Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking Down

Perhaps some of you read this piece a year ago in Vox by Emmett Rensin--"The smug style in American liberalism."

It makes a decent case that Democrats have become too condescending in their political arguments (or "arguments"), simply calling the opposition "dumbass hicks" or the equivalent.

I agree with much of what he says, so it's odd that I get stuck on one tangential remark.

He's discussing Hamilton Nolan, who openly calls large portions of America "dumbass hicks."  Rensin quotes Nolan:

Inequality of wealth--or, if you like, the distribution of wealth in our society in a way that results in poverty--is not just one issue among many.  It is the root from which blooms nearly all major social problems.

And how does Rensin respond?

He's right about that. But who does he imagine is responsible for this inequality?  The poor?  The dumb?  The hicks?

Wow. "He's right"?  The root of our social problems is the distribution of wealth? I'd say this is essentially false--in fact, it's a notion that's the root of a lot of bad political ideas and legislation.

What's weird is how offhand Rensin is.  He's written a lengthy piece on how Democrats fail to take the other side seriously, yet he has no doubt that this claim--and it's a big, contentious claim--is accurate.  To him, this belief goes to why Democrats should try to understand the other side, because it explains the roots of their problems.

Perhaps I shouldn't take him to task for a side-note, when he at least seems to want to reach out.  But it's hard to get beyond the flawed assumption.


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