientation predicts increasing integration and upward mobility into the great institutions of economic and political power in American life. Most women today feel themselves restrained only by their own aspirations and choices, not prejudicial structural barriers to entry into educational, economic, and leadership occupations.

So Ms. Marcotte's not really talking about "liberal" ideology, but secular progressive "rights" and radical "feminist" ontological constructions of "androcentric" patriarchical sex/submissive regimes of dominations. In this frame, American society is irreparably racist and sexist, and right activists are motivated by a Marxian-progressivism of activist "praxis." Under that model, reigning patterns of natural and meritocratic differences are inherently "hegemonic," and "unequal power structures" systematically subordinate gender and racial "minorities" to disparate treatment in law, politics, society, and the home.

Thus, we can see the problem for Ms. Marcotte: It can't logically be the situation that society is both "officially liberal" while the "actual" patterns of social interaction in "the country are sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-poor."

Hence, we have an inherent contradiction in Ms. Marcotte's meme of societal bigotry and hegemonism. And that brings us to what we're really seeing here: Rank demonization of traditional sectors of society as part of a perpetual campaign of victimology and grievance-mongering shakedown. If conservatives criticize "big government," with its unending entitlements and welfare handouts to the truly idle and brain-addled poor, they must be "sexist or racist." And since the left has reprogrammed the institutions of education and communications, it's "politically incorrect" to even make an off-color joke or to mention homosexuality and murder in the same breath: That's "
hate speech," and demands censure by the thought mandarins of the progressive media-police.

All the while, people like Ms. Marcotte claim "the high moral ground," which is of course a little hard to do when people like this have been fired from a major Democratic presidential campaigns for
anti-Catholic bigotry. Of course, leftists are so dumb, that their discourse swirls the drain of extreme secular inanity, and if it weren't for the lowest-common denominator media-culture of "up-is-down" socialistic relativism, conservatives in turn wouldn't be batting an eye one way of the other.

The problem is our dumbed-down anything goes culture - which makes celebrities out of terrorists like Che Guevara and William Ayers. We see a prevailing order whereby anyone gets a pass by the left's nihilist hordes in the name of "tolerance" and "enlightened" thought. Princeton economic socialists who are technically experts in international trade are reborn as Nobel-winning progressive rockstars, and snarky HBO cable-comedy airheads can call God silly on national and international awards shows with nary an outcry - indeed, all of this is considered profound and forward-looking.

In any case, that's the world we live into today, not one of "racist, homophobic, anti-poor" hierarchies, which are in fact manufactured crises in the minds of the dishonest Democrati-leftists who working feverishly to undermine this great nation from within.


Stogie said...

Great essay. Basically, as you point out, conservatives believe that it is up to individual initiative to make something of one's life, to make money and live well. Liberals believe that the good life is to be furnished by the government and doled out on the basis of one's membership in ethnic or gender groups. There is a fundamental disconnect between liberals and reality. Those who produce more get to consume more, and when you mess with that formula there is less produced and less available for everyone.

shoprat said...

I wonder if these people have any idea how many people did not vote for Obama's beliefs but were simply voting against President Bush in response to a steady drumbeat of bad information.

Anonymous said...

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Tom the Redhunter said...

On the one hand, Donald, I'd say don't waste your time with the likes of Amanda Marcotte.

On the other, you used her comment as a segway into a great post on the nature of the American people.

"And that brings us to what we're really seeing here: Rank demonization of traditional sectors of society as part of a perpetual campaign of victimology and grievance-mongering shakedown."

I'd say you nailed it right there.

Sweating Through fog said...

You shouldn't take Amanda and her hate blog seriously. The best analysis of Amanda can be found in Dennis the Peasant's Amanda Marcotte Sentence of the Week Series

Anonymous said...

Shoprat wrote:

I wonder if these people have any idea how many people did not vote for Obama's beliefs but were simply voting against President Bush in response to a steady drumbeat of bad information.

Doesn't fit the meme.

By the way, Dr Douglas: Miss Marcotte gets much more upset if you refer to her as Miss Marcotte rather than Ms Marcotte.