Conspicuous Indignation II

“The fact that the left did not make use of the lash does not stop the right from resorting to the backlash.”

Tim Dunlop over at Road to Surfdom is steamed up:

God, if I click on one more left-leaning blog that has a post about how bloody wonderful it is that Andrew Sullivan is opposing torture, I’m going to put someone in a stress position. Andrew Sullivan opposes torture! And said so out loud! Oh, how fucking wonderful. I am beside myself with admiration. I was actually cut off by a guy in big SUV when I was driving to the shops today and I didn’t get out and blast him in the head with a shotgun. Score another one for moral clarity.

We spent a fair bit of last week talking about Chris Sheil’s concept of conspicuous indignation. Chris argued that a typical ploy in the culture wars these days is to loudly denounce something or other, while knowing full well that nothing will actually change. PC killing Christmas, disco national anthems, communist t-shirts, etc. The exemplary case for Chris is abortion. Conservatives have spent decades decrying Roe v. Wade in the States while doing nothing much to see it reversed (which would lose the Republican Party a lot of votes). The beauty of this tactic is that you can get conservative voters concerned with “moral values” onside – you’re empathising, you’re saying something, it’s not your fault if the liberal media stops you taking action.

There’s a flipside to this, which Tim’s post points to. Over time, the Left has become so used to being beaten about the head, that it’s prepared to laud small mercies while giving up on putting out any positive agenda for change. Part of this, as Eric Hobsbawm argues, is due to the incoherence of many on the Left’s beliefs about the world and politics, and the inability of postmodern Left thought to generate truth claims and a universalism to counter the hegemonic discourse of “there is no alternative”, as Maggie Thatcher famously put it.

ELSEWHERE: Alex has the Gramscian angle at Psephological Catechism.

Gary Younge in the Guardian argues that:

Somewhere along the way those who once masqueraded as the leadership of the liberal left or who sought, at least, to confront the right, quite simply stopped making demands. Far from this being a strategic retreat in the face of the right’s superior numbers and resources, it has turned into a full-scale meltdown.

Take last week’s confirmation hearings of George Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales helped orchestrate and approve a blueprint for torture that was later exposed in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and, by all accounts, Guant¡namo Bay. He also described the Geneva convention’s limitations on questioning prisoners as “obsolete” and “quaint”.

Under interrogation, Gonzales developed a faulty memory on his involvement in both these matters and was evasive about many others. There is ample material here, you would think, for a reasonable liberal lash. A man seeking office who is connected to unseemly, brutal images that occurred as a result of an increasingly unpopular war seems fair game.

Younge observes that the criticism of Gonzales by Senator Joseph Biden (D, Delaware) was offset by his statement that Gonzales would be confirmed anyway. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Biden was influenced by the prospect of hysterical accusations to come:

Biden’s gentle prodding will no more protect him from rightwing accusations of being unpatriotic than John Kerry’s vote for the war prevented Republicans from portraying him as weak on defence. The fact that the left did not make use of the lash does not stop the right from resorting to the backlash.

Indeed, even the relatively mild inquisition Gonzales underwent was enough for Republican senator John Cornyn to brand the hearing as “unnecessarily partisan, even cruel” and claim that “only in Washington would a good man get raked over the coals only for doing his job”.

A large part of the difficulty is that the discourse of the populist Right is also often characterised by irrationalism and hyperbolic abuse. This sort of abuse often picks up on common sense, and seems to make self-evident sense because of the way that the media and the public sphere have been shaped over time to instil certain beliefs as “obviously true”.

Younge also notes that Left parties such as British Labour have given up even claiming that they stand for anything other than a watered down kinder, compassionate neo-liberalism or conservatism. “Neither right nor left”, triangulation and the Third Way rule supreme. But the parties of the Right have certainly not given up attacking the Left:

The trouble is they forgot to tell the right, which has carried on fighting for the interests of those it cares about most – the rich and powerful – even while the left has abandoned them.

