Friday, December 13, 2002

Hey, I hadn't noticed Martin Wisse's new blog, Progressive Gold! It's a collection of what he considers "best of the left" stuff.

I may have a new homepage.

Anyway, he responds to something I wrote:

I actually think that blogosphere politics had a hand in this one, although not in the way you'd think. The right side of the blogosphere has been making a lot of noise about how fairminded and forward-thinking they are, especially compared to the humorless and racist and sexist and P.C. left. (Nonsense, but bear with me.) Thing is, in this case, if they had let this go or tried to explain it away when people like Atrios were all over it like the proverbial cheap suit, there is absolutely no way that they could ever claim the moral high ground. So they jumped on it. (To be fair, most aren't that fond of racism anyway; neo-cons are more libertarian than that.)

I'm not sure about Demosthenes's last statement; in my experience there is certainly a bigoted streak in libertarian and neocon thinkink; at the very least both groups tend to be extremely myopic about race relations, as well as gender and sexuality issues. Partially this may be because both groups are overwhelming made out of white boys --it's easy to downplay the existence of racism when you're not part of the group it is targeted at.

(The paranoia about government programs and fetishising of personal "liberty" and "responsibility" --sometimes ending up as hostility against people who cannot make it "on their own" -- don't help here as it often means libertarians/neocons oppose just those laws/programs intended to help minority or disadvantaged groups. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice this looks a lot like bigotry from the outside.)
I personally think one should be very, very careful not to fall into the "objectively" pit that Glenn is currently wallowing in right now. The paranoia about government programs might disproportionately affect minorities, yes, but remember that a lot of the real libertarian types believe that those minorities are hurt more than they're helped by that sort of thing. I disagree, but I cannot in good conscience call them racist for it.

I will agree, however, with the "white boys not getting it" thing. Because they are on the same partisan side as the racists (whether it's unwittingly or unhappily or not), they have tended to reflexively react negatively to ideas and policies from the "other side", especially if it goes against their cherished belief that the state is useless and creates more problems than it solves. If you're against affirmative action on principle, then first you have to claim that the problem that it purports to solve (unconscious hiring biases) is not a problem; and if you honestly believe that the market will prevail, then you aren't demonstrating real racism. At worst, you're demonstrating tendentiousness and naivete.

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