Sorry for not having a post up yesterday.
A subject that fascinates me involves the alliances of modern American politics. Included in this subject is the necessary corollary of language and who controls it.
The brilliance of the modern “progressives” (that stupid term that is coming into vogue again) is their ability to sell a watered-down approach to extremism. Speaking of which, that brings us the first term that means next to nothing anymore: extremism.
It is often used as a pejorative term for staunch conservatives or the vote for a dog if he were a Democrat crowd alike. Often times it is also meant to delegitimize figureheads. But, it seems to me, that in the U.S. the term has a right-wing connotation.
For example, a pro-life Republican candidate is an “extremist.” If you wanted to make a line diagram of the spectrum of Americans’ opinions on abortion he would be on the end of one of the sides of your silly line. That’s what they mean by extreme. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is a paragon of compromise. Never mind the fact that he believes infanticide is a woman’s rights issue.
For another example, to prove my point, imagine if anyone just as conservative as Danny Glover is “progressive” were to be invited to speak at UNC’s MLK celebrations. They would, almost certainly, be titled “extremist” by the Daily Tar Heel.
What I am trying to get at is that popular understanding (among youth) of hip issues are not grounded in reality. Rather, a great number of opinions are reactions to implicit threats made by the “liberal” elite establishment. And, by the way, it makes no matter whether it’s the media, the university, the public high schools, or the Church reinforcing a leftist mindset. The fact is it that it is being reinforced at every turn. You “liberals” who deny that are in a weird denial of the culture war you have most obviously won.
But, if extremism is bad, the question remains: what is good? The answer must be believing in absolutely nothing. If believing in something without compromise is looked down upon, not believing in something is praised. Or, if you prefer, believing in everything. Not literally, of course, only theoretically. It is, in practice, impossible to believe in everything thanks to the law of non-contradition.
Anyway, Ralph Byrns, an econ professor here at UNC describes himself as a leftist libertarian. While I don’t think that makes much sense, it does in a weird way describe the trend that I think my generation is taking with regards to what has become a seemingly universal worldview. My friends think it’s cool to be a “good person” without much cramping of style. They do not worry themselves with any concern for traditional morality or religion. And, to be frank, religious leftists or secular libertarians who pretend to be spiritual, seem to treat religion as a social thing meant to make one feel good. It follows, then, that without any real obligation to God, the modern easy-going libertarian type lets out his need for worship in his social political philosophy. In other words the “fiscal conservative, social liberal” is born.
Another popular way of describing this type of person is to call him “moderate.” The “moderate” is very much preffered to the “extremist.” But, again, this term means basically nothing. It is an expedient term to call people that are useful to one or the other “extreme.” For instance, John McCain was a moderate back when he opposed tax cuts etc. But, next to Obama, he became Jerry Falwell. In the mind of social liberals, of course, Obama remained the moderate.
The reality? Not only does Obama lie about tax cuts, I don’t know if he has ever been in favor of one. And, never mind Jerry Falwell, his pastor is the winner of the Marxist-racist nut job of the year award.
In conclusion, don’t trust the popular, colloquial, understandings of politics. People are what they are. They aren’t either moderate or extreme. And, for the sake of humanity, don’t fall into the trap of dividing conservatives and “liberals” up into Republican and Democratic camps. I admit that many times it works out that way, but it’s dangerous to give people with and R or a D beside their names immunity. Case in point: John McCain, that goofball down in South Carolina, or Pat McCrory. They are all over the place.