Sully’s been doing a somewhat wankerly, but ultimately quite interesting, series on conservative critiques of tourism (here, here, and here). He just posted the following brilliant (to me, at least) reader dissent to the project:
Chesterton, and Buckley most famously, and a great many other conservative figures, have what I experience as a mere love of contrarianism which they mistake for a love of excellence. The proposition that tourism narrows the mind is a foolish debate topic that appeals only to someone who takes delight in his powers of sophistry, and is willing in that name to set up oppositions that do not exist. Inward and outward journeys are simply not opposed, and to pretend that they are in order to adhere stuffily to the superior excellence of the inward journey is just irritating. It doesn’t make people deeper and more thoughtful and more excellent when they consciously seek ways to use delicate perceptions to rise above the unquestioned truisms of the mob; it just makes them irritating. They are irritating in this respect even when–as sometimes happens–I agree with their conclusions.
As much as I despise modern conservatism, I have to admit that contrarianism for contrarianism’s sake is a hallmark of much of our elite discourse, conservative and otherwise. Maybe we’d be better off if our opinion-makers just stuck to plagiarism.
The majority view, as espoused by the NYT and NPR, is that John Tierney is an actual journalist. I’d like to be contrarian and suggest that he’s a two bit hack who simply gainsays what he takes to be the conventional wisdom and then claims deep thought.
You guys seem to have contrarianism as a running theme recently though I’m not sure why.
Ofcourse contrarianism is going to be annoying to people who prefer the mentality of the herd, just as the mentality of the herd is annoying to the contrarian.
Some people need to unwind a bit and relax. I think they’re carrying their political philosophy a wee bit too far.
There’s that too.
Ah, DougJ. It was good to see the tag, Burkean bells, employed once again.
That is an excellent reader dissent. Don’t you wish you had that kind of commentary on this blog? Oh wait, you do!
Contrarianism, though, is probably especially annoying when you’re being stupid about it.
@gwangung: No it’s not. It’s great.
Hm. You’re right. It is annoying to be a contrarian just for the sake of being contrary.
Very true 3G. Just as herd mentality is especially annoying when you’re being stupid about it.
@kwAwk: I think the main theme here is that stupid is annoying. I would agree with that.
I know, that’s why I reference the comments so much.
Herd mentality is supposed to be stupid, by default. Contrarianism purports to be something better.
Thank you asiangrrlMN for not being contrarian. That would be annoying.
Very nice. And Sully clarifies his conservatism:
I’ve never understood Sullivan’s conservatism, because to me it sounds completely consistent with liberalism, except that you feel bad about it.
Statements like the following remind me that, for all the progress that he has made, Sully still has no grasp on logical argument, nor does he have much room in his own intellectual life for doubt or reflection on his initial (over)reactions:
And he says this without responding to his commenter’s insight that “inward and outward journeys are simply not opposed…” For someone who is supposed to argue for a living, this is just embarrassing.
The very idea that tourism narrows the mind is to be quite honest so crashingly stupid that it defies belief. I give you my boss as Exhibit A, he was one of those “the US is the greatest country in the world, bar none and nothing will ever convince me otherwise” type of dudes, precisely until he went to Europe, at which point he was “they have the most incredible public transit system that makes the US look like a third world country” in a two week period. I honestly believe that world travel is what makes us a better person, because we see thinks differently, we actually get what is better or worse about the country in which we live. Personally I am so pissed off about those Brits who live with the comfort of the NHS railing about it in Republican ads on US TV right now I would like to say to them “come and live over here for six months bitch!” Me mum agrees, anyone in Britain having to live with the US healthcare system for a matter of months would be screaming to the high heavens “you mean I have to PAY to go to the doctor!”
That’s because it’s turtles all the way down.
@RSA I think that is because most self described Conservatives we come across nowaday aren’t really conservative at all.
Sully seems to be trying to get across the Burkean notion that being skeptical of change doesn’t mean unwilling to change, only that the thought process for them takes a bit longer.
We liberals enjoy constant change and solving new problems and look forward to it, the conservative doesn’t.
