10 thoughts on “Thesis: “Liberals Are Smarter”

  1. Metaphor (common) for the political spectrum: A line (like a number line) with two ends – the right end (conservative) and the left end (liberal).

    Recently, I have been reading a newspaper that sometimes shows up on the free shelves in Winona. It’s called “Free Winona.” It’s published by a group that refer to themselves as anarchests. It doesen’t sound like such groups are unique to Winona. And they are very much on the extreme left.

    I have also been listening to things being said by the Tea Party advocates. Much of their rhetoric sounds the same as what I have read in “Free Winona.”


    Different metaphor (not common) for the political spectrum: A ring (like a wedding ring) with an invisible but important weld at one point. On the right side of the weld are the extreme conservatives. On the left side of the weld lie the extreme liberals. Only a small but invisible weld separates them.

    But the REAL reason for the ring in the first place is the diamond. And it’s located just 180 degrees around the ring from the weld.

    In the “middle.”

    My thesis: In many important aspects, the extremes are very much the same. They’re both impractical in reality. They’re both dumb. They’re both smart. Whatever…

    Now, this metaphor might break down (as they all do) at the weld. Onthe other hand, the weld could represent the impassible gulf between the right and the left. That no matter how much they “seem” the same they can never BE the same.

    But somehow, we as a society have got to spin the ring and focus on the diamond (Our founding documents – all of ’em). maybe the Congress is not the place to focus. But it’s not a bad place to start. That attention, however, has got to precipate downward into our schools…

    That’s for sure.

  2. Klein is 26 years old, has a degree in political science, and is reliably left of center. That makes him a genius, according to some people.

    Oddly enough, I’m on Klein’s side on this one. The constitution gave the House wide powers to enact laws because it is the most democratic legislative branch. It is supposed to be the most representative and the most sensitive to the will of the people. If it is not, if over the years the House has developed interests of its own that are at odds with the American people and the Constitution, that should be changed.
    I rather like Jonah Goldberg’s plan for a 5,000 seat congress:

  3. Leslie, not ever having seen “free Winona” I can’t comment on their philosophy. However, every anarchist group I have ever seen wants freedom from governmental rules but wants lots of free government goodies.

    The anarchists I have seen are not Tea Partiers, far from it they are nanny state children.

    Your ring analogy only works if the American center remains in the same position. Over the past Century or so the center has drifted away from it’s founding position toward the left. The constitution should be considered the center positon and not just considered the position of far right wingers.

  4. I’d say it was a gimmick to read it out loud if it weren’t for the fact that there are plenty of members who are genuinely unfamiliar with it and with their constitutional obligations.

    Even Klein’s blog response to this shows how the left’s constitutional arguments are based on more conventional wisdom than scholarship; he trots out the never convincing and (since Heller) thoroughly discredited argument on 2A.

    “The constitution gave the House wide powers to enact laws because it is the most democratic legislative branch.”

    Yet for the first hundred or so years they were not nearly so wide. Many of these powers came into existence in the late 19th and early 20th century during the heigh of the Progressive movement.

    It would be an interesting exercise to see how much of the constitution could be stricken as redundant under the modern interpretation of the commerce clause.

  5. The US Congress got as much of its current power from the 14th amendment as it did from the commerce clause, Scooby. All three branches of the federal government have increased their power in the last century at the expense of individuals and the states.
    Specifically citing the constitutional justification for a law is a gimmick when congress can simply say “8th amendment” or “14th amendment”.

  6. jpmn,

    Even the line metapohor fails that test, unless you morph it into a teeder-todder but then both extremes have to be equally so. I’ll play with the ring a bit (I can, since it’s only a metaphor.) Let’s say the right end of the line gets longer (Left is more extreme than the right – or vice versa). Then the “middle” no longer is in the middle of the line. If the right gets longer, then the “middle” looks to be left of center. If we take the two ends of the line and wrap them around to the weld, the “middle” is not exactly opposite of the weld. It appears to be left of the weld when the right is more extreme. This would imply that there can be a negative feedback or self-corrective mechanism in either metaphor.

    If the left becomes too extreme, the “middle” swings to the right (Didn’t we just see that happen in November?).

    I don’t thing the line metaphor presents that corrective mechanism as clearly as the ring metaphor. You spotted it right away!

  7. I prefer dance as a metaphor, Leslie. Dancing is something people do. There is no right dance or wrong dance. There may be appropriate or inappropriate dances, as the majority of dancers and onlookers may judge.
    However, every individual may decide for him or herself whether or not the dance is appropriate and try — or not — to convince the dancers and onlookers that their judgment is correct.
    Best of all, the purpose of the dance is entirely contextual. It has no transcendental purpose other than that it is what people do.
    This is something like the way the philosopher Michael Oakeshotte thought of history, and the way that Andrew Sullivan thought of politics before he went insane.

  8. Terry,

    Jo and I did go dancing last night… now that I think about it, it’s a good metaphor, too – and a lot more fun. Oh well…next week the students and staff will be back in school and I won’t have time to do so much thinking about metaphors.

    Happy New Year all.

  9. Pingback: Shot in the Dark » Blog Archive » The Repugnant Among Us

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