Everybody's Got One
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Sunday, March 09, 2003


From Armed Liberal at Winds of Change (which is becoming a required daily check-in point):

It's mindblowingly frustrating for me personally, that as I become increasingly convinced that Bush and his Administration are mendacious and lack the real clarity of moral vision and ability to broaden and sell that vision that is required to deal with the current world situation, I become more convinced that the people who oppose his policy are morons. It doesn't leave me with a lot of places to stand on this.

I can't add to that. So, naturally, I'm going to try.

I think AL is substantially right about the anti-war man-in-the-street (or protester-blocking-traffic): these guys really are morons. Willfully, invincibly thought-free. But I have a hard time dismissing, say, college professors, journalists, or other high-octane knowledge workers as “morons” simply because their politics are terminally clueless.

And so I fall back on the old taxonomy of fools, rogues, and mudhens. (I have no idea where this phrase came from, but I've known it all my life. Maybe it's a family thing.) Fools are able to think, as demonstrated in other contexts, but generally don't or won't – often because it might challenge their preconceptions, their self-image, or their membership in a group. Rogues know that what they're saying is nonsense, but say it anyway – for any number of reasons. Mudhens are people who can't think, or have gotten completely out of the habit, and so shouldn't be expected to. You know ... morons.

In practical, political, terms I would classify most of the announced Democratic candidates to the left of Gephardt and Lieberman (who have problems of their own) as rogue/demogogues: they can't quite say what they're for, but they're clearly positioning themselves against war or anything like it. There are slick rogues – Sharpton – and anguished, transparent ones – Kerry. Howard Dean, I think, is a pure fool – which makes him very attractive to the impassioned mudhens in the party base. And Dennis Kucinich and Carol Mosley-Brown are, by all appearances, legitimately as dumb as two bags of hammers.

When in God's name is the Democratic party going to come back from its decade-long spring break from responsibility?

posted by Kelly | 1:09 PM link