@RSA: Well, he is against national healthcare and progressive taxes–that counts as conservative. And, he was initially for the war before he was against it. He doesn’t agree with hate laws or the overturning of Prop 8 by the courts. I would say he leans towards libertarianism.
Oh and another thing “some assembly required” just plugging here.
Hmmmmn whatever I guess the bloggods don’t want me to post “some assembly required”
Me too, maybe then I could understand it.
I was thinking of writing that tourism narrows the mind, but I just didn’t want to go there.
Doesn’t new things, by definition, bring new thoughts? I suppose I must be missing something here, but if not, this is just silly.
One of the most wondrous things I’ve ever done is take a two-week road trip around the country. It was so wonderful, I did it three more times, each time longer than the last.
Maybe the point is that conservatives are generally opposed to any sort of learning or uncontrollable revelatory insights outside their desired plan, and so if you can’t entirely trust yourself not to learn anything major on some vacation, maybe you shouldn’t be a tourist.
I really liked that dissenter too, and agreed with him about the one good critique of travel that Sullivan posted, by David Foster Wallace. His was more a critique of tourism, but I’ve been kind of wondering all day, on and off, what the real difference is.
But you know in Wayne’s World when they’re eating the pizza and Rob Lowe comes up to them and proposes a new direction for the show, and Garth scowls and says “we fear change.”? That’s what I keep thinking of when I think of conservatism, even though Garth was correct to fear what Rob was proposing.
I think being contrarian for contrarianism’s sake is something people do when they want to appear clever. And it’s something you see a lot among our elite journalists. After I read Michael Lewis’s essay “J-school Ate My Brain,” I decided that being clever and playing stupid games really is the heart of contemporary journalism. He talks about visiting Columbia and the professors running their students through a bunch of intellectual stunts – like brainstorming 100 story ideas about a baseball cap or writing all their stories without using adjectives, adverbs, or words such as “is”, “was”, “were” and “isn’t”.
People play these games so they can appear smart without actually being smart. The clever insult, the gotcha moment, the intentionally contrarian attitude. They’re all a form of one-upmanship. Our elite discourse exists as a game of repartee between people too brain-addled to understand anything deeply.
For the elites, it’s all just a game, and it’s been that way for decades.
Yeah, what HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker said.
Okay I give up just click on the link above, its a funny cat story.
@RSA: Um…you know what?
That passage is pure BS. There’s no content to it. It’s posturing self-aggrandizement.
@Phoebe: I agree with this. While I was in college, I did a semester abroad in Asia that included three months in Thailand. By the end, I was mistaken for a native Thai. I would witness tourists from the West act like idiots (such as demanding in a loud voice that someone on a remote island speak English to them), stick to touristy spots, and in general, not bother trying to get a taste of the local flavor. Sometimes, they would complain about the local weather, food, culture, customs, etc. It made me wonder why they left their homeland in the first place.
I can see how tourism in and of itself can narrow the mind, but only if one refuses to go off the beaten track while one is traveling. Me, I like to find the natives of the city/country to take me around. You find out more about the area that way.
Wow. Whiplash, for me. Conservatism means “an abandonment of certainty in practical life”?
Today’s conservative is all certainty, all the time.
I’ll take that as a compliment.
It was meant as one.
There isn’t any real intellectual goal which could be served by some fashion of being “contrarian” when one is making arguments, unless arguing too is just a game. Which, sure, it can be, as long as that’s what’s being agreed — like a debate club in which one is assigned positions to defend or oppose.
The reasoning process can of course assisted by posing all sorts of counter-arguments to yourself as you think through your own conclusions — but determining in advance that one will end up at a contrarian conclusion to an intellectual debate is simply not a process of reason, it’s a process of fashion.
It’s not a process of trying to reach an answer, it’s a process of trying to reach a style of answers.
Sullivan’s conservative is apparently CHANGE! – but only when you have to. And then you have to be sad and wistful about it.
How thoroughly depressing, this intellectualism.
