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Monday, May 22, 2006

Disagreeing Uncivilly

While rapt in readings of economic theory as explained by Austrian and free market economists, enjoying history books and daily reviews of today's conservative editorialists, I also read the NYT online during the week and pay money in order to receive the NYT at home on weekends. I am asked by my wife why I pay money to an institution with which I largely diametrically disagree. I answer that I need to read the opinions (as they can be found both in the op-eds and the news reporting) of liberals so I know where they are and where they are going. I cannot hole myself into a like-minded cocoon as so many people do. I may be turned off to the politics of the enlightened entertainment elites and not spend money for concerts and movies. But I still need to hear and read the opposing views to better hone my analytical skills and maybe be persuaded to their viewpoint or suggestion.

The same openness to opposing ideas is not shared by the Left. Reporting on John McCain's commencement speeches and the rude receptions he received at the New School and Columbia University in NYC, I see that Allan Bloom was correct about the "Closing of The American Mind". The closed minds of the Left will not provide Democrats a better chance at the White House in 2008 as Kerry and Gore look to move to Hillary Clinton's left on issues like Iraq and the war against terror. The national elections will still be decided by the 40% in the middle.

The WSJ points out how an unknown challenger to Joe Leiberman, Ned Lamont, received enough delegates to take a shot at the Connecticut Senator. The WSJ writes about the rise of this newcomer against a highly-credentialed Democrat:

Their vehicle is Mr. Lamont, a rich Greenwich businessman who decided to run after the Senator wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal supporting U.S. policy in Iraq. Mr. Lamont--who was featured in our Weekend Interview on May 13--needed 15% of the delegates to get a place on the primary ballot, but in the event rolled up 33%.

That's a remarkable showing against a three-term incumbent who as recently as 2000 was on the party's national ticket and ran for President in 2004. "They are saying this war was a mistake and bring the troops home," Mr. Lamont declared. Mr. Lieberman will still be favored to win the primary, but angry-left activists around the country will now descend on the state and the fight may well turn vicious.

The left's larger goal is to turn the Democratic Party solidly against the war on terror, and especially against its Iraq and Iran fronts.

The Left as represented by college graduates deserves the benefit of our understanding that youth always think they know more than their elders. That in holding their views, they see themselves as uncluttered with self-interest. They are more genuine, more profound.

They may not have heard McCain's speech amidst the shouting and sloganeering. One point he made was:

Americans should argue about this war. It has cost the lives of nearly 2,500 of the best of us. It has taken innocent life. It has imposed an enormous financial burden on our economy. At a minimum, it has complicated our ability to respond to other looming threats. Should we lose this war, our defeat will further destabilize an already volatile and dangerous region, strengthen the threat of terrorism, and unleash furies that will assail us for a very long time. I believe the benefits of success will justify the costs and risks we have incurred. But if an American feels the decision was unwise, then they should state their opposition, and argue for another course. It is your right and your obligation. I respect you for it. I would not respect you if you chose to ignore such an important responsibility. But I ask that you consider the possibility that I, too, am trying to meet my responsibilities, to follow my conscience, to do my duty as best as I can, as God has given me light to see that duty.

That is what is lacking. A belief that one's opponent has the same genuine interest as you but is offering a different solution.


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