I beg your pardon. I recognize that is a rather rude inquiry.
But I feel I must make it.
I am driven to do so by this column by Bruce Walker of American Thinker. Bruce is excited by some Gallup figures suggesting that "conservatives" outnumber "liberals" in 49 of 50 states. This is an occasion for frothy triumphalism by Mr. Walker, whose trust in Gallup and faith in everyone meaning something similar by "conservative" and "liberal" I cannot match.
But that's old hat.
What's notable is Mr. Walker's vigorous pushing of a concept that, in a rational world, would offend actual conservatives: America only seems liberal because all the conservatives are too afraid of liberals to speak their minds.
The institutional stranglehold that the left has on American society is almost Orwellian in its breadth and intensity. Why would anyone in America willingly call himself a "conservative" when the left has so insidiously smeared conservatives with the failed leftist malignancies of National Socialism and Fascism? Conservatives, to the omnipresent organs of leftism, are like Dalits in India: untouchables, loathsome and despised. So the upper-caste leftists think nothing of privately joking about Rush Limbaugh in agony or gratuitously smearing Fred Barnes or Karl Rove as racists. Leftists are simply terrorists. Many closet conservatives, I suggest, are too frightened to be open and honest about what they believe.
Mr. Walker suggests that the new poll results show that, just as the Soviet Union fell and revealed that nobody actually liked communism, liberalism is falling and revealing that nobody actually believes in its tenets. The crude tongue of the liberal hath lost its sting:
It means that all the firebrands, the scourges, the torments which the left uses to keep us in chains and in fear are losing their sting. The Tea Party members simply accept, as a matter of course, that they will all be called fascists, racists, and morons — and no one cares anymore.
(Emphasis added, pusillanimity in original.)
Liberals will no doubt be offended by Mr. Walker's characterization of them. But they, at least, come off looking like muscular, powerful, and capable of achieving their political goals. It's conservatives who come off looking really bad. Mr. Walker apparently thinks they are America's own natural cowards, endowed with insufficient spine (or insufficient belief in the righteousness of their cause) to endure verbal abuse from Hippie McWierdo, Tenured Professor Kablooie Lovehamas, or Katie Couric. That's just downright rude.
I disagree with Mr. Walker. I don't think most conservatives are cowards. Certainly some are. Those are the people who think that free speech is all well and good, but that being called a racist douchebag breaks the marketplace of ideas and renders them incapable of response, or that criticism is akin to vandalism, or that vigorous criticism violates their free speech rights. To which I respond: oh, for Christ's sake, grow a pair, and if you can't, get Nancy Pelosi to lend you hers.
I have no stake in Republicans or Democrats prevailing, or "conservatives" or "liberals" prevailing, because I think all four are clumsy tribal associations with decreasing relevance to actual issues and principles. I have a stake in ideals prevailing: ideals like due process, the rule of law, personal responsibility, limited government, and freedom of speech. If people saying mean things about you is enough to deter you from announcing your support of ideals like that, how can you be trusted to run a government?
Perhaps Mr. Walker can commission a Gallup poll about that.
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