Talking with Duggan’s Dew this morning, I related my excellent annual lunch with an estimable friend of mine: Liberal, liberal, and a good man. We disagree on everything except good manners, paying one’s bills, avoiding vulgarity and the other fundamentals of civilized existence.
You name it, we disagree: Obama, the plight of males in a female-dominated world, anthropogenic global warming. The list could be longer but there were only so many subjects that could be discussed in the course of a quite pleasant lunch.
In reciting my discussion, Duggan’s Dew pointed out that the one thing the liberals can agree on is a vehement dislike of conservatives. All the world’s problems could be solved, one is led to think by liberals, if only conservatives, especially those of their own race and social class, did not exist. Our habit of pointing out things we consider to be facts and implications of race, class, nature, tribe, sex, rank, age, intelligence and stupidity aggravates them. The only arguments they can muster, when reduced to facing these facts, is to accuse of the various forbidden “isms”. It prevents thinking, reduces debate to name-calling, and established to their satisfaction their moral self-congratulation on being so superior. (My lunch companion is and was eminently free from such habits, which is why we still lunch together.)
I opened this book to a random page and read:
Among the amazing rationales for compensatory preferences for selected minorities to be imposed by courts is that such preferences merely offset previous preferences for members of the majority population….
But this again raises the question which arises in so many other contexts: is the law to attempt intertemporal cosmic justice or simply apply the same rules to all in the only temporal realm to which it has jurisdiction – the present and the future? Moreover is the decision to opt for intertemporal cosmic justice one for which judges have any authorization, either from the Constitution or from statutes passed by elected officials? Such straightforward questions are often evaded by being redefined as “simplistic”….
“As in so many other contexts, the word “simplistic” was not part of an argument but a substitute for an argument. (at pp233-234)
I think the facts of life are conservative, in the sense that there is much more limited scope for remaking ourselves than many imagine. The arguments which ignore the facts of life, and particularly human inequalities, are wrong, however benignly intentioned. We have the better arguments, but we have a massive uphill battle to fight to create the conditions for being understood.
I like treating people as equals. I like being treated as an equal. I want to live in a society where we do so. But to live in a society that denies the implications of all the differences among mankind, and treats those who point them out as thought-criminals, is to live in a totalitarianism. I will not have it. And if this means not going along with contemporary follies, so be it.