And in tune with Chris’ concept of “conspicuous indignation”, Younge writes:

In the inconvenient instance that a real enemy, no matter how exaggerated, cannot be found, it constructs one: the “liberal establishment”, the “armies of political correctness”, the “liberal media” or “feminazis”. Then, with the enemy, real or invented, in place, it simply creates and inflates the crisis to suit, and bingo – the bespoke backlash. No lash required. Add venom and mix recklessly.

This sort of thing degrades public debate, makes a mockery of truth and rationality, and works. When the Left is reduced to thanking Andrew Sullivan for small mercies, you know it’s time to get back on the front foot.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

The liberal establishment, armies of political correctness, liberal media and feminazis are all very real.

The left is just upset because they’re finally being exposed and opposed after decades of controlling public discourse.

Welcome to the 21st Century, where the likes of The Guardian can no longer lie and deny their way out of trouble. The well-earned backlash against the hypocrisy of the Left is only beginning.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

EP, just a humble foot soldier in the army of political incorrectness…

ntp
ntp
2022 years ago

Hear Hear EP. A field commission for you…

Five minutes reading The Back Pages shows just how much work there is to do.

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
2022 years ago

Hyperbolic abuse is found along the political spectrum; in the Australian case you’d be hardpressed to match the left’s outpouring of hate directed at the PM or Pauline Hanson, or the automatic assumption that any policy that is prejudicial to people who are not white Christians must be motivated by bigotry, or any desire to better yourself financially in life must be motivated by selfishness or greed.

The left – right difference here is not whether hyperbolic abuse occurs. It is that the right sensibly targets its attacks on small targets who would never vote for them anyway, or even as the post suggests groups that don’t even exist.

The left, by contrast, sprays its abuse across virtually the entire population, including itself sometimes when constituencies clash, such as Greens versus workers. And then they wonder why people don’t vote for them.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I feel rude intruding. npt I love you. Re Andrew, a couple of quick ones. I agree with the last statement in some respects, but

“you’d be hardpressed to match the left’s outpouring of hate directed at the PM or Pauline Hanson”

Easy. The neo-liberal right matched it on Hanson exactly. You are discarding the whole Kelly, Hywood, Stutch, Sheridan (even) etc stream, which led the vitriol. The killing of Pauline Hanson was a quasi-conspiratorial mix of left and right-wing elites. At one stage the AFR ran a full-colour front page photo above or underneath which was a statement to the effect of ‘wanted, dead or alive’. The economistic elite was equally as appalled as the moralistic elite. Yet in obvious respects she was articulating recognisable Australian streams of thought. There is an interesting parallel between ruling and ruled ideologies of intolerant entertainment here, for future historians. My pet theory is that blind faith is a contagion, in whatever way it manifests.

zoot
zoot
2022 years ago

And how about the right’s outpouring of hate directed at PM Keating?

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

“the right sensibly targets its attacks on small targets who would never vote for them anyway”

Lovely, so wedge/race/intolerance politics at the expense of the most vulnerable is OK by Andrew Norton as well as OK by Howard et al, is it?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I love the way you jump to completely uinsupported conclusions based on nothing but your own prejudices, wbb. It’s so … leftist.

Robert
2022 years ago

I don’t think Andrew was saying the Right was justified in those attacks; rather that because they are more discriminate they have more success.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I certainly try not to abuse anyone. I’m still unsure as to what evidence Andrew has for this contention:

“The left, by contrast, sprays its abuse across virtually the entire population”

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

Yes, Robert’s reading is the correct one. So I apologise to Andrew.

(Evil Pee – I love you too. Just for being here.)

Nic White
2022 years ago

He is right in a way. The right tends to present a more united front against the left, while the left goes in degrees and tends to fight amoungst itself more, and with just as much vigour.

