It’s a big enough umbrella

Sometimes I laugh at conservatives for saying “he’s not really a conservative, he supports X”. Other times, I think they’ve got a point. Tebow-damn John for making read the first few paragraphs of the Saletan-Douthat wankoff but this got me from Will Saletan:

I think I speak for a lot of secular liberals…

Back that thing up. Saletan is not a liberal. Supported the Iraq War, check. Thinks black people are genetically inferior, check. Is ambivalent about reproductive rights, check.

I’ll give him the secular part. He probably likes using birth control, eating at nice restaurants, etc. He definitely likes writing about anal sex (be very afraid).

But that doesn’t make him a liberal. And the whole “secular liberal” thing annoys me too. I give liberal Catholics who still throw money in the plate a lot of shit, but my belief in social justice may have come from going to church (mine was not a right-wing freak show when I was a kid), and I’ll take even the most annoying liberal religion-apologists over assholes like Saletan every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

I’m sorry but these right-center agnostics/atheists don’t get to speak for us, not matter how much they reject religion. It’s great that liberalism is a big tent, but if you’re a neocon on foreign policy and you hate poor people, then shut the fuck up about what liberals think. Because you’re not one.

Update. Saletan replies to me:

Doug, I’ve tried reasoning with you before. I’m sorry that you’re angry at the world, but I can’t help you with your illness.

I had written:

You write “I think I speak for a lot of secular liberals…” in your recent exchange with Ross Douthat. Why would an Iraq-war supporting, white supremacist-embracing, anti-choicer describe himself as a “liberal”.

You’re a secular conservative. Stop calling yourself a liberal. You are not one.

(link to my BJ post)






140 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    I think you just called out about half of this blog’s commenters.

  2. 2
    gaz says:

    Oh shit here we go:

    For the next decade we’ll be hearing the phrase “Even the liberal, Will Saletan [ supports some kind of extreme wankery ]”

    Please, FSM, just kill me now.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    I think I speak for a lot of secular liberals too.

  4. 4

    I don’t get atheist libertarians. They don’t believe in a faith because there is no proof, but they believe in free market solutions to everything that has never been proven and is essentially faith based economics.

  5. 5
    Some Guy says:

    Here here, especially the last sentence.

  6. 6

    @Corner Stone:

    I think you just called out about half of this blog’s commenters.

    Not to worry, precious. No mention of idiots, so you’re safe.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    I give liberal Catholics who still throw money in the plate a lot of shit, but my belief in social justice may have come from going to church (mine was not a right-wing freak show when I was a kid)…

    Me, too. At the very least, it was something of a factor, even though I’m agnostic bordering on atheism now. The first thing I associate with nuns isn’t knuckle-rapping or nuns habits but the The Catholic Worker. And my own parents complete lack of supervision over what I read as a kid came not just from their laziness, but also from my mother’s experience in a Catholic school, where the nuns pretty much stocked everything in the library — even books that were nominally banned by the church.

    There were a lot of supercilious, moralistic, hypocritical whackjobs in the church, but there were also a lot of good, generous, people more concerned with social justice than being judgmental about sexy-time.

    .

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    So here’s the whole sentence that Doug quoted from:

    I think I speak for a lot of secular liberals when I confess my lifelong skepticism that anyone could make a rational case for such old-fashioned ideas. And yet, you’ve done so.

    Yes, this guy speaks for me.

  9. 9
    Jewish Steel says:

    Tikkun olam, motherfuckers.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @JGabriel:

    where the nuns pretty much stocked everything in the library — even books that were nominally banned by the church.

    Hence this:

    American nuns stunned by Vatican accusation of ‘radical feminism,’ crackdown

  11. 11

    @Baud:

    You know who else cracked down on ‘radical feminists”?

  12. 12
    Schlemizel says:

    one of the things that drives me nuts about BJ is that there is a cadre of folks here who want to define what is acceptable for a liberal. But when I see shit like the Lord Saletan declare himself one of us I want to join them. If that fucker can claim to be a liberal than we are truly fucked & the teabaggers deserve to win. I’m willing to put up with a lot of shit from my fellow travelers but that is just too far.

  13. 13
  14. 14

    @Baud:

    That’s close enough for blog work

  15. 15
    Linnaeus says:

    Even a big tent has some limits to it. Or, as I like to say, you still need a ticket to get in.

  16. 16
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I’ll give him the secular part. He probably likes using birth control, eating at nice restaurants, etc.

    Not that it matters, but what’s the connection between secularism and nice restaurants?

  17. 17
    DougJ, Head of Infidelity says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker:

    In the previous paragraph, he indicates that he thinks there’s a connection.

  18. 18
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I’ll give him the secular part. He probably likes using birth control, eating at nice restaurants, etc. He definitely likes writing about anal sex (be very afraid).

    I thought Saletan was gay, so he probably doesn’t need birth control.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker: I’m more interested in the connection between secularism and anal sex.

  20. 20
    Jennifer says:

    OT, but remember a few days ago when Rmoney or whoever was giving Obama shit about his directive to look into speculation in the oil markets?

