MORAL DECAY….Over at Tapped, Garance Franke-Ruta notes that married parents are slipping away from the Democratic party. They might vote like liberals when they’re young and single, but after they’ve walked down the aisle and had a kid or two, they turn into staunch conservatives. How can we turn that around?
One sure way not to go about reaching out to married parents is to dismiss their concerns. And that means the folks at magazines like this one, too, need to consider their role in promoting an image of liberalism as utterly inconsiderate of their moral concerns. Tapped, in particular, went in for a lot of criticizing of Hillary Clinton when she spoke out on violent video games, which I found saddening. Not because I don’t think there were valid and clever points to be made, but because it seemed so self-destructive for avowed liberals to adopt a kind of sophisticated adolescent libertarianism as their stance toward the world, and to cast political figures in the role of moralizing parents whose constraints must be cast aside.
Single, childless, coastal elitist Matt Yglesias objects, as he has in previous rounds of this debate, but is perhaps too clever for his own good when he suggests that he’s really just taking one for the team: “If Hillary Clinton (or anyone else) wants to sell herself to Middle America as the kind of Democrat who’ll crack down on cultural libertinism, then getting stridently attacked for it by the likes of me are only going to help her gain credibility.”
Let’s cut the crap, shall we? You can make cogent arguments that violent video games have no effect on crime and moral decay. Ditto for stupid TV shows, internet porn, gangster rap, and cigarette ads. But it’s the first sentence of Garance’s paragraph that’s the key one.
The point is not that we shouldn’t make arguments based on research and statistics. Of course we should. The problem is that too often liberals aren’t making cogent arguments at all. Instead, they’re simply mocking parents who are nervous about this stuff as troglodyte knuckle draggers, without offering so much as a shred of sympathy for the way they feel. That’s a pretty guaranteed vote loser.
So sure, let’s make our arguments. At the same time, though, let’s also acknowledge parental fears as genuine instead of simply sneering at them. That just helps the other side.