Saturday, January 12, 2013

What I'm Talking About

I have declared many times that liberalism is more of a social than an intellectual set of beliefs.  Certainly, liberalism is enforced socially rather than intellectually (though the claim of intellectual superiority remains, and is in fact part of the pressure).

I have every recognition that such accusations seem unfair and at minimum, there are also examples of conservatives developing and maintaining their values with similar methods.  But to acknowledge that is to allow an avenue of escape that should not be granted.  When one can say "yeah, both sides are doing that," this quickly becomes "it's about equal," which then becomes "so there's no difference, I can ignore it, I'm keeping my same ideas, and now that I think of it, the other guys do this more wand we're better."

I am adamant that this is primarily liberal reasoning, and is in fact the foundation of how it perpetuates itself, and why I brought up the idea of "fashionableness" after the election.

There have been hints, as I posted the Portlandia clips which illustrate this.  They are humorous.  They are exaggerations.  No real people act like this.  Except, as Sam L noted, they are only a slight exaggeration.  Because the characters are being fascist about ridiculous things, it is easy to dismiss it as all in good fun.  The writers for the show certainly seem to soft-pedal even when they are being humorous, as, say, the writers for South Park do.  No reason to be more stern.  Their point is to be funny, and keep their jobs, not carry on political arguments.

But look at this clip now and see the dark underside more clearly.  Think back also to the clips about the person who forgot to bring his own bag to the store and... in fact, browse through all the clips over at youtube. Consider the meanness, the intensity. Notice:

1.  No intellectual argument is made, though there are big words and a command of abstract thought.

2.  There is no moderation of the public shaming, because the self-righteousness has overwhelmed the personalities.

3.  The closest equivalent group is Christian fundamentalists, and even those, not so much as they are, but as they are caricatured.

4.  The capitulation of the accused is entire, recognising that they will be cut off from the group, its claims of superiority, and even one's job or friends may be at stake.  They victims know that the aggressors play for keeps.  The school administrator certainly senses it.

My claim is that this exaggeration is funny because the audience knows it's real, but thinks that they will be able to steer clear.

And it's not really that bad, Boxer, is it?


Sam L. said...

Nailed it, you have, AVI.

They have the "One True Faith" and None shall Contradict It! eleventy !

james said...

Meanness indeed. In fact, so mean I find it more unpleasant than funny.

Anna said...

Those are funny but I almost can't watch them due to been-there-done-that syndrome from previously living in Maine too long.

bs king said...

There seems to be a deliberate attempt by many liberals to elevate the importance of issues that they can claim to be right about while never chancing being proven wrong.

Music's a good one. You can claim to have superior taste for many reasons, and no one can ever definitively prove you wrong. Nothing's provable, and the goal posts are easily moved.

It's maximum faux-intellectual return with minimal risk.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I love Portlandia (and actually, there's a lot I do love about the city itself - at least as a visitor). This is certainly one of the more serious-toned pieces they've put out and the first thing that leaps to my mind is the similar message presented in The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Kurt said...

I'm not sure how to set up a trackback, but I thought I'd let you know that I linked to and reflected on your post here.