Monday, August 4, 2008

That may be so. However...

Kip at A Stitch in Haste, pointing out the Left's penchant for moral authoritarianism, writes:

Does [Ezra] Klein have the intellectual horsepower, I wonder, to realize just how much like a certain other group of majoritarians his argument sounds? His reasoning is utterly indistinguishable from that of the most decrepit anti-gay bigots who seek to ban something a tad more substantive than a fast food restaurant. What a delicious sampling of the faux difference between liberals and conservatives: “power to impose our will on others” … versus “power to impose our will on others.”

This is plain as day to libertarians and there is nothing I disagree with here. Both groups, when their sensibilities are outraged, will seek remedies through government intervention if the opportunity exists to do so.

Unfortuneately, to Kip's question, I'm not sure if the Left will ever get the point, and I think it is more a function of indifference towards the similarity rather than not having the intellectual wherewithall to recognize it.

Anecdotally, when I have engaged in these sorts of discussions with liberals and point these things out, the response that I typically get is a defense of their views under fairness, equality and making things better off for people as a whole, a view they do not have about social conservatives. It seems to boil down to a "mine is better/we know what's best" mentally that dismisses the notion that other "inferior" groups could be similar to them, especially that they believe they are working to move society forward and others are trying to move society backward (it would explain the more juvenile attacks towards libertarians that come from the Left).

Not so anecdotally, one can read Paul Krugman's Conscience of a Liberal and observe much of what I wrote above.