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November 17, 2004

What Hume can teach us about our partisan divisions

Elizabeth Anderson: November 17, 2004

How can "the Left" can get across to "the Right"?  To figure out how to do this, we need to understand what divides us.  On this question, Hume offers indispensable guidance.  In his great essay, "Of Parties in General," Hume argued that partisan divisions can be traced to three sources:  differences in interest, differences in principle (ideology), and differences in affection (identity politics: sympathy for "us," antipathy against "them").

Hume observed that differences in interest are the most "reasonable."  They are most open to compromise and negotiation.  Moreover, arguments about what policies are in people's interest are most open to revision in light of evidence.   If interests were all that divided us, the Democratic Party (what there is of the Left that has institutional power) would enjoy an overwhelming majority, since it represents the interests of the bulk of the population, while Republican policies favor mainly the rich.  Most people understand this, and the Left can offer sound arguments and evidence to persuade those who disagree.

Differences in principle or ideology are less tractable, because they are less open to revision in light of evidence.  For example, arguments over the morality of abortion turn in part on when a person with human rights comes into existence.  This question cannot be settled by evidence.  And few are persuaded by academic arguments, although such arguments can soften up excessive confidence in certain ideologies by highlighting incoherencies, and pointing to evidence that the roots of one's commitments lie elsewhere than in the principle to which one has avowed allegiance.   For example, arguments can show to those who oppose abortion except in cases of rape that the claim that abortion is murder cannot explain their views.

Hume, who took religious conflicts as his paradigm, thought that disagreements of principle were almost wholly intractable and often bordered on madness. 

(Call this "the fact of unreasonable pluralism.")  The classical liberal solution to such conflicts has therefore been to privatize them:  get the state out of the business of promoting one principle or another, and leave decisions about such matters up to private, voluntary decisions.  This solution is looking less viable for today's conflicts of principle, for at least 3 reasons.  First, the things we expect the state to do these days make it harder for the state to claim neutrality.  Is teaching evolution in the public schools a neutral scientific position, or an attack on fundamentalist Christianity?  Is offering partner benefits to gay public employees a neutral nondiscriminatory position, or an endorsement of homosexuality? Second, some of today's conflicts over "moral values", including abortion and gay rights, are also conflicts of justice that require an adjudication of conflicting claims.  Privatization does not so much adjudicate such claims as completely ignore one side.  Third, the Left needs to face up to the fact that people do look to politics for inspiration, not just for the advancement of their interests. Privatization looks to many like flabby, unprincipled moral relativism, indifference to moral concerns, or worse, in light of the Left's interest-based politics, an advocacy of crude materialistic values over more vital moral and spiritual concerns.

How can the Left get through to the Right on matters of principle? First, by recalling the inspiring principles of human dignity, equality, and democracy that underwrite liberalism's greatest achievements.  When was the last time a Democratic politician delivered a speech as awesome as President Johnson's "We Shall Overcome"?  (I know, Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention:  but that was jaw-dropping precisely because the Left hasn't talked this way for 40 years.)  Second, by recalling that there is a domain of experience to which principled convictions are accountable:  only it is a personal, emotional kind of experience, revealed not in social scientific data, but in compelling narratives that people tell of how awful they found it to be forced to live under certain principles, and how splendid they found it to live under others.  (I'll illustrate this in a future posting on abortion.)

Finally, we must confront the least-discussed source of the Left's political misfortunes:  identity politics.  Hume recognized that identity politics is at least as much about mobilizing antipathy toward "them" as it is about shoring up solidarity among "us."  Although the fractious Democratic party contains elements of identity politics among its constituents, liberal politicians, committed to universalist, cosmopolitan principles, have never had much stomach for playing it themselves.  The current conservative complaints about the contempt blue-staters have for red-staters ignores this difference.  While there are plenty of secular liberal Democrats in the rank-and-file who hold fundamentalist Christians in contempt, no Democratic party leader has based a campaign on railing against "Bible-thumping religious fanatics."  By contrast, Republican party leaders have been playing a nasty style of identity politics for a long time, ranging from outrageous smear campaigns against individual Democrats (e.g., Swift Boat Veterans against Kerry) to demonization and mockery of broad groups of Democratic constituents (blacks, gays, feminists, liberals, immigrants, single mothers, seculars, urban cosmopolitans, environmentalists, trial lawyers, etc.).  They have aggressively mobilized every form of antipathy--hatred, contempt, fear, resentment, anger--against the Left, making it timid and ashamed of itself.  No incident was more telling in this regard than the moment in the Bush-Dukakis debates when Bush held up Dukakis' membership in the ACLU as a point of dishonor, and Dukakis failed to respond, choosing instead to change the subject to "competence."  By such means, Republicans successfully turned "liberal" into a pornographic term, fit for mention ("the L-word"), but not use.

