L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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12 September 2008 Blog Home : September 2008 : Permalink

MSM Finally Find Clue

Wow stop the presses! In fact not just any MSM outlet but the NY Slimes itself! Fortunately for my sanity it isn't Maureen Dowd (who is still repeating lines about Palin which originate in a post that begins "Below are some fake quotes of Governor Palin I made up just for fun"), rather it is Judith Warner. According to her, she intended to pop along to the McCain Palin rally and gather stuff for a light-hearted "if-you-can’t-beat-’em-laugh-at-’em kind of" column but ends up being more serious:

We talked about the moral vacuity of modern parenting. “I see extreme spoiling, self-absorption,” she said. “Constant bringing the kids up to love themselves without reflecting on how they affect others.” We talked about the disastrous lack of respect that children now show adults and institutions, and about the ways this lack of respect translates into a very ugly sort of lack of decorum and a lack of basic manners: “This 10-year-old, my daughter’s friend, she comes over and throws down a magazine with John McCain on the cover. ‘Here’s friggin John McCain,’ she says. ‘Let’s see what lies he’s going to tell now.’” She continued: “These 10-year-olds think they’re better than me. That they don’t have to say hello. That they think I’m beneath them.”

You go girl, I was thinking, in so many words, until the talk turned back to politics: “So often these kids that are so incredibly full of themselves, I find their parents are Democrats. The Democrats, they hate ‘us,’ the United States, but they love ‘me,’ that is, themselves,” she said.

Indeed the whole column brings home a couple of things that Democrats/liberals/progressives really really need to understand. One is tactical (and I'll get back to that in a second) and one is strategic. The latter is summed up neatly at the end:

Jonathan Haidt, an associate professor of moral psychology at the University of Virginia, argues in an essay this month, “What Makes People Vote Republican?”, that it’s liberals, in fact, who are dangerously blind.

Haidt has conducted research in which liberals and conservatives were asked to project themselves into the minds of their opponents and answer questions about their moral reasoning. Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view. “Liberals feel contempt for the conservative moral view, and that is very, very angering. Republicans are good at exploiting that anger,” he told me in a phone interview.

Perhaps that’s why the conservatives can so successfully get under liberals’ skin. And why liberals need to start working harder at breaking through the empathy barrier.

I think that is absolutely right. And it goes in with previous comments in that column (and on this blog and elsewhere) about how contemptuous liberals come across to their opponents. And the comments underneath beautifully (if sometimes ironically) hammer home that point. Phrases like "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" land in the ironic box while this comment shows the empathy of conservatives and the lack on the pregressive side.

I'll add further that the other attraction for Palin is that she doesn't sit around waiting for the "government" to fix things, neither does she seem to have made attention grabbing protests, rather when she saw something broken she went right ahead and fixed it. This is a very American attitude and one that resonates with a lot of people in the US (and quite a few of us outside the US too), however it is something that the progressive segment of the population really don't seem to be able to grasp.