Liberals and Conservatives

LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES….Over at Mahablog this morning, Barbara O’Brien suggested ? based on admittedly haphazard research ? that conservatives have a habit of making breathless, over-the-top assaults on broad-brush liberalism. Conversely, she said, liberals tend to attack only specific issues, not conservatism in general.

Now, my initial reaction was that this didn’t seem right. After all, my own comment section is often full to bursting with broad brush denunciations of conservatism and everything it stands for. Still, a comment section is one thing, but a published article in the Weekly Standard is quite another. Here’s Joel Engel today:

Alas, somewhere over the last two decades or so, liberalism lost its root as the word liberal was perverted to the point of Orwellian inversion ? and therefore rendered meaningless.

For example, rooting against the United States and for “insurgents” who delight in slaughtering innocents is many things (stupid, for one, also sad, evil, and short-sighted), but it is assuredly not liberal.

Decrying the American “religious right” for advocating a “culture of life” while simultaneously praising the neck-slicing Islamofascists is many things (start with pathetic), but it is not liberal.

Calling 3,000 workers who died when the buildings fell “little Eichmanns” is many things (vile, as well as repulsive and morally repugnant), but it is not liberal.

This goes on and on ? for 20 paragraphs to be exact. Plus a summary that says “the list goes on (and on and on and on).” Dan Drezner ? a non-liberal, mind you ? has about the right take on this silliness.

So, um, maybe Barbara is right. After all, this is something that even an eighth grader would likely be too mature to think clever, and I’d guess that nothing this juvenile about conservatism has ever graced the pages of, say, The American Prospect or The New Republic. Times must be tough in conservo-land if this is what they’re reduced to these days.

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