November 23, 2007
Liberals Aren't All AlikeBy Christopher Chantrill
Conservatives tend to talk about liberals as if they were all the same. This is wrong. Liberals are not all alike.
They are all alike in some respects. They all believe in universal health care, a polite way of suggesting that other people should pay for the increasing health problems of Democratic voters. That came through through loud and clear from the cheering section at the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas last week.
It's also true that they all believe that President Bush is stupid and that Vice President Cheney is the real power behind the throne.
But we should not be misled by these tempting correlations of data. Just because there is a correlation in a data set, the scientists tell us, doesn't mean that there is a real connection. As people of faith we conservatives should not rashly abandon our tolerant belief that liberals are a diverse community and that we should celebrate their diversity.
There is another consideration. Know thine enemy.
Of course, our liberal friends aren't really the enemy. That is just a little joke. We conservatives honor them as our worthy opponents in the Us vs. Them battle of domestic politics.
Anyway, we should not blame liberals for their uniformly mistaken view of events and of ideas. We should look instead for a root cause for their foolishness.
The root cause is not hard to find. Liberals are victims of an education system that demands that children exhibit the correct feelings about race, gender, and global warming. Liberals are adults who succeeded best in internalizing their school shaming code.
But still, the discerning investigator can make out differences in the dull gray of uniformity and submissiveness enforced by the PC police.
We know that that among our liberal friends there are indeed the genuinely needy. Of course it has become hard to figure out who these folks might be since the poor these days work fewer hours than the rich and the poor are fatter than the rich. But when liberals tell us to pay for the relief of the genuinely needy, we pay up.
We know that there are also among our liberal friends people who can only be called slackers. These are people who just want to get their share of the benefits, and know they deserve it. The evidence for the slacker syndrome is rather compelling. The ranks of the disabled, at least as measured by the number of people collecting on disability insurance, have been doubling every decade in an age where stevedores sit in the air-conditioned cabs of container cranes and warehousemen are guys that drive fork-lift trucks.
But there is a catch on the slacker front. Some of the slackers seem to be conservatives. That portly 55-year-old gentleman who so offended the Edwards last spring with his pro-Guiliani sentiments was a gardener collecting disability on account of his bad knees. Fortunately he was not so disabled that he was unable to go out fishing.
We all of us know a liberal slacker. Some of us know several. They are gently born and expensively educated but have opted not to repay society for its generous investment in their future. Sometimes they are led into temptation. They are, as we found out in the S-CHIP affair, a little too quick to sign up for government benefits intended for the relief of the truly needy. They talk a good line on ethics and compassion, but reserve their deepest compassion for themselves and their own needs.
Who is there amongst us who does not know a Darwin-believing liberal? This is the modern ideal, the individual who has fully internalized the lessons of government school and the liberal seminary we call the liberal arts college. This paragon lives in the right kind of Victorian house, drives the right model Subaru, has the right kind of job, has a partner rather than a spouse, goes to yoga rather than the gym, buys organic foods rather than just food, and worries about saving the planet rather than saving her own soul.
Not all conservatives know an elite liberal, for many conservatives lack an entrée into the smart set, but we all know someone who knows one. Here is the modern aristocrat, born or trained up to political leadership of the welfare state. Elite liberaldom features ambitious arrivistes -- think of names like Clinton, Obama, Edwards -- as any dynasty must to retain its power. Yet beneath the headline leadership is a troubling corrosion: aging bulls in Congress, ineffectual and venal university leaders, underperforming think tanks, and endless Kennedy scions.
When you survey this liberal bestiary, you have to wonder why it was the business-building yuppies of the 1980s that got to be called the Me Generation.
But at least we know that liberals are not all alike.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his roadtothemiddleclass.com and usgovernmentspending.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.