    So far, prices here are down $0.16. My guess is they may be down by $.35 or more within the next 2 weeks.

  21. 21
    Brian S says:

    @Baud: Just because he got blind-squirrel lucky on one thing doesn’t mean I want him speaking for me, any.more than I wanted Christopher Hitchens speaking for me on atheism.

  22. 22
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I haven’t read the debate between Chunky and Stick figure but why is Yoga and eating delicious food heretic? I used to frequent a bakery run by Franciscan brothers, they made great bread and pastries. I definitely would take their opinions about religion more seriously than either of these two villagers.

  23. 23
    MattF says:

    But what does Saletan actually mean by ‘liberal’? ‘I write for Slate’? ‘I’m only a racist when I can’t help myself’? ‘I sometimes take a deep breath before agreeing with wingers’? I need a hint here folks.

  24. 24
    Tom The First says:

    I’ve been listening to this album a lot lately. The middle is middling, but the first three songs and last two might be the best The Police ever recorded.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Brian S: What did he get lucky on? Unlike people here, I don’t keep up with the village douchebags.

  26. 26
    Sly says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    why is Yoga and eating delicious food heretic?

    Yoga was invented by heathens and delicious food violates Douthat’s pretension towards some vague Christian asceticism.

  27. 27
    Joe Bohemouth says:

    I think actually, in the historical meaning of the word, an insufferable middle class moralistic prick has a much better claim to the title of liberal than most of ye here.

    Sorta like when people get mad at Joe Manchin or DiFi for not being ‘real Democrats.’ No, actually, they’re exactly being real Democrats. I’m not being a firebagger and saying vote Nader, but just a cursory look at the history of the party tells you that’s in fact the norm.

  28. 28
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Sly: So he is pretending to be more holier than thou, than actual priests ordained by his beloved Church? That’s rich.

  29. 29
    Sly says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Douthat is basically David Brooks, except instead of having secret fantasies about high-minded conversations with Edmund Burke in which they agree on everything, he’s having them with Saint Augustine.

  30. 30

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    but why is Yoga and eating delicious food heretic?

    I expect the Yoga reference was a brane dead example of idol worship, via 6 degrees of separation with meditating and eastern religion the fundies consider blasphemy.

    As far as eating at good restaurants, once it’s established, the clear link between secularists and godly food is that whatever secularists like, then via prevailing wingnut CW, must also too appeal to liberals, and that cannot be godly by definition. Which leaves us at the doorstep of the whole DFH thing and rampant fornication, abortion, drum circles and the like. It’s all quite clear, if you are insane.

  31. 31
    MattF says:

    @Joe Bohemouth: I don’t think anyone (except for people reading winger talking points) is claiming that Democrat = liberal. The question is, exactly what makes Saletan a liberal? Besides, y’know, being apologetic about opinions he may have once held when he was young and naive.

  32. 32
    some guy says:

    the Media is full of self-decribed liberals, so this is an ongoing problem. It’s not that assholes like Saletan, Richard Cohen, and Tom Friedman think they are liberals, but they get to pay that role on TV and in print.

  33. 33
    Libby says:

    This is why I love you Doug J. Profound truths.

    It’s great that liberalism is a big tent, but if you’re a neocon on foreign policy and you hate poor people, then shut the fuck up about what liberals think. Because you’re not one.

    Seriously. These people need to just STFU.

  34. 34
    ShadeTail says:

    @Joe Bohemouth:

    I find it amusingly ironic that you’ve equivocated between “liberal” with “Democrat” in the very same post where you made the point that the two are different.

    That aside, I haven’t noticed much of anybody here claiming that people are or are not “true democrats”. Not the front pagers, at least. In fact, since you bring up Joe Manchin, the point Mr. Cole made about him is that he’s being an idiot, not that he’s being a false democrat. Manchin not only destroyed his own credibility, but he’s also given his political opponents some potent weapons to use against him. That has nothing to do with his being a democrat, that’s about his being stupid.

  35. 35
    handy says:

    I dunno, I suppose it would depend on what Saletan is claiming he’s speaking for secular liberals about. If he’s saying, “I know I speak for a lot of secular liberals when I say Family Research Council is a threat to civil liberties,” who could disagree with that formula? Obviously, if it’s “I speak for secular liberals when I say the blacks are genetically inferior” then a major category error has been committed.

  36. 36
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I’ll take even the most annoying liberal religion-apologists over assholes like Saletan every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    Why, thank you, Doug. And I’ll take decadent godless heathens like yourself over churchgoing right-wing assholes as well! :-)

    I think it’s kind of a double-edged sword. I think it’s good to be relatively welcoming for strategic reasons-if you’ll go out and vote for my guy, I don’t care about your rationale: you can call yourself the King of Peru for all I care-but it does allow for some ratfucking re: Saletan, Kinsley, Peretz and the like undeservedly claiming to speak for the Left because they agree on a few token ideas, along with things like wingers claiming every TV station other than Fox is communist just because they’re don’t prostrate themselves before right-wing ideology as quickly as Fox does. Words have meanings, you know? And I think keeping those meanings straight is important not just for fighting conservatives, but for the larger war of sanity and honesty against stupidity and chaos.