How can the Left get through to the Right in the face of its mass mobilization of individual and group antipathies?  By standing up for ourselves, proudly defending our positions, ideals, and identities, and exposing the Right's tactics for what they are:  ugly, nasty, small-minded bigotry.  To open up free and common space for high-minded dialogue based on reason and evidence, for "deliberative democracy," the ground must be cleared of the toxic waste of slander and hatred. As Dukakis showed through his negative example, this is a task that cannot be accomplished by high-minded discourse itself.  It is time for the Left to muster up outrage, to call out the Right when it stoops to despicable tactics, and yes, even to mock and deride it for doing so (not when it argues from genuine principles, however benighted we might think such principles to be).  It is time for the Left to make the Right feel ashamed of its nastiness.


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Posted by: David V.

[A]rguments can show to those who oppose abortion except in cases of rape that the claim that abortion is murder cannot explain their views.

I know that this isn't the main point of your post, but I wanted to raise a doubt about it.

In general, I think that the "self-defense" justification of abortion is utterly lame. When I taught Bioethics, I used to present Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" [subscription] as an example of how not to do philosophy. But in the case of rape, the "self-defense" justification may have some validity. A pregnancy resulting from rape can be viewed -- and may well be experienced by the victim -- as a continuation of the violation embodied in the crime itself. Being forced to carry such a pregnancy to term would be tantamount to being forced to continue suffering the crime. Of course, the fetus isn't the one guilty of the crime, and so the moral question (from the perspective of those who regard the fetus as a person) would be to what extent one is entitled to harm "bystanders" in defending oneself from harm. I don't say that the answer would necessarily favor an exception for abortion in the case of rape -- only that those who make such an exception are not necessarily being inconsistent.

Posted by: David V. | Nov 20, 2004 4:56:07 PM

Posted by: Paul Velleman

I like this argument very much. But you may be a bit too pessimistic about the rarity of strong reasoned comment from Democratic leaders. After Johnson's speech, we had Mario Cuomo's 1984 keynote and a his speech at Notre Dame on church and state (and, notably, abortion rights).

More recently, Al Gore has given some speeches that are on this target, if aimed a bit high. For example, his MoveOn-sponsored address .

But the occasional inspiring speech isn't enough. We'll need a consistent flow of such messages.

Posted by: Paul Velleman | Nov 24, 2004 10:16:36 PM

Posted by: Realish

Two things strike me about your last paragraph.

One is, it's absolutely right. We need to demonize a little bit -- there's plenty of material to do so honestly. We need some righteous fire and some merciless mockery.

Second, if I was a firebreathing Republican, I would laugh out loud at it. It is so hedged, so timid, like a librarian clutching her purse and threatening a mugger with it. I fear that thoughtful people on the left just don't have what it takes to do this sort of thing. They are too analytical, too self-conscious. I don't mean this as an insult, of course, just a sociological observation. I have no idea what to do about it.

Posted by: Realish | Dec 7, 2004 1:34:56 AM

Posted by: Chris Martin

I was saddened that the Democratic party did not find it fit to refer to Bush as a liar during the campaign, despite plenty of evidence that he was. The "moral values" voters do not respect lying, especially when they are the people being lied to.

Lying is in fact a major strategy of the Republican party -- they lie about their policies and they lie about Democrats. We desperately need to stop people from believing both of these types of lies, especially the latter. If the Democrats can equate Republicans with liars in the national psyche, we will have started to win. The way to do this is make that the consistent message, just as the consistent (and false) message of Republicans was that Kerry is a flip-flopper.

Democrats need to control the image of the Republican party in the same way that Republicans have controlled the image of the Democratic party. They didn't even have evidence on their side. We do have the evidence on our side.