Sully can wax lyrical about Oakeshott and Burke all he likes, but the “conservative” group with which he’s allied himself, when deciding what it thinks about anything, doesn’t ask questions about reflective consideration and mourning the past, etc, whatever. They only want to know two things: does it genuflect to Jeebus and does it make money. You want to know the real “conservative” philosophy on tourism? It’s no more or less than this: it is philosophically right and good that the traffic flow through the Creation Museum should go through the gift shop.
asiangrrl, I think that sort of blinkered, pig-at-the-trough approach to life is not confined to tourism, but becomes super obvious in that context.
For people who are like that, no amount of travel is going to help, or hurt. For people who are more observant, with “inquiring minds who want to know”, travel can be delightful. Or, if you’re David Foster Wallace, depressing!
@Litlebritdifrnt: I haven’t read the arguments, but I can see a fairly strong argument against *tourism* (as opposed to travel). A tourist is going to snap pictures *to show them to her friends back home* — not to experience anything about the culture, history, or language of the place they’re visiting. That isn’t enriching at all.
@Phoebe: True, that. However, those people will save tons of money if they just stay home–and not bother the locals, either.
@jenniebee: Damn, girl. You are fierce. Maybe you should throw up another Celine-singing-AC/DC vid to make yourself feel better?
That didn’t make much sense to me either. The first thing that came to my mind was the civil rights movement: “We have to treat blacks like humans now? That makes me sad!”
As far as I can tell, he’s saying that change is sometimes essential, but should always be dreaded, and you should always regret the loss of what got changed. It’s a pure “better the Devil you know” mentality that actively fears even the attempt to make anything better.
More simply, when it comes to change, conservatives are chickenshits.
Just had a nice little earthquake here in socal. 5-ish.
NLP reference. Nice. Crazy. But nice.
Yawn. Sometimes the herd is right. Anyone care to offer a contrarian view that creationism is a reasonable alternative to the theory of evolution?
Contrarianism is useful only to the extent that it offers a correcting challenge to widely held views. Only intellectual children are contrarian just for the sake of being contrary. And note that contrarianism is necessary for adolescents because we use sulleness and being contrary to make a space for ourselves in the world.
But when contrarianism becomes the only tool in the box for adults, then teh stoopid is unleashed.
@Martin: So you did: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/Quakes/ci10410337.php
Any car alarms go off?
See, that’s exactly why conservatives don’t want Americans to travel.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
A conservative critique of tourism? The fuck? Just let people visit some damn European churches and stay the hell out of it.
Is it possible to be this pretentious about being liberal? If there’s similar stuff out there, I’d like to see it. Every time I see crap like this on Sullivan’s blog (“conservatism is like water rushing or something blah blah blah) I want to bash my head in.
No, not here. We’re about 25 miles away from epicenter though. Got a nice roll up on the 2nd floor.
Here, this should make up for the Celine Dion vid. Somewhat.
Geez, you scar someone for life one little time and they never let you forget it…
There’s herd mentality, and then there’s the ‘wisdom of crowds,’ and the truly intelligent people I’ve known–I mean bone-deep wisdom, not superficial cleverness–have all been smart enough to embrace the latter. We’re all stupid in one way or another, and thinking we’re above the masses is an excellent way to ensure that we’ll never overcome our own stupidity. Being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian is a big step into the realm of stoopid. As a friend of mine used to say, “ignorance is a condition; stupidity is a commitment.” Commitment to what, you might ask? To the assumption that you’re right, and that you have nothing to learn from all the supposedly average folks around you. The desire to be ‘special’ trumps the desire to learn.
Jess + 4
Jesus Christ, thank you. Sullivan has a compulsive need to shoehorn ‘conservatism’ into every fucking conceivable topic.
“LeBron James’ MVP award shows how the conservative value of working on your outside jumper pays off”
“I had an excellent roast beef sandwich for lunch today and I was reminded of the timeless conservative lesson of always using fresh ingredients”
“When my beagle defecated on my floor this morning, I was glad to have heeded the Burkean and Oakeshottian view that conservatism epistemologically means an abandonment of shag carpets and instead a modest, cautious desire for hardwood floors”
The house shifted a bit. Enough to notice.
