Friday, July 29, 2005

Marginal

Someone needs to explain to Matthew Yglesias that the old axiom (I'm full of 'em lately) "A society is judged by how it treats its most marginal members" applies not only to the fourth amendment, but to the first. He's bought into the "we must doooo something about all that hideous filthy porn on the Interweb! Won't somebody please think of the children" line. Why? strategy.

Well, this all strikes me as a bit silly. But if you think -- and I do -- that Democrats would benefit from adopting a more socially conservative posture, this is a much better way of doing it than making concessions on serious, substantive issues like reproductive rights.
For the last time. It's taking a principled stand on the small stuff, the seemingly unimportant stuff, the seemingly marginal stuff, that makes all the difference. It's what establishes your credibility, and gives you a reputation for consistency. All this will do is further cement the Democrats' reputation as being unprincipled opportunists, because everybody and his dog will figure out quickly that this is merely a ploy.

(How could they not? That's precisely what Yglesias is saying! What on earth is he thinking? Even if it were to be implemented, this strategy is the sort of thing you say in internal, sensitive memos, not on a bloody website!)

This is one of the reasons I can't get behind Hillary, other than the fact that she can't win and is a Republican's wet dream.

It's the anti-video game stuff.

Not only is it ludicrous, not only is it clearly opportunist, but it displays precisely the contempt for freedom of expression that Yglesias just did. It suggests that any issue of principled liberalism that doesn't test well in focus groups or come from a strategist's mouth is going to be ignored. Which sounds good, politically, except that once you start down the social conservative road, they're going to expect you to bend on the "big stuff" too, because they're ideologically principled enough to spot the connection between the two, and the Republicans are bright enough to turn any inconsistencies into bales and bales of political fodder.

Besides, is Hillary aware of just how many copies GTA sold? Some parents may be swayed by her anti-game stance, but not a single one of the adults that bought GTA, or any remotely violent game, are going to vote for her, any more than moviegoers would vote for her were she saying that movies needed to be censored.

Matthew, Hillary: it's a losing game. Be smart, and don't play it.

1 comment:

  1. Don Fitch6:59 PM

    Indeed, it's one thing to deplore something -- privately or publicly -- and urge people to avoid it, and quite another thing to attempt to prohibit it by law. Some things are so clearly harmful to society that we should take the latter course (murder, as the most obvious example), but censorship also has its serious perils, and I don't think it should be undertaken this lightly.

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