Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Liberals Savaging Liberals

I’ve been reading an interesting series of posts at a blog belonging to a liberal named Lee Stranahan. He bills himself as a writer and a filmmaker, is regularly featured at Huffpo, and now has worked with Andrew Breitbart. I’d never heard of him until someone mentioned us in his comments and that got back to us, but what makes these posts so interesting is that Stranahan has recently discovered that liberals aren’t that tolerant of dissent. Surprise!

His first experience with liberal intolerance began when he suggested at the DailyKos that John Edwards may indeed have had an affairs as the National Enquirer was then saying. This resulted in him being banned by DailyKos, something which continues today, and he received a vicious verbal beating from his former brethren. Here's a sample:

“Mr. Stranahan, you seem to be clueless, dimwitted and, apparently, stupid. . . So, my dear idiot friend, Mr. Stranahan, please, I implore you, go and crawl back into whatever foul putrid pit of a hole that you and your Republican Minion Trolls were spawned from.”
Can you feel the love?

More recently, he’s been blasted for working with Andrew Breitbart on the Pigford fraud scandal -- a situation where a large group of blacks are pretending to be farmers so they can claim they were discriminated against and thereby share in a settlement with the Department of Agriculture. Breitbart’s interest is exposing the black racism and the fraud going on. Stranahan says his interest is keeping as much money as possible for the actual victims, rather than the fraudsters. That’s fair. Yet, he soon found himself attacked for working with Breitbart. Here’s a tweet: “Listen douche. I don’t care what you think about anything. You’re a whore and a traitor. Just piss off, weasel.”

All of this opened his eyes. And now he’s discovered that leftist bloggers willingly spread false stories to attack Republicans. Imagine that! This story involves attempts by Minnesota Republicans to prevent people from taking more than $20 in cash off welfare credit cards each month, i.e. to stop them from using these as cash cards. Simple enough. Yet, a leftist blogger turned this into the following:
“Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more than $20 in cash in their pockets any given month.”
That’s a total lie and is not even close to a reasonable interpretation of the law. But that didn’t stop other leftist bloggers from running with this: “GOP wants it to be illegal to carry cash if you’re poor” and “[GOP] make it a crime for poor to have more than $20.” Stranahan says he found hundreds of leftist blogs repeating this -- the only blog that accurately portrayed the law belonged to a conservative.

Having decided that lying was bad for their side, Stranahan notified one of the blogs belonging to a woman he’d known for years. He expected she would retract the story. She didn’t. Instead, she trashed Stranahan.

Now, he’s found leftists telling everyone to block him for asking whether the unemployed really should be getting 99 weeks of unemployment.

All of this has shocked Stranahan. He is shocked that people he assumed were his friends could turn on him so nastily and so quickly. He’s even more shocked that the reason they turned on him wasn’t that he no longer believes in liberalism, but that he had the nerve to express doubts on a couple minor points. But what’s shocked him the most is that leftists would continue to spread lies when they know them to be lies.

Of course, none of this surprises us. We’ve all experienced this ad nauseum by now. In my experience, and those of most conservatives with whom I’ve spoken, the vast majority of liberals love to describe themselves as loving, caring, open-minded people, but are anything but. They don’t allow even the slightest hints of dissent. They shout down their opponents rather than debate them. They use racist, sexist and homophobic attacks freely. They condone violence, threats and death threats, so long as they believe in the cause. They lie. They deny the truth. And when it becomes impossible to lie or deny, they shift blame. Indeed, they excel at seeing themselves as victims in every instance. They even blacklist conservatives in professional ranks. What’s more, the behavior of leftist in the past decade has reached such a psychopathic level of rage that I have to assume there is a great deal of insanity in their ranks.

This isn’t a group that is going to like anyone asking inconvenient questions. So it surprises me that Stranahan is shocked by the response he got.

Now, to be fair, there are conservatives like this. But here’s the difference. As a conservative, when I go to a liberal blog and start posting, I will be savagely attacked by almost everyone at that site. I will be called a monster, a criminal, a fascist, a racist and/or a hater. My motives will be impugned. And I will be told that my views don’t matter and that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak them.

