Skip to comments.Cocooned Liberals Are Unprepared for Political Debate
Posted on 05/24/2012 5:24:25 AM PDT by Kaslin
It's comfortable living in a cocoon -- associating only with those who share your views, reading journalism and watching news that only reinforces them, avoiding those on the other side of the cultural divide.
Liberals have been doing this for a long time. In 1972, the movie critic Pauline Kael said it was odd that Richard Nixon was winning the election, because everyone she knew was for George McGovern.
Kael wasn't clueless about the rest of America. She was just observing that her own social circle was politically parochial.
The rest of us have increasingly sought out comfortable cocoons, too. Journalist Bill Bishop, who lives in an Austin, Texas, neighborhood whose politics resemble Kael's, started looking at national data.
It inspired him to write his 2009 book "The Big Sort," which describes how Americans since the 1970s have increasingly sorted themselves out, moving to places where almost everybody shares their cultural orientation and political preference -- and the others keep quiet about theirs.
Thus professionals with a choice of where to make their livings head for the San Francisco Bay Area if they're liberal and for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (they really do call it that) if they're conservative. Over the years the Bay Area becomes more liberal and the Metroplex more conservative.
But cocooning has an asymmetrical effect on liberals and conservatives. Even in a cocoon, conservatives cannot avoid liberal mainstream media, liberal Hollywood entertainment and, these days, the liberal Obama administration.
They're made uncomfortably aware of the arguments of those on the other side. Which gives them an advantage in fashioning their own responses.
Liberals can protect themselves better against assaults from outside their cocoon. They can stay out of megachurches and make sure their remote controls never click on Fox News. They can stay off the AM radio dial so they will never hear Rush Limbaugh.
The problem is that this leaves them unprepared to make the best case for their side in public debate. They are too often not aware of holes in arguments that sound plausible when bandied between confreres entirely disposed to agree.
We have seen how this works on some issues this year.
Take the arguments developed by professor Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law that Obamacare's mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. Some liberal scholars like Jack Balkin of Yale have addressed them with counterarguments of their own.
But liberal politicians and Eric Holder's Justice Department remained clueless about them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asked whether Obamacare was unconstitutional, could only gasp: "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
In March, after the Supreme Court heard extended oral argument on the case, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin was clearly flabbergasted that a majority of justices seemed to take the case against Obamacare's constitutionality very seriously indeed.
Liberals better informed about the other side's case might have drafted the legislation in a way to avoid this controversy. But nothing they heard in their cocoon alerted them to the danger.
Another case in point is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's law restricting the bargaining powers of public employee unions. The unions and the crowds in Madison, which is both the state capital and a university town and which with surrounding Dane County voted 73 to 26 percent for Barack Obama, egged each other on with cries that this would destroy the working class. No one they knew found this implausible.
The unions had an economic motive to oppose the laws and seek to recall first Republican legislators and then Walker himself. The law ended the automatic checkoff of union dues, which operated as an involuntary transfer of money from taxpayers to union leaders.
But voters declined to recall enough Republicans to give Democrats a majority in the Senate, and Walker currently leads Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in polls on the June 5 recall election.
The Madison mob seemed unaware that there were attractive arguments on Walker's side.
Why should public employee union members pay less for health insurance and get fatter pensions than the taxpayers who pay their salaries? Why is it a bad thing for property taxes to be held down and for school districts to cut perks for union members enough to hire more teachers?
Beyond the Madison cocoon, in Wisconsin's other 71 counties, which voted 55 to 44 percent for Walker in 2010, such arguments are evidently proving persuasive. Maybe liberals should listen to Rush every so often.
OK, check this out -
Arguing with a liberal is like playing chess with a pigeon.
No matter how well you play chess,
the pigeon just knocks over all the pieces,
craps on the board,
spews some unintelligible profanities,
and struts around like he won.
It reminds me of how people were in SHOCK Bush won 2004 because ‘no one I know likes him.’
I didn’t vote for President Bush in the 2000 TN Primaries, but I voted for him in the November election. I voted for him gladly in the 2004 Primary and election
That describes the liberals to a T
remember the 1994 elections?
Who are these guys (Republicans)?
A prime example of this is the redistribution of wealth. They see it as a moral imperative that the government makes sure the populace is fair, equitable, and charitable.
When they are confronted with the Christian interpretation of the same ideals and that the Christian will do it because it is the Godly thing to do...above government intervention...they cannot grasp this Grace in the Christian heart and soul.
That Grace, which is not redistribution of physical wealth, but of encouraging everyman to be the best he is able and the resulting benefits of the success eludes the liberal mindset for their spirit is empty. They speak of a society aspiring to such things, but fail to realize that it is not the deeds that creates that society. It is the Grace, from the God which they deny, that creates such a society.
