June 28, 2009



Something else some of us like to do, just for kicks, is stir up ideological mischief at dinner parties. Given the depth of liberal hypocrisy on certain issues, this is easier than it might sound, and occasionally even provokes actual thought in one's prey. My favorite tale in this regard comes from a friend who lives in Park Slope. She reports creating level-red discomfort, when the talk on a recent evening turned to gay marriage. Everyone was for it, of course, including my friend. "But wouldn't it bother you if your own children were gay?" she added, all innocent curiosity. "After all, isn't it natural to want your kids to mirror your experience? To have a traditional marriage and raise children in the traditional way? I can't think of anything that would make them more foreign."

She reports that, hearing this, the liberals around the table "got very flustered -- because of course they feel exactly the same way. There was a long silence, and then someone said: 'I would be much more upset if my kids were Republican,' and that let everyone off the hook. But afterward, one liberal friend came and whispered in my ear 'I would be really devastated.' "

Indeed, if one keeps things polite in such situations, those on the other side are all but helpless, robbed of their chief weapon: Insults. For many liberals in these parts, dismissive contempt toward the other side is a reflex. So, for the enterprising conservative, pointing out, "that's not an argument, that's name-calling" is enough to stop them dead in their tracks. After lifetimes spent casually referring to those on the right as "haters" or "fascists," they are truly unaware there is anything wrong with it. While afterward they'll continue to believe you are a fascist, and say so behind your back, at least you'll have a momentary triumph.

For conservatives in places like New York, that's about the best that can be hoped for. As a species, adamant liberals are not exactly known for graciousness. Even in the wake of their triumph last November, many seem Constitutionally unable to stop bashing Bush, Cheney or Palin. And talk about gloating. Having in many cases defiantly left on their Kerry-Edwards stickers through Bush's second term, can anyone doubt that, even if unemployment reaches 20%, their Obama stickers will still be in place on the Volvo when it gets towed off to that great recycling heap?

Of course, that's just another difference between us and them -- we tend toward optimism and good grace. Rotten as times seems now for conservatives, we face life as it is and press on, plucky as colonial Brits in those old movies on TCM. Just a day after the election, one friend remarked that he'd already taken the McCain sticker off his car, adding that Obama was our president now, and he was willing to give him a chance. "Still," he added, smiling, "I kept on the one for the New York Rifle & Pistol Association -- just in case anyone thinks I've gone soft."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2009 11:08 AM
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