Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Intellectually honest conservatives

I'm as solid a liberal as you're going to find in my demographic, and I'm interested in politics, so I read a bunch of lefty political blogs. I read exactly two conservative bloggers, because, frankly, most conservative bloggers and politicians are intellectually dishonest. They say what they want you to believe is true, not necessarily what they would think is true if they sat down and thought about it. There are also Democratic liars; it's just that the Republican and conservative leadership is pretty much 100% liars.

Actually, they're not so much liars as bullshitters. The truth value of their statements is irrelevant to them. In either case, they keep saying things that have been proven false: think death panels, you can increase tax revenues by lowering tax rates for rich people, the earth is cooling, Social Security is going broke, they're not sure Obama is a citizen, intelligent design is a reasonable alternative to evolution, Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, we found WMDs in Iraq but hid them from the press. These are things that no intelligent person who has paid attention to the issue can believe, but they are standard in the conservative movement today.

So by and large I don't pay attention to what conservatives say. But that's a problem for me, too, because if I'm in an echo chamber, I'll become convinced of the truth of what I think because nobody tells me I'm full of crap when I am. Facile thinkers, who sometimes blurt out ideas before having fully thought them through, can come to believe what they say, so they need people around them to call bullshit when they say something stupid.

So it's good for me to have a couple of intellectually honest conservatives to read. My two are Little Green Footballs and Andrew Sullivan. I disagree with pretty much everything they say about economics, and most of their politics, but I believe they are honest and sane, which explains why so many other conservatives dislike them; they refuse to drink the Kool-aid.

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