One of the main problems with dealing with people on the Left is that they live in a bubble. They only associate with like-minded people and they have no actual concept of what people with opposing viewpoints think. In progressive circles, they are never forced to actually spend time with conservatives so as to find out what we believe and why we believe it. Not only that, their bubble shields them from being honest when talking about us, since all they do is talk to each other anyway.
Case in point, Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic Magazine has a new piece up that writes about conservatism from the bubble of progressivism. For example, he writes:
“But respect for empiricism and reasoned, intellectually honest debate could ensure that the best critiques would be aired; the best ideas attempted; and the very worst rejected, whatever their provenance. At minimum, it’s possible to imagine a coalition where sound argument was valued enough to render the most vile ad hominem and the most hair-trigger heretic-shaming beyond the pale. Instead Rush Limbaugh and Erick Erickson remain among the right’s most influential voices. Fox News is movement conservatism’s go-to information source; its big boss, Roger Ailes, profited from airing lunatic conspiracy theories from Glenn Beck that no one can defend, but he hasn’t been discredited. And that’s just the realm of AM radio and cable television.”
His assertion is that Rush Limbaugh and Erick Erickson are among the influential voices on the right and that Roger Ailes profited from airing “lunatic conspiracy theories” from Glenn Beck. Somehow that is supposed to undermine the empiricism and reason on the right, but Conor doesn’t explain why. He doesn’t explain what “lunatic conspiracy theories” Glenn Beck is promoting and how they have been proven to be wrong. He whines that Fox News has not been discredited, but yet can’t and doesn’t explain why they should be.
Later on, he writes:
“The right needs to value robust argument more highly. And to denigrate those who subvert it more forcefully. For public discourse is all it has to test ideas and formulate an evolving agenda.”
If Conor wasn’t living in a bubble, purposefully shielding himself from reality, he would notice that there are all kinds of robust argument and debate on the right. We are constantly hammering out different policy ideas, having it out in the arena of ideas with our various constituencies. Fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, hawks, doves, no matter what our personal opinions are on tax reform, education, what functions the government should actually be doing, we on the right are constantly citing each other’s work and other past luminaries (Hayek, Friedman, Adam Smith, just to name a few). We look to the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers to make our case. But of course, if Conor knew any conservatives, he would see some of these debates.
And then there’s this:
“On the right today, they are so numerous, prominent and shameless, their pathologies so ingrained in right-wing media and politics, their wealth so corrupting to young talent, and their pathologies so seldom challenged by those who know better, that Republicans are operating at a persistent information disadvantage.”
Our pathologies so seldom challenged? What fantasy land is he living on to write this statement? We challenge ourselves constantly, and we better enhance ourselves through the rigorous debate that you on the left refuse to engage in. Not to mention that the vast majority of the American media, yourself included, routinely challenge us. Your challenges are wholly dishonest because they rest on caricatures provided to you by Media Matters (a taxpayer funded organization with a vested interest in misrepresenting the arguments of the right).
And for the record, right-leaning voters are far better informed on the issues because we listen to sources of all kinds, left, right, both, and neither. We get our information from a variety of sources so that we know our own arguments, but also know yours. The left, for the most part, can make no such claim. They hide from opposing arguments and make absurd claims like Conor does in this piece of work he calls journalism. Not only does he make disingenuous assertions he gives no evidence to back them up. He parades about left-wing clichés of the right that have existed going back over a century.
In order to have honest debates in our country, we need people who will take on the actual arguments on the other side and not just create strawmen, knock them over, and then claim to be some big intellectual heavyweight. But of course, when your worldview dictates you runaway from reality, you end up writing for The Atlantic.