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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Morally Correct

Peter Beinart's Morally Correct is a must read. Edited for length, subscribe to read in its entireity.
In the wake of their recent triumph at the polls, conservatives have found their own supposedly disrespected minority: evangelicals. And they are playing victim politics with a gusto that would make campus radicals proud. 

In other words, disagree with me and you're a racist. Al Sharpton couldn't have said it better.


Once upon a time, conservatives considered "sensitivity" a dirty word. In the 1980s and 1990s, when African Americans and other campus minorities claimed they were victims of racism and demanded greater respect from white students and faculty, conservatives popularized a term for this group whining: political correctness. They gasped when campus radicals tried to silence criticism of affirmative action by saying it created a hostile climate for black students. They worried aloud that university administrators--in their efforts to spare minority students' feelings--were stifling debate. For a time, combating this culture of punitive sensitivity was one of the right's primary concerns. 

Not anymore. In the wake of their recent triumph at the polls, conservatives have found their own supposedly disrespected minority: evangelicals. And they are playing victim politics with a gusto that would make campus radicals proud. 

In other words, disagree with me and you're a racist. Al Sharpton couldn't have said it better."

Identity politics is a powerful thing--a way of short-circuiting debate by claiming that your views aren't merely views; they are an integral part of who you are. And who you are must be respected. But harsh criticism is not disrespect--and to claim it is undermines democratic debate by denying opponents the right to aggressively, even impolitely, disagree. That is what conservatives are doing when they accuse liberals of religious bigotry merely for demanding that the Christian Right defend their viewpoints with facts, not faith. Once upon a time, conservatives knew better. I hope some still do.

1 Comments:

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Rob said...

The "politically correct" philosophy is also being misapplied to the war...the "disagree with me and you're a racist" dogma is used against opposition to the war in a "disagree with the war and you're anti-American" way.

Good post!

 

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