The Corner

Liberal Reader Reax

Just came in:

Hi,

I think I’ve seen you on c-span before. At any rate, I read your piece after seeing it mentioned on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. I’m a liberal. I don’t drink chai tea and I sure as heck don’t know what a bon whatever is.

Just a quick FYI – Plenty of conservatives have liberal friends and associates like me who shockingly never turned out to be the evil incarnate you portray us to be, so I’m unsure how helpful the cheeky liberal comments are to your “cause”. What our conservatives friends have actually discovered was that in many ways we were just like them. Regular Americans like myself trying to raise kids, make a buck,  go to Church, little league games, all of it, just like them. And we discovered that they weren’t all jesus freaky, clinic bombing, moral majority dittoheads too, by the way.

What most of us have figured out though is that you beltway pundit types, of whatever political persuasion, are all elites. Every damn one of ya.

So here’s where us regular folks are at case you’re interested…We’ve got two candidates, one a millionaire, one a multi millionaire. Most of us can’t relate to them on those levels. But we don’t care, truth be told. We just care where they stand on the issues but it’s so hard to hear them through all the noise of things like the chai tea distractions in your article.

I’m a pro-choice, pro death penalty (in limited cases), football watching, meat eating, beer drinking, middle class liberal broad who loves my country. You’re a beltway elite who can’t be trusted to be honest and even worse, puts your politics ahead of your love for your country by using your position of power to tear your fellow Americans apart.  And guess what – real republicans aren’t buying your bullshit anymore.

You can go shove a bon whatever right on up your elite backside, Mr. Beltway Republican Smartyman.  Hope it hurts as much as your November ass whooping. You deserve it.

Have a nice day

Dina 

And:

Jonah,

Though one of the earnest young liberals you chide in your piece, I

really enjoyed “No Change.”  Funny stuff.  Especially the “anti-matter

universe where Spock has a goatee” bit.  Great episode.  Really.

But I’ve got to quibble with one point:  your insinuation that

liberalism isn’t really on the little guy’s side.  Explain how the

Democratic party–the party of progressive taxation, public education,

unemployment benefits, strong unions, health care for all, and so

on–isn’t really for said little guy while the Republican party–the

party of the flat tax, corporate welfare, the minimal state,

union-busting, private health care, and so on–really is.

And don’t say that the flat tax and the rest is really pro-little guy.

Your team supports it’s policies because it thinks they’re just, not

because it thinks they help anybody.

Best,

Jim

Me: I don’t think Dina’s email is really worth much of a response save to say that I think she needs a humor injection. But I should say, in all honesty, that I personally don’t much object to being called an elitist, as I’ve written around here a zillion times. If it’s worth it, I’ll fish out links on that score tomorrow. But whatever my own views on elitism, liberal elitism, etc, I don’t think that effects my analysis at all. 

As for Jim, I’m delighted he can understand  that entertaining your readers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even for conservatives. As for his question, here’s basically what I wrote to him.

I didn’t quite say that liberalism isn’t on the side of the little guy and the right is. My point is that liberals often can’t grasp that they aren’t elitists because they advocate policies that — by their lights — are geared at the little guy. The truth is that many liberals think they’re helping the little guy. They’re often wrong. They’re helping interest groups that claim to be helping the little guy. Other times, they explicitly don’t much care about the little guy. After all, the plural of the little guy is “the masses” and the history of liberalism is often marked by contempt for the masses, fear of the masses and/or a burning desire to manipulate the masses (there’s even a certain book you can read on this score).

I think you can certainly make the case that liberalism is more concerned with the little guy than conservatism is — depending on how you define “little guy.” Certainly pro-lifers think they care about the little guys more. School choicers believe they care more about the little guy, as opposed to the teachers’ unions, etc.

But, whatever the merits of the public policies in question, I think liberals have a much stronger tendency to define themselves as enlightened social planners who know what’s best for the little guys. The tendency exists among conservatives, to be sure. But it’s usually more honest and upfront about it.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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