Posted by: Chris Martin | Dec 7, 2004 10:22:21 AM

Posted by: Hayek

If interests were all that divided us, the Democratic Party (what there is of the Left that has institutional power) would enjoy an overwhelming majority, since it represents the interests of the bulk of the population, while Republican policies favor mainly the rich.
If you want to communicate with the right, you'll need to purge this kind of bias from your writing and, preferably, from your thinking. The premise is at the very least highly controversial, which you don't seem to recognize, it is also seriously flawed. For instance, does opposition to gay marriage favor the rich? Do school vouchers?

Posted by: Hayek | Dec 7, 2004 12:18:03 PM

Posted by: baa

"Although the fractious Democratic party contains elements of identity politics among its constituents, liberal politicians, committed to universalist, cosmopolitan principles, have never had much stomach for playing it themselves"

Very droll. If I may make two suggestions to the very intelligent and well-intentioned participants on this blog:

1. Please dispense with ungrounded assertions about how conservatives/republicans do X more than liberals/democrats, where X is some nefarious practice. It is my experience that everyone believes the other side plays dirtier, and almost no one attempts to substantiate this belief.

2. When arguing in your own cause, be modest and precise. These virtues should come naturally to philsophers, and nothing cheeses off opponents more than a sloppy dismissal of their position. As Professor Velleman notes, it is false that one cannot hold both that abortion is mruder and that abortion in the case is permissable. It is still less true that one cannot hold that abortion is a grievous moral wrong, and believe it to be permissable (or more permissable) in cases of rape. It is my understanding that Rosalind Hurthouse holds a position something like this.

Posted by: baa | Dec 7, 2004 1:07:41 PM

Posted by: SamChevre

Identity politics are characteristic of Republicans? In which universe? One of the most frequently leveled accusations against the Democrats is that they are the party of identity politics--that they see the country as composed primarily of groups (defined by national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, etc) rather than of individuals. The demonization of Ward Connerly plays into this understanding very strongly.

Posted by: SamChevre | Dec 7, 2004 2:25:46 PM

Posted by: Elizabeth Anderson

Hayek objects to my claim that Democratic interest-based policies advance the interests of the bulk of the population, while Republican interest-based policies favor the rich, by asking:

"does opposition to gay marriage favor the rich? Do school vouchers?".

Following Hume, I divide political differences into questions of interest, principle, and identity. Opposition to gay marriage is fundamentally a matter of principle (moral values), not interests, and hence was not included in my statement.

The voucher question is less clear-cut, since some conservatives advance vouchers as a means to enable poor children to escape failing public schools. To the extent that they do so, they may be a good idea. But few if conservatives would be happy with a voucher system limited to poor students in failing schools. Most want to universalize vouchers. Although I don't have the space to argue for this here, I do believe that virtually any specification of a universal voucher system acceptable to conservatives would favor the rich by widening the achievement gap between the rich and the poor and by further segregating classes of advantaged and disadvantaged people.

SamChevre thinks it incredible to charge the Republicans with identity politics, given that they identify with an individualistic ideology. My point was not about ideology (principle), but the moblization of antipathy against groups with whom one does not identify. There are certainly more multiculturalists among Democrats than Republicans, but they believe in the "Rainbow coalition." By contrast, Rush Limbaugh refers to "feminazis"; Ann Coulter calls liberals "traitors"; Focus on the Family leader James Dobson calls Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy a "God's people hater." Neither the so-called "liberal" media nor people of comparable positions of influence in the Democratic Party as Dobson has in the Republican Party make it a habit to stir up group-based antipathies with this kind of invective.

Posted by: Elizabeth Anderson | Dec 7, 2004 3:08:50 PM

Posted by: Mona

I think emblematic of your whole failure to understand the "right" is how you dismiss and characterize the Swift Boat Vets and POWS for Truth. Some of these men are Democrats or independents. One of the most vociferous had been chair of a vets group to elect a Dem governor in Virginia. Many may be Republicans, and the tiny amount of seed money that launched them came from a GOP operative (and where else where they supposed to go -- George Soros?), but they were not a GOP front group. They DESPISE John Kerry and most that he stands for where the military and expected bonds among brothers in service are concerned.

Read their web site, the articles they repost there, the explanation they themselves give for their motives. If you do not understand what motivated these 280 vets/POWs, you cannot grasp what an enormous mistake it was for the DNC to nominate John Kerry. I personally know a left-leaning lawyer who is a Vietnam Vet, and he would not have voted for John Kerry to run his municipal sewer system.