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    @General Stuck: The bible says clearly that you shouldn’t care about what goes in your mouth, but instead eat whatever is around. Post new testament, it is very clear that food is to be shunned in favor of fasting in the desert. That and liberals are for it and well heeled agribusiness is against it, and at all costs supporting whiever can pay the most and who has the most Senators in their pockets is theology 101.

  38. 38
  39. 39

    My favorite Christian ever was my Religious Education teacher in secondary school. She was the coolest teacher in the whole school. She had very firm beliefs and was dedicated in her faith(she was a member of the church flower committee at the weekends for goodness sake) but she was capable of the most wonderful side bars that made me love her. For an example her telling of the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea see “Reed Sea” she understood the way that stories are passed down through the ages and get sort of “embellished” as they went on, she understood that the bible was a written word of years, and years, and years, of verbal retelling. I absolutely loved her, and the little Agnostic that I was I never doubted her faith in Jesus Christ for a second.

  40. 40
    Silver says:

    The stupid fuck is going to say, “I was using ‘liberal’ in the classical sense of the word.”

    Book it.

  41. 41
    Lojasmo says:

    @The Other Bob:

    Left libertarians. We believe in google. You should fucking try it. We’re basically soc!alists. Fuck off.

  42. 42
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I maintain that good chocolate is a religious experience.

  43. 43
    gaz says:

    @handy:

    when I say the blacks are genetically inferior” then a major category error has been committed.

    I think there’s a deeper error here than something strictly categorical.

  44. 44
    Anya says:

    @Corner Stone: I think I speak for a lot of BJ liberals when I say, STFU.

  45. 45
    Baud says:

    @lamh35: Someone’s auditioning for a spot on Fox News or perhaps (more charitably) the Wall Street Journal.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    @Baud: In either case, when Mr. Murdoch says ‘Dance’, you dance.

  47. 47
    handy says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Interesting. When I read that I thought of Penn Jillette. Not a socialist. Or Ayn Rand. Definitely not a socialist.

  48. 48
    BGinCHI says:

    If Saletan took an axe to the head in a forest, would anyone hear him fall?

  49. 49

    @lamh35:

    Pure wankery, meant to soften the fear they have of the right wing message machine and the whole “liberal bias” label in the media. There is nothing wrong with ‘aggressively” analyzing Obama’s record, but not going on more snipe hunts for Obama’s place of birth, what he ate as a child, nor scouring the transom for the “whitey tape’. IOW;s pandering to right wing often racist bullshit memes, that the wingnuts are expecting and demanding.

  50. 50
    DougJ, Head of Infidelity says:

    @lamh35:

    I’m trying to ignore it.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anya: Man, marriage has really changed you. And not in a good way.

  52. 52
    Hill Dweller says:

    @lamh35: ‘Who is the real Barack Obama?’

    F’n pathetic. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that this comes on the heels of the wingers’ ‘vetting’ nonsense and Willard bemoaning the ‘vast left-wing conspiracy’.

  53. 53
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @handy:

    I wouldn’t call Rand a left-anything. Jillette maybe but not by much. When I hear Left-libertarian I think someone like Naomi Klein. She thinks things are effed up but knows it’s going to make more than ‘let the market sort it out’ to get it right again. That’s because, I think, people like her are using a different definition of freedom than the objectivists, which is a good thing. If you let objectivists define what ‘freedom’ means in your society, you’re already in deep shit.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Here’s the thing about Lord Salatan and reproductive rights: he says we could avoid a lot of abortions if we used birth control more. Well, duh, a lot of pro-choice people don’t care much for abortion, really, would rather it be avoided entirely by use of birth control.

    But the anti-choice crowd is against abortion, and more importantly, BIRTH CONTROL OF ANY TYPE ASIDE FROM NOT HAVING SEX. That’s their position, and they are sticking to it. There is no reasonable compromise these vile broomstick up the ass prudes will accept aside from total abstinence, because if you do not abstain, you DESERVE any STD, you SHOULD get pregnant, and you SHOULD be forced to bring the child to term. At that point, they leave the room and have no more concerns. The child, wanted or not, is utterly forgotten.

    Salatan blithely misses all this in his brilliant, masterly “compromise” on abortion. The controversy is not really about abortion, it’s about sex, and women’s agency, and the anti-choicers are adamantly opposed to both.

  55. 55
    Anya says:

    @Corner Stone: Nah! I just don’t like ideological purity tests.

  56. 56
    Nylund says:

    I’m not religious and the fact that I’m not probably has a lot to do with why I’m a Democrat, but I in no way think the Democrats should be a non-religious party. I have absolutely zero against (most) religious folks. I just think that the Republicans have made it impossible to be a part of their party AND be religious (unless you’re a rich war monger). And that parenthetical comment gets to the root of this post. Just because you’re not religious doesn’t automatically give you rights to the “liberal” label. Being liberal means a lot more than not being religious and doesn’t exclude those that are.