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
2022 years ago

‘You are discarding the whole Kelly, Hywood, Stutch, Sheridan (even) etc stream, which led the vitriol. ‘

None of these people are vitriol prone. Obviously nobody of their mindset is going to support Hanson, but public hate is another matter. I’ll need citations to be convinced of that one.

And Mark wants citations to be convinced of spraying abuse across the whole population. I have a few in an article published in Quadrant in April 2002 called ‘The Logic of the Labels’ (scroll down to pdf file here: http://home.iprimus.com.au/andrewnorton/publications.html) but this assertion was impressionistic.

I regularly shake my head witnessing the left in action, amazed at how inept they are, alienating potential supporters. It looks like I had better take notes as well.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Sheridan not given to vitriol?

I’ll concede that anti-racism is a more passionate cause than anti-economic certitudes, but pass on measuring relative ‘hate’ propensities along the political spectrum. Still, I can recall few more sustained media attacks on an individual than the AFR against Hanson at her peak.

In any event, all of this is largely beside Mark’s points.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Oops, “anti-economic certitudes” should read anti-economic nationalism, this being the other point on which Hanson offended the elite.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

For an example of “the left spraying its abuse across the entire population”, one need only look at the comments posted on Back Pages immediately after the last federal election.

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

Eee Pee, if you were serious, you’d be dangerous. I also love you, cause you make me smile time & time again. Things to love Eee Pee for include:

– a mortgage on the term “feminazi” – use 10 times a day, and if pain persists, see a doctor.
– a mortgage on using the term “the left” to describe anyone whose philosophy veers remotely from your own.

as i recall the BP contributors post-Oct 9, there was much sadness, despair, and a sense of resignation. a few posters may have expressed some vitriol. perhaps you could back up your sweeping generalisation with a quote or three? or perhaps not…

Toryhere
Toryhere
2022 years ago

The left’s latest trope seems to be “Gee ma, these nasty Conservatives are pickin’ on we poor little Lefties. They are so tough, we just think that they should go easier on us.”

Do me a favour! The reason why the left is getting the bejasus kicked out of it in the culture wars and in political discourse is because its ideas are stale and just plain wrong.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Thanks for the link to the article, Andrew. It’s an interesting read – always intriguing to see a bit of class analysis. I might save up my thoughts on it for another post sometime.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I should say that I disagree with the sort of comments you cite from Anne Summers et al. Condemning Australians generally is neither correct nor politically helpful. I think Chris would agree – I’m sure this point was made at BackPages more than once.

John Forth
John Forth
2022 years ago

Anyone ever noticed that the only people that actually use the word “hate” are the right wing propaganda hacks.
And they also specialise in attacking the man (pun). Look how the likes of Christopher Pearson and the Quadrant crowd hate Robert Manne with a vengeance.

John

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

You lefties have such short memories, Viacollins. Here are a few samples from just one comment thread. And yes, it will all come back to haunt you at the next election.
http://backpagesblog.com/cgi-bin/weblog/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=671

The whole thing was a sham. It was from day one. It is obvious to everyone but the blindly stupid and the mentally impaired that John Howard has lied and lied. Over and over and over again. That every press outlet in the country is prepared to turn a blind eye and that people are so easily bribed is what makes people like me so angry. That is why I will be death riding these fools. Fools that are either to scared or too stupid to see past the next bribe or an obvious lie. They deserve everything that they’ve got coming to them.

The average Australian voter, with little interest in the complexities of the real world, the world beyond their familiar boundaries, and with an instinctive desire to trust their leaders, will readily believe the message that comes from on high, via the mass media. They have no reason to look behind the headlines of the day. If the media play the same theme day after day, the masses will accept it as fact, even in the absence of evidence.

An unthinking, disengaged electorate has voted like sheep for the man who promises them cargo, urged on by the cheap spruikers who have promoted him to the status of an infallible demi-god. The voters have swallowed the false theory that democracy is only about voting. It is also about thinking. And there has been precious, bloody little of that lately.

