Evil vs dumb

Evil vs dumb, by James Allan.

The great US columnist Charles Krauthammer once noted this truth about contemporary political life in America: ‘To understand the workings of American politics you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.

Now of course Krauthammer was using ‘Liberal’ in its US sense, meaning a lefty, progressive type which as recently as the John Howard days differed from the more old-fashioned, classical Australian sense of the word – though these days ‘lefty, progressive’ probably covers half the Liberal MPs in Canberra (and all of the Black Hand gang, most State Lib MPs, the PM and Foreign Minister and a fair few others in Cabinet). …

Krauthammer’s general point is certainly true in Australia too.

Those on the left largely believe they are superior moral beings. Sure, they may not openly admit to thinking they have some sort of pipeline to God on key social policy issues or that their moral and political antennae happen to vibrate at just the right frequency. … Just recall their holier-than-thou, smug, sanctimonious tweets, Facebook posts, supposed comedy routines, group love-in ‘human rights’ awards or literary festivals, and such similar evidence of puffed-up self-regard that stretches on out to the horizon. Or think about the sky-high levels of moral self-regard and sanctimony that must exist in those who shout down and riot in front of conservative and non-lefty speakers whose views they happen to disagree with. You can’t do that unless you think your moral and political views are not just better than others’, but pretty close to timelessly, eternally right and hence you have no need to listen to any contrary views at all, ever, full stop. I could go on. Think stopping the boats. Think questioning Aboriginal policy. Etcetera. Etcetera.

But on the right side of politics you just don’t see even a small fraction of that sort of ‘I’m a better moral being than you are’ attitude. What you do see, as Krauthammer pointed out, is the view that progressive lefties are often just stupid. They’re not very bright. If they were bright they’d look to history and have a pretty good idea of what would happen in Venezuela, or with a mooted government monopoly NBN, or with government spending getting out of control. And if lefty progressives were smart they’d be able to provide some sort of answer to the basic question: ‘Why are we signing up to Paris and doing all this incredibly expensive anti-carbon stuff that’s giving us the democratic world’s highest energy prices if it won’t reduce what the world’s temperature would otherwise be in the year 2100 by more than zero point zero zero something or other?’ Isn’t that, well, stupid? And wouldn’t a person of basic intelligence, someone not fired by a sense of moral preening, want to be given an answer to that before embarking on impoverishing himself or herself (sorry other pronoun self-identifiers)? Is it that we, as a shining moral beacon, are going to influence the rest of the world to ruin their energy markets too in the name of this newfound religion?

Read it all.

hat-tip Stephen Neil