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Ed Driscoll

Conservatives in the Mist, Yet Again

April 16th, 2014 - 3:03 pm

Sally Kohn explains “What I learned as a liberal talking head on Fox News” to the Christian Science Monitor:

My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.

It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.

Which sounds almost exactly like what liberal Fox pundit Kirsten Powers said to Real Clear Politics’ Carl Cannon a couple of months ago:

Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.

“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”

“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”

As I noted back then, Kirsten Powers was living out Krauthammer’s Law:

I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.

Similarly, in response to Kohn’s article, Warner Todd Huston writes in the comments at Hot Air today:

You DO realize that there is a MAJOR admission in that op ed, right? She is essentially admitting that through most of her adult life she thought conservatives were evil… until, well into her late 30s, she finally MET SOME!

Sally Kohn lived in a liberal bubble for nearly all her life until 2 years ago she finally met some conservatives and discovered *gasp* they aren’t all like little Hitlers.

I’m glad that Kohn and Powers have granted those on the right are, as Kohn notes, “personable and kind and human. Just like me.” But why did it take working among them to make the epoch-shattering discovery* that half the country are actual flesh-and-blood humans and not The Other?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I'm going to throw this out there. I am a transgender individual, spending most of my time in a largely "conservative" environment. I was received warmly and compassionately during my transition, with many folks going out of their way to support me. I do have experiences with a leftist environment, and I'm glad I'm not there. I just can't deal with all the speech- and thought-policing, and the generally coercive and intolerant atmosphere. I also don't want to become one of their "LBGT Pets." I'd rather ?take my chances? going to a bar-b-que with Phil Robertson than with Lunchbox Joe. My rationale; folks like that will base their opinions of me as an individual, with my own life-resume and what I have to say, from my own mind and heart.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The corollary to Krauthammer's Law should be this: Since 90% of the media is liberal, Conservatives understand how Liberals think, but Liberals have no idea how Conservatives think.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ooga booga.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (48)
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34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
And David Brooks knuckled under and became a Progressive in order to be " accepted". Of course, they spitefully tolerate him now that he spews their line. This hatred and othering is exactly what Liberalism, and it's mentor Communism, teach and have instituted in the U.S. American Campus' are nothing more or less than Communist Indoctrination Centers
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
In my view here are several fundamental differences between liberal and conservatives. Among these:

Liberals view man as essentially good and evolving into a better animal by the guidance of far-sighted wise elites, and government is the means; conservatives view man as essentially bad and government is largely intended to restrain bad actions, and protect its citizens from aggression, in accordance to long-standing historical observation.

Liberals view individuals as part of, and subservient to, a greater society and its government, while conservatives view society and government as created by, and subservient to, the individuals. In short: Either the government owns you and your children, or you and your children own the government.

Liberals and conservatives have contrary views on justice, innocence and the value of life: Liberals promote killing unborn babies, but prohibit killing in self-defense; while conservatives prohibit the killing of unborn babies but allow killing in self-defense: the difference is whether to protect the innocent and powerless or those who are able and guilty.

Liberals view utopia as achievable, while conservatives view society as a perpetual fight against man’s malevolent inclinations.

Liberals are forward-looking and idealistic, while conservatives are less idealistic and more pragmatic.

The problem, of course, with proactively mandating change which is supposed to remove injustice is the effects of unintended consequences, and the underestimation of man’s tendencies toward injustice and violence.

(show less)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a follow-up to my last paragraph, this quote from Charles Krathammer: "This used to be my position. No longer. I HAD NOT FORESEEN HOW DONOR LISTS WOULD BE USED not to ferret out corruption but to pursue and persecute citizens with contrary views. "
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Poor woman has obviously been brainwashed by those evil fascist bloodsuckers at Faux News!
Sorry, my body was briefly possessed by a guy who posts in the comments section of the Daily Kos.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Check out Haidt's research. Liberals are morally retarded.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe you ought to watch Ms. Kohn's talk on TED. It'd make you think twice about saying stuff like that.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doubtful. Just by virtue of her statement noted above she is of the ilk that believe that good thoughts and good words are all that's needed. Unable to think past surface reactions into any level of depth that might show some of the ugliness their "compassionate" feelings create. It's that ability to analyze more deeply and be aware that there are always unintended consequences and knee-jerk attempts to "help" more often hurt that conservatives often have that convinces her and those like her that conservatives are mean and nasty and uncaring.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
T. S. Elliot probably assessed liberals as accurately as anyone in his 1949 play The Cocktail party:

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

That is the best description of liberals I have seen.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hmm, that exactly describes the destruction of the Black Family by Liberals after introducing welfare in 1964.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not that most liberals are in and of themselves evil. It's that they are perfectly comfortable committing terribly evil acts that cause untold damage and excusing the practice because their intentions were good.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it just me, or has "Krauthammer’s Law" done a Polar Shift over the past 6 years?

Gone from: "Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,"
To... Conservatives think that Liberals are Evil. Liberals think Conservatives are stupid. And with good cause on both sides.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, I'm fairly sure it's just you.

The easiest way to verify if your hypothesis is correct would be to wander through a contested comments section and count up the number of times they call us stupid vs the number of times they call us racist, misogynist, homophobic or want to remove the health insurance from grandma before pushing her off a cliff.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
A University of Virginia study tested a large group of people. First, the subjects were asked to self-identify as more liberal or more conservative. Second, they were then asked to explain their values. Lastly, they were asked to explain the values of their ideological opposite.

The study found that conservatives are much more aware of and better at explaining the liberal position, while liberals were less likely to be able to explain or understand the conservative position.

The reasoning: since popular culture, the media and academia are almost monolithically liberal; a liberal can go through life never being exposed to conservative argument – hence the “bubble” Kohn and Powers talk about. Conversely, it is almost impossible for a conservative to avoid liberal environments – thus the greater awareness…and dare I say…open-mindedness.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jonathon Haidt. There's more here than just exposure. Conservatives and moderates used all 5 moral bases for decisions. Liberals used only 2.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cite, please.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The summary page of the study and the publication that came out of it:
http://righteousmind.com/

The American (the AEI’s online magazine) summarizing major points of the study (rather than read the whole book):
http://www.american.com/archive/2012/april/liberals-or-conservatives-who2019s-really-close-minded

A blog post at Hotair summarizing the report summarizing the study (for quick hits):
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/04/13/confirmed-conservatives-understand-liberal-positions-better-than-liberals-understand-conservative-positions/
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess the point relevant to this post is that while we can all find ourselves living in ideological bubbles, it's just a lot easier for liberals to do so (sometimes inadvertently) than conservatives.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, that's true. I think it's because liberal ideology is constantly validated by the MSM and the prevailing culture and protected by the fortress of political correctness; there's no incentive for liberals to challenge their misguided presumptions.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to mention the very, very real threat of ostracism and persecution for breaking from orthodoxy.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm going to throw this out there. I am a transgender individual, spending most of my time in a largely "conservative" environment. I was received warmly and compassionately during my transition, with many folks going out of their way to support me. I do have experiences with a leftist environment, and I'm glad I'm not there. I just can't deal with all the speech- and thought-policing, and the generally coercive and intolerant atmosphere. I also don't want to become one of their "LBGT Pets." I'd rather ?take my chances? going to a bar-b-que