    To me, and I don’t mean to speak for anyone else, it means: Giving a crap about the poor. Understanding that markets have failures and that there is a role for market intervention. Believing in a strong safety net. Acknowledging that discrimination, be by race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc. are real issues in America that need to be dealt with. Believing that pollution is bad, and that caring for the environment is not only the “right” thing to do, but all in our long-term best interest. And, looking out for the interests of the working and middle class, even if it means hurting the feelings of our Galtian Overlords every now and then. Oh, and the whole “believing in science” thing.

    The things I DON’T believe in: That lowering taxes solves all woes, that guns are some absolute necessity in life and limiting access to them is tantamount to some sort of treasonous act against God and Country, and that one can only be a “real” American if they live in the right kind of places, go to the right kind of church, eat the right food, watch the right sports, and have the right skin color.

  57. 57
    Anya says:

    @lamh35: Our “liberal media” is inoculating itself from wingnut attacks by using wingnut dog whistle.

  58. 58
    lamh35 says:

    @DougJ, Head of Infidelity: can’t and shouldn’t ignore it though. THe reason why the righties get so much BS like this to becomes memes is because we don’t make the same or a greater stink than they do.

    Who exactly is the NYT trying to impress?

  59. 59
    Quincy says:

    @some guy: Agreed. It annoys me to no end. The tv networks should start designating their guests as Republican or Doesn’t Hate Gays But Still Wants to Get Rid of Social Security

  60. 60
    Jibeaux says:

    The larger point is well made, but I want to make the smaller point of FFS don’t say you “speak for a lot of Xs” unless you are the lobbyist or paid PR flack for the Xs. If it’s your own personal opinion, then just own it and stand up for it without a ghost army behind it.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anya: “Some things gonna change round heah!”

  62. 62
    honus says:

    @Baud: I read that and honest to god thought it was snark. When Douthat thanked him for his comments I thought it went totally over his head. It never occurred to me that Saleten was actually sincere with that bullshit.

  63. 63
    handy says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    I wouldn’t call Rand a left-anything. Jillette maybe but not by much.

    I didn’t read what you were replying to saying anything about “left.” Just “atheist.”

    If you let objectivists define what ‘freedom’ means in your society, you’re already in deep shit.

    I wouldn’t even let them define A.

  64. 64
    Heliopause says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I think you just called out about half of this blog’s commenters.

    It never ceases to amaze, the number of posts on this blog that are “So-and-So is an ideological purist, damn him!!!” and the number that are “So-and-So is not ideologically pure, damn him!!!” I guess there is an ideological sweet spot for BJers. And now that I think of it, there must be a general term for those who insist on a precise sweet spot of ideological purity. Let’s see, what is it……oh yes, “Ross Douthat”.

  65. 65
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @honus:

    Very Serious People never do the snark, you see, because they’re always discussing Very Serious Ideas of grave importance and magnitude. It would be unbecoming! Humor is for dirty hippies.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @Heliopause: Is there a 4th category?

  67. 67
    JoyfulA says:

    @Nylund: I agree with you, I like the way you said it, and therefore I don’t have to type for a while.

  68. 68
    Heliopause says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No poofders?

  69. 69
    samara morgan says:

    chu know…..you stupid fucking asswipe dougj ….there is a goddam simple litmus test.
    are you voting for Obama or not.
    its not that fucking hard you retard.

  70. 70
    PeakVT says:

    Doug, I’ve tried reasoning with you before.

    And Saletan’s done a lousy job of it.

  71. 71

    @Sly:

    having secret fantasies about high-minded conversations with Edmund Burke in which they agree on everything, he’s having them with Saint Augustine Reese Witherspoon.

    Fixed :)

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s rich that a fuckhead like Salatan says he’s “tried to reason” with Doug.

    Salatan has demonstrated, again and again, that he’s just more tumbrel-ready Villager offal.

    Fuck him.

  73. 73
    TG Chicago says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Deep thought: if we had “let the market sort out” how to deal with the issue of slavery, black people would still be property.

    (just a thought that occurred to me reading Spaghetti Lee’s comment — not in any way meant to suggest that I’m rebutting SL)

  74. 74

    Doug, I’ve tried reasoning with you before. I’m sorry that you’re angry at the world, but I can’t help you with your illness.

    Let me run this through my semantic analyzer. I think it’s reading as:

    “Doug, I’m too smart to say ‘fuck you’ because you might tell someone I said it, and it might make me look bad, so I’ll say the exact same thing, in different words.”

    There are a lot of classy ways to end the phrase “I’ve tried reasoning with you before”.

    “I’m sorry you (have a character flaw)” is one of the least classy ways to end it. “Fuck you” is much more honest.

  75. 75
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @samara morgan: Which ignores that many liberals refuse to vote for Obama for various stupid reasons but still hold liberal beliefs, and it ignores the many conservatives who will again vote for Obama against the lunatics of today’s Republican party.

