So I have drafted a post about the emerging or rather emerged paradigm and I run across this post that says much of what I want to say.
Years ago Dinesh D'Souza wrote a book called "Illiberal Education." My heart melted. A conservative with a dictionary! Not that anyone would follow his example.
Anti-Semantics like Limbaugh, Coulter and Savage stack the deck in their arguments. Anything and everything that can go wrong is blamed on liberals and liberalism. Never mind that liberals are more or less a vanished species replaced by leftists.
Leftists are here defined as advocates of collectivism and central planning. By definition they are authoritarian. They are also elitist but do not necessarily endorse elitism based on merit. Anti-egalitarian might be more accurate than elitist. Any Kennedy, Cuomo or Daley is more suited and deserving of public office than any soul not born of noble circumstance. Any hack from the Beltway or New York or Boston is better suited to manage the details of your life than are you.
I do not use the term right wing because it makes no sense to do so. The leftist who compiled the spectrum long ago assigned the National Socialists to the right wing. Radical individualists are forced to bunk with the Bennetts and the Borks and the Ashcrofts. The big government conservatives have more in common with their friends across the aisle than with Tea Party activists.
Right wing might be an imprecise label but it is used to describe anyone who challenges the dominant religion of the day, media orthodoxy. Anyone who is politically incorrect is branded a right winger. This might not make sense to the reader of this blog but it is performed with the same laziness that assigns anyone who disagrees with Rush Limbaugh to the liberal scrap heap. The vast right wing is the media's Not Us. Liberals are talk radio's Not Us.
The liberal vs. conservatism paradigm has long been commercially viable. It would be bad radio to abandon the pulpit and explore the meaning of words. Us vs. them is always popular. There can only be one devil.
A couple of parting shots. I believe that fiscal conservatism is incompatible with social conservatism. Teavangelicism is a shotgun wedding. When forced to choose, the social conservative will run to to the open arms of his charming mistress and her big government bazookas. He just can't help himself. Can you think of any exception?
Michael Savage wrote a book entitled "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." I have never read Dr. Savage so I don't know if the title is tongue in cheek. Assuming the title is meant to be read at face value, there is unintentional irony in the extreme.
Mental illness is a liberal construct. It is possibly the hallmark of liberalism. The Enlightenment challenged the idea that all of humanity's flaws could be attributed to sin. Medicine, crude as it was, brought empiricism into the conversation. Good health habits seemed to affect the righteous and the wicked in much the same way.
At some point someone applied the medical model to what is now called mental illness. Maybe it's not the devil. Maybe it's a disorder. The medical model would go unchallenged until the mid-twentieth century when heretics like the great Thomas Szasz challenged not just the abuses of the construct and its political underpinnings, but the very premise of mental disorder as well.
Putting aside Szasz et al for now, the concept of mental disorder was in all ways an improvement over the concept of sin. Obviously, it was more forgiving and accepting. But mental disorder is still a hypothetical construct and wittingly or otherwise, Michael Savage endorses liberalism when he calls it a mental disorder. It's like an atheist calling religion the work of the devil. It makes no sense, but it sure does sell.
Back to the new paradigm. I could never enjoy shows like "Crossfire" because of the left-right false dichotomy. The William Bennetts and John McCains and Tommy Thompsons had more in common with their Democratic counterparts than they had with the peasants in flyover country. The true conflict was between insiders and outsiders. The connected and the disconnected. When Codevilla wrote his classic analysis in 2010, it resonated with a lot of us. At last!
But insider/outsider was yesterday. The constancy of this Administration's falsehoods coupled with an obsequious media that will edit and delete and yes, even lie to help the White House, has given birth to a new paradigm. Now it is truth versus falsity. The differences are that stark.
I don't see the whole country singing "Kumbaya" anytime soon. Civility is dependent upon honesty. A certain amount of spin has always been fair game but we have crossed a line and we can't go back. As my friend John stated, Obama is not the first politician to lie but he is the first politician to lie with impunity. I can't tell you how things were in Teddy Roosevelt's day but in my lifetime I have only seen one politician who was granted the license to fib without consequence. Barack Obama, because of his unending duplicity, will be the most polarizing figure any of us will ever see.
True or False is now the great divide.