The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, February 10, 2006

Ann Coulter and Jeannine Garofalo in a steel cage deathmatch!

I have good news and bad news for Ann Coulter.  She said that Liberalism is a mental illness.  She is right.  The problem is, so is conservatism.
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/29/AR2006012900642_pf.html
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Go ahead.  Say it's just leftist drivel.  But you're missing the point: the REAL point, that  should scare the hell out of you,  is that people on either side of the political spectrum can see the b.s. in the other political point of view BUT NOT IN THEIR OWN.  That the rigidity of thought on EITHER side is similar to drug addiction, and is a form of insanity trying to boil the world down into a Newtonian action-reaction "this or that" formula.  Yes, they suggest that the Right has more problems with racial attitudes.  This is news?  What one can miss is that white liberals ALSO have more racial problems than they can admit. And that blacks have worse attitudes about THEMSELVES than they like to, or are able to admit.  Cultural?  That's my attitude, but what I'm saying is that there seems no automatic reason to think these folks were screwing with the data. 
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I would assume that those on the Left have their deep problems as well.  My guess?  Excessive moral or cultural relativism, inability to admit to differences--this would be in balance with the Right's problem with excessive hierarchicalism. That would make sense to me.
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But if you can get past the automatic screaming, what you have  (especially if you will bother to google the original paper, not just the "this guy gave some money to John Kerry!" talking points.  Too lazy?  Try this for a start, then keep digging:
http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:rF_9sgs5VWEJ:projectimplicit.net/nosek/talk/SPSP.mitchell.handout.2000.doc+Brian+Nosek+race&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3&client=firefox-a
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Note the non-political aspect of the conclusions: that the insistence that one's position represents what is good, and that the other side consists of fools and knaves ("traitors" "bigots" "cowards" etc. are thrown around) is essentially a form of mental illness.

We have to move beyond this.  Those who cannot, on the Left or the Right, deserve to be lied to by their leaders, who apparently don't believe that people can handle the truth.  I have good, decent, thinking friends on both sides of the political spectrum, just as I have friends of all races and creeds. They don't point fingers, scream, or think they have the only answers.  They remember that they might be wrong.  They don't make excuses for their own leaders for things they criticise elsewhere (I love it when someone expects me to see and understand the humanity of the great man Jefferson, a slave owner, but then expects me to see people of other nations in the contemporary world who practise slavery as "evil."  Ummm, well, either it's evil, or its not.  Child rape isn't moral or immoral depending on the year it takes place.  If I can forgive and understand the social context for our Founding Fathers, don't expect me to have a knee-jerk "Eep! Slavery!" reaction when you wag the loathsome human trafficking in the Middle East in my face.  Want to stop it, sure.  Abhor it?  Sure.  Wish the slaves would cut the throats of their masters?  Sure.  But I feel the same way about Jefferson.  Deal with it. I don't hate him, and I don't hate people who enslave today.  I do, however, want it to stop.)
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Here's what I think the problem is.  We may have to kill to protect our children.  Most people cannot kill without demonizing.  There has to be a "right" and a "wrong" rather than just a terrible, sad necessity.  So governments do what they've always done: say the folks on the other side of the mountains are beasts and perverts and inhuman cretins who worship satan.  Wow!  Guess its o.k. to bomb their towns, huh?  That is the worst kind of cowardly tripe. If you have to kill, or send your children off to kill, at least respect your enemy as you blow them to bits.  See their humanity as you drive the knife into their guts.  If you can't, you shouldn't do it.  But then, that's what I think a warrior does.  How a warrior feels.  And no society REALLY wants its citizens to be warriors. They want them to be soldiers.  So flags are waved, and political parties formed, and everyone is certain that their side is "right" and we hide our fear behind labels, and we turn our enemies into garbage to be swept aside.
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I have struggled all my life with the effects of this dehumanization.  I do not hate my white readers.  I will not join with you in hating others.  Those who wish me to would, behind my back, say terrible things about me.  You think I don't know this?  I will address the world only with love...even loving my enemy.  Even if, God forbid, I have to kill him to protect my family.  Don't think you can ever convince me to raise myself by lowering others.