    You retard.

  76. 76
    srv says:

    Doug, you know, Fox always need a few liberals like Saletan. Have you ever thought how far you could get if you had just kept the schtick up?

    And think of all the black flag ops you could be carrying out for us. Sometimes, I really can’t believe the Republicans can be this bad. Somebody must be helping them.

  77. 77
    Bill Murray says:

    @Anya: but the people on BJ that Corner Stone is talking about are just as bad as he/she is on having ideological purity tests. They just have different ideologies in mind. It’s like the “non-conformist” punks in the late 80s and early 90s that really just conformed to a different aesthetic

  78. 78
    wag says:

    @MattF:

    Hint: being secular automatically disqualifies one from being Conservative.

  79. 79

    I think I speak for a lot of … uh .. I think i speak only for myself when I say that the comment thread at the linked Slate article is just hilarious.

    robert48: I want it all. God wants me to be fed. You folks have fed me. Nuff said! I’m going to the Texaco for a Heineken.

    My kinda folk. Whathisname there, Saletan? Not so much.

    I’m sorry that you’re angry at the world, but I can’t help you with your illness.

    Arkon DougJ, he’s so totally got you on the ropes. Just fucking give it up already. Slacker.

  80. 80
    Aaron Baker says:

    I fully agree with Dougj here. I’m a confirmed unbeliever–but I’ll take the unstinting decency of my wife’s Baha’i friends over Saletan and his calls for a tough conversation about Black inferiority any day.

    Fuck you, Will Saletan, fuck you and fuck you again.

    And yes, I know he walked the racial business back. He was still a dick to bring it up in the first place.

  81. 81

    @lamh35:

    NYT Public Editor: NYT ‘Basked’‘Cashed In On’ Obama’s 2008 Election, Must ‘Aggressively’ Vet Print Rightwing Bullshit About Him Now

    There, fixt it fer ya.

  82. 82
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker:

    So is good sex. I speak for a lot of horny liberals when I say that.

  83. 83
    GregB says:

    De-douche-douche-douche-de-dou-dou-that.

    That’s all I have to say to you.

  84. 84
    gVOR08 says:

    “I think I speak for a lot of secular liberals when I confess my lifelong skepticism that anyone could make a rational case for such old-fashioned ideas. And yet, you’ve done so” – Saletan. I don’t think I object as much to the “I speak for a lot of secular liberals” so much as I object to the idea Ross Douthat has made a rational case for anything, ever.

  85. 85
    Ash Can says:

    Doug, I’ve tried reasoning with you before. I’m sorry that you’re angry at the world, but I can’t help you with your illness got jackshit.

    Edited for clarity and succinctness.

  86. 86
    TG Chicago says:

    Oh man, how has this quote not been highlighted? Saletan:

    But what I love about [Douthat’s book], and what I think any skeptic would appreciate, is your relentlessly critical version of moderation. You’re not saying both sides are right. You’re saying both sides are wrong.

    Of COURSE this is what Saletan loves about the book! What would give him a bigger boner than saying that “both sides are wrong”?

  87. 87
    Scamp Dog says:

    @GregB: And with that, GregB wins the thread!

  88. 88
    El Cid says:

    I’m not sure about these cookies.

  89. 89

    Serious question: How does Slate make any money? It’s so fucking awful.

  90. 90
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @some guy:

    the Media is full of self-decribed liberals, so this is an ongoing problem. It’s not that assholes like Saletan, Richard Cohen, and Tom Friedman think they are liberals, but they get to pay that role on TV and in print.

    Ding ding ding. Actual liberals get relegated to the “Metro” column or get run as irregulars, like the late (and greatly missed) Molly Ivins, or Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe (or that former fruit picker who writes for the Tampa Bay Times–he’s syndicated but I betcha anything he gets picked up less than Thomas Sowell’s Dispatches from La-La Land).

    Fake liberals are there to make the paper of the oligarchs seem deliberate, thoughtful, and balanced. Boil all the sodomites in oil? How inhumane! How crass! How–how common. Strychnine will accomplish the same end in a much more civilized manner.

  91. 91
    cthulhu says:

    I guess the thing that gets me about people like Saletan is that what does it really gain you if you effectively retain the exact same default moral positions of orthodox religion and simply remove the G O D from it?

  92. 92
    joel hanes says:

    I speak for me.

    It’s Saletan’s presumption that grates: he wraps himself in an imaginary cohort of “secular liberals” who share his views, the ego-multiplication that apparently make Saletan’s opinion more Important and Worthwhile than mine, or Dougs; or yours, dear reader.

    Saletan speaks for himself, but apparenly imagines himself to be the voice of The Right-minded Multitude.

    Slate has much to atone for, but is utterly redeemed by Dahlia Lithwick.

  93. 93
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    If you let objectivists define what ‘freedom’ means in your society, you’re already in deep shit.

