Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today In "Both Sides Do It": Unlike Talent, Both Siderism Does Not Skip A Generation


You might recall the name "Rod Dreher" from some of our extra-credit reading assignments.  He belongs to one of the subdivisions of True Conservatism about which Mr. David Brooks has written glowingly --
Dreher is a writer for The American Conservative and is part of a communitarian conservative tradition that goes back to thinkers like Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet. Forty years ago, Kirk led one of the two great poles of conservatism. It existed in creative tension with the other great pole, Milton Friedman’s free-market philosophy.

In recent decades, the communitarian conservatism has become less popular while the market conservatism dominates. But that doesn’t make Kirk’s insights into small towns, traditions and community any less true, as Rod Dreher so powerfully rediscovered.
-- and was, to quote Alert Reader RF (who forwarded me this article) "one of Andrew Sullivan's favorite conservative 'thinkers'" and a protege-of-sorts to whom Mr. Andrew Sullivan lent regular and substantial, material support.  From Mr. Dreher:
When I began solo blogging on Beliefnet back in 2006, links to my posts by Andrew was, if I remember correctly, the single biggest reason my blog grew so fast. And when I started blogging here at TAC after the Templeton hiatus, Andrew throwing me links had a lot to do with me regaining my audience. When my book on my sister came out, Andrew promoted it on his site with a video interview series. We had a long dinner that night, which I enjoyed hugely, and came to respect him more and to have more affection for him. This, despite his “Christianist” stuff. People are complicated. I depend on my friends putting up with my own nonsense and hysterias (peak oil, anyone?); it’s part of what makes writing and the writing life fun.
And so, as a thinking Conservative, Mr. Dreher is deeply troubled by the direction the Right has taken over the years ("Q: What’s Wrong With This Tweet?"):
Mind you, Jimmy Rae [referenced earlier in the post] is a nobody, with only a handful of followers. Still, his tweet symbolizes everything that’s wrong with movement conservatism today. There is no sense of the virtue of pietas, no sense of continuity with the past, no sense of prudence or balance or any of the other qualities that one traditionally associates with conservatism. Just mindless, malicious passion.
But of course, as a Conservative of any genus, Mr. Dreher is requited to balm his grief by taking a long pull off that bottomless jug of Both Siderist popskull:
You see it on the Left too, of course. The spirit of liberality among movement liberalism is hard to find. It’s grim righteousness and mindless, puritanical intolerance
Mr. Dreher concludes that he has "come to hate politics".

Well with no one on Earth for company except madmen on the Right and straw-men on the Left, I'm not surprised.  


bowtiejack said...

And John Kenneth Galbraith's observation is always timely with these mokes, ensnarled as they are in their humility, prudence and balance:

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

Jimbo said...

Both siderists are never specific about what the Left is supposedly extremist. They just shit out the sentence at the end of an argument like Dreher did.

tony in san diego said...

"You see it on the Left too, of course. The spirit of liberality among movement liberalism is hard to find. It’s grim righteousness and mindless, puritanical intolerance"
It is always projection with these guys.

Approximation Prophet said...

Ya for real Tony. I'm not sure, in fact I'm certain, that intolerance of intolerance is not puritanical intolerance but rather enlightened moral cognition. Intolerance of their greed, sexism, patriarchy, any gender noncomformity bashing, nationalistic foreigner bashing, etc etc ad nauseum.

Warning : This comment doesn't not contain any double negatives.

n1ck said...

"Mr. Dreher concludes that he has 'come to hate politics'.

Well with no one on Earth for company except madmen on the Right and straw-men on the Left, I'm not surprised."

Brilliant, as per usual.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"Straw-men to the left of me/Madmen to the right/Here I am/Stuck in the middle with you" ;)


As always, Both-Siderism is a half-truth.

Yes, you can find left-wing nuts in the USA, if you look diligently enough.

However, in the USA, right-wing nuts are far more numerous, far more cohesively organized, and far better funded than left-wing nuts.

The last of those three occurs because right-wing nuttiness is far more useful, far more often, to the Scrooge McDucks of our fair land than left-wing nuttiness. Of course, some of the McDucks are true-believing right-wing nuts themselves, rather than cynical manipulators (lookin' at you, Koch Bros. & Darth Rupert).

That crucial asymmetry invalidates Both-Siderism.

Robt said...

*The both sider fairy tales only uses the liberal as the "Ogre" villain that must be slayed.

Green Eagle said...

One need only look at Germany in the 1920's to see that "mindless, malicious passion" among Conservatives is hardly a development of the last decade.