The cargo-cult lives on in the followers of the rodent. Nailed that right. As for the sheep, well, we all know what eventually happens to them. Lamb chop anyone?

I try not to care about Tassie (one of the reasons I left was because I couldn’t bear to see the destruction – and not be able to do anything about it), and I’m sure with practice under this government I will succeed in not caring about anything or anyone except myself. And to that end, I’ll be waiting to catch the bargains when the aspirationals put their McMansions on the mortgagee “must sell now” fire sales. Don’t know why I didn’t do it before: being selfish is so much easier.

What will become of all Ratty’s “inspirationals” when interest rates rise and the banks foreclose on those $300,000 mortgages? Where will they live what with the shortage of public housing and rental accommadation. How ironic if they were forced to pitch a tent alongside the much despised (by them)Aboriginal Embassy.

The great unthinking, materialists will suffer during the coming 3 years as the economy heads down a hole.

…the natural selfishness of middle Australia

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Some more fine examples of left-wing hatred for the Australian public can be found here:

http://www.whackingday.com/permarch_oct04/10oct04.htm#re

Way to get the vote out, guys.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I think the explanation of election campaigns and partisanship as akin to a relationship breakup has a lot to commend it in this context, EP:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041220&s=schulz

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I think that particular article started off with a promising concept, but quickly veered off into self-serving rhetoric.

It could indeed be said that a political party or movement courts the electorate, and then feels the pain of rejection when the populace chooses its rival instead. But the author avoided this insight, choosing instead to indulge in partisan drivel.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

And on the same thread, EP, Zoe said:

“A very sad day.
Congratulations to them. I’d still rather be us – us winning, but us.”

And I said this:

“I said this on the other thread, but I think that all of us @ BP have to take a very long view and realise that it is exceedingly difficult to create any sense of community in a capitalist society and that any gains for the Left are incremental at best and against the tide. How then, to turn the tide? It has to be an act of faith for a start, and then an attempt to model a different way of living in your own life style and build community where you can. That’s the precondition for political change – not rage. Let us rededicate ourselves again and again to building a world that we are proud of and where we feel like our selves and not alienated beings. Realism is not incompatible with idealism – it should rather be a spur to fight and never give up hope.”

Note the argument against rage.

Oh, and this little interchange:

“We believe in the willingness of Australians to do the right thing. We have faith that the voters, if they have access to the facts, will make the moral, ethical choice.

No you don’t. When the voters choose someone you don’t like, you left-wingnuts call them stupid, brainwashed, greedy, racist, blah, blah, blah. You chuck hissy fits and say you’re ashamed to be Australian, that you’re going to leave the country, that you will take joy in watching people lose their houses when interest rates go up.

All of that is in the two most recent election threads. That’s the petulant, elitist attitude you display.”

That’s EP. I said:

“EP, speaking as a left-wing nut, I don’t hold that view.”

Oh, and it’s interesting to note some consistency from me:

“I’m going to go against the grain of the blog and say that I don’t think Latham is a good policy communicator. And to reiterate my longheld and often restated concerns about his moral authoritarianism and his lack of cultural ‘fit’ with the Australian Labor Party in his identification with Blair’s ‘Third Way’ and Clinton’s agenda (having recently read Clinton’s autobiography and re-read Martin Walker’s ‘The President They Deserve’ – it’s striking how much of Latham’s tactics and rhetoric echo Clinton in the 92 campaign). Julia Gillard for Labor Leader – a certainty in ’07 against Tony Abbott (watch for Costello to crash and burn – Howard will spend the next term plotting to deny him the succession).”

And Chris said this:

“Come on folks. As bad as it feels, let’s be civilised in defeat … ”

You’re picking a time when emotions were bound to be running very high, EP, and reporting it selectively in the service of your usual sweeping generalisations about “The Left”.

Good Pundit
Good Pundit
2022 years ago

I’m sorry. Its just that little EP hasn’t taken his medication.