    At the risk of (re)stating the obvious:

    The freedom to swing my fist ends at your nose

    is code for

    I have the absolute right to swing my fist within a millimeter of your nose so hard that you feel the wind, & if I do hit you, you can sue me–I’ve got more money to hire better lawyers & if necessary I’ll pay off the judge for leniency. And if you flinch back out of fear that you might get hit, that’s your tough luck, coward.

  94. 94
    rea says:

    @ShadeTail: “Manchin not only destroyed his own credibility, but he’s also given his political opponents some potent weapons to use against him. That has nothing to do with his being a democrat”

    No, that’s typical Democrat behavior.

  95. 95
    the fugitive uterus says:

    wow, did not know turtles could, um, make noises during sexual intercourse – somewhat disturbing and amusing at same time

  96. 96
  97. 97
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Was that Saletan’s entire response? An ugly personal attack which doesn’t dispute the substance of your argument?

    Interesting.

  98. 98
    brettvk says:

    The turtle pron was hilarious! My (recently neutered) cat was fascinated.

  99. 99
    Peter A says:

    Saletan is the liberal, Doug J is not. In the 1960s and 1970s the conservatives tried to confuse everyone by calling the American left wing “liberal” in order to taint the centrist Democrats with the hippie radical tag. And it worked. I think life and politics would be cleaner and easier if we allow the Salatans, Cohens and Lieberman’s to be “liberal” and restore the 1960s nomenclature whereby “liberal” means a wimpy establishment loving centrist.

  100. 100
    Bob2 says:

    So how many people describe themselves as Democrats or liberals but substantively aren’t?

    I know Orson Scott Card always described himself as a Democrat, and that was particularly infuriating considering his long screeds on gays and reproductive rights. He may believe in social justice, but I am not clear on this.

    Kevin Drum is very liberal, but I hate that he gets quoted as “even the liberal Kevin Drum” and then doesn’t call it out when someone quotes him out of context.

    Obviously, Saletan, Cohen, Friedman, etc. and other wankers.

    Our Lady of McMegan Galt’s Gulch likes to pretend she has liberal stances on things before concern trolling them.

    Basically anyone who isn’t extremely right wing eventually gets called liberal, even people like Sully (who is clearly not liberal, just dumb).

    edit: Peter A.
    It gets more confusing with the Southern strategy of the 60’s that resulted in Southern Democrats becoming Republicans, which leads to the Republican party still calling itself the party of Lincoln.
    Then you get a bunch of asshats who still declare that their family has always been Democrats in the South.
    Technically true, but collectively nonsense. (did i use that right?)

  101. 101
    THE says:

    @Peter A:
    I think I agree with you.
    The correct term for left-winger is “socialist” or “social-democrat”.

    Use it with pride.

  102. 102
    Joe Bohemouth says:

    @MattF: @ShadeTail: Actually didn’t mean to make an equivalence between Democrat and liberal, just an analogy which may not have been useful. Anyway, @Peter A and @THE said what I was trying to say much better than I did.

  103. 103
    tybee says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker:

    but only dark chocolate. that other stuff is just trying to pass.

  104. 104
    Lex says:

    I speak for me alone.

    And while I am not a mental-health professional, I shall play one on Balloon Juice and speculate that Saletan has a personality disorder.

  105. 105
    Bob2 says:

    I’m guessing Lord Saletan has methaemoglobinaemia.

  106. 106

    How many Moore Award nominations is that worth? It’s gotta be worth something.

  107. 107
    pluege says:

    Liberal isn’t a club, its a set of principles: equality, community, empathy, privacy, tolerance. You embrace and express them all or you’re not a liberal. Dougj is correct that you can not support wars, racism, and oppression and rightly call yourself a liberal.

  108. 108
    efroh says:

    Lol, you evidently touched a nerve, DougJ. My guess is that is was the anal sex comment that set Salatan off. [Just for curiosity’s sake, I googled Salatan and anal sex and you were not kidding. Whoo, boy.]

  109. 109
    Bob2 says:

    Oh god, that Saletan/Douthat post is like reading Mickey Kaus or Alan Colmes.

  110. 110
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @samara morgan:

    I’ve been gone for awhile, is an Obama vote liberal, or the opposite? Around here it can occasionally be tough to tell.

    And, I just wanna say it….hipster. ;)

  111. 111
    samara morgan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: well….we have our very own Will Salentan spot here….first filled by Kain, now filled by de Bore.

  112. 112
    samara morgan says:

    @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E): a vote for Obama is liberal, retard.
    bangarang!

    Skrillex is toxicdeathpoison to hipsters, and he’s my fav.
    I’ve loved sonny with all my heart since FFTL.

  113. 113
    Tone In DC says:

    @brettvk:

    LULz.

    Like a much better version of those Comcast commercials.

  114. 114
    Simon says:

    Golly this is a depressing thread. Last time I checked Hilary supported the Iraq War-is she not a liberal? That a liberal believes some groups score lower on IQ tests means absolutely nothing unless said liberal believes that entitles them to differential treatment-ever heard of the naturalistic fallacy? Icky feeling about the unborn but still generally supportive of reproductive rights? Whats wrong with that? Looks like my fellow liberals aren’t really so tolerant after all. Pathetic.

