THAT REMINDS ME… This comment from Josh Marshall,
And after reading the full transcript of Rick Santorum’s remarks to the AP about homosexuality, it occurred to me that there’s also a fine line between Christian conservative and porn-king.
Say what you will about Teddy and Barney and the rest of the liberal standard-bearers on the Hill, I don’t think any of them has ever brought up “man on dog” sex in an on-the-record interview.
reminds me of a conversation I once had with a senior Cato official. (Not trying to be mysterious, just don’t know whether the comments were meant for public consumption.) He started off by noting that it took a certain kind of mindset to, when confronted with libertarian ideas, immediately spring to the question “What about a man humping a dead boy dog? Shouldn’t that be illegal?” And he’d run into this sort of thing a lot, had had more conversations about necrophelia than seemed remotely in order. And he hadn’t been having that conversation with northern liberals.
He went on to generalize this to a “secret sin” theory of politics– that people form their political views on the basis of a generalization of their own deepest darkests. (This, by the way, is something like the method Hobbes defends, though that fact didn’t come up in conversation.) So: if you think it’s only the law that keeps you from plunging into a life of full-time sexual depravity and debauchery, you become a moralistic conservative. If you think it’s only the law that keeps you from becoming Ebeneezer Scrooge and screwing the poor just for the sheer sadistic joy of it, you become a lefty. And if you look inward and detect a craving for power, you generalize that to everyone else and become a libertarian. The moral was that people should listen to libertarians, believe them, follow their policy recommendations– and not elect them.
This won’t bear too much scrutiny as a general theory, but every so often something reminds me of it; and there’s clearly a little something there.
That kind of argument leans dangerously close to a smear; but I have to admit I sometimes get the feeling that the shock and horror with which some people regard libertarian ideas reflects a secret terror of their own propensities. While don’t think it’s universally the case that anyone who objects to a certain way of life secretly craves it, it seems like a plausible explanation for disproportionally emotional reactions to some ideas.
I suppose it’s a moot point in the end. While it may be a clever insight, saying the equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?” is not conducive to dialogue. And it’s such a convenient explanation that it can lead to a false sense of understanding. I’ve always found the meme that “guys who are against homosexuality secretly crave manbutter” to be an insulting generalization. Not because craving the cock is a bad thing, but because it paints opponents with a broad, conversation-ending brush instead of engaging their concerns on an individual basis. Likewise, it would probably not be a good idea to assume that anyone who opposes libertarian ideals is barely-contained donkey-humping vandal. No matter how tempting it may sometimes be.
I’m amused by the point about how you should listen to us, implement our ideas, but NOT elect us. That seems like sage advice considering some of the candidates the LP has put forward over the years…