Ten Terraces of Liberalism

I must cleanse my soul, for I am about to re-tell a glorious, scrumptious tale of someone backpedaling. But in the last few hours, I have had to backpedal too, so let us tell that story first. I tossed in a quart when a pint was the correct dose.

It happens.

Daphne’s place is being buzz-bombed with a charming, snarky liberal gadfly — which also happens. There seems to be a great epidemic of snarky liberals showing lots of “wit” without saying anything anyone, even anyone sympathetic to their side of things, would find too funny. Daphne had her fill of it but, having a heart of gold, decided to play the Three Ghosts to my Ebenezer Scrooge and whispered the words of wisdom to me —

Morgan, I think most of them are truly well meaning and decent people…its just that they’re stupefied. They can’t see the forest for the trees or make the leap from A to Z without a linear finger tracing of every letter. They’ve been taught to think in a particular groove and never bother to poke their heads out for a glimpse of another side of the equation.

The smart liberals are dangerous, but they aren’t in the majority. Unfortunately, they have too many quislings, thanks to the cesspool of mediocrity known as public education.

The latest example of liberal nastiness still plying its aftertaste upon my palette, I was less than completely receptive, although deep down somewhere in the recesses of my subconsciousness I knew the lady was right:

Daphne, with most of what they’re taught that might be true. To a weak and feeble mind, you say “pass a law to raise the minimum wage” and my goodness, who with a decent conscience could ever oppose that?

However, some of it wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance of taking root, if there wasn’t some internal nastiness in the host to keep it nourished. I’m speaking here of some of the liberal policies that are, overtly, about trying to destroy things. Like the Boy Scouts for example. I am well aware of the euphemisms — but I call bullsh*t on the idea that anyone, anywhere, in their heart-of-hearts thinks it will make life more bearable for anyone else if a wedge is driven between the Boy Scouts and the United Way. That right there is a desire to destroy something — period, full stop. That’s a “we’ll show you.”

All of these might start with benign intentions (or, to be more accurate about it, an obsequious effort to showcase decency that possesses only a remote chance of actually being there).

There have been lots of folks who started out liberal, and then when the liberalism inevitably twists and mutates into a perverted form of its former self and starts to become evil, becomes all-concerned about destroying whoever doesn’t fit in — leave. Charlton Heston did it. Ronald Reagan did it. That means anyone can.

But when Napolitano put out that DHS report, the only folks I saw protesting, were the ones who called themselves conservatives. If liberals were really about decency, that would have been the point of an irreversible mass exodus.

Now, I’m not going to completely renounce this. There is much truth in it. But some of it needs to go, or at least, to be polished down. I can’t sit here and say, show me a hundred liberals and I’ll show you a hundred people with dark souls. I can’t even say, show me a hundred liberals that have gotten snarky and mean on someone’s blog, and I’ll show you a hundred mean people. There is an overwhelming temptation to play Let’s-Pretend on that one. But it isn’t true. Falling for a bunch of stupid sh*t doesn’t make you necessarily stupid, let alone evil. Perhaps less than fully attentive, and perhaps incurious. But that’s about all that can really be said.

The problem really is — there are certain milestones on this short, quick bunny trail between the start of the hike, which is “I’m reading a liberal snot-rag newspaper and believing every single word,” and the final destination which is “I hope Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail.” From the one point to the other…from “I think I got both sides of the story when I really didn’t,” to “I can’t believe George W. Bush could have ever done anything right, even by random chance, or Barack Obama can ever make a mistake.” There are gradients between these two extremes; there are degrees of corruption. And that’s important to keep in mind. We should work at keeping it in mind because it’s easy to forget.

The reason it’s easy to forget this, is that the hike isn’t quite so much along a level dirt road, as down a sleep, slippery icy slope. Those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen so many turn to the Dark Side, that it all seems inevitable.

But we should recognize the levels. There is an absolute verticality to them; if you’ve slid (or ascended) past this one, but not that one, then you likewise may be safely assumed to have not hit that-one-or-that-one-or-that-one. So by recognizing them, maybe some of us can save some friends.

And to recognize them, we need to identify them.

So here they are.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number One
What I Call Them: Goo-Gooders.
What They Cannot Understand: The Natural Consequence.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they have compassion.
How to Spot Them: They think Thomas Jefferson had the right idea but they also think Earl Warren had the right idea. The truth of the matter is, if you could invite both of these gentlemen to your dinner table on the same night, plates would be broken.
Where They Go Astray: They tend to think there’s a certain level of pain that should not be felt by anyone without some artificial intervention to make everything better; then they lower that limit as time goes on. It starts out with a legitimate protest against slavery. Next thing you know, everyone has a “human right” to wait five minutes for a bus instead of ten. There’s no limit to how far the pain threshold can be lowered.

Purple Is LifeLiberal Dimwit Terrace Number Two
What I Call Them: Cutie-Pies.
What They Cannot Understand: Some Cute Things Are Wrong.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They’re cute.
How to Spot Them: All the things they own, from cars, to furniture, to the stuffed animals on their beds, to their pens, notebooks, and party invitations they hand out, are cute, sassy, round wherever possible, and purple.
Where They Go Astray: They start to systematically buy into any and all ideas that can be articulated or displayed more concisely and adorably than their opposites (which as a general rule, are expensive, unworkable, and not only errant, but profoundly embarrassing to anyone who starts to apply some responsible thinking to their content).

