A few related older LRC posts:
Anthony–by saying the liberals are worse than the conservatives on tolerance, personal freedoms, I don’t mean to deny that the conservatives might be worse overall for liberty given, e.g., war etc. (although, most previous wars were democrat wars). I suppose I am thinking more of the personal attitudes of individuals I know and see, and the actual domestic policies they advocate.
The rabid liberals I know, and see, are completely irrational and simply hate Bush even though he is very similar to Kerry. An anti-war, Dean type democrat, I can respect; but a pro-war-Kerry supporting one is just ridiculous in accepting Kerry while going apoplectic about Bush.They support affirmative action and antidiscrimination and other ridiculous laws that actually penalize people for voicing their views, and they don’t even recognized “commercial” free speech, so they are worse on free speech. Some of them are advocating a draft for egalitarian reasons. They are worse on taxes. They are worse on federalism. They are better on almost nothing: do they support drug decriminalization? No. They are only better in minor areas no one cares about, such as making sodomy legal once more, a type of criminal law that is rarely enforced.
People like Michael Savage are so incoherent they are hardly conservative. Savage is just a pure idiot; he is the Morton Downey Jr. of talk radio. Like Bill O’Reilly, he has no philosophy at all, no coherent set of views.
I find it kind of amusing to observe and classify various famous people, like Hollywood types, try to enunciate their little political views. For example, you have people like, say, Bill Maher–he is obviously very intelligent; but he is also very uneducated. He tries to go a long way with moxy and the fact that as uneducatd as he is, he is smarter than most of his guests. Then you have people like Al Franken and Michael Moore, who are both stupid and ignorant.
Then you have O’Reilly, who is moderately intelligent but probably slighly more knowledgeable than Maher, but who has sort of a grab-bag philosophy. Maher is a grab bag too, but a bit more coherent–sort of left neo-libertarian-ish. What is O’Reilly? I have no idea.
Then you have your blowhard conservatives, like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and I don’t know, Tony Snow. Actually Rush is more coherent and smarter and educated than those in his crowd; basically a moderate-to-neocon type Republican. You have your fairly “honest” commentators, like, say, Andrew Sullivan, or Michael Kinsley. Then you have Ann Coulter–she is very intelligent and pretty well educated, at least, and certainly stands up to liberals; I think of her as the Frankenstein monster created by liberalism’s outrageous, ridiculous excesses; in a sense, she represents the red America that voted against the condescending, coastal snots and opponents of normalcy of the Democrat party.
At the bottom (or top?) of my hate pile are people like the lefties on Capital Gang–Mark Shields, Margaret Carlson, and worst of all, the execrable, smug, evil, knowingly-liberal Al Hunt. And James Carville. These people are smart and educated, and promulgate failed leftist claptrap with no apologies.
In the end, whether you hate liberals or Democrats more (woops, Republicans) is probably not objectively provable. To paraphrase the great Woody Allen, the heart hates what the heart hates.
It seems to me that one benefit of Bush winning is that the liberals are much more entertaining in defeat than conservatives would be. If Kerry had won, conservatives would not be happy, but they would not pretend to be shocked at the very thought that some people are liberal. Conservatives know there are liberals out there, people who disagree with them. Liberals, by contrast, either simply cannot even understand how anyone could be a Republican; or, what’s worse, they pretend bafflement as a disingenuous argumentative technique. In any event, I have long maintained that liberals are by and large worse than conservatives not only on economic issues, but also on personal rights and tolerance.
This fascinating article, Political Poseur: Pretending to be a Republican in Blue California demonstrates just this–a reporter dressed in a Kerry-Edwards tee-shirt in a visit to Red territory; and in Bush-Cheney garb in Blue territory. He is basically treated with indifference by Republicans, but with ridicule and hatred by Democrats.
The liberals are far more political and intolerant than conservatives, despite their holier-than-thou claims to be superior in this respect and others. See also: Wear Bush Gear in Manhattan, Get Spit At and Um, You’re Right. (Not Really.) What makes liberals think they have the right to decide what’s acceptable to say?.
As a libertarian, I of course accept the view that conservatives and liberals are really very similar–that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference. Maybe a nickel’s worth. Anyway, the difference is not zero.
One difference I have noticed is how differently liberals and conservatives view wins by their opponents. If Kerry wins (as I still predict he will), conservatives won’t like it, but they won’t be perplexed: some people are simply liberal. They didn’t like Clinton being President, but they don’t feign surprise and shock when they actually meet a liberal. They know some people are liberal.However, ones gets the impression leftists are always baffled that anyone decent could ever vote for a Republican. They are still sputtering in incomprehension about Bush’s 2000 win. The seem to hang around such cloistered, effete, smug liberals in enclaves like NY and Hollywood and DC that they simply don’t know anyone who is conservative. Hence their bug-eyed promises to move to France if Bush wins; their instant labeling of conservatives as racists, anti-semites etc. The liberals are simply so self-righteous (despite being more totalitarian, intolerant, and fascistic in general than conservatives, even on their pet issues like free speech) and smug in their superiority, back-slapping over AIDS fundraisers and thinking they are “smarter” than conservatives; that anyone who is a conservative is simply an uneducated redneck hillbilly cracker … that they think their candidate is “obviously” better; so obvious that you have to be depraved–racist, misogynist, anti-semitic, selfish–not to see it.
So if Bush actually wins, one silver lining will be the total outrage, incomprehension, and befuddlement on the faces of liberals the next morning. And taking pleasure in the fact that liberals self-congratulate themselves on being so smart but on really being too stupid to realize that Bush is really a liberal too.
Further confirmation of the proposition that liberals are at least as bad on civil rights as conservatives: the liberal Justices of the Supreme Court tend to be worse than the others on free speech and related matters. In a decision handed down today, the Supreme Court upheld key parts of the Campaign Finance Law. “Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer signed the main opinion barring candidates for federal office, including incumbent members of Congress or an incumbent president, from raising soft money.” (More info about the case, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission.)