"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Left's View of the Right: A Flattering One Indeed

In the current issue of the Weekly Standard, Russ Douthat mines the following from the Left2Right blog, in which K. Anthony Appiah presents his view of the American Right:

"Some of those right-wing evangelicals apparently care whether or not we have a good opinion of them. (If they didn't, the resentment they display toward the 'liberal media' would make no sense.) Whereas I know no one among the liberal media elite or among liberal academics who cares very much that many right-wing evangelicals have contempt for us. We care how they vote--for instrumental reasons; we may even care that they are mistaken, for their sakes; but we don't feel diminished by their contempt. . . . (The situation is analogous to the one that obtains with respect to social respect in class-and status-based hierarchies: a peasant can spit when milord walks by, but it won't damage his lordship's self-esteem. But when milord brings his handkerchief to his nose as the peasant approaches, the peasant is stung.)"

As a liberal of the Right and a person who was given no economic advantages in life, and one who has had to give fair labor for everything he has obtained, I am quite comfortable with this analogy. Yes, it is fair to say that I, at least, was not born to the American nobility. Yet somehow I am not ashamed, for it is a matter over which I had no control.

And I will say a bit more, to wit: We peasants will be very happy to see our betters brought to their knees by a few simple reforms, as the eighteenth-century English Whigs shattered long-entrenched obstacles to common sense and social mobility supported by the elites of the time. It is in fact rather enjoyable to see our present "betters" drop the hanky for a moment and show the incessant sneer behind it. Know this: it does not diminish a person to be sneered at; it diminishes the one who sneers.

Many thanks to Mr. Appiah for thus inadvertently making our arguments for us, and kudos to Russ for wading through the muck to find it.

2 comments:

David Velleman said...

For a response to Douthat's review of Left2Right, see:

http://left2right.typepad.com/main/2004/12/substandard.html

Evanston said...

1 Pet 12-14: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.