  115. 115
    Peter says:

    @pluege:

    “Dougj is correct that you can not support wars, racism, and oppression and rightly call yourself a liberal.”

    Afghanistan? World War II? The Civil War? Libya?

    Can you say Saddam Hussein “wasn’t that bad” and be a liberal? Would you feel that we if you were a Kurd or an Iraqi Shiite living under Hussein’s dictatorship?

    The nice thing about Syria is we don’t have to think about it.

  116. 116
    Brooklyn Girl says:

    “I’m not a racist … I have black friends.”

    Pleuge (comment 106) summed it up. Being a liberal means embracing a set of over-arching principles, which then translate into policy. Government’s role includes helping people who can’t help themselves, and finding a way to provide for the common good while still protecting the rights and dignity of the individual.

  117. 117
    deep says:

    I have to agree with Simon @114. Seriously Doug, you’ve got to stop with this hatred of anyone who doesn’t think like you. It’s rather un-liberal.

  118. 118
    SectarianSofa says:

    @deep: “you’ve got to stop with this hatred of anyone who doesn’t think like you. It’s rather un-liberal.”
    That’s right! Order him how to act in the way you believe he should act! It’s the liberal thing to do. Or the concern-troll-y thing to do. Whichever.

  119. 119
    Bob2 says:

    Yes Doug, stop disagreeing with people when they’re clearly wrong on the facts repeatedly.
    Everyone should have a free license to be wrong on the Internet and fail upwards.

  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    Last time I checked Hilary supported the Iraq War-is she not a liberal?

    Nope.

    Now wait for your turn on the wall, Troll.

  121. 121
    runt says:

    Wikipedia on Saletan:

    A self described “liberal Republican”…

    I’m reminded of an old standup routine by Phil Jupitus about his meeting with a London cabbie who described himself as a “mild Nazi”.

  122. 122
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @cthulhu:

    I guess the thing that gets me about people like Saletan is that what does it really gain you if you effectively retain the exact same default moral positions of orthodox religion and simply remove the G O D from it?

    A few hours of sleep on Sunday, more money in the wallet, and feeling like a clever Joe.

    The same default moral positions benefit (and flatter) the upper classes, so no need to modify them. Oh, it helps to be a man, also, too.

  123. 123
    Tybalt says:

    The stupid thing is claiming to speak for others. No liberal ever elected Will Saletan for Spokesman. He can STFU.

  124. 124
    Tybalt says:

    Oh, and as for Saletan’s desire to have a Serious Conversation About Black Inferiority. I am happy to have a Serious Conversation About Black Inferority, after we have some Serious Action About Hanging Robber Barons From Some Lampposts.

  125. 125
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Simon:

    That a liberal believes some groups score lower on IQ tests means absolutely nothing unless said liberal believes that entitles them to differential treatment-ever heard of the naturalistic fallacy?

    The IQ tests aren’t a matter of belief, they’re a matter of fact. The dispute is over what they mean. And you seem to be taking the paternalistic/legalistic compromise of saying that ‘even the mentally defective deserve our protection’. Well, sure they do, but that’s not what’s at issue here, is it?

    Icky feeling about the unborn but still generally supportive of reproductive rights?

    The giant eyes and tails are pretty freaky, when you think about it. And placentas are downright nasty. PZ Myers did a podcast about three months ago explaining why women have periods. It’s basically because she needs to keep an extra layer of protection (a prophylatic, perhaps?) against super-aggressive-parasitic human embryos.

    This is why it’s good to know some SCIENCE and not just spend six years studying modern (=NOT INFORMED BY MUCH SCIENCE) philosophy and then dropping that MA or MS or MFA into every cocktail party conversation. You will get into big trouble when you try to base public policy on airy-fairy Escher houses of Hegel and Rousseau. SCIENCE. It’s our best way of knowing yet.

    So, circling back to the IQ tests, apparently you are unaware that they are a proxy for social class, that the tests that were commonly given to children included references to objects and events outside of poor children’s zone of knowledge (so does the SAT)? Apparently you are also unaware of the impact of test anxiety and self esteem impacting standardized test performance? And, while I doubt this has been studied, as a former middle class child who upped her score from high 1400s to 1600 through test preparation, the ability to engage in test preparation is a very real advantage. I know that it was documented in Boston that private school (middle class) children had an advantage getting into the public exam school over poor children because they were using the same testing company and recycling the same test. So the private school children took the same exam twice! Shockingly, these same children did better on the second go.

    Ignorance on a topic does not necessarily breed great insight, is all I’m saying.

  126. 126
    deep says:

    Nice job guys, so instead of having a valid argument on the merits you just hide behind the veil of “concern troll” and ignore the criticisms.

    Saletan might be a douche at times but he’s never been “wrong on the facts repeatedly.”

    So instead of distortions (which are a speciality of Fox news I might add) why don’t you guys knock off the blind hatred of differing opinions? We’re rational people here who believe in reason and science, right?