@jenniebee: My god, that was, words fail me. So wrong, and yet, so right. Talked about scarred for life! Now, I have to question everything I used to hold dear.
Hilarious! I refute you thusly.
Amen, sister. If I had a dollar for every time . . . Well, let’s not go into that just now.
People can be so . . . touchy.
Best tourist video evah!
Yo… why does the front page look all boring now?
OscarDougJ, you will.
With so much al dente spaghetti served for such a simple dish, I have to wonder if the time spent went for masturbating in the sauce.
@Waingro: LOL, excellent.
Hey…another Whistler fan?
The person who follow the herd and just happens to get it right hasn’t engaged in any more intellectualism than somebody being contrarian for contrarians sake.
But not everybody who is expressing a contrarian position is simply trying to be clever. Some people like to think up alternate ideas, and test the conventional wisdom. Sometimes as you say the herd is right, sometimes they’re not.
Conservatives think they’re against tourism now? What’s the point of colonialism then, just to kill a bunch of people for fun? I seem to remember talk about Baghdad as an eventual tourist destination circa 2003…
(And yes, I’m maintaining the tourism/travel distinction here.)
Brick Oven Bill
The love of excellence, to me for the last two days at least, has been for astronomers. How these guys, Galileo in particular, figured out the universe without so much as a 1970s calculator, is beyond me.
I just saw a meteorite fade away.
Is he as bad about that as Steve Benen is about ‘wait for it’? Typical Steve Benen post:
@Brick Oven Bill: Damn, B.O.B. I can’t believe I actually agree with something you’ve written. Huh. I’m speechless.
Galileo had a telescope.
Kepler figured out even more than him without a telescope.
Galileo wouldn’t give him one.
@kwAwk: Nothing’s more annoying than a circular argument.
@Brick Oven Bill:
You know what else, Bill? Is how they get square letters to go through those round wires.
I mean, is that cool, or what?
Well, not really. They had more than enough math to get the job done. The biggest hurdle was tossing aside the non-scientific thinking that got in the way. Heliocentrism was first proposed back in the 3rd century BC. It’s more than a coincidence that these big scientific breaks came at the same time as the Reformation, which provided opportunities to break out of established thinking.
Remember that Eratosthenes figured out the radius of the earth to a remarkable level of accuracy, and that was back in the 3rd century BC as well. Figuring this stuff out isn’t really that hard. Accepting it and selling it was the real challenge.
Ack! The iPhone version of the site vanished.
We largely agree here. But part of my point is that some people bask in contrarianism because they want everybody to know that they are not part of some herd.
But this thread reminded me that some of the people I most admire in life are not those whose ideas are either mainstream or contrarian, but who have had their theories or ideas absolutely and utterly demolished by the discoveries of others, and who still found a way to celebrate being found wrong and then went on to make new contributions based on the new paths that were set down by their competitors.
But as always, your mileage may vary.
i’m a wingnut
jesus crips bowed down
in ur “it’s all about me town”
he will repair frowns…
The math involved in modeling planetary motion, pre-Kepler, was far more complicated than after Kepler. They had to keep adding epicycles within epicycles to stay current with better observations. Then Copernicus came along and broke the old model, but added new epicycles. Kepler got rid of all that.
do sometimes adjust /they must
to assholes like u?
Definitely. I think the problem with our elite discourse, though, is that they don’t care about ideas or substance or wisdom or testing the conventional wisdom. Instead, they obsess over stagecraft, spectacle, gaffes, and gotcha moments – trivial stuff. They repeat talking points without thinking about them. They don’t care about knowledge, either their own or that of their audience. They just want to look smart, and they usually end up derailing conversations into trivialities.
I’d contrast a contrarian for contrarianism’s sake with a skeptic. A skeptic’s questions and arguments lead to the substance of an argument, not away from it. They might argue a point, but they argue in good faith; they address evidence both pro and con instead of trying to distract and deflect. Also, for a skeptic, if they change their mind because they’re proven wrong, that’s a good thing – they’ve learned something. I think John Stuart Mill made this point in “On Liberty” to argue for free speech, but my memory is fuzzy.
i say more in a haiku
then u do/ with ur voodoo
ur ..message was 75 percent bucking up and
one dylan song goes long…
ever turn around? to see tea bag frowns
of jugheads and clowns
who did/ tricks 4 u?
hey/ did u see american idol?l
u used to laff about everybody that was
ha ha ha!
