Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The liberal echo chamber

Thomas Lifson, who edits one of my favorite sites, the American Thinker, wrote a really compelling article today about the echo chamber in which the liberal elites live:

To a remarkable degree, America’s liberal elites have constructed for themselves a comfortable, supportive, and self esteem-enhancing environment. The most prestigious and widest-reaching media outlets reinforce their views, rock stars and film makers provide lyrics and stories making their points, college professors tell them they are right, and the biggest foundations like Ford fund studies to prove them correct. It has been a disaster for them. American liberals are able to live their lives untroubled by what they regard as serious contrary opinion. The capture of the media, academic, and institutional high ground enables them to dismiss their conservative opponents as ill-informed, crude, bigoted, and evil. The memes are by now familiar. Rush Limbaugh and the other radio talkers “preach hate.” Evangelicals are “religious fanatics” comparable to the Islamo-fascists in their desire to impose “theocracy.” Catholics observant of the teachings of their church are “hypocrites” and their priests possible “pedophiles.” Jewish conservatives are members of the “neocon” cult, a suspicious lot schooled in the esoteric works of Leo Strauss.
As I know, from living in a suburb where we all share common values regarding raising our children (something entirely separate from the fact that I've drifted away politically), it's really nice to be surrounded by people who support your way of thinking and who affirm that you've made the right choices. Of course, it's also really dangerous not to have the tension of disagreement (hence, the Founding Father's enormous wisdom in elevating Freedom of Speech to one of the highest rights a country can grant its citizens). Lifson points out how opposition has honed the Right, giving it the intellectual edge in making arguments:
Rather than experiencing their isolation from the rest of us as “disorientation” – a state which connotes confusion and uncertainty – most liberals experience their differences with the rest of society as a sign of their advanced intelligence and consciousness. At best, they are perplexed at how long it is taking everyone else to catch-up with their enlightened state of understanding. Conservatives, on the other hand, have been fighting an uphill battle against a dominant liberal establishment culture for over half a century. We are accustomed to the need to marshal facts, carefully develop logical arguments, and realize that we have no reservoirs of generalized intellectual prestige, such as accumulated Pulitzers or Nobels (except for economics), to fall back upon. Conservative intellectuals living in blue enclaves have had to develop the sensitivities and dual consciousness characteristic of many marginalized groups. It is not enough to speak what one thinks, one must also think ahead and anticipated the reactions of others who see things differently. This is a taxing discipline, intellectually and emotionally, but it also produces superior results in terms of winning over the undecided or the wavering.
This is a warning for conservatives too. While we want to break the liberal stranglehold on the media, we do not want to create our own stranglehold, since that will inevitably lead to a conservative intellectual decline as we slowly expire in our own idea-free echo chamber. The point is to restore balance, something the liberals rightly fear as the end of their intellectual reign.