Likewise, who would have imagined that having berated George W. Bush for asserting executive privilege, he would do the same for the Fast and Furious scandal? Attorney General Eric Holder has been stonewalling Congress for over a year, but why would the president have joined him in this intransigence?
And as for the mainstream media, I was appalled to learn how little attention they have paid to “Fast and Furious.” Two Americans die because of an ill-conceived effort to track arms into Mexico and the network television news only devotes seconds to covering the story? Is this “Alice Through the Looking Glass?”
Not long ago I discovered a clue to this mentality. I was reading a book called “Red Families versus Blue Families” by Nancy Cahn and June Carbone. As lawyers, the authors were analyzing the legal differences regarding sex and the marriage statues between liberal and conservative states. For the most part, they did a credible job. But then I encountered their thumbnail descriptions of conservatives and liberals. Mind you, they labeled them as traditionalists and modernists respectively, but the intent was unmistakable. According to the authors, conservatives adhere to traditions, respect authority and desire order, whereas liberals are flexible thinkers, tolerate diversity and place a greater emphasis on equality. Guess which group they favor?
But think about how arrogant this is. Clearly the conservatives are the rigid bad guys, whereas the liberals are the progressive good guys. One group is obviously mired in the past, while the other optimistically looks forward to a better future. (By the way, hasn’t Obama been touting his moving “forward?”)
Anyway, let’s start with this business of conservatives respecting authority, while liberals presumably do not. Has anybody read The New York Times lately? “Kneejerk liberal” is a hackneyed appellation, but it surely applies to the Times. So what of those readers for whom its authority is biblical? Are they not slaves to authority?
And as to tolerance of diversity, how come the liberals have difficulty tolerating religious fundamentalists? They insist that they are non-judgmental and give everyone “unconditional positive regard.” That is, unless you are perceived as a political enemy. Then you are obviously stupid and unworthy of respect.
With regard to this business of liberals emphasizing equality (of results, not opportunity), why didn’t the authors note that conservatives emphasize freedom? Isn’t the pursuit of liberty a commendable quest? Indeed, I personally feel freedom is far more important than equality.
What liberals in their arrogance fail to realize is that a respect for tradition and a desire for progress are not incompatible. If anything, a commitment to the Constitution — an admittedly old document — may facilitate the preservation of the very freedoms that make democratic progress possible.
Being forward-looking is not equivalent to being in favor of a bigger and more centralized federal government, as liberals desire. Nor does it mean that you must put on blinders and fail to comprehend that very large budget deficits are a prescription for economic ruin.
In truth, it is the conservatives who are looking forward to warn of the dangers of concentrating power in fewer hands. Those old-fashioned traditions of theirs — you know the ones about a separation of political power — tell them that what Obama and company are attempting might just undermine our personal rights.
Those who do not do not grasp this unadorned fact are not flexible thinkers. They are so sure they are “the best and brightest” that it never occurs to them that those who disagree might have a valid point or two. Now that’s arrogance!
Melvyn L. Fein. Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.