When It's OK for Liberals to Demonize the 'Other'
In its feature piece on presidential candidate and Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), The Weekly Standard makes the obvious point: there is something about Bachmann and Sarah Palin that sends liberals crazy.
What unites Bachmann and Palin, above all, is the contempt with which they are treated by liberals. "I'm just mocked and marginalized, Sarah Palin is mocked and marginalized," Bachmann told me. "If you are unashamed and vocal about your position as a conservative, that's what happens. That's what happened to Reagan, that's what happened to Newt Gingrich, that's what happens to anyone who's not afraid to be a conservative. It's part of the job."
So that's why Chris Wallace of FoxNews thinks it's OK to ask Bachmann if she's a flake.
It's strange that our liberal friends should be set on mocking and marginalizing conservative woman politicians. After all, every liberal has been taught to a fare-thee-well about the ethical outrage of marginalization. It's at the center of the postmodern turn. The whole point of the liberal value system these days is to celebrate diversity. To stigmatize and to marginalize another group or another culture, to call someone a flake is wrong, because "other" reduces the span of "us." There are no objective standards to determine right and wrong, therefore we should respect and celebrate other cultures and value systems.
So why don't liberals obey their own rules and take immense care in their statements when it comes to pro-life conservative woman politicians who are so easily experienced as "other" by liberals?
American philosopher Saul Alinsky wrote: "The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth of the individual, and faith in the kind of worth where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible." Except when that individual is a pro-life conservative woman, say today's liberals.
Or take Time's Richard Stengel who asks, in a 5,000 word article about the US Constitution: "What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress's authority under the commerce clause?" Here's what, Mr. Stengel. The whole point of the Constitution is to limit the power of government officials. If the Constitution doesn't limit the government then the Constitution doesn't have a point.
Anyway, what's with this liberal grand narrative about the Living Constitution? I thought we had all agreed, with the postmodernist Lyotard, that Grand Narratives were a thing of the past. In the post-modern era we have "micro-narratives" as each sub-culture conducts its own Wittgensteinian "language game." In this new world the conservative micro-narrative of constitutional originalism is just as valid as the liberal micro-narrative of the living constitutionalism, and all good diversity counselors should work to celebrate both diversities.
Back in the 18th century, the First Postmodernist celebrated micro-narrative and sub-cultures. He wrote: "To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind." And Edmund Burke also celebrated the diversity of Catholic Emancipation, and anticipated with his Impeachment of Warren Hastings the problem of dictatorial domination that agitated Adorno and Horkheimer of the lefty Frankfurt School.
Of course it is not enough to belong to the little platoon; you must participate. American freedom-lover Saul Alinsky: "The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people... Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene." But in the big-government welfare state only liberals are credentialed to pursue the common good. Everyone else just gets benefits.
America's own contribution to postmodernism is the philosopher Richard Rorty. He held with Hume that "corrected sympathy... is the fundamental moral capacity." Get people to read Uncle Tom's Cabin if you want them to identify with the sufferings of slaves. So here goes.
Let the word go forth from the mainstream media to the Democratic National Committee, from the groves of Academe to the citadels of philanthropic foundations, that lily-white Netroots and mainstream media alike should get out to Iowa and get their sympathy corrected by watching the Palin biopic The Undefeated. Because we wouldn't want liberals to compound the ethical outrage of their "mock and marginalize" hate speech towards the pro-life, conservative, female "other" for too much longer. Liberals, "when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of [their] nature," believe in civil discourse and national conversations. At least that's what they keep telling us.
Special thanks to American humorist Saul Alinsky for assistance on this article: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.