I've been following the recent vitriolic debate consuming some of the more reasonable blogs out there. Unfogged
turned me on to the drama at first, though the other players seem even more involved. At the esteemed Crooked Timber
, we get a good synopsis posted by Ted
Here, we are directed to the O'Toole File
, a favorite of mine, where the blogger there is driven to such despair, he says
he has "decided to take a step back from the whole discussion..."
What is it that agonizes these thinkers? The steadily increasing drumbeat
of conservative pundits who accuse liberals, and liberalism at its essence, of treachery against the United States.
Alone, that would cause me to step back too. Yet, all things are duplicitous
(see verse 24). There is no charge alone, but a series of charges and counter-charges. Before I get too far into that though, let me make one thing absolutely clear, the accusation on its face is a type of disgusting slime-balling tactic, which can only be described as pure hatred, or pure evil.
Now, even pure evil itself does not exist alone. Pure evil
is but a reaction, and itself again, another action causing a third movement. Hegel teaches us
that we are what we say we are not. Our liberal bloggers, of which I am proud to say I am, are agonized by the pure evil which they themselves spawned, and they themselves in some small part truly are.
These are not charges to be taken lightly, but if there are any Christians left reading this post, they'll know what I mean. We are all sinners (Romans 3:21-23
) We all use knowledge for its power. And we are all affected by power's corruption. No way to get around it, no matter how simplistic the syllogism.
For decades academia ridiculed the conservative mind. They lumped all conservative thoughts into one category, condemning that category by exposing its motivations, by revealing what they "really" are saying, and so by using a mix of psychotherapy, radical skepticism, and realism, liberal academia forever shunned and stunted the growth of the conservative idea.
Liberals should remember this well. We created the monster which now causes us agony. It was a failure of the academy to approach the conservative idea with compassion, to approach conservative thinkers with dignity, and to address their arguments on the merits rather than on our own perception of their personal greedy impulses. Everything we hate about how they are sliming the term "liberal" the same way they slimed John Kerry with the Swift Boats, all of that and more, we appeared to them.
The question is, now that we know this, and deep in all our minds and hearts we know this, what will we do? Continuing the cycle of self-indulgent opposition will only lead to the annihilation of both liberals and conservatives. Breaking that cycle by engaging in dialogue, engaging in deliberation, engaging in honest, open, discussion (not debate) is the only possible path to redemption.