Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Aug/10

11

Grievance and politics

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Over at Discover Blogs a comment I thought of interest:

Most of the sensitivity/grievance culture of the Right is purely fabricated – we (including me as part of the Right) only do it to point out the hypocrisy within the Left at showing outrage, etc., only when it benefits the Left’s cause, or to create cognitive dissonance within the Left or the left’s media. Even the demands for “ideological diversity” within academia are a rhetorical gambit rather than a real demand – aimed at diminishing the prestige of Leftist academics and reducing the authority of their pronouncements, rather than actually getting more conservative academics. (However, if a conservative grad student demands “ideological diversity”, he probably means it, in the “give me a job” sense.)

Unfortunately, some people on the right, particularly the more Christian sort, have actually started to take this stuff seriously instead of understanding that it’s all just a put-on to embarrass the Left.

I agree with this in the generality. When libertarians argue against social security because it discriminates against blacks males, who have shorter life expectancies and may never reap benefits from a system they’ve paid into, they don’t really oppose social security because of disparate racial impact. That’s just an argument which might appeal to liberals.

On the other hand, I do think that some Christian conservatives sincerely accept the validity of grievance and sensitivity as organizing principles of discussion. I suspect this is a feature of the evangelical Protestant subculture in the United States, which has long been oppositional, and felt dismissed and condescended to by the mainstream society.

6 comments

  • Hisham · August 11, 2010 at 7:50 am

    I don’t believe you intended to debate rate of return of social security benefits for African-American men, but the claims about their benefiting less because of a lower life expectancy has been disputed for quite some time:

    http://www.soa.org/library/newsletters/the-actuary/1990-99/1998/september/act-1998-vol32-iss07-myers.pdf

  • John · August 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Hisham, all that study proves is that blacks get a higher rate of return than the Heritage Foundation study claimed. It doesn’t mean they get the same of return as whites.

  • Mark in Spokane · August 12, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Back to Mr. Hume’s original point, I don’t think it is just evangelicals who may harbor such views within the Christian community — Catholics too have long suffered a good deal of sigmatization (no pun intended) within elite and state-sponsored academia.

  • Bob Smith · August 12, 2010 at 3:48 am

    “When libertarians argue against social security because it discriminates against black males, who have shorter life expectancies and may never reap benefits from a system they’ve paid into, they don’t really oppose social security because of disparate racial impact”

    Many libertarians think they can get liberals on their side of the aisle by making arguments that appeal to them. They are fools. Because such arguments implicitly concede the legitimacy of Social Security (or whatever else is being argued about), said liberals need not move one inch from their position. That’s why our society moves ever leftward: the left concedes nothing while the right concedes everything in order to unsuccessfully win the hearts and minds of the left.

  • Mark · August 14, 2010 at 4:50 am

    “I suspect this is a feature of the evangelical Protestant subculture in the United States, which has long been oppositional, and felt dismissed and condescended to by the mainstream society.”

    I always dismiss crazy people. If somebody wants to “speak in tongues”, they can expect to be condescended to by the mainstream society–and by me for sure. So what of it? Sarah Palin’s church brings in a “witch hunter” from Africa–they should be mocked. They are acting like primitive idiots. The idea that we can’t say so is fairly new. Such silliness has been widely derided for many, many decades. Can you imagine what a Mencken would do with such things? “The idiotic hallucinations of the cow states” would mild in comparison.

    They say Peter was crucified upside down for his Lord. If I say “Have a nice holiday” to some Bible-beater, they act like have suffered the same fate. Forgive me if I don’t care about the feelings of such people.

  • Susan · August 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I’m far less concerned with the feelings of “the evangelical Protestant subculture” than I am with their insistence on trying to define and dominate conservatism. They’re promoting the idea that no one who’s NOT one of them is a conservative.

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