Posted by: Mona | Dec 7, 2004 10:45:56 PM

Posted by: Ethesis (Stephen M)

If interests were all that divided us, the Democratic Party (what there is of the Left that has institutional power) would enjoy an overwhelming majority, since it represents the interests of the bulk of the population, while Republican policies favor mainly the rich. Most people understand this, and the Left can offer sound arguments and evidence to persuade those who disagree.

Well, you should have the linkback from read by now, which illustrates, that for Kansas (at least) this is not true, they were voting their economic interest.

But it does illustrate something important. The Democratic Party "thinks" it represents the interests of the bulk of the population while the bulk of the population does not agree, often for good reasons.

That is the key to understanding much of the problem in communication.

I should note that one of the law professors who influenced my thinking the most was one of the few Democrats at BYU -- yet over 70 local governments were consulting with him by the time I graduated, because he was able to demonstrate that the things he felt they should do on moral grounds were also the best on practical grounds. Self-interest motivated all of them directly and dramatically. It was fascinating to watch them all act like progressives to the extent they interacted with him. More than twenty years later, I still learn from reflecting on things he said.

Guess I should blog on my own blog about him. I need to.

Posted by: Ethesis (Stephen M) | Dec 8, 2004 1:10:32 AM

Posted by: Bruce Allardice

According to the article, Republicans are guilty of "ugly, nasty, small-mided bigotry.. toxic waste of slander and hatred ... despicable... outrageous..", just to pick a few of the epithets. Funny, I've read Hume, and I don't remember him ever using these words about people who disagreed with him. I guess that shows how much Liberals are committed to having a dialogue with Republicans.

Posted by: Bruce Allardice | Dec 8, 2004 1:31:24 AM

Posted by: Elizabeth Anderson

Bruce Allardice misunderstands my position. For serious dialogue to proceed, hate-mongering must be called out for what it is. I'm not saying that all Republicans do this. But Ann Coulter, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth"? That's their basic m.o. I welcome dialogue with Republicans who argue on the basis of interests and principle rather than antipathy. But to pretend that this is what Coulter et al are doing is a recipe for getting steamrolled by them.

Posted by: Elizabeth Anderson | Dec 8, 2004 3:04:22 AM

Posted by: GiantsFan

Um, what about people like Michael Moore, Al Franken, and Maxine Waters? I don't think that the right has some sort of corner on the market when it comes to demonizing opponents based on their identity.

In fact, I can say that as a conservative attorney in San Francisco I do not feel at all comfortable sharing my true political views with my co-workers. Real hatred for Republicans abounds. Many people I work with take it as a given that Republicans are small-minded, racist bigots. Kind of like you apparently do, Elizabeth.

Is it any wonder that the Democrats aren't reaching through to the red states? :P

Posted by: GiantsFan | Dec 8, 2004 3:50:27 AM

Posted by: Jeremy Pierce

Elizabeth, you hold up Ann Coulter, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Swift Boat Veterans as paradigm cases of Republicans, but then you insist that Democrats aren't like that because the party leaders and elected officials aren't like that. None of those people is a party leader or elected official. They compare to Al Franken, James Carville, Michael Moore,, and all the other hate-mongering on the left. I don't think I'll agree with you that all the people you listed are hate-mongers, but if they are then so are the people I listed. Your claim that elected officials and party leaders aren't like that needs to be balanced with the observation that Republican elected officials and party leaders aren't either.

Also, one of the biggest obstacles to getting the liberal message heard by those tuned to the way the conservative message is framed will be people who say the kinds of things you say. The purpose of this blog is to try to bridge the gulf. Offending people at the very start doesn't seem to me to be the best strategy for doing that, and there's much that's offensive in your post. You seem to be ignoring those of us who are convinced after having read the liberal arguments that conservative policies genuinely are better for everyone.

I happen to think affirmative action is very harmful to those it's intended to help, at least in the university/college admissions setting (though there is still a need for it in the workplace). I happen to think the unmitigated dependency on low income from welfare has been devastating to black America, and only with the paternalistic welfare (argued from the interests of those who receive welfare) instituted by Republicans with Clinton's help has that begun to change, though I don't like everything they did in that reform. I think Republicans have very good reasons for being careful about emissions requirements that will make it tougher for poorer people to own a vehicle. These are just examples, but it's extremely condescending to make such broad-sweeping claims about how there's no way conservative positions can be justified upon examination, because all those like me who have done so will just tune you out as not worth listening to, convinced that you haven't examined the issues enough to know what the arguments even are. I'm 100% convinced that most academics don't even understand the Christian view on homosexuality, but of course most Christians don't either, at least in this country.

