My Happy Birthday Ethics Quiz: The National Review’s Theory


Today is my annual struggle (since 2009) to try to think of my birthday as something better than “Finding Dad Dead In His Chair Day,” and I must say, Facebook Friends have been especially helpful by sending along happy birthday wishes. Since none of them de-friended me for political differences during and after the campaign, I was intrigued by this essay in the National Review, titled “Ten Reasons Left-Wingers Cut Trump Voters from Their Lives.”

Now as I have made painfully clear, I was no Trump voter, having determined early on that I would sooner undergo a head-transplant from a warthog, even a Bernie-boosting warthog, but I was no Hillary Clinton supporter either, and was especially eager to shoot down particularly stupid memes from OccupyDemocrats, MOVE-ON, and the National Federation of the Brain Debilitated when my friends posted them, which was depressingly often. (Come to think of it, most of those FBFs who are addicted to progressive memes haven’t sent me birthday wishes, the bastards, but then the National Review piece wasn’t called “Ten Reasons Left-Wingers Won’t Say Happy Birthday To Facebook Friends Who Point Out That The Memes They Post Have Been Proven To Cause Retardation In Chimps.

The article is biased, of course: it’s the National Review. Obviously its assertion is over-generalized. But how fair is its general proposition, which is that the 2016 phenomenon of people cutting off friends and family is “one-sided”?

“Why don’t we hear about conservatives shunning friends and relatives who supported Hillary Clinton? After all, almost every conservative considered Clinton to be ethically and morally challenged. And most believed that another four years of left-wing rule would complete what Barack Obama promised he would do in 2008 if he were elected president — fundamentally transform the United States of America. In other words, conservatives were not one whit less fearful of Clinton and the Democrats than Democrats were of Trump and Republicans. Yet virtually no conservatives cut off contact with friends, let alone parents, who supported Clinton.”
For the record, here are author and conservative talk show host Dennis Prager’s the “ten reasons,” without his exposition:

1. Just like our universities shut out conservative ideas and speakers, more and more individuals on the left now shut out conservative friends and relatives as well as conservative ideas.

2. Many, if not most, leftists have been indoctrinated with leftism their entire lives.

3. Most left-wing positions are emotion-based. 

4. Since Karl Marx, leftists have loved ideas more than people. 

5. People on the right think that most people on the left are wrong; people on the left think that most people on the right are evil.

6. The Left associates human decency not so much with personal integrity as with having correct — i.e. progressive — political positions. 

7. Most individuals on the left are irreligious, so the commandment “Honor your father and your mother” means nothing to those who have cut off relations with parents because they voted for Trump.

8. Unlike conservatives, politics gives most leftists’ lives meaning. 

9. The Left tends toward the totalitarian. And every totalitarian ideology seeks to weaken the bonds between children and parents.

10. While there are kind and mean individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, as a result of all of the above, there are more mean people on the left than on the right.

Your Happy Birthday Jack Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is this:

Is the article fair?

Is this a generally accurate description of progressives/liberal/Democrats, or is it just more partyism and demonization of “them”? Which, if any, of the ten reasons are accurate and therefor honest and fair, and which are untrue?

I guess I’ve already signaled that my own experience suggests that it’s not fair, though I don’t know enough Trump voters to say with any basis that they haven’t cut off the liberals in their lives, or that they have. At first glance, I would say that #2 alone is undoubtedly true, and I have been coming to believe that #9, frighteningly, is becoming more and more true.

Your analysis is sought…

109 thoughts on “My Happy Birthday Ethics Quiz: The National Review’s Theory

  1. Looking over the list, about half the items seem to suffer from the problem of the National Review not recognizing that the right has their own version of many of these problems, especially as viewed from the left. They may manifest a little differently, which makes it hard to recognize (and easy to dismiss with a thin distinction), but it’s essentially the same kind of thing. For example, when people on the right complain that a left-wing politician is not wearing a flag pin, we don’t call it “political correctness,” but it pretty much is.

    Also, it’s easy to overlook bad behavior from people who support your side because it seems to you that their heart is in the right place, so they’re not bad and wrong, just a little misguided. Alternatively, if you do think their behavior is wrong, you can dismiss them as not really being representative of your side, because the distinctions on your side are closer and clearer to you. However, you may not recognize similar distinctions on the other side, causing you to attribute the bad behavior of some subgroups to everyone on that side.

    Shooting from the hip a bit, I see that problem in several places on the list:

    3. Most left-wing positions are emotion-based.

    Everybody tends to find the other side’s thinking difficult to understand, which makes it tempting to give it a derisive label like “emotion-based.” It also depends what positions you examine in your comparison: A lot of liberal economic positions may seem emotion-based to conservatives, but conservative religious values seem positively daft to an atheist.

    4. Since Karl Marx, leftists have loved ideas more than people.

    The left complains about right-wing ideologues all the time as well. One man’s ideology is another man’s commitment to consistent principles.

    5. People on the right think that most people on the left are wrong; people on the left think that most people on the right are evil.

    When it comes to social issues like abortion and homosexuality, the right has made plenty of accusations of evil. That said, this one probably has some truth to it because of changing times. The left has won the culture war on a lot of social issues, so right-wing accusations of evil may not be as common.

    8. Unlike conservatives, politics gives most leftists’ lives meaning.

    There are plenty of people on both sides who live for this stuff. And religion in particular gives meaning to a lot of people’s lives.

    9. The Left tends toward the totalitarian. And every totalitarian ideology seeks to weaken the bonds between children and parents.

    This is probably the clearest example. There is too much totalitarianism on the right as well.

    • Makes me wonder how many similarly otherist and repulsive articles of scolding and correcting Republicans and the Right were already written and poised for posting in every conceivable medium, before Nov. 8. It’s so much more fun to be sore winners instead of sore losers!

    • I looked up otherism in an Oxford online dictionary since I had never heard the term before. “Devoting oneself to the interest of others: altruism”. Please explain how this is repulsive.

      • Here’s the Wikipedia entry for otherism. I mean the concept of Emerson’s. Hannah Arendt described how hatred can be seen as normal if the object of the hatred is somehow, “the other,” i.e., not one of “us.”

        From Wikipedia:
        Otherism is a word used in several ways:
        It is a direct translation of altruism, and is sometimes used synonymously.
        Ralph Waldo Emerson used it to describe the process by which an individual is depersonalized or alienated due to their place in society.[1] This alienation can be embodied as prejudice against the other (analogous to sexism and racism).[2]
        In 2005 Ezri Tarazi co-founded an industrial design movement called Otherism.[citation needed]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.