The Nub Of What Is Wrong With Modern Liberalism

Here’s a Brad De Long comment about Mickey Kaus (from Mickey’s site)

When Mickey stops trying to destroy the careers of twenty-something journalists, I’ll talk to him…

Until then, I won’t – and you shouldn’t carry water for him either. He’s not a good person.

Brad DeLong

Not – “he’s deeply wrong because,” Not even “He’s deeply wrong.”

“He’s not a good person.”

Public liberals need to believe they have a better model – not the only model – and that those who disagree are fellow citizens who have different policy positions (and in some cases different values).

And it’s not uncommon. Last weekend I was at a party in Manhattan; a room full of nice people and I probably spoke with a dozen of them. Unifrmly liberal – although amusingly when I was critical of the bank bailouts and argued that Obama should have rescued homeowners and banks, not just banks and Wall Street, I was strongly and uniformly criticized. Not one of them was willing to believe that conservatives or Tea Partiers had anything to say, and the feeling was that polite society just didn’t listen to anything they had to say.

Get the f**k over yourselves, people.

17 thoughts on “The Nub Of What Is Wrong With Modern Liberalism”

  1. Lots of conservatives are good people. Lots of liberals are bad people.

    I don’t think you can read Mickey Kaus on Ezra Klein for very long before coming to the conclusion that he is a liberal who is a bad person.

    I am interested in why you think otherwise…


    Brad DeLong

  2. Brad,

    if you can’t do a “he’s deeply wrong because”, can you at least do a “he is a bad person because”


  3. Mr. Delong,

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s highly doubtful that name-calling will get Mr. Kraus to act differently. You also might want to consider that it’s one thing to suggest that a person’s specific actions are bad – it’s quite another thing to suggest the specific person is bad. Finally, you might consider that how you treat those you disagrees with says just as much about your character as anyone else’s.

  4. What’s a “bad person”? As far as I can tell, lefties in particular regard them as anyone not on their team, particularly if they’re independent-minded “traitors” like Kaus.

  5. Whenever I hear folks calling people good and bad now, I think of Ben Linus’ repeated protestations that “we’re the good guys” on Lost.

  6. Apparently it is the mission of our generation to endlessly restate the obvious, but Sir Isaac Newton was a bad person. So was Frank Lloyd Wright. Etc, etc. Being a good or bad person is little to do with being correct or incorrect, and even less to do with being interesting.

    Obviously the people who like to read Mickey Kaus don’t care who likes him personally or not. Why should they, unless public life is something that we’re all supposed to take personally, like high school?

  7. I’ve read Kaus for about as long as I’ve read anyone and him “trying to destroy the careers of twenty-something journalists” seems like high hyperbole unless De Long is referring to something happening off his blog. Calling someone a whippersnapper, largely for not knowing the importance of the neoliberal movement Kaus identifies with, is not without a fair degree of self-mockery.

    But followers of blog soap operas want to know “Is De Long trying to destroy the careers of height advantaged female journalists?”

  8. Mr. Delong,

    A few details as to why Mr. Kaus is a bad person, and thus why you dont take him seriously, would go farther to help us understand your point of view. More specifically, in what way is he bad, to the point that he has nothing worthwhile to say?

    From the 3rd party perspective, it does not look like he has detracted from anyone’s career.

  9. Unless Mr Delong is God or Jimminy Cricket, I don’t see how he’s actually able to assess the inherent goodness or evil of anyone but himself.

    Perhaps if Kaus had a record of mass murder, child rape, or cannibalism, we might find ourselves sliding into agreement with Mr Delong. Absent that, some indication of moral, rather than intellectual failings would be appropriate, both rhetorically and usefully.

  10. Marc,

    Many of us have been telling you for at least 6 years now, that you no longer have much in common with the modern left.

    What you have observed here is what others have shown you time and time again.

    During the Iraq War, many leftists were happy when the troop casualty number rose, and were unhappy when a month with low US troop deaths occurred, for god’s sake.