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Three
What I Call Them: Pamphlet Readers.
What They Cannot Understand: You Can’t Believe Everything You Read.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they have read something about the issue(s).
How to Spot Them: Having studied up on such neutral and encyclopedic resources as The New York Times, the AARP newsletter, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and e-mails from the chairman of the DNC…they start conversations about politics that it turns out they cannot handle. Because they weren’t expecting their viewpoints to be intelligently challenged, by someone inclined toward and capable of doing so. (More often than not, they recall the conversation later as if the other person started it — which makes them somewhat dangerous.)
Where They Go Astray: It’s the “OJ Simpson Trial” situation. They fail to see someone else might have command of the same facts, and come to a different conclusion about what happened or what should be done about it.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Four
What I Call Them: Secularists.
What They Cannot Understand: That There Just Might Be a God.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they don’t go to church.
How to Spot Them: The “Darwin” fish on the back of their car.
Where They Go Astray: They start to believe that non-believers are morally superior, because they do good things just-because, whereas religious people do the same thing to try to appease a judgmental, omnipowerful being.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Five
What I Call Them: Small-l libertarians.
What They Cannot Understand: Drugs Aren’t Good.
Not Men!What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They want to legalize drugs.
How to Spot Them: They really don’t care too much about anything besides legalizing drugs.
Where They Go Astray: They want to legalize drugs.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Six
What I Call Them: Non-Discriminators.
What They Cannot Understand: Men Shouldn’t Be Hooters’ Waitresses.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: They are blind to class membership — which isn’t even close to being true.
How to Spot Them: They talk about “laws that end discrimination,” which, when you think about it responsibly for a little while, you can see is some of the purest nonsense.
Where They Go Astray: Simply put, they start discriminating.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Seven
What I Call Them: Nanny-Staters.
What They Cannot Understand: The Nature of Government Makes Self-Restraint Impossible.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they don’t trust “corporations”.
How to Spot Them: They claim the death tax is not a double-tax, using the “it’s the first time that guy saw the money” argument. Also, we always seem to be, as the saying goes, one regulation away from total bliss.
Where They Go Astray: Their arguments start to rest on an unstated premise that government is capable of a balance, a wisdom, and a sense of ethics that is somehow unattainable to anyone who isn’t in government.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Eight
What I Call Them: Peaceniks.
What They Cannot Understand: Sometimes, War is the Answer.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: That they are dedicated to ending violence and conflict (the violence part may be true, but the conflict part sure as h*ll isn’t).
How to Spot Them: They refuse to acknowledge any problem in human history that was ever solved by a war.
Where They Go Astray: They start to see themselves as enmeshed in a conflict with imaginary ideological antagonists who actually like war. Much in the same way that liberals who are opposed to pollution disease and hunger, seem to start believing that someone, somewhere, enjoying significant power or numbers, is actually in favor of pollution, disease and hunger.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Nine
What I Call Them: Finger-Pointers.
What They Cannot Understand: Not All Tragedies Have a Villain.
Angry, Finger-Pointing HillaryWhat They Want to Prove About Themselves: Their capacity for anger. Typically, they used to be peaceniks, and one day they realized their peacenik-ism left them unfulfilled, and with something they needed to prove.
How to Spot Them: One, and only one, bad guy (or class) for everything about the world they don’t like.
Where They Go Astray: They probably always were astray; they have a thunderhead of frothy rage on hand that finds a convenient lightning-rod in whoever or whatever they’ve identified as the villain. The storm is always there. When the lightning strikes, is the only question, and it’s definitely a “when” and not an “if.” These are crazy, angry people. Keep clear.

Liberal Dimwit Terrace Number Ten
What I Call Them: True Believers.
What They Cannot Understand: Liberal Positions Are, or Should Be, “A La Carte”.
What They Want to Prove About Themselves: Their devotion.
How to Spot Them: They think convicted murderers have a right to life, but unborn babies don’t.
Where They Go Astray: These people have crossed the fourth milestone on the way to complete insanity. They don’t think anyone with conservative recognition can ever have a good idea, or that anyone with proper liberal credentials can ever have a bad one.

Update 5/22/09: I wasn’t aware of the content of this promo for the new V series until this morning when I saw it on IMAO. FrankJ compares the reptilian aliens to Obama.

When the lady in the trailer says the aliens’ weapon is “devotion” — the same word, coincidentally, I used in the final terrace — this helps to capture how the ten terraces work in concert with each other as parts of a simple machine. Like the threads in a screw, or the teeth on a gear.

You say “I want to run everything. Be devoted to me!” You’ll net yourself very, very few takers. But you carve up the mission into lots of smaller incremental tasks and it’s easy. Now go back over those terraces again. Notice how the very first ones, the ones that invite people to climb aboard the bandwagon for the first time, all have one thing in common: They have to do with the new disciple proving something about himself. He’s compassionate, he’s adorable, he’s informed, he’s a critical thinker. This is the point of the screw that is supposed to pierce the hardwood first.

When you get a person’s ego involved, you can get him to do whatever you want; if you don’t, then you can’t.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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