Friday, July 22, 2016

Today In Both Sides Do It: Andrew Sullivan Gives Ross Douthat a Reacharound

Thanks to alert reader "pr" for bringing to my attention this valuable example to the pernicious indestructibility of the Big Lie of Both Siderism.  As long as Both Siderism remains a safe harbor from which America's most insufferable professional Conservative twats can ply their filthy trade with impunity, we will never be rid of them.

From Andrew Sullivan in NY Magazine, live-blogging the night of Trump's "Ein Volk.  Ein Reich.  Ein Con Man" speech has many true things to say.

And then, inevitably...
8:18 p.m. We have to answer this core question: how is it that liberal democracy in America is now flirting with strongman, ethno-nationalist authoritarianism? What happened to the democratic center?

It seems to me that the right bears the hefty majority of responsibility, moving from principled opposition to outright nullification of a presidency, trashing every important neutral institution, and now bad-mouthing the country they hope to “govern.” But the left’s abandonment of empiricism and liberalism – its rapid descent into neo-Marxist dogma, its portrayal of American history as a long unending story of white supremacy, its coarse impugning of political compromise and incrementalism, its facile equation of disagreement with bigotry – has also played a part. Liberal democracy needs liberal norms and manners to survive. Which is why it is now on life-support.

In between, moderate Christianity, once a unifying cultural fabric creating a fragile civil discourse, has evaporated into disparate spirituality on one side and fundamentalist dogma on the other, leaving us with little in the center to hold us morally together. I look out at this wasteland and see, in part, what Ross Douthat sees:

Honestly I cannot remember the last time I saw a real Liberal and a real Conservative square off for 15 rounds.

Probably because, unless the fight were rigged and the refs were bribed, such a contest wouldn't last thee minutes,

Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatives* like Sullivan and Douthat have already had their opium den fantasies of True Conservatism ruined by their own Person from Porlock in the guise of unhappy reality, and they have already been dragged kicking and screaming into accepting the basic Liberal critique of Conservatism (without, of course, ever daring to use the dreaded "L" word) as we have preached and practiced for decades,  

Sadly, it is the nature of Pineapple Ice Cream Conservatives that they are simply too deeply bent to accept those facts at their obvious face value which is why, in order to salvage their self-image and maintain their economic viability, they need to keep inventing reasons why they should not be making a living selling oranges on highway on-ramps.  And the easiest, laziest way to do that it to keep slandering people like us by constantly yoking us to the rolling Conservative fiasco which they helped to create and blaming the horror of it all on the Extremes on Both Side.  

*If Mr. Sullivan suddenly developed a taste for pineapple ice cream, within a week he would be penning columns about how "Liking Pineapple Ice Cream" is a cardinal Conservative value because of something something Edmund Burke. If he got sick on bad Thai food, we would suddenly see a spate of columns discussing bad Thai food and how it is something that only extreme Christianists or Left Liberal would ever put in their mouths.


Bruce.desertrat said...

"SJW Left" ?? I had not pegged Douthat as one of the vile MRA's who are pretty much literally the only people to use that term.

Karen Rea said...

The left is the only side that has BEHAVED like Christians toward their fellow citizens, without screaming in peoples' faces about how much Jesus loves them and they love Jesus. And that's what drives them nuts. It doesn't compute to the right that someone can actually care about their fellow man, no matter what their color or religion, without being religious. Why they can't get that through their pea brains is beyond me.

And after watching in abject horror at the acceptance speech of the monster of the Republican party, I would vote for Hillary if she had picked her good friend, according to sleepy Ben, Lucifer, as her running mate.

Cardinal Douthat and obnoxious Mr. Sullivan have supported an immoral party too long to be listened to.

Jimbo said...

Wow, there is so much to unpack in this unself-aware and simultaneously self-denying Sullivan spew. In the pretend-gentlemanly Christian World he (and Ross Cardinal Douthat) idolize, his sexuality would be utterly condemned and he ostracized. (And, let's forget the other religions that get shitcanned.) Second, the idea that the Democrats are infected by a neo-Marxian ideology just shows how utterly ignorant he is about Marxism (and slapping"neo" just reinforces that ignorance). His and the Cardinal's invocation of a gentle "Christian" period in American history quite literally never existed outside comfortable 1950-1970's suburbs and some Midwestern hamlets. America has always been a nation in conflict; it was founded in genocide, slavery and religious intolerance and has struggled mightily to right that awful legacy since the Revolution. The so-called conservatives who would stand athwart history and say stop to the liberation of all Americans are exactly the ones who screamed adoration of the orange haired monster in Cleveland. Sullivan and Douthat simply don't understand the arc of history. Instead they are madly gathering hay to build as many straw men as they can.

Unknown said...

I fired off an intemperate email to the Innumerate Tory Douche after I stumbled upon that pile of putrid word vomit. Here it is:

You wrote:

"But the left’s abandonment of empiricism and liberalism – its rapid descent into neo-Marxist dogma, its portrayal of American history as a long unending story of white supremacy, its coarse impugning of political compromise and incrementalism, its facile equation of disagreement with bigotry – has also played a part. "

Care to substantiate any of that? Give me a fucking break. If this is your way of trying to say "Bernie = Trump of the Left", that's the stupidest thing you've ever said. And that's saying a lot given how much you've said, some of which quite stupid.