By comparison, when I’ve seen liberals come to conservative blogs (excluding trolls of course), they are generally allowed to speak their minds and many of the regulars will try to engage them in discussions. Are there conservatives who will unfairly attack them? Sure, but we’re talking about a small percentage of conservatives, maybe 10%-15%. At liberal sites, it’s close to 80%-90% who will do the attacking. Thus, I see the current poisonous state of our national discourse as the fault of liberals, as it’s virtually impossible to engage them in conversation, whereas most conservatives are willing to debate.

Stranahan sounds like a “good” liberal, in the sense that he sounds thoughtful and has shown himself willing to question sacred cows. If more liberals were like that, then our politics wouldn’t be nearly as poisonous as it has become. Let’s hope that his asking these questions might convince other liberals that it’s time to stop hating those who disagree with them and to treat those who dissent with dignity and respect.

In the meantime, let me congratulate Stranahan for taking the red pill.


T_Rav said...

Andrew, I'd been hearing about this guy for several days and caught a few excerpts from his recent posts. To hear him tell it, at least, he went into this whole Pigford thing expecting to see Breitbart proven wrong. Then he saw him on Stephanopoulous' "This Week" offering to produce his evidence for his claims, and Steffie and the other liberal on the show just ignored him. Which got him wondering, "If this story is bunk like I thought it is, why is it that my fellow liberals are ignoring the evidence that could conceivably go against Breitbart, and he's the one offering to display it?" Clearly, his mind hasn't been ruined by his erstwhile friends.

Incidentally, where did this blog get mentioned at? I'd be curious to see that.

patti said...

andrew: has law been working his magic on lee? i hadn't heard about this and it was a good read as well as good to read, reminding us all that not every libbie has lost their soul, and there is hope that truth will win the day.

Joel Farnham said...


I think of it as the pink monkey syndrome. When a pink monkey doll was introduced into a cage with brown monkeys, the pink monkey was destroyed immediately. When a brown monkey doll was introduced, it was ignored. What it demonstrated is that something that is manifestly different yet similar is put among unthinking simians, the simians gang up to destroy it.

Now, comparing simians to liberals is unfair to the simians, but simians don't have a coalition that I have to fear. BTW for Management, no actual monkeys were damaged in the experiment. Just a dyed pink doll.

Some conservatives are ex-liberals mugged by reality. LawHawk is one of them.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I honestly hadn't heard of him until the other day. But you're right, it sounds like his mind hasn't been ruined by the lock-step brigade. And it must be pretty shocking to realize that the people you thought were fair, honest and open-minded really aren't.

We were mentioned in the comments in the first link -- HERE.

I have no idea who the guy is who mentions us, but thanks. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Thanks! That's true and people would do well to remember that while many on the left are violent, angry nuts, some of them are decent people who just see things differently. And in truth, I think there is significant common ground we can reach with those people -- just not with the nuts.

I was pretty amazed by the Minnesota story. Talk about a total warping of reality!

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, "simians don't have a coalition that I have to fear" -- LOL! Let's hope!

You make a good point about conservatives who started as liberals. Many of the comments this guy got are from ex-liberals who say that once they switched sides, they were shocked at how bad liberals behaved. I personally have no illusions on that part. I know there are rotten conservatives and I know generally who they are when I meet them. But I also know that the vast majority of conservatives are good, reasonable people. On the other hand, I have rarely found a liberal who wasn't a nasty hypocrite (especially in private, where they think nothing of blatant racism, sexism, etc.). There are good liberals, don't get me wrong, but they are much rarer than good conservatives.

I think it's also clear that conservatives are nowhere near lockstep. In fact, we have many factions arguing polar opposite positions (e.g. religious right v. libertarians). Liberals don't have that, they all fall in line.

Tennessee Jed said...

