Due to a record-breaking snowstorm here in the Washington DC area we have not received any mail, or the Washington Post in the morning. Thus I missed reading a fine op-ed piece in Sunday’s Post by Gerald Alexander. Too bad, it would have brightened my morning before I went out to shovel more snow; but reading it online was fun too. He starts with this:
Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.
I’m an ex-liberal, and I think Alexander (a prof of Politics at UVA) is on to something. Of course I know conservatives who have the same attitude to liberals, denouncing them like Catholics did in the old baptismal rite, renouncing Satan with “all his works and pomps”. So, is “to a degree far surpassing conservatives” really true? I’m afraid it is, especially when I hear the President speaking of consensus and compromise in a most reasonable tone while– maddeningly– assuming that those who oppose him are either too dumb to understand, or acting in bad faith. From Alexander’s piece:
… Indeed, when the president met with House Republicans in Baltimore recently, he assured them that he considers their ideas, but he then rejected their motives in virtually the same breath.
“There may be other ideas that you guys have,” Obama said. “I am happy to look at them, and I’m happy to embrace them. . . . But the question I think we’re going to have to ask ourselves is, as we move forward, are we going to be examining each of these issues based on what’s good for the country, what the evidence tells us, or are we going to be trying to position ourselves so that come November, we’re able to say, ‘The other party, it’s their fault’?”