No, Andrew, BOTH SIDES DON'T DO IT. Not this time, and frankly, not for a long fucking time. This shitshow is entirely of the GOP's making. Entirely.

dinthebeast said...

Dude should be (deliberately) writing fiction, he has an active imagination.

-Doug in Oakland

MedicineMan55 said...

Sully simply prefers his Democrats of the beaten down, third way variety (though not Clinton, yuck). Now that the Democratic party is adopting some of Sanders' ideas and holding forth more of their traditional left-wing values, Sullivan truly is aghast. This is just his version of Brook's meltdown when President Obama finally started accurately describing his GOP opponents. The more the Left refuses to adopt "Conservative" policy and swallow his face-saving both siderist swill, the more he'll slather on a protective layer of everyone's to blame Spackle.

Christ, I hate the false equivalency more than anything else. I could tolerate Andrew Sullivan's only-true-Tory nonsense if he could just be honest about how he and his party have gotten to this point. But he doesn't want to admit culpability, so he needs to say that everyone is to blame -- so of course no one is.

MedicineMan55 said...

Here's the *really* funny part. Brooks, Douthat, Fornier, Sullivan, and all of the other weasels should be *praying* that Hillary Clinton wins in November. Down on their knees praying. Because they all rely on that false equivalency dodge to shield them from the burden of taking a side. If the Orange Emperor ascends to the throne, their both siderist dance is going to become next to impossible to execute and without it they have nothing.

Lit3Bolt said...

Some great comments and just wanted to add some thoughts:

-I think part of Sullivan and Doutha's myopia is due to their position as public intellectuals, and as such I'm sure they've gotten some vile hate mail over the years. Thus they think illiterate liberal # 3857 on the intertubes equals Democratic National Party headquarters. Part of it is just the media jargon and internet babble de jour: most average people wouldn't know Andrew Sullivan if he spat in their faces, and think that Twitter is the thing the youngs are playing their Super Nintendo games on.

-Douthat and Sullivan and Brooks et al. take advantage of this ignorance by switching hats at will, first becoming The Last True Conservative, then becoming the Conservative With A Conscience, and always get to pick and choose who's a True Conservative on their side and who's not, with the rhetorical grace of an eight year old picking up and discarding action figures. As such, Rep. Steve King is not conservative because No True Conservative would say such things, same as Dick Cheney, W. Bush, and General Paetrus, but relative unknowns and blank slates like Rubio, Walker can be fluffed and have hopes/dreams/fantasies projected upon.

-The Left, because a blogger said "Fuck" once in fighting back against misogyny, bigotry, white nationalism, etc, is Just As Bad and can be taken out of context at will. Also, conservatives hatehatehatehate when their views and actions are accurately described, because it demolishes their entire Tory worldview the "Some people are simply better than others." It also is a direct threat to their view of Christianity, where Christians represent the white tribe rather than accurately supporting the values and beliefs of Jesus Christ. When Sullivan mourns for the loss of Christianity as a unifying force, this is what he's referring to.

-Note the complete lack of objective, real world examples. Sullivan must fight the imaginary bugbear Schrodinger's Liberal, who is simultaneously filled with infinite malevolence and corruption but at the same time too weak/cowardly/swishy to fight in the "real world."

-It's hilarious to see Sullivan tie himself into knots with his own moral straightjacket. Hillary is corrupt because gossipy rumors and fruitless investigations, while actual examples of Republicans committing war crimes and treason is quickly glossed over.

MedicineMan55 said...


"To see what's in front of your face is a constant struggle."

Robt said...

Thinking of Reagan worshippers,

Armageddon came early and remained in solemn whispers at the RNC convention.

The Ghost of Reagan did not appear because the traditional RNC seance was not performed.
Did they even notice? The media covering did not.

Jimbo said...

@Lit3Bolt, re: your reference to public intellectuals, in this case the self-regarding conservative "public intellectuals", remember Upton Sinclair's dictum: You cannot get a man to understand something if he's being paid not to understand it.

Richard E. Dickson said...

(Don't want to sound like a boot-licking sycophant, but) Y'all are smart, funny, wise, insightful, and articulate. I come here every day for the high level of analysis and wit. Thank you all, and thanks to DG and BG for hosting an extraordinary site. And pay the writer.


P.S. This post wins the Internet today.

Lit3Bolt said...


I know. Is that cosmic or situational irony, since it's Sullivan's own self-inflicted wound?


That too, but it's not just not understanding, it's the creation of fables. Sullivan and Douthat have to invent their enemies, and/or conflate Lena Durham with the Democratic Party. It's also an intense antipathy they have against their competition. To them, the worst excesses and hypocrisy in Hollywood represents liberalism in America. The "Salt of the earth" are coal miners in Kentucky, or farmers in Tennessee, and never a person of color working in McDonald's or Home Depot. Whenever a liberal stands firm on their platform, it's "uncivil" or "uncompromising" or "religious bigotry."

Pinkybum said...

But really the most hilarious part of Sullivan's rant is "...neo-Marxist dogma..."

I'm wondering which policies the Democrats have not been able to pass these last 6 years he is talking about? I want specifics! However, we know he will never, EVER, back up these claims.