Very interesting piece, Andrew! I must admit, I have very little experience in the blogosphere so my credibility is limited. I put people into four categories, politically; possibly even 5 or 6. There are ignorant people who lean left, ignorant people who lean right, people who are literate, even erudite, but still firmly fall into one of the two camps. The other two categories are people who, actually are independant and look at each issue individually, and people who have zero interest in politics.

Let us, for arguments sake, forget the last category. The first two categories (IL and IR) are the ones who most often make tasteless comments. Further, I think these two groups tend to comment more than the other three groups being considered.

The literate, erudite groups, left and right, (including myself) are willing to listen to the other side, often recognize some merit in their points of view, but will occasionally fall prey to gratuitous mean spiritedness. Further these two groups are subject to the phenomenon known to psychologists as the "ladder of inference." This phenomenon basically states that we have our belief and will tend to seek out that information which supports it while dismissing or avoiding that which contradicts it. I recognize by biases and try, albeit not always successfully, to overcome them.

The final (independant) group is almost like a phantom. They may exist, but I rarely see them. So, while I rarely see reasoned liberal comments, I'll admit that I don't go to enough sites to see them. As such, it would be easier for me to draw a conclusion. Of course, you know where I spend virtually all of my "blog" time.

Ed said...

I'm sorry they treated him poorly, but I'm glad it's opening his eyes. Let's hope more liberals begin to see these things!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Let's hope. Like I say somewhere around here, there is a good deal of common ground that can be reached with good faith liberals, there's just no common ground that can be reached with the nasty sort.

T_Rav said...

Ah, I see it now. I didn't look far enough the first time. Cool! Maybe this joint really is on its way to being the Right's HuffPo! :-)

Also, some of those comments he has linked are I've seen the Huffers and the DKos freaks lay into each other before for suspected "heresy," but that's just amazing.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

On your points, I think your groups are right and I think you're right that the ignorant ones tend to be the loudest. You particularly see this at a place like Big Hollywood, where you get loads of comments like "I've never seen anything this person has done, but I know it's rotten." That's ignorance defined. And those people don't tend to like hearing reasoned opinions. Basically, you either agree with their pogrom or you are part of the problem.

That said, I don't see these groups being equal in size. I might have seen that 20 years ago, but I think the left has undergone a serious tantrum since 2001, and these days the vast majority of liberals are spouting things that would formally have only been said by their fringe. Indeed, it's amazing how easily so many liberals fall into "hate speech."

I think this is the result of the left ratcheting up the level of aggression, which in turn made comments that seemed slightly beyond good taste suddenly seem like not a big deal. This then fed on itself, pushing what is acceptable further out into loony land. In other words, when a large chunk of people around you are calling for someone to be savagely beaten, it becomes easier for everyone in the group to start saying more extreme things without even realizing it. And when you look at where they end up compared to where they started, you see a serious shift in behavior patterns.

I think this is what happened on the left because so many "respectable" leftists starting doing things like calling Bush a war criminal and a traitor and even calling for his assassination. And then the MSM treatment of Palin only made this worse, as suddenly it became acceptable to attack her family and to attack her in truly personal ways.

Nothing comparable has happened on the right.


AndrewPrice said...

Also, I will say honestly that I think liberalism attracts the ignorant. For the most part, you need to have a brain to be a conservative because conservatism is about logical policies (though there are some major exceptions). But liberalism is for people want to feel good about things, and thinking is discouraged because if you think too hard, you realize that liberalism has failed every time it's been tried.

So I think you have an adverse selection issue where the ignorant flock to liberalism and then they have been pushed further to the extreme by peer pressure. And that fits with what I've experienced about the high level of nastiness at liberal sites, which you generally don't get at conservative sites.