Christ Almighty I am agog that a blogger is taking someone to task for arguing for the fun of it. Without senseless contrarianism, political blogging would die in a week.
Look I get as annoyed as anyone with the simplistic haughty dismissal most mainstream journalists give bloggers. And I recognize those bloggers that actually attempt to elevate the discourse rather than reflexively defend the stance they are required to take due to the “about me” profile most bloggers are loathe to stray from. Still, it’s been my personal observation that the blogosphere has about the same percentage of nitwits who argue just to start a ruckus as does the mainstream media.
Exhibit A: Paultards. Those people argue with themselves just to get their rocks off.
i’d argue with myself
but i always lose
unless i get sybill on the jury…
I’m surprised Andy didn’t use Coleridge to take down Chesterton and Buckley. After all, Coleridge invented romantic travel journalism. He could have read the Fatuous One and the Fat One right out of the conservative movement, had he wanted to.
Personally, I am sick to death of this type of bullshit. It’s given us the likes of Bill Kristol, so I feel pretty confident in saying it’s the devil’s handiwork and akin to Satan worship.
Enter the Fat One.
Sometimes “the herd” believes something because it’s actually true. Using “I disbelieve this because the herd believes this” as your sole reason for a contrary position is a bit silly.
Purports, yes. But isn’t that true of every philosophy or attitude?
Are you familiar with Mickey Kaus? Have you ever read The New Republic?
Why am I not surprised to find G.K. Chesterton against getting up off your fat ass and going somewhere?
(Because he is fat)
kommrade reproductive vigor
In praise of the “staycation.”
Where can I get a get gig like this? Really. I can debate the merits of any old shit for the right amount of cash.
I’m more familiar with Kaus than TNR, but he’s a perfect example of the silliness I’m talking about.
Saying, for example, “I believe Tunch is skinny for no other reason than everyone else says he’s fat” is as thoughtless as saying “I believe Tunch is fat because everyone else says he’s fat.”
Thanks to all the comments on conservatism (especially Waingro’s) I feel enlightened, though it’s accompanied by a deep sense of loss.
I don’t think most people are using the term “contrarian” simply to describe anyone who at any time comes to a conclusion other than the majority one.
I’ve never heard “contrarian” used as frequently as it has in recent years; I never paid attention to it at all until Hitchens seemed to think that Orwell wasn’t, in fact, a courageous and principled thinker who often came to conclusions which clashed with certain trends (though not always) and humanist but just a contrary prick who loved it when Britain killed the bad guys in WWII.
As I’ve seen it used in recent years, it isn’t just about dissent, or disagreeing with the crowd, or even just taking the contrary position on every issue.
It’s been a fashion by which people portray themselves as daring contrarians so that they can come up with cheap and vapid pseudo-arguments against apparently ‘liberal’ arguments.
People who dissent from some conservative mainstream don’t, I think, get called ‘contrarians’ anywhere near as much.
It’s more about crap like ‘maybe it is time to move beyond supporting habeas corpus — aren’t I contrary!’
@RSA: Absolutely. I felt the same way, and wept when slavery officially ended in the United States, because I feel as if we lost something important, some tradition that we should have never let go of.
It’s fun to laugh at Sully’s maelstroms of verbal diarrhea, yet I keep going back there. Must be the Mental Health Breaks. Or perhaps the Perez Hilton like political gossiping.
Chesterton was a typical Brooksian conservative – an indolent, lazy asshole who ran his mouth a lot, was afraid of “the others” and supported magnifying the top tier of the status quo as he was beholden to it.
Yeah, but he had the all time best definition of journalism, which I quote from memory:
“Journalism is reporting Lord so and so is dead to people who did not know he was alive”
The thought process behind the modern Republican Party, in a nutshell:
“Notice how the herd of sheeple is, un-lemminglike, refusing to march off the nearest cliff on their way to work. Now, the truly excellent thing to do is to be contrarian, and march off that cliff.”