Remember what we said the other night when you started throwing darts at Kerry O’Brien and when you suggested that Andrew Denton should be burnt at the stake. We warned you that we’ll institute a zero tolerance policy and send you to Sweden.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Let’s make a list of right wing commentators who never descend to any kind of hatred, generalisations, vitriol or straw men.

I nominate Christopher Pearson, Andrew Bolt. Paddy Myguinness and Imre Saluzenski. Saints the lot of them.

Let’s make another list of left wing commentators in the meedja who wallow in the kind of viciousness and generalisations that Evil Pee so ably describes.

I nominate…… um….. quick, I’m looking for a devil or two. Horns, red costumes, tridents… they must be here somewhere..

One of the things I really admire about the right on the blogosphere is their innate consideration for the feelings of their opponents. They understand so well that if they are disciplined and clear minded, they will harvest the votes of their readers for the cause of Truth and Freedom.

Comments like this are just so convincing, so full of relentless and invincible logic:

“Do me a favour! The reason why the left is getting the bejasus kicked out of it in the culture wars and in political discourse is because its ideas are stale and just plain wrong.”

These people would rather die than resort to baldfaced unsupported assertions.

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

And it will be Sweden in a time without men….and lots and lots of liberal media….oh please, take me there Good Pundit.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Silly Mark. What a waste of quotes.

If you’ll re-read the thread, you’ll see that what I originally said was this: For an example of “the left spraying its abuse across the entire population”, one need only look at the comments posted on Back Pages immediately after the last federal election.

Then Viacollins came along and stupidly claimed that my statement was incorrect. And asked for “a quote or three” to back up my quite obviously correct statement.

So I supplied eight quotes from a single thread to demonstrate the idiocy of Viacollins’ uninformed opinion.

Your quotes, though well intentioned, are irrelevant to the point that was being made.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

“Let’s make another list of left wing commentators in the meedja who wallow in the kind of viciousness and generalisations that Evil Pee so ably describes. I nominate…… um…..”

David Silly is none too bright. Even though he’s a lefty, he can’t remember such names as Phillip Adams, Margo Kingston, David Marr, Alan Ramsey, Marian Wilkinson, Mike Carlton, Adele Horin, Anne Summers, Robert Manne … the list just never ends.

Take more of your prescribed medications and less Ajax, David.

viacollins
viacollins
2022 years ago

strewth EP, I thought Mark quite delicately illustrated where your point had lost air, and collapsed. i should have thought you’d be grateful!

my inference was that you were misrepresenting the tone of BP post-election. it was a little disingenuous to ask for quotes, as some of those threads went into high 100s, and a few lines out of context are a little thin for value.

but Mark, bless him, made my point quite eloquently.

David Silly? Coffee all over my screen Eee Pee, you’re simply the best.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

We all love EP, Viacollins. If he ever visits Brisvegas I’ll happily take him out for a good dinner at the Himalayan Cafe on Brunswick St (complete with numerous ‘Free Tibet’ posters and a Swedish waitress who’s a supporter of social democracy) so he can observe the latte-sipping left in their natural generous and relaxed habitat.

John Forth
John Forth
2022 years ago

Anyone remember the film THE TRUMAN SHOW.

John Howard would have been the mayor of that oh so nice, totally controlled, entirely predictable, middle class dream world. The a-historical oh so squeaky clean white world of Disneyland and Normam Rockwell and plastic “jesus”.
The land of the 24 hour surveillence giant shopping mall cargo cult.
The shopping mall.The anti-community space where you cant even go bare feet or sit down to long without being prompted to move on and shop. No spontenaity allowed.

I shop therefore I am is the ruling paradigm.
The consumer is king and queen.