  127. 127
    Tybalt says:

    @Simon: Saletan can believe what he likes and I won’t say boo. It’s in his actions that he falls miles short of what any person would describe as liberalism. If there’s a liberal cause to be advanced, he’ll be the one standing in the way, arms upraised, saying “NOT SO FAST!” No matter what he thinks or claims to think, he’s best described as anti-liberal.

  128. 128
    Simon says:

    @ Another Halocene

    I don’t think you understand. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, everyone has equal rights. Why do you not make such a stir about the fact that half of “white” individuals score on the left half of the bell curve? If your ideology is so dependent upon the facts of the natural universe being a certain way, you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of unnecessary trouble if they’re wrong. Look up Noam Chomsky’s comment on Jensen back in the late sixties, he said exactly the same thing. I guess he’s a concern troll too?

    I have to say I’m disgusted with the idealogical bubble that everyone here lives in.

  129. 129
    Simon says:

    @ Deep.

    The answer may be that most people here are not in fact people who believe in reason and science if it threatens their preconceived conclusions and self-concept. Fragile identities are not totally monopolized by Fox viewes (although I would bet they run pretty far ahead of the pack).

  130. 130
    slag says:

    @Simon:

    I have to say I’m disgusted with the idealogical bubble that everyone here lives in.

    That’s ok. At least some of everyone here are disgusted by the idiotic bubble you apparently live in.

  131. 131
    deep says:

    ZZZing! Nice one slag. Really classy.

    here’s a hint: idealogical != idiotic

  132. 132
    Simon says:

    @Slag. What is idiotic about what I said?

  133. 133
    Simon says:

    Thanks Tybalt, by the way, for the only civil response.

  134. 134
    joel hanes says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Unless you’re making a joke about the pre-eminent Xbox shooter, the term of art is spelled “Holocene”.

    But thanks for the lecture about SCIENCE.

  135. 135
    slag says:

    @Simon:

    What is idiotic about what I said?

    Lets’ see…Where to start?

    It doesn’t matter what the facts are, everyone has equal rights.

    Seriously? This is the argument you’re hanging your hat on? “It doesn’t matter what the facts are, everyone has equal rights”? I honestly can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. If not, I stand by my assessment of your idiotic bubble. Yours and shallow’s.

    If you insist on being either a pretentious contrarian or an unapologetic racist, you certainly shouldn’t be surprised when you’re easily dismissed. And no amount of professed liberalism is going to garner you any credibility when you run around kicking people when they’re down.

  136. 136
    Simon says:

    “Lets’ see…Where to start?”

    Ok, I’m waiting.

    “Seriously? This is the argument you’re hanging your hat on? “It doesn’t matter what the facts are, everyone has equal rights”?”

    Do you disagree with this? If some people have a lower IQ then others do they deserve to be enslaved or otherwise deprived of their human dignity? Who is the real racist here? Again, I will quote Noam Chomsky, although the argument to authority is invalid (not like you seem to care about logic)

    “In a non-racist society, the category of race would be of no greater significance [than height]. The mean I.Q. of individuals of a certain racial background is irrelevant to the situation of a particular individual, who is what he is. Recognizing this perfectly obvious fact, we are left with little, if any, plausible justification for an interest in the relation between mean I.Q. and race, apart from the ‘justification’ provided by the existence of racial discrimination.”

    Any disinterested observer of this exchange would recognize your foolishness and unexplainable anger immediately.

  137. 137
    slag says:

    @Simon: Jesus Christ you’re tedious. Here: http://www.theatlantic.com/nat.....il/249150/. You can learn something new or shut the fuck up. And yes, such anger…it’s inconceivable!

  138. 138
    Simon says:

    Obviously we’re talking past eachother. I never said the finding of the Bell Curve were correct, only that it shouldn’t matter. I suggest taking deep breaths and learning to read and respond to other’s comments.

  139. 139
    slag says:

    @Simon: Obviously.

    I never said the finding of the Bell Curve were correct, only that it shouldn’t matter.

    “Doesn’t” and “shouldn’t” are two very different words. It’s typical of those living in ideological bubbles to not know the difference between the world they want and the world they have. I suggest checking yourself before you embrace your next pretentious contrarian position, and maybe you’ll do better than you did this time.

    And because this is a dead thread, I feel somewhat liberated to go off on my stock tirade against you and yours. TNC’s ICU analogy was truly perfect for pseudo-intellectual wankers, such as yourself, who haven’t managed to figure out that the scalpel you’re so proudly wielding before you is just sharp enough to be painfully dull. You’re too in love with yourself to realize how oblivious you sound and, sadly, you’ve been given the impression (probably your whole life) that you can make up for such ignorance with bombast. You have no flipping idea how utterly unoriginal you are. And your bumbling naivete would be precious if there weren’t so damn many just like you.

    There. I feel better now. Yay for the quasi-ephemerality of comment threads!

  140. 140
    AxelFoley says:

    Tebow-damn

    ROFL, ya’ll kill me with this.

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