In political terms, that portends a Palin Presidential nomination in 2012.
God help us all, if it’s possible to die of laughing.
are you suggesting if liberals en masse did an about face and came out in support for torture, conservatives would suddenly be against it?
HEY! HEY HEY! Let’s not bring Tunch into this. Pets are off-limits.
I have to disagree with you here Doug. These columns, much like any column consisting of someone sneering at how someone else enjoys themselves without solid arguments as to why they shouldn’t, are pure, undiluted 100% wankery. Let me portray why:
It’s a warm spring evening. You are currently travelling in Europe with a person or persons who is close to you; your parents or family, some close friends, maybe your wife or significant other. This evening, after checking in at your hotel in Brussels, you walk through the streets of the old town, pausing from time to time to look at a restaurant menu or to poke inside a bookstore. As you reach La Grand Place, you spot an enticing restaurant. You sit down on the edge of the square, order a Hoegaarden, and watch the buskers entertain the crowd growing in the ancient square as the sun sets on the first day of your holiday.
At this point, some conservative killjoy comes up and tells you why it’s a bad idea that you be doing this.
I mean, if the reason was that this particular restaurant was horribly ripping off its waitstaff, or if I was consuming too much carbon on the flight (Liberal arguments, you’ll note), there’d be something to discuss. If their reason was that Leffe Blonde was a much better beer, I’d ask them to provide evidence by buying me one and then let the robust debate commence. But to argue that I’m taking the wrong frame of mind about this? What does that say about his frame of mind, that his main vocation in life is to play skeet with the clay pigeons of other people’s enjoyment?
“Oh, I’m somehow lowering my horizons by approaching this as an enjoyable short trip rather than deeply immersing myself in their culture? Opinion noted. Bartender? Another beer, and we need more fries. And bring this guy here a big glass of Fuck off you Nazi Pig. It’s a good local beer; not quite Go Fuck a Cactus, but who drinks imported beer in Belgium?”
There is something to be said for hiring a contrarian as an Opponent (a la the European phd thesis defense) to ensure your intellectual ship is tight and won’t take on water when pushed out into the rough sea of broader ideas. So they do have a purpose, but outside this recognized, somewhat artificial role, it’s just meant to be annoying, therefore childish. Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Rabbit Season! Rabbit Season! Duck Season, FIRE!
What marks the conservative temperament, rather, is a willingness to change, sometimes radically, but never without a deep sense of loss.
In order to make any sense of this I read it as: I had this set of beliefs I acted on, then a wholly noncomplying authoritarian figure came along and I radically tossed those beliefs away to continue bowing to authoritarian figures but I’m sad about it. Or shorter: I’m willing to make radical change to avoid becoming a more self-actualized person. He’s like the Woody Allen of the right.
@omen: are you suggesting if liberals en masse did an about face and came out in support for torture, conservatives would suddenly be against it?
Isn’t that technically what they are currently doing with Pelosi? The question is, will their hot air turn into an intellectual trap? With our current idiot media, possibly not.
We agree then. (I thought you were saying no one would be so dumb as to base an argument on pure contrarianism.)
I’m going to be contrarian, and argue against evolution, the existence of Kansas, and the notion that bullets kill people.
Prove me wrong, assholes! Prove that Kansas exists! Prove that bullets kill people, and that it’s not just that God smote them at that precise moment, opening wounds in their chests into which the bullets conveniently (and harmlesly) entered!
It just occurred to me that contrarianism might have become more popular among modern conservatives because it’s not generally called “contrarianism”; rather, it’s called “not being PC” and it’s something that all conservatives, from the very smart to the very stupid, can take personal pride in, whether their non-PC opinions are really contrary to prevailing views or not.
contrarian, fartrarian, wave buh bye to the dodo bird.
What El Cid said about this being a conservative thing. It’s a way of advocating for monstrous positions while being coy about it – Orwell touches on it in “Politics and the English Language”, in a couple of his examples. (Liberal/left contrarians are usually doing this too, making a virtue of callousness, just with (sometimes) different targets.)