Now, that said, there is a disturbing trend with conservatives who are courting ignorant populists.... "yu can't be a reel Amerikan if you is edukated." We're seeing a lot of that, and those people are the mirror image of the nasty left. They "feel things" with no proof, they ignore facts and reality, and they are ultra certain that they are right and everyone who disagrees with them is evil. That's a bad trend.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I like to think that we've already passed Huffpo in popularity! Of course, I'm wrong in that belief, but I like to believe it nevertheless. ;-)

Yeah, some of the comments are really amazing. They are truly taking it personally that he's even asking questions. To me, that's stunning. Seriously, how many times have we had disagreements here? It happens all the time and yet we're all still friends and no one feels betrayed by it. There's really something wrong with a lot of those people.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I think it's very telling that at least one person responding to Stranahan flat-out said, "We don't care whether it's true or not true, it just doesn't matter to us." But then, liberals don't generally believe in objective truth, so I guess that shouldn't surprise me too much.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Sadly, it doesn't surprise me. I see that a lot with liberals. I've been amazed at how many liberals I've spoken to who simply do not care what the facts are, they will not change their minds.

I've also met many who simply will not trust a conservative source, even if the conservative points them to a liberal source. It really is like a mental problem.

In any event, it really has been interesting to see the difference between the conservative and liberal commenters at his site.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Excellent expansion on the theme of lockstep liberalism. I touched the surface yesterday with the NY Times twisting of the story of a liberal who dared to disagree with his fellows and was labeled "traitor," but this article reaches into the forum of lockstep liberal "journalism." Truth is always the first victim in leftist civil wars.

Joel: I wasn't so much mugged by reality as abandoned by "the movement." Hell hath no fury like an ex-liberal scorned. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk. I think it's all part of a pretty clear pattern. What I'm hoping is that as more liberals see it, that they push back and try to get other liberals to finally live up to their claims of having open minds. I'm not expecting that to happen, but I'm hoping.

BevfromNYC said...

Once again, you hit it out of the park, hit the nail on the head, hit...something really great! And the guy who commented on Stranahan's website, well, that was totally cool.

Anyway, finally someone is beginning to see what we have seen for a long, long time. Both sides can be nasty, but the Left just has a particularly virulent strain of nasty especially towards their own.

And this is very timely. Why just today, I was called "ignorantly misinformed" on HuffPo for...oh,well, it doesn't really matter on what topic since I'm called that frequently on HuffPo. However what's amusing is when I ask how, they rarely, if ever, can tell me why.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Bev!

Yeah, I thought it was really cool what the guy said in the comments about us. :-)

Sorry to hear that you're "ignorantly misinformed," but I guess that describes all of us who aren't deigned to have the sacred knowledge of liberaldom! LOL!

And I think we know the reason they can't tell you why you are ignorantly misinformed, because they don't have any idea, and because they're probably terrified that if they tried to get into it, you would hit them fact-facts rather than "I'm pretty sure it's true" facts, and that would make it that much harder for them to keep living the lie!

You know, you would think there would come a point where liberals would get sick of attacking everyone who disagrees with them, but I guess not. I know I would get sick of it pretty quickly. Seriously, what's the point in only talking to people who parrot back everything you say to them?

Ed said...

Bev, You should change that to your screen name at Huffpo!

rlaWTX said...

You just gotta feel sorry for a lib when reality knocks 'em upside th head...

I have seen this liberal nastiness even at such egalitarian gatherings as family reunions. And they assume that everyone within sound of their voice agrees with them. And are (loudly) offended if someone intimates that they do not agree.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that the group of nasty righties is growing. And growing louder.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome!

Keep up the great work. Where ever I see rational debate going on I drop a link to Commentarama.....
doesn't everybody ;)

And now you know who I am ;)

Johnny 5 is alive

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I have that fear too, that there are more and more nasties on the right these days. We really do need to find a way to get everyone back to being civil or things are just going to get uglier and uglier in public life.

I know what you mean about liberals. I've been at parties where the liberals just start spouting off about how no could possibly disagree with _____. Unbelievable. Talking politics and religion at parties is bad form, and telling everyone that they better agree with you is even worse. Besides, you would think by now that everyone would realize that people have all kinds of different beliefs and opinions and the idea that we all share the same thought is just ludicrous!

AndrewPrice said...

Johnny 5 is alive,

Thanks! :-)

It's always great to hear that people like what we do here and it's great that you thought enough of us to recommend us! Please, by all means, feel free to tell people about our site. We're happy to have everyone -- liberal or conservative.