    Modern leftism is no longer an ideology. It is a sickness.

    I am not sure how many years it will take until you decide that you are too decent to associate yourself with them.

    As far as Brad Delong goes, who hasn’t thrashed him in a debate (“I thrashed him here”: He has singlehandedly devalued the cache of a Harvard PhD.

  11. _Not one of them was willing to believe that conservatives or Tea Partiers had anything to say_

    I thought about this last night, as I was trying to watch the SOTU rundown (I never watch these things live). The last time we had a Tea Party conversation, I realized (but didn’t have time to post) that I was wrong about the identity of the tea party. But that misinformation was caused by those who have claimed leadership of the party.

    For example: as long as Michelle Bachmann continues to claim herself as the voice of the tea party, many on ‘the left’ won’t take them very seriously. Ditto for Palin, Beck and Hannity. I’ve listened to what that group has said before, I’m not going to listen again.

    Now, if they were to put forward new leadership, with new ideas and someone with a more eloquent presentation of their ideals, I think they’re going to get more traction. (It is of course, the tragedy of media that the more extreme/stupid someone sounds, the more tv time they get).

    _During the Iraq War, many leftists were happy when the troop casualty number rose_

    That’s weird, I don’t remember throwing any parties…

  12. Tim,

    You’re right. I’m just saying the perception from people on the left (like me), is that we hear about the tea party through people like Bachmann. And since she (and others) are often represented as the voice of the tea party, the word tea party brings up the image of Bachmann.

    I’m not saying it’s fair, or even an accurate description of the tea party. Nor is it fair to ask them to appoint a leader ‘on a white horse’, but I do think they would be better served to have a spokesman/spokeswoman (or group of spokespeople) that clarifies their ideas (I think independent of the RNC would be plus). The old saying still goes “If you don’t define yourself, someone else will do it for you”

    I still think it stands true that one of the problems the tea party will have (as a grass-roots organization) is defining what they actually want. They have some specific ideals, but how to go about those ideals is a difficult question, and one that may divide the smaller grass roots organizations.

  13. I’m just saying the perception from people on the left (like me), is that we hear about the tea party through people like Bachmann.

    Through people like Olbermann, you mean.

  14. Sorry, don’t watch Olbermann. Or any cable news. At some point, watching cable news led me to believe I might break our television. Thus, we don’t have cable anymore.

    But where there’s a tea party rally on Washington (with headline speaker Glenn Beck) or a Tea party response to SOTU (with Bachmann) it’s easy to assume that they’re speaking for the party.

  15. Brad, thanks for stopping by.

    Yes, I’ve read the back-and forth between Mickey and Ezra for some time. It’s obvious that neither one of them thinks much of the other, and what I read is a fairly typical pissing contest, with the exception of Mickey’s writing on JournoList, which I consider excellent journalism.

    Ezra’s on your team, I get it, and Mickey’s not. But it is a relatively unique feature of the modern left that it calls for silencing critics – getting them off the air, out of media, shunning them when that’s impossible.

    I’m of the mind that the best cure for bad talk is – with very few exceptions – more talk. That’s where we’re opposed here.


  16. bq. Now, if they were to put forward new leadership, with new ideas and someone with a more eloquent presentation of their ideals, I think they’re going to get more traction.

    I think you’re missing the point of the Tea Party. It was and is a true grass roots movement, and isn’t looking for or needing a leader. I’m not even sure whether those named as leaders in your post are claiming that themselves, or have that role projected onto them by the left or the MSM. (Bachmann excepted, who evidently at least claims a spokesperson role, though I know little about her.)

    If you’re spending time looking for the leader on a white horse, you’ll overlook what’s actually going on. A largish part of Tea Party is now playing the political game bottoms up. Watch what’s happened with the Utah and New Hampshire Republican parties. There’s likely more to come. The ‘pub establishment is going to have to deal with and integrate the small government Tea Partiers, or face the credible threat of a incipient Constitutional Party somewhere not far down the road.

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