Even saying that "most people understand this" just sounds to me like the kind of group-think being surrounded by similar-minded people will cause. Most people don't think as if the Democrats are concerned about everyone and as if the Republicans are concerned about the rich. Most Democrats I know think that, but most Republcans I know realize that Republicans hold the views they hold because they're convinced that they genuinely are in favor of everyone and the Democrats' views are not but are just played to look that way to voters. These are not just people who listen to spin, either. People who have really studied the issues and listened to the other side can come to these conclusions about liberal policies that they're simply designed to keep certain voting populations in check by looking like they're helping while really just creating dependencies and "keeping the black man down" etc. It doesn't take being stupid or not understanding the arguments to see this. All it takes is being willing to observe something that ideology prevents many people from seeing. There's ideology on both sides, and I think leftward ideology has blinded many liberals to the negative consequences of liberal views on social justice.

Posted by: Jeremy Pierce | Dec 8, 2004 4:37:44 PM

Posted by: Russell Nelson

It is of course the leftists who turned "liberal" into an unmentionable term, a parody of its former self. That the concept behind "liberal" is a desirable one can be seen by the left's continued insistance on stealing it from its rightful owners, social liberals who are economic conservatives. This theft continues anew with the promotion in some quarters of the term "left-libertarian". There are no left-libertarians. To be a leftist is to deny and decry the conditions required to be a libertarian: to firmly and bluntly set forth the idea that government is in each and every case the enemy of all that is right, good, and peaceful.

Posted by: Russell Nelson | Dec 9, 2004 2:02:37 AM

Posted by: Jeff Read

Actually the leftists are decrying the theft of the term "libertarianism" from them, as it ostensibly originally had socialist connotations (all property being theft or bondage and all that).

Serves 'em right though. They borrowed "liberal" from us and it's still sitting in their garage.

Posted by: Jeff Read | Dec 12, 2004 6:27:08 PM

Posted by: LPFabulous

I know I'm coming to this discussion a little late, but there are some really obvious things that need to be said.

First, it's probably the case that "the Right" is hardly the sort of monolithic, firebreathing demon that you seem to think it is. Other commenters have been more than eager to point out that Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are no more the voice of the Republican Party than Al Franken and Michael Moore are of the Democratic Party.

The only problem with that analysis, however, is that Michael Moore actually might be the voice of the Democratic Party, which brings me to my second point. This post is characteristic of everything you think the GOP unfairly portrays the left as being: whiny, weak, and eggheaded. When the school bully picks on you, you don't call him out and tell him why his actions don't comport with the categorical imperative; you punch him in his big square stupid jaw. The Democratic Party can't win elections or connect with the American people because it's too busy talking about "human dignity, equality, and democracy" and trying to "open up free and common space for high-minded dialogue based on reason and evidence." This is the party of Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, and Harry Truman?

Take a number because you're going to be in line for a long time.

Posted by: LPFabulous | Dec 21, 2004 1:16:54 PM

Posted by: A.M.H.

LPFabulous- how many tv/radio shows does Moore go on to speak? Now contrast that with Coulter and Limbaugh? to say that the last is always on when I turn on the radio or tv and not the former. If these people are not the voice of the Republican party, then why do they have so much prominence in all republican talking head areas. Do a simple Google search and come back with some facts.

Posted by: A.M.H. | Dec 21, 2004 1:34:29 PM

Posted by: LPFabulous

A.M.H. - To be fair, Limbaugh actually HOSTS a radio show. As does Al Franken. So those two are probably about the same. As for Moore, it's not like he's never on TV. You're picking at nits. Would you prefer if I changed my list of lefties of to include James Carville and Paul Begala, who are virtually always on TV saying silly things about conservatives?

Also, taking your lead, if Ann Coulter is the voice of the Republican Party, how come she was canned by National Review for being such a Nazi? And what precisely have you seen Rush Limbaugh doing other than his radio show? He's not exactly a regular on CNN or anything.

Posted by: LPFabulous | Dec 21, 2004 2:54:07 PM

Posted by: Paul Deignan

For what it is worth, there does appear to be an information processing distinction left v. right. This result is the product of a preliminary investigation of self-described liberals and conservative blog readers via the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. There was a statistically significant discriminant along these intrinsic dimensions.