John Howard is also the father/character played by William Macey in the film PLEASANTVILLE who wanders around in a daze asking “Where is my dinner?”. Could you imagine Janet as Macey’s free spirited wife?
Welcome to the real (or reel?) world.
No wonder the good burghers are frightened of the raw larrikin energy of Mark Latham!
John

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

So where are we? Mark are you willing to concede that vitriol exists on both sides? You probably are of course but there is a tone in your posts that suggests you would rather not.

There is undoubtably a lot of right wing bile out there, I’ve spewed a fair bit myself. Why is it when we of the Right are “in ascendency”, if you will, that we persist in running victorious through the blogs pillaging and burning and biling lefties? Why bother? Haven’t we got what we wanted? Well we have some of what we want and perhaps all that we can reasonably ask for. I think the bile persists because the tone of the left when referring to the right stirs us up.

It would not surprise me at all, Mark, if you genuinely were making an attempt to be as centrist in your postings as you can possibly be. There is a distinct vibe, of quiet, reasoned editorial here at Troppo which is fine but it is currently underpinned by an assumption that the right is somehow, grubby, and (patronising chuckle) thick. It kind of negates the quietness and the reasonableness. It is vitriol by stealth.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Interesting comment, James.

“So where are we? Mark are you willing to concede that vitriol exists on both sides? You probably are of course but there is a tone in your posts that suggests you would rather not.”

Yes. I’m not sure that assessment of my tone is right. I guess I’m prone to going easier on my own side, but I like to think I’m intellectually honest and will criticise intemperant and unhelpful comments by the Left. With regard to columnists, for instance, I could happily deconstruct Phillip Adams and I’ve had a go at him once (as well as Clive Hamilton), but I think that it’s justifiable to focus on those media figures who because of the general tone of media commentary tend to have the upper hand. In other words, I think that the Right is winning the “culture wars” so there’s a case to be made for some selectivity in taking on their arguments.

“Why is it when we of the Right are “in ascendency”, if you will, that we persist in running victorious through the blogs pillaging and burning and biling lefties? Why bother?”

I don’t know. EP, I think does it as a hobby. People like you engage with the arguments. Andrew Norton is open to discussion also. There’s no point claiming that all right wing commenters are RWDBs, but I suspect that the phenomenon you identify might be the obverse of what EP accuses Left-wing commenters of doing.

“I think the bile persists because the tone of the left when referring to the right stirs us up.”

Yep, and I think that cuts both ways.

“It would not surprise me at all, Mark, if you genuinely were making an attempt to be as centrist in your postings as you can possibly be.”

Yes I am because my interest here is in communicating and provoking debate not in scoring points or ranting.

“There is a distinct vibe, of quiet, reasoned editorial here at Troppo which is fine but it is currently underpinned by an assumption that the right is somehow, grubby, and (patronising chuckle) thick. It kind of negates the quietness and the reasonableness. It is vitriol by stealth.”

That seems a bit strong to me, James. As I said above, I have partisan views and it’s no surprise that they are expressed sometimes. I try not to be patronising generally. I don’t assume that people are thick. Can you provide an example of “vitriol by stealth”? It may well be an impressionistic judgement, but it’s easier for me to understand where you’re coming from if you can cite specific instances.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

My take here is that so many of the self-proclaimed RWDBs are determined to fight with anyone who doesn’t agree with them lock, stock and empty barrel – even before they realise it.

And for some reason, they think calling anyone who doesn’t agree with them a leftist just automatically proves their point – a point which as far as I can see is “If you disagree with me, you’re a leftist and I know yer a leftist cos you disagree with me.”

Rafe
2022 years ago

I like the tone and the content of Nabakov’s comment althought I would want to ask some questions about free healthcare and education. Like what about means testing?

Also as a non-partisan in party politics (though I do vote) I am not concerned about people questioning the sagacity of Bush and Howard, though I would prefer to focus on policies and their outcomes.