I should also thank you for leading me to Stranahan's site. He's an interesting guy and I look forward to reading more of his thoughts.

Unknown said...

I just started reading this site after seeing the link on Stranahan's site. I'm not a recovering liberal, I just am fascinated by stories of the Left's canibalism.

Someone was commenting about liberalism attracting the ignorent. I'm not sure it's that as much as it attracts people who feel more than they think while the Right is people who think or emphasize thinking more than feeling when it comes to making the hard decisions. One of the hardest things in life is learning to think critically. Some learn, some learn as they age, some learn when they're confronted by a reality they can't avoid, and others just never learn. To some extent, I blame the "if it feels good, do it generation". Emotion over thought.

AndrewPrice said...

Joe, Welcome! (Sorry your comment didn't come up right away, you got caught by Google spam filter.)

I used the word "ignorant," but perhaps a bit imprecisely. My experience with liberals is that they are short term thinkers. They see a problem and they want an immediate fix. They are not interested in the long term effects of that solution.

The reason I say "ignorant" with regard to liberals is that they are much more likely to ignore facts, history or logic that conflict with their desire to put this quick fix in place.

Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be long term thinkers and are willing to let people bear the consequences of their prior bad actions to avoid putting in place a policy that encourages more people to repeat their mistake. Liberals view this as harsh because it doesn't provide the immediate fix the liberals prefer, and they give no credit to the idea of protecting people in the future.

This is why the two philosophies are so diametrically opposed -- because they focus on fundamentally different issues, even when they are talking about the same problem.

I see conservative solutions as superior for a number of reasons. First, by stopping the problem from reoccurring, you typically help more people than you help with a quick fix. Secondly, conservative solutions tend to involve encouraging people to change behavior, whereas liberal solutions are much more likely to involve force to change behavior -- particularly force of law. Third, conservative solutions tend to be based on principle that can be consistently applied and understood and allows people to plan. Liberal solutions, on the other hand, tend to be ad hoc and subjective and keep people from knowing what the rules will be at any particular time. Fourth, I think that any solution that ignores logic and fact and instead uses emotion is doomed to fail -- and indeed, the history of liberal is a history of constantly having to try to solve the unintended consequences of prior liberal policies.

That said, there are times when short term thinking is more appropriate or when a combination of both should be used. But in general, the long term thinkers will create the better society.

Unknown said...

What you are characterizing as short term thinking is what I'm essentially calling the emotional side. What you say is the immediate fix,I would say is just a craving for immediate gratification. The emotional response (in my view) is they feel good about themselves for "helping" and that desire for more short-term gratification leads to short-term feel-good solutions.

Your long term thinkers (and rewards) is an interesting way of looking at the divide. It would fit with social, religious, and fiscal conservatives - a socials is the stable society, fiscal is investment in the future, and a religious conservative's reward is in heaven. All long term versus short term rewards.


AndrewPrice said...

Joe, Very true. I think all three of those are different forms of long term thinking, preferring to accept short term pain in exchange for long term benefits/happiness.

In terms of short term v. emotional response/immediate gratification, I agree. I think you and I are essentially describing the same things, only using slightly different terminology. :-)

And however we describe it, the end result is that it makes it very hard for conservatives and liberals to get along and I think it infuses liberalism with a good deal of the baggage of emotionalism, e.g. anger at dissent and feelings of betrayal when other liberals change their mind.

Unknown said...

You forgot the emotional baggage of losing - debates, elections, power, etc. The only other group I can think of with such long term emotional baggage is the Islamists who still long for Andalusia. (For the sarcasm impaired, that last comment is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

AndrewPrice said...

Joe, That's a good point too. And keep this in mind, since the 1980s, they've learned that the only way the public will accept them is if they lie about their beliefs. Thus, they claim to be pro-tax cuts, pro-controlling spending, pro-military... when they are no such thing. That can't make them too happy!

Andalusia! LOL! Yeah, you say tongue in cheek, but a part of Islam is about ancient grievances. So it's not too tongue in cheek.

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