Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who is kinder? The Left or the Right?

Sometime before the turn of the millenium (wow, that sounds like a long time ago doesn't it?) I was arguing with my father that whatever other faults the Left may have, that at least they were more well-mannered than the Right. At the time I believe I was mostly comparing Rush Limbaugh to NPR pundits, but despite the small sample size I will still maintain that even if there wasn't a big difference between the Right and Left that at a minimum things were more genial in general. This is obviously no longer the case and I'm trying to decide why?

Not only are things less genial but I'm going to have to go on record as saying that at this point, in contrast to my thinking of many years ago, that it's the Left which is the most unmannerly. (I think rabid idiots without the common sense god gave slime mold is closer to the mark, but I don't want to be hypocritical.) And certainly it's not all of them, to be sure most mainstream commentators are well mannered, it's more the rising generation of lefties you might say. In particular I'm concerned about incidents like what happened when the head of the Minutemen tried to speak at Columbia, or what happened to Mike Adams at Amherst and other examples like this.

So in any case I'm trying to decide why this is. One explanation is that Bush has evoked so much hatred after 6 years as president that the pot has reached a boil so to speak, and that two years from now when/if a democrat gets elected that everything will quiet down and the Right will be the side without manners. Of course the other explanation would be that this is just the way things are now, and that it has nothing to do with who is in the White House and that in fact far from getting better it may in fact get worse. This dovetails nicely into my "current college kids = apocalypse" but we don't have time for that...

The hooligans across the street aren't helping matters


Anonymous ed said...

I think it's beyond our "normal" electoral politics into a politics of intimidation for the left.

In spite of the rhetoric of choice (overall, not just abortion), we've come to a newer PC-orthodoxy which tolerates heresy very poorly. Look at what happens to say, "unorthodox" feminists who don't toe the majority line (yet are probably left of the Democrats on some major issues). They don't get tenure or speaking gigs. I've run into this over and over again in academia, even in seminaries. The left is the quicker to light the torches.

The right has its own enforcers, so to speak, but most of the issues there can tolerate some margin (abortion can either be limited or outright banned, and you can still fit in the right. Be against it in any actual way, and the left will toss you). Ditto economic issues. The right's enforcers tend to be blowhards with little power.

Take those as generelizations with exceptions, but you get the gist.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before commenting, please allow me to inquire on the the general reaction to a combination of gaming and politics:

Ed's gist covered my thoughts nicely.

Personally I think the left never recovered from the hit on Jimmy Carter, who had rather genteel manners. The follow-up blow was the success of Bill Clinton who has a preternatural charisma that mere mortals cannot hope to attain (or explain) but really poor manners. Since then the Left hasn't wanted to work at anything more substantial than Bill was after. Just blame the other guy.

6:30 AM  

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