Results are at:

So this result may serve as a guide on how the left and right may more effectively communicate. Your comments are welcome at that site.

Posted by: Paul Deignan | Jan 2, 2005 4:16:28 PM

Posted by: Pipewelder

Elizabeth - your post reminded me (perhaps unfairly) of an exchange I saw on C-Span this weekend. Tom Frank, on the book tour for his excellent new book, is doing a Q&A after his talk at a bookstore in DC. A man (on the youngish side to my old eyes, but old enough to know better) gets up to ask a question. He identifies himself to Frank as a fellow Kansas native, who felt he had to leave. He commiserates with Frank on the difficulty of moving Kansas out of the Republican column, which will be hard because, as he said, "all the good people have left". I don't think he was kidding.

Wow!! They just don't get it, do they?

You would never have said such a thing. But as has been pointed out earlier in this thread, you do seem to have some blind spots that overlap those of our ex-Kansan. If you want to "get through" to people of the red state persuasion, start by convincing yourself that you are actually quite ignorant of many aspects of the world encountered by the people you would like to influence - just as we are about yours.

But thank you for being part of this effort. The discussion here is far better than the cheesy put-down in the Weekly Standard through which I found the address. And thanks for reminding us of Hume. We should all resolve to be more like that wonderful man, and less like the militant turkeys referenced in previous comments.

Posted by: Pipewelder | Jan 2, 2005 8:53:03 PM

Posted by: John

Differences in Interests, Ideology, Affectation.
(How can "the Left" can get across to "the Right"?)

Ms Anderson, your intentions begin with what seems to be a genuine regard for establishing some sort of middle ground between the left and the right, but your argument quickly degenerates into a propaganda piece in the form of an attack on the conservative politics of the Republican party. Initially, I was impressed with your invoking Hume’s essay on parties,but where Hume’s position was neutral, your position was decidedly biased, thus proving what Hume wrote about affectation. Too bad.

For awhile I thought that you might be on to something, but ultimately you offered no real, or should I say, viable position. There is no middle ground between the radical left and the radical right in your diatribe, just a facile attempt to prove the left has the high ground. So, briefly let us examine one or two points that you make.

I haven’t read Hume in years, having no propensity toward the Empiricists in general and Hume in particular. But I was intrigued by your use of his essay. So I read on. However, what I did not see in your thesis was an explanation of the specific ideologies that animate both of the major parties, other than to point out that the Left is best for the majority of the American people and the Right is for the rich. Very neat, except you have placed your argument firmly on the horns of a dilemma; this is due primarily to your own affection of the left, which, of course, is understandable, considering your leanings toward some kind of socialist solution to the inequalities engendered by our democratic capitalist system. But you and other extremist on both sides fail to realize that government should never impose a heavy hand on the body politic, because the majority, the overwhelming majority, of the American people, are not extremists: they are moderates who pick and choose on the basis of their own interests and the interests of the country.

So, your ranting about electioneering propaganda (that incidentally both parties indulged in) indicates to me that you believe that our people are ignorant and easily swayed by Swift Boat Veterans or Move On, or the sorrowful attempts by Michael Moore to skew the truth and Soros’ attempt to buy a Presidential election. Thus, you have failed to realize that these ad hominem attempts to persuade were by and large ineffective since the majority of the electorate were not easily fooled and were, indeed, able to ferret out the truth .

The left lost not because the people were taken in by propaganda but because the ideology of the left is anachronistic, and, more important, because the left will not understand the deeply rooted independent spirit of the American people. Moreover, the left does not understand that though some Americans need a helping hand occasionally, and some need help over their lifetime; most would reject any form a socialist leveling. Note also that most people are not ipso facto against abortion because they consider it “murder”. They are against it because the concept has moved from free choice to license.

The left lost because it is infected with that worst of all political evils: factions. These extremists factions have torn the once grand Democratic party asunder. Also the left lost because John Kerry was a weak candidate with no other ambition except to become President of the United States. And finally the left lost because George Bush was/is the best man for the job since he understood/understands that at this time our people do not want ambiguity and ambivalence they want action and leadership. In short, Bush is the Hegelian man of his time.

Do not, therefore, Ms Anderson look to “… the Left to make the Right feel ashamed of its nastiness”, but look to the left to get its house in order, for a house divided….


Posted by: John | Jan 4, 2005 8:43:07 AM

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