The ‘greed’ that they see in the world around them is a result of their very own actions. The taking and stripping away of things to build up another man's self-esteem fails every time, instead it destroys both men and the societal culture between them. They rail on about self-esteem and fail to realize it does not come from the trappings of the physical world, but from a man's own ability to succeed at something. The awarding of ‘participation’ ribbons and awards is a great example of faux esteem building.
They spew those unintelligible words at us during a debate, because it may be the first time in their lives they realize they must experience defeat. Their faux self-esteem becomes mortally wounded and their fantasy world is taken apart brick by brick. They are unprepared to deal with those who not only disagree with them, but are able to demonstrate in the liberals own psychology why the liberal view is misguided and dangerous to the very ‘dream’ they are trying to build.
Yes...I have played many a chess game like that.
What an excellent analogy.
I love your pigeon analogy! Is it yours? I want to steal it, but also to give attribution.
Liberals espouse an ideal of loving humanity as a concept,
but individual people, they despise.
Perfect description. Arguing with liberals is also, no doubt, what gave rise to the phrase, “I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person”...
Steal away - I stole it and added the profanity part, because that was lacking.
I think any conservative would gladly and proudly allow a perfect liberal-ridiculing analogy to be spread far and wide for free.
Remember, ridicule is the perfect weapon against libs.
That is so very true. Its a bizarre paradox, but the people who most hate humans are humanists...
It makes perfect sense from a biblical worldview, though.
The humanist wants to feel good about himself as a "good person", so he claims to care about humanity. But, since his ideology is godless, and therefore Satanic, he hates these little "images of God" running around polluting the earth.
if Bishop’s book is correct, look for the Libs to double-down on their efforts to hijack the next US Census.
It’s funny, too, because I have personally seen the tactic of screaming f-word profanity and then claiming to have won the argument.
To hear the Dem talking head named Chris (former Schumer staffer) argue and over-talk the Obama positions on Fox is illustrative of the writer's point. There is no substantive debate of ideas--just empty chatter.
Although I've posted the following excerpt from Dr. Russell Kirk's work before, this thread reminds me of the character "Harrison." See what you think:
Burke's "The Conservative Mind, can be read online, by the way.
In Kirk's last chapter he reviews the works of poets and writers, quoting lines which now seem to bear a striking resemblance to the players on the stage in American politics today.
For instance, in Robert Frost's "A Case for Jefferson," Frost writes of the character Harrison:
"Harrison loves my country too
But wants it all made over new.
. . . .
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens.
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it made over new."
The pseudointellectuals who occupy the White House, the media, and much of Congress fancy themselves "intellectuals."
By their words and actions, however, they display a provinciality reminiscent of that Dr. Kirk recalls from an essay by T.S. Eliot on Virgil:
"In our time, when men seem more than ever to confuse wisdom with knowledge and knowledge with information and to try to solve the problems of life in terms of engineering, there is coming into existence a new kind of provincialism which perhaps deserves a new name. It is a provincialism not of space but of time--one for which history is merely a chronicle of human devices which have served their turn and have been scrapped, one for which the world is the property solely of the living, a property in which the dead hold no share."(Bold added for emphasis)
In today's case, the "provinciality" seems to be limited to the "progressives'" dabbling in and discussing the ideas of Mao, Marx, and other theoreticians and believing they can impose those ideas on a free people.
America's written Constitution deserves protectors whose minds are out of "their teens" in terms of their understanding of civilization's long struggle for liberty.
It certainly deserves protectors who do not consider it a "flawed" document because it does not permit the government it structures to run rough shod over the rights of its "KEEPERS, the People" (Justice Story).
Blasting it "all to smithereens" seems to be the goal of the current Administration and so-called "progressives" who control the Executive and one-half of the Legislative branch of government.
The Founders' Constitution's strict limits on coercive power by elected representatives are being ignored and disavowed; the free enterprise system which allowed individual citizens to achieve and excel in their chosen pursuits is being co-opted by elected and unelected bureaucrats; and the rights of conscience, speech, and religion are being trampled as we post here.
"The People" should be debating great ideas such as how to preserve liberty, or, in economic matters, the wisdom of the great moral philosopher, Adam Smith's "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations." Instead, they are being hoodwinked by a president who believes they are ignorant or foolish enough to believe that deficit spending, debt, and government control will lead to prosperity.
When, in 1776, our ancestors felt the heavy hand of the British government "taking" their earnings, regulating their lives, interfering with their beliefs, and asserting coercive control over their actions, they did not waste their time on such trivia.
They wrote great treatises such as "Thoughts on Government" and "Common Sense." They educated their young on the merits of liberty, as opposed to slavery to government, and they did the groundwork which allowed for a written Constitution for self-government to be ratified in the states only eleven years later.