Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ross Douthat Suggests Balance

His column today, titled 'How to Read', actually describes what to read, including sources from the side of the debate other than one's own.  He doesn't describe how to read--skeptically, willing to question facts and suspicious of naked ideology, demanding a piece which can continue a conversation.

But he neither admits, in the slightest, how entirely unreasonable, hateful and crazed much rightie commentary is, and how few rightie voices rise in protest.  I've been following politics for 50 years from the left and center-left. It's now gospel (sic) on the right that Obama is a crypto-Muslim Kenyan socialist bent on destroying the country, that national health insurance is a step towards Soviet tyranny, that our liberties depend on the availability of 100-round magazines to any citizen, that Europe is an unspeakably horrible example of the failiure of socialism, that talking diplomacy with other than allies is pusillanimous surrender, that government help is an oxymoron, that anthropogenic global warming is a statist conspiracy and that environmentalism is an anticapitalist pseudoscientific religion. Any Republican disagreeing with any of this will be challenged in a primary he/she can't win. Any right wing commenter who suggests that, for instance, Rush Limbaugh was a bit much when he told a black woman to take the bone out of her nose, or Jonah Goldberg when he blamed fascism on liberals, or Ann Coulter when she celebrated Joe McCarthy, is cast out. And Ayn Rand is taken seriously.

I get all that reading rightie sources, and a lot more as bad or worse. And I haven't even touched on the gold standard and fiat currency, or potted female physiology, homophobia, on and on. None of this is stuff I can take seriously, except as pathological.  There's Fred Hoyle and Georges LeMaitre arguing about cosmology; then there's Immanuel Velikovsky.  And there's a difference between 'Here's my view, based on the following facts and logic.  What do you think?' and 'You're a fucking idiot.'  Douthat pretends to a symmetry that simply isn't there.

cite to his article:

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