Monday, March 14, 2011

Pretty Smart On Their Part

Here's an interesting post over at The Corner:
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, liberal hypocrisy manifested itself most acutely in their practical choices about minorities, for instance sending their own kids to exclusive private schools while supporting forced busing for middle-class families of lesser means. This was best memorialized in Phil Ochs’s classic folk tune, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” —
. . . and I love Puerto Ricans and negroes,
As long as they don’t move next door!
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

Ah, the people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame.
Now I can’t understand how their minds work,
What’s the matter — don’t they watch Les Crane?

But if you ask me to bus my children,
I hope the cops take down your name.
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.
Hmm, yeah, well-placed ellipsis there.

Phil Ochs earned his conservative cred by opposing the liberal Richard Nixon.

The post itself is about this Times piece which to the poster appears to demonstrate that Liberals Я Dumb, but then he's the guy quoting the "classic" (his word and mine too) Phil Ochs song. Sleep well, conservative!

I guess I shouldn't complain: you know that some dim bulb out there is going to pick up something by Phil Ochs and get a nice surprise.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Phil Ochs : Live in Vancouver 1970

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

IMO, that does not mean you will have to turn in your liberal card

I meant to say "should have to."

Substance McGravitas said...

liberals calling out other liberals

Phil Ochs would be pretty angry at this formulation. He was calling out liberals as useless to the left. The word was different then.

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

He was calling out liberals as useless to the left. The word was different then.

I feel like I'm missing something here. I'm not sure I'm following.

Substance McGravitas said...

Phil Ochs had this intro on his live album: In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. Here, then, is a lesson in safe logic.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.

In other words, today's corporatist Democrats, like Obama and the Clintons.

People who think we shouldn't be engaged in overseas wars and that our corporations have far too much power over our political process are now called liberals. They would not have been condemned by Phil Ochs.

Dr.KennethNoisewater said...

One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally. Here, then, is a lesson in safe logic.

OK, this all makes much more sense to me now. I think I'm gonna delete my first comment, 'cuz it sounds dumb now.

But I'm keeping this part:
I had to Google Phil Ochs. It will be funny if any of those Corner readers follow my suit!

Substance McGravitas said...

I don't much like describing which box I fit in, but if I did, "liberal" wouldn't be it. You can take my every use of the word as a joke.

Substance McGravitas said...

That said, I really do wonder what Steven Hayward thought he was saying in describing the song as a classic.

vacuumslayer said...

"I don't much like describing which box I fit in,"

I'm going to exercise self-control and leave this alone.

So what is a good word to use for people who are liberal-ish? Or progressive? Or whatever?

Substance McGravitas said...

I don't know what to prescribe, but the vast swath of people that the NRO hates is rather more disparate than a one-word description.

Except for FASCIST of course.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I kind of prefer Jello's version:

Do we know who that geetar player is?

tigris said...

How convenient that people who disagree vehemently with each other can easily be branded hypocrites merely by also disagreeing with Steven Hayward!

mikey said...


Me? I'm a Liberal.

Why? Two reasons.

First, it's the best shorthand for what I believe. I'm politically and economically of the left-wing tribe, and if you're going to use a label, it should convey something to people who are NOT you. You supposedly already know what you believe - the idea is to let other people know.

Second, the fucking fuckers of the American Political Right made the word "Liberal" toxic. That means, if I shy away from it, I'm somehow buying their formulation. And let's be perfectly clear here: I ain't.

I am a Liberal. And American political Liberal. Proudly, and without apology, and what's even better is I can explain why what I believe in politics and economics are both good for the people and good for the country.

M. Bouffant said...

I'm too big to fit in any box.

(Fat big, not enormous big.)

WV is in favor: beadsaye.

bjkeefe said...

I don't much care for simplistic labels either -- I'd rather argue issues one at a time than try to make an argument over an issue fit some supposed creed -- but there is a time and place for them, and at those times, I'm with Mikey.

Substance McGravitas said...

It may help that here in Canada we have a Liberal party and a party to the left of that to vote for (which will likely never take a serious run at majority government, but a US collapse could help that). The federal liberals are currently represented by the odious Michael Ignatieff.

So apart from the obvious Ochsian contempt for folks who can mouth platitudes but won't stand up for what they say they believe, I get some homegrown contempt to add to American triangulators.

bjkeefe said...

Yes, that's fair. But it's taking things to a level deeper than I meant by agreeing with Mikey if you want to start talking about quote-unquote liberals. I merely meant that here in the US, at least, the RWNM has done so much to make the l-word the l-word that if it's a one-word answer someone is looking for, I would like to embrace the term. Even if it has baggage from the perspective of a more pure lefty perspective.

We have no disagreement whatsoever about the triangulators, nor those who say they support X until it comes time to do something about it.

I hope you will grant me the indulgence of not carefully reading that David Rees piece at this time. I like him, and I suspect I will agree with what he has to say, particularly on an exemplar of the sort of person we're both bashing. Perhaps I will get to it later.

Haha. CAPTCHA: glowingl.

Substance McGravitas said...

If you want a term to reclaim I'm not sure why "liberal" would be the default though. Why not start with "socialist" and get a more interesting argument out of it? I mean, to that certain segment they're the same and if you're gonna try dragging that Overton window one way or another why pick the weaker option? GO COMMUNIST!

bjkeefe said...

I take your point. Here are a couple of reasons why I don't think I will take your suggestion.

First, to the extent that I prefer to identify myself as a liberal in response to the RWNM's attempt to make the term into a pejorative, any change of term is in some sense a surrender. That, by the way, is one of the reasons I have never called myself a "progressive." (Although if someone wants to call me that, I'm not usually going to argue about it.)

Second, I don't really want to get into a discussion of what being a socialist means, it being my sense that it is as many-hued a collection of shadings as any other one-word label, but at least as far as my sense of the word goes, I am not really all that much of a socialist and very likely not at all much of a communist. For example, I am inclined to prefer free enterprise, market forces, and other aspects of capitalism wherever possible. For another, I am inclined to lean libertarian (as opposed to favoring the nanny state) wherever possible.

Now, "wherever possible" covers a multitude of exceptions. There is no doubt that a wild-eyed member of the Austrian School or the Cato Institute would laugh at, or howl about, the many specific instances where I think collective action is needed, where government should be in charge, where regulations and redistribution are more appropriate for the greater good, etc. But still, I feel like I am distinct enough from what I consider being a socialist to think it's inaccurate to describe myself that way.