I am concerned about the dehumanising way that Howard is treated by leftwing cartoonists and I still think that a serious research project is required to find out why so many Labor/left people have conceived a virulent hatred for him.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Rafe, cartoonists tend to do that to everyone. But on the broader issue, one would also need to look at hatred of Keating and Clinton (though I’m unconvinced that the “hatred” of Howard is as widespread as it’s made out to be). I suspect it’s correlated with both an increase in partisanship and a decline in civility and the influence of new media as well as shifts in old media. But, yeah, it’d be worth a research project.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

“the dehumanising way that Howard is treated by leftwing cartoonists”

Cartoonists dehumanise everyone. That’s their job. I don’t recall Hawke or Keating being treated that kindly either. Google “James Gillray” and work forwards.

“why so many Labor/left people have conceived a virulent hatred for him.”

…why so many Liberal/right people have conceived a virulent hatred for Keating…

…why so many Republican/right people have conceived a virulent hatred for Clinton…

I guess it’s virulent times. My point, which I’m glad to see you seem to have got, is why take your virulence out on yer fellow citizens just because they disagree with you?

Or as Humphrey Bogart once said, “The world is just two martinis behind.”

Tim Lambert
2022 years ago

Last year the Lancet published a study that found that deaths in Iraq had increased significantly after the invasion. This prompted a vast outpouring of ill-informed criticism, mostly from pro-war commentators. I wrote some posts (ok a lot of posts) correcting the basic statistical and other errors they made. The response from many of the right wingers was to accuse me of being a supporter of Saddam Hussein. For instance, C.L. wrote “Glad you’ve found some studies to laughably juggle into a conclusiveness that suits your prejudices Tim. Why not just have the courage to say it? Release Saddam from prison immediately. For the children.”

I really hope truth and rationality will win in the end.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

“I really hope truth and rationality will win in the end.”

Oh stop being such a gloomy gus Tim. Truth and rationality always wins in the end.

For example, we wouldn’t be having this online conversation right now if some of our ancestors weren’t prepared to put truth and rationality to work to investigate electricity as more than just the ejaculation of the gods.

I’ll leave you to guess which regular bloggers/commentators around these parts would have been complaining bitterly back then about meddling with the natural order of things.

Polly
Polly
2022 years ago

I am bemused by the “howard-hater” claims – I have met many people who disagree with him but I have never met anyone who hates him.
Is hate an antonym of disagrees?

Polly
Polly
2022 years ago

That should be synonym. Never was good with language.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

That’s my suspicion as well, Polly. I think the “Howard haters” terminology is largely just a beat-up to go along with the conspicuous indignation about latte-sippers etc.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

I’ll own up to hating Howard, mainly because of refugee issues. But it’s a measured, rational, hatred. I think a serious research project is required to determine why Howard supporters can’t distinguish between common or garden hatred of Howard and ‘visceral’ – that’s the usual qualifier, but you may insert ‘rabid’, ‘consuming’, ‘apoplectic’ (or even ‘virulent’, if that’s what Rafe really meant) – hatred of Howard. It reminds me of people who accuse you of ‘blind loyalty’ when you’re only being loyal, or ‘mawkishly sentimental’ when you’re only being sentimental.

Polly
Polly
2022 years ago

James is it really hatred or a very strong disagreement with his policy position and dislike of his tactics?
I strongly disagree with many Lib policies, their dishonesty and tactics but it is certainly not hatred.
The equivalent would be saying you loved Latham because you agreed with his Medicare Gold policy. Well I certainly don’t love Latham although I did like Mediare Gold.
I reserve love for my family and friends.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Polly, I think that love and hate have always been used for kings and statesmen without being confused with what we feel towards our families or bullying bosses. It was reasonable, for example, to say that people – not all of them, of course – loved William Deane. It’s the mandatory qualifiers like visceral that I object to, because they imply irrational prejudice, in effect confusing cause and effect. I don’t object to the ‘Pacific Solution’, for example, because it was cooked up by someone whom I happen to nurture an obsessive loathing for; rather, I hate Howard because he implemented a cruel policy in my name.