Also, anyone who begins by referring to a group of people they’re dismissing as a “herd” has already lost the reality check, nine times out of ten.
I agree that that is certainly some of it.
@Litlebritdifrnt: I remember when I first went to Mexico, we were on the bus to Tulum, and the girls behind me (college/high school, not sure) were just blown away by how clean and tidy and essentially decent Mexico was. “Everyone always says it’s so dirty, but it’s not!”
And that kind of opened my eyes to how even the most shallow tourist experiences (we were on a cruise ship) can change people’s stereotypes and make them think differently about the world. I could say something cutting about modern conservatism here, but I think I just want to dwell on the positive for this comment.
I don’t particularly like to travel. But I recognize that this is because I am by nature an unadventurous nerd. I don’t confuse this quality with a virtue.
I suspect that’s Chesterton/Buckley’s problem — and perhaps a problem more generally with conservatives. They are unable to comprehend that “the way I am” is not necessarily equivalent to “the way others should be”, even if how they are works for them.
@El Cid: Yes.
John Tierney is a perfect example. He gets the “contrarian” label because he’s used that rhetorical approach in some of his most flabbergasting screeds: “Everyone thinks recycling is better than throwing all our shit in the river, but if you look beyond the conventional wisdom of our hippie overlords, you may be surprised to learn…” etc. But if you’re at all familiar with Tierney’s career, he clearly isn’t out to challenge received ideas in general. All of his sacred-cow-tipping targets just happen to be things that get in the way of free-market rapaciousness — environmental awareness in particular. And although Tierney talks as if the hippies have taken over and befuddled everyone with pseudo-science (except him), he’s really trying to beat back fairly recent progress that’s by no means secure. In other words, he’s just being a garden-variety right-winger, but because liberals and environmentalists have actually scored a few victories in the last 30 years — both in government and in public awareness, so that some of their ideas are now kind of mainstream, just barely — he gets to posture as a revolutionary.
So yeah, it’s just like all those guys who are being oppressed by the PC herd because it’s no longer cool for them to make fag jokes. It’s bullshit not just because there are good reasons for the “herd” position, but also because the all-powerful consensus these jokers are complaining about is actually so fragile — it still is cool to make fag jokes in most places, and factories still do throw plenty of shit in the river.
Uh, no. People who defend Pelosi and other Democrats are moral hypocrites who want to simplistically turn the universe into a simplistic “Republicans – bad!” – “Democrats – good!” dichotomy.
The case against Democrats is quite simple: elected officials in positions of power did nothing to stop torture or even investigate it. Instead, they chose political expediency over moral action.
I listened to some moran bloviate about the importance of publishing the torture pictures and in having hearings and investigations because we should all be concerned about the issue of torture.
I didn’t hear this person once mention anyone who was actually tortured or talk about how the after-affects of anyone’s suffering might be alleviated.
The broken bodies and minds of those who have been tortured, for some, does not seem to matter, except as a vehicle to punish Bush and Cheney and a few other administration lackeys.
I agree that Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Rumsfeld are among those who are most criminally resposible. But the moral culpability is wider. Consider, for example, those Catholic priests who did not abuse any child, but who accepted the argument that protecting the Church was more important than protecting the victims of predatory priests. Their decision allowed abuse to continue.
Sullivan could have saved some space by quoting the modern philosopher Clint Black:
Huh? Chesterton was a small-c social conservative, but economically he was as left as they come — he argued for taking large companies away from their owners and distributing the ownership directly among the workers.
His essay, in context, is not really an attack on tourism, but a criticism of British xenophobia, one of his most popular themes. (Though Chesterton was quite capable of xenophobia himself, especially when dealing with non-Christians.)
im on vacation in europe
and a right wing nut job comes over to u to get in
ur face and argue about…
ha!/ get over ur self
go to any inner city/ see the damage u have wrought
Palin will save u
I thought that was from Buckeroo Bonzai did Clint Black say it first?
Count me dubious. Clint would have been about 20 when Buckeroo said it.