There are days when our critics do our work for us. By their very words, they discredit their own criticism (in some cases, criticism is a euphemism for what might more accurately be called name-calling).
In reply to my post on how some on the left go through life with blinders on making it tough for them to see conservatives, one of our regular critics offered that my partial listing of our posts taking issue with then-President Bush and free-spending Republican Congress “doesn’t refute [his] point about conservatives failing to criticize George Bush, it proves it.”
In Levi’s universe, we prove a point by showing it not to be true. And that listing was hardly an exhaustive survey of conservative criticism of W. (It didn’t even represent the complete universe of my criticism.Â Like I said in the post to which he attaches his criticism, “If you take a gander at archives of any number of conservative blogs, you’ll find a great variety of posts criticizing Bush and any number of aspects of his Administration.” (Emphasis added.)
He’ll find enough criticism to make his head swim. It was essays by my friend libertarian friend David Boaz of the Cato Institute and editorials in the Wall Street Journal which first made me aware of W’s failure to hold the line on domestic spending. And this before I started blogging.
But no bother to Levi. He’ll just look at what I linked, take a stroll through our archives during a period where I was blogging less than I am at present and say, “Is that all?” He didn’t bother to review other conservative blogs or the archives of conservative editorial pages.
For this critic his memory more accurately reflects reality than facts. “I’ll trust my memory of the first six years of the Bush administration over yours.” I never asked that he trust my memory, but that he, to quote my followup comment, “check the archives of any serious conservative blog.”
Recall, he contends that conservatives failed to criticize W, that we were somehow wedded to him.Â Um, Levi, I refused to vote for George W. Bush in the California primary in 2004 and wrote in Rudy Giuliani which I have stated numerous times on this blog. If only I were blogging at the time. But, I did express my views on a gay libertarian listserv. I’m making inquiries with the list owner to see if its archives are available from March 2004.
But, even if I do recover those e-mails, I doubt it would quiet Levi’s criticisms or those of countless others on the left beholden to their “myth” (in the negative connotation of the term) of conservatives as mind-numbed robots marching in lockstep to the commands of Dear Leader Bush, with his evil lieutenant Rove punishing any dissent from party orthodoxy.
I don’t know why it has been incumbent on so many such left-wingers to repeat this falsehood when there is abundant evidence to the contrary.
No matter what we say, it won’t alter their prejudice.
They’re just too beholden to this image of conservatives as unthinking, unreflective, narrow-minded followers. Is this some “truth” their professors taught them in college and which they’re scared to let go of, lest they realize conservatives have independent minds and serious ideas, that we’re not the hateful, spiteful troglodytes of their teachers’ imaginations?
And yet there’s something more to this particular prejudice, this notion that conservatives failed to criticize George W. Bush. It’s not just this one critic; it’s a pretty pervasive prejudice on the left. It has nothing to do with the way we are, but everything to do with how they see us.
It says something about how they define their intellectual and ideological adversaries. It’s exactly the same mentality that defines social conservatives who refuse to believe gay people can live sexually responsible lives.
Perhaps, it’s their need to see us as the type who require an authoritarian power structure to survive.Â It is interesting to see how many scholars conduct studies to try to define political conservatism as a psychological disorder. I’m not really sure why they need to define us as slavish followers of a decent man. But, they do. It is a matter which, I believe, merits further exploration. I don’t think are easy answers for those trying to understanding this prejudice.
But, one thing we do about those who share Levi’s bias; they paint with a broad brush and a narrow mind.