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Wisdom from the Left and the Right

This is from the leftwing American academic Fredrik deBoer:

I know men and women, people of every race, gay and straight, trans and cisgender, and of every other facet of human diversity, who have deep reservations about the current habits of the American left and are desperate for a realist left movement that cares about winning and does what it takes to make winning more likely. I would name some individual names, but then I’m associating them with me, and I have no interest in forcing others to answer for my position. It’s enough to say that every day, I encounter more people who are convinced that contemporary left practice is a road to nowhere. Many of them are hesitant to be public with these complaints, because the backlash against them can be quite severe. But every day, people get a little bit bolder. The exhaustion and disillusionment has begun to outweigh the natural tendency to keep quiet and play along.

What do these people object to? They’re tired of the prioritization of the symbolic over the substantive; of the ever-more-obscure left-wing vocabulary; of the near-total silence on class issues; of the abandonment of labor organizing as a principal method of political action; of the insistence that people who aren’t already convinced must educate themselves, when convincing others is and has always been the basic requirement of political action; of the confusion of pop culture ephemera with meaningful political victory; of the celebrity worship; of the clumsy Manicheanism that divides the world into all good and all bad; of the use of cruelty, shaming, and character assassination; of the insistence that people within a political movement should “just listen” when someone makes a claim, no matter how outlandish, misguided, unfair, or wrong; of the expectation that everyone should know how to speak and act in perfect congruence with obscure and elitist conceptions of righteous behavior; of the profound conservatism of demanding that everyone occupy a narrow band of cultural practices, refusing to enjoy the world’s vast cultural bounties, out of fear of appropriating someone else’s culture; and, more than anything, of the willful obscurity and inaccessibility, the total and complete indifference towards actually reaching out and building a bigger movement by meeting people halfway and trying to adapt to them as you ask them to adapt to you, the replacement of a mass political movement with an exclusive social circle.

And this is from the rightwing Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens:

We want four—and probably eight—more years of cable-news neuralgia. We want to drive ourselves to work as Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham scratch our ideological itches until they bleed a little. We want the refiner’s fire that is our righteous indignation at a country we claim no longer to recognize—ruled by impostors and overrun by foreigners.

We also want to turn the Republican Party into a gated community. So much nicer that way. If the lesson of Mitt Romney’s predictable loss in 2012 was that it’s bad politics to tell America’s fastest-growing ethnic group that some of their relatives should self-deport, or to castigate 47% of the country as a bunch of moochers—well, so what? Abraham Lincoln once said “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” What. Ever. Now the party of Lincoln has as its front-runner an insult machine whose political business is to tell Mexicans, Muslims, physically impaired journalists, astute Jewish negotiators and others who cross his sullen gaze that he has no use for them or their political correctness.
…..
Years ago, the late columnist Michael Kelly wrote of American liberalism that it was “an ideology of self-styled saints, a philosophy of determined perversity. Its animating impulse is to marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company. And to make itself as unattractive to as many people as possible: If it were a person, it would pierce its tongue.”

On current trend, this will soon better describe American conservatism, which is going the way of the Democratic Party circa 1972. So let’s skip the non-suspense of next year’s campaign cycle, gird ourselves for a McGovern-style debacle, and elect Hillary Rodham Clinton now.