This post by Ace at Ace of Spades HQ was originally posted on August 2, 2007:
To bring this ’round to current politics: Liberals, of course, also have a great deal of distance between their own capacities for unfairness, nastiness, dishonesty, and hypocrisy than they believe they do. Again, their sense of self depends heavily on the proposition that they are superior, if not superlative, in their fairness, civility, honesty, and integrity; they have great difficulties admitting deficiencies (beyond a fairly trivial sort) in any of these virtues.
Now, I don’t believe that either group, liberals or conservatives, has a particular monopoly on virtue. Individual people, obviously, may be more virtuous than others, but when it comes to large groups, I tend to imagine that all the usual sins are spread, collectively, about equally over both.
However — I strongly believe that the liberals have a far less realistic self-assessment as regards their own, and their political brethren’s, scores on these virtues.
I don’t believe conservatives or liberals are more honest, generally, than the other.
But I do believe liberals are strongly convinced they’re more honest.
I don’t believe conservatives or liberals are more fair, generally, than the other.
But I do believe liberals are strongly convinced they’re fairer.
I don’t believe conservatives or liberals are more civil, generally, than the other.
But I do believe liberals are strongly convinced they’re more civil.
I don’t believe conservatives or liberals have more integrity, generally, than the other.
But I do believe liberals are strongly convinced they have more integrity.
And to toss out the obvious:
I don’t believe conservatives or liberals are more intelligent, generally, than the other.
But I do believe liberals are believe zealously, rabidly that they’re more intelligent.
This lack of accurate self-assessment has caused a great distortion in our current politics. Throughout time, both Republicans and Democrats have resorted to pimping cheap sexual scandals to win elections.
Throughout time, both Republicans and Democrats have resorted to simplistic-to-the-point-of-dishonesty messaging to win elections.
Throughout time, both Republicans and Democrats have engaged in embarrassing hypocrisy in excoriating in the other party what the blithely forgive in their own.
But here’s the thing: Because liberals have far more difficult time admitting to themselves they’re guilty of sins of integrity or honesty or the like, they have convinced themselves that, at least until recently, they’ve been too darn honest, fair, and civil in politics, conducting them with far too much integrity.
Because, you see — it’s only conservatives who’ve been letting down Team America in these areas for the last forty years.
Every election the liberals lose, they claim the same basic reasons for losing: We were too nice. We weren’t “tough enough.” We were too honest. We weren’t willing to go into the gutter like the other guys.
We were too smart for the American people.
However, they’ve been saying this for the last century. And they were wrong: The whole time they imagined they were being too goshdarn good-spirited, civil, fair, substantive, honest, and intelligent to their electoral detriment, they were actually matching conservatives punch-for-punch in meanspiritedness, incivility, empty slogaeering, dishonesty, and outright stupidity.
But now they’ve decided the gloves should finally come off.
Now they’ll really “get tough.”
Now they’ll actually match conservatives in their nastiness.
They have to be “tough” now, you see. After all, liberals have been far too civil, far too caring, far too honest, and far too kind-hearted for far too-long. Now it’s time to really cut loose — cut loose fairness, cut loose civility, cut loose honesty, cut loose integrity, cut loose simple sanity. Those were all just baggage holding them back, it turns out.
Well, liberals, you’ve remade your party into the phantasmal horror you long imagined the Republican Party to be. Your senators and top-tier presidential candidates are now required to pander to those who believe the US government itself conspired to murder 3000 Americans on 11 September 2001. Because you’ve permitted — or fostered — or encouraged — the seething political psychopathy that self-respecting men and women once shunned.
Are you happy?
And do you imagine this sort of politics-without-frontiers will ultimately prove to be a winning model?
Do you wish to shame yourselves further by continuing down this road?
Or is perhaps about time — maybe for the first time — you took a more realistic assessment of the way you and your political correligionists have been behaving before this new era of shameless, shameful “toughness”?
There is a bunch more, and you should go over there to read it. If nothing else it is evidence in support of my hypothesis that the average length of blog posts shrinks over time.
I don’t recall when I first ventured into the right side of the blogosphere (aka “Wingnuttia”) but I’m pretty sure that in August 2007 I was still confining my online excursions to the soothing streams of Left Blogistan lest I become tainted by impure ideas. But if I had read this post way back then I surely would have dismissed it out of hand as so much bullshit.
Of course the summer of 2007 was way back before all the unpleasantness took place. The intervening years have been both traumatic and educational. To say that my eyes have been opened is to put it mildly.
I also found this other post to be very interesting:
As I have said many times before, back in the days of my
innocence blindness I was a regular at John Cole’s blog.