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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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There is something "wrong" or disconcerting about this list; it is in "uncanny valley" due to it not being expressed with sufficient passion. The intellectual understanding is, of course, spot on. But where is the studied self-righteousness and the venom?

Nice try, but you fail. I suggest a more rigorous test would be to start and run a Liberal blog which gets a wide and enthusiastic contributing readership. Or, conversely, could we believe that a Liberal atheist had been writing the MavPhil blog all along?

Now take a shower!

I agree with you. I flunk! It is too intelligent to be the product of the typical contemporary liberal.

Still, I think this sort of thing is a useful exercise. Although I don't think conversations with political opponents/enemies will get us very far, they may keep us from shooting at each other -- which no rational person wants.

"Nice try, but you fail" - give the man a break. He had to hold his nose while typing that.

I think part of why it has the "uncanny valley" feel is that it mixes popular and "professional" arguments without using the jargon of either. But the key question is whether it accurately presents their views and (some of) the underlying reasons for them, and it generally seems to.

Some questions/comments:

(1) Would they say they're trying to "deepen" the progress in the voting rights case, or just protect the gains that have been made? (We're playing it straight here and not making semi-jokes about voting rights for illegal aliens, cartoon characters, and the deceased.)

(2) With respect to gun rights, most">http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/425775/some-eye-poppling-poll-numbers-guns-and-self-defense-jim-geraghty">most Dems include self-defense among the legitimate reasons for gun ownership; it's not just hunting and sport shooting.

(3) In the marriage case, the bit about becoming "enlightened" and shedding "ancient superstitions" is certainly true for many liberals, but their "official" argument is that gay marriage is legitimated by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. One need not reject traditional religious belief as benighted superstition to be pro-gay marriage in a secular state.

Hello Bill,

Unrelated to the ideological Turing Test, I would enjoy reading a similar document to the one above, on the same topics, but from your actual viewpoint (I'm assuming conservative). If this has already been done on your blog, would you be so kind as to forward me a link?

Colin: Typing with one hand is not easy!

Nathan: Excellent suggestion.

>>Would they say they're trying to "deepen" the progress in the voting rights case, or just protect the gains that have been made?<<

The former, clearly.

Ad (2). A Dem is not the same as a liberal, just as a Repub is not the same as a conservative.

Ad (3). Excellent point! Liberals' 'official argument' should have been mentioned. Wikipedia: "In 2015, the Supreme Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and required all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions."

Nathan,

Since I probably won't get around to doing what you request, you can find my views on the above questions by poking though my categories on the right sidebar, starting with Abortion: http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/abortion/

Hello, Dr. Vallicella.

I think it's a good start. However, if I may be so bold, I think you're describing a left-liberalism that is fading away for something more radical. Left-liberalism is increasingly attaching itself to identity politics and Social Justice Warriors. Hence, your description might be out-of-date.

Everything is in degrees, to be sure. Still, in the more radical circles, left-liberalism is becoming truly illiberal when it comes to the free exchange of ideas and arguments. Postmodernism has gotten teeth at the colleges where intellectual diversity has been destroyed.

Ideas have consequences, as the famous book title says, so don't underestimate what's happening. The left owns the "intellectual means of production" (I'm borrowing that term from Ilana Mercer). They take kids at formative intellectual years where they are being ideologically shaped.

(I can give a story at my community college of a professor who "teaches" philosophy 101. Oh my goodness! But maybe I'll tell you another day.)

Liberalism can be defined by wanting to maximize inclusiveness and individual, subjective preference satisfactions. It additionally can be thought of in postmodern terms of seeing "oppression" and "power structures" all over civil society. It wants to "liberate" the person with the State.

***

By the way, I would argue, the so-called "alt-right" is rising as largely a reaction to SJW-liberalism. Both are based on identity politics. When the SJWs talk about how white men are "oppressors" who need to step down from positions based on their race for the identity of various minorities (or so-called minorities like women), they create the incentives for various whites to form their own identity politics.

If the SJWs push enough, they will help generate what they hate. They talk about "inclusiveness," but they really exclude. It's so bad that you have people at CNN judging a crime of black thugs attacking a white *in terms of* identity politics. Some lady sarcastically says, "Oh, poor white people!" Traditional ethics is taking a backseat to identity politics. And they seem totally unaware that this will create a reaction. Are ordinary, normal whites going to accept that inane attitude if it is pushed hard enough? For all the talk of "racism," who is helping to generate it?

Moreover, as liberalism thinks it is "liberating" people by its inclusiveness or its ridding the world of "stereotypes" and "prejudice," it really is just substituting in new forms. These new forms can be worse than what we have. So it should be no surprise that many liberals have become extremely intolerant.

There appears a shift away from any semblance of classical liberalism. That's why I think your description is a good start but doesn't appear to nail it down.

Good comments, George. I was trying to present a defensible leftism.

That's a good point: SJW-liberalism is just indefensible on *all* levels! Ha, Ha.

However, I suppose, an earnest SJW-liberal could try to portray it as upholding moral decency against prejudices, stereotypes, racism, sexism, etc.

Yet it should be noted that this type of SJW-liberalism is expanding. I can cite numerous articles on this. With the election of Trump, rather than it dying down, I suspect it will expand particularly at colleges. It's very worrisome to me.

Although generalizations can be too rash, I would add that a big theme to your post matches Paul Gottfried's basic description of Left versus Right. Namely, that the Left stands for equality and the Right is more accepting of inequality. Indeed, consider John Rawls, G. A. Cohen, or Thomas Nagel. Egalitarianism motivates them all.

And, whatever one thinks of these guys, I at least find Rawls' ideas interesting and (somewhat) defensible. I can understand the worldview and it's not totally insane in its more moderate versions. For example, there have been scholars who have argued for libertarianism based on some of Rawls' premises and framework.

Then again, I see the more radical trends of Leftism. And since it's so distant from my worldview and many others, it makes me wonder about the stability of this nation. How can there be a debate that aims at compromise or agreement with such radical differences? But to be frank: I think the Left has already won the war (despite the recent elections). The culture war has been lost.

Anyway, sir, I did understand what you were doing. My apologies with my tangents---but I hope they are taken well and are useful.

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