Thursday, November 04, 2004

Added to the comments on this post at C.T.:
I’ve read a few of these comments but not all, and most of what I’ve read seems to miss the point. Liberals are a condescending lot.

I wonder how many of those who voted for Bush would say that their obligations, to family and friends and community, were more important to them than personal freedom. That’s certainly the case in my neighborhood. What calculations could Brad DeLong do with that? Brian Leiter once linked approvingly if half in jest to an article or a blog entry by some professor or other that claimed to analyze the IQ’s of the populations of various Red states. Conclusion: the peasants are stupid. I was I think the only one I know of to point out that the post and the link to it were obscene. I wonder how many of you spend time in college towns. Do you know how humiliating life can be for the locals in such places?

Traditions gives us most of what we value. French haute cuisine derives from the efforts of 500 generations of French grandmothers. Mozart is the end of a tradition, not a lightningbolt out of the blue. I’m sick to death of technocrats and libertarians, of liberal yuppies who destroy what’s left of old neighborhoods and then wonder why their neighbors, the little old ladies, vote for Bush. But liberals are the public face of hard-core economic conservatism: of the logic of the market. DeLong and Krugman would be happy to have a population of corporate drones with really good health insurance. The peasants don’t expect life to be easy. They don’t want much. But they don’t like being condescended to by people who want to help them out of pity. “And for the record (don’t post this), Yglesias as an individual has a great, self-aware sense of humor and is much more starkly honest (if also unapologetic) about his own elitism than most liberals. Take him out for a beer and I think you’d find that.” Yeah that’s a real quote. But I’m sure he loves listening to Johnny Cash.

For the record I’m an atheist. But given a choice between spending time with someone who’s thinks the meaning of life comes from understanding a calculation and someone who thinks it comes from the study of a book, I’ll gladly choose the latter. And ‘Riverbend’ has a wider range of reference, a better prose style in her second language and, frankly, is more intelligent than Ophelia Benson. And I’m sorry if the above quote is dirty pool. The problem with my country is very simple: college professors don’t know how to sit at the same table with truckers and taxi drivers; and that’s not the taxi drivers’ fault. Whites are not allowed any more to speak for blacks, men can no longer comfortably be assumed to speak for women or straights for gays; but the educated may speak freely to each other about the rest of the country without acknowledging there’s a problem.

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