Saturday, July 12, 2008

Making Common Cause

Become a StrangeBedfellow and Hold Washington Accountable!

Over at her blog, Dana Hunter pointed out that not every conservative is, to use her phrase "a demented fuckwit pandering to religious frothers":

One of those stalwarts is John Derbyshire. You might recall him from the Expelled debacle - he's the one who nearly gave me heart-failure, and brought tears to my eyes with an impassioned defense of science.

I nearly missed it, but he rose to the defense of science again when LA Gov. Bobby Jindal was about to sign that noxious "academic freedom" bill into law - and he's just turned Bobby over his knee for a sound spanking for actually putting pen to IDiot bill[.]

John Derbyshire Rides Again

[links from original]

Dana deserves credit for going out and finding these sorts of opinions. I find it's usually not worth the dangerous bile levels I experience. That's because there seems to be so little respect over on that side of the political divide for anyone else's opinions. One mistake that we should not make is to be that way ourselves. Serious, considered opinions deserve serious responses. On the issue of creationism, I wrote some time ago:

To me, this isn't an issue about Democrats versus Republicans. I don't care what party you belong to, there are certain constants in this world, and one of them is that science deals in the realities of our existence.


As I wrote yesterday, conservatives aren't nearly the woodenheaded block of voters some folks on the left think they are. The really odd part of how Republican congresscritters vote is how much unanimity there is on issues that don't really fit liberal/conservative schisms:

[W]e don't need more Democrats in Congress and the White House, we need better people. If even ten Republican Senators had joined the Democrats who voted against cloture, this FISA bill would have died a well-deserved death. There should have been that many among them. Frankly, there should have been enough on both sides to defeat the bill outright. But the other guys have voted so consistently with the Administration that it's difficult to even imagine that happening today. We don't just need better Democrats, we need better Republicans, too.

Homer Simpson Is A Republican, For Now

Liberalism in its modern form is the idea that government should set policies and implement programs that improve society. That's actually a fairly narrow perspective. Similarly, conservatism is about not doing that. Yet things like human rights, war (and defense budgets), and abortion are cast in terms of "liberal" or "conservative" ideology.

For whatever reasons, though, that's how modern political discourse typically casts such issues. In reality, liberals can be pro- or anti-war, depending on the war. They can, conceivably, be anti-abortion (though few are, thankfully), or in favor of more defense spending. That's one of the reasons I tend to use the word "progressive" when describing political views that agree with what one typically associates with liberalism - progress toward something better. Even that label has its limitations, of course.

Similarly, "conservatives" can be against particular wars or big defense budgets, and can be pro-abortion. As some have proved, they can be against FISA for their own reasons.

That's a long way of saying that I'm not in the least surprised that there are conservatives like Mr. Derbyshire out there. What I'm somewhat surprised at is how little we hear from them. And it's sad how little influence they seem to have on the Republicans in Congress.

One thing we progressives need to do is to find such conservatives, and make common cause with them when we can. The Strange Bedfellows campaign for accountability on the gutting of FISA is one such effort. The August 8th moneybomb is part of that effort. By clicking on the banner at the top of this article, you can pledge to give money on August 8th to buy advertising that criticizes the role of Congressional "leaders" like Steny Hoyer and Jay Rockefeller for their roles in creating this legislation.

I've pledged. Have you?


Dana Hunter said...

Of course I've pledged! Wouldn't miss it. ;-)

I can't take credit for finding that gem. Panda's Thumb highlighted him - I really need to start hat-tipping, because I don't want people to get the mistaken impression I have some kind of exceptional courage. Trying to slog through right-wing sites makes me want to stab my eyes out with a fork. And it really destroys what little hope I have left for humanity.

There aren't enough John Derbyshires, who are nearly sane on some topics. Sigh.

Cujo359 said...

There aren't enough John Derbyshires. There also aren't enough people on our side of the political fence who are sceptical of its dogma. I have arguments with people that demonstrate this pretty regularly.

Thinkers are people who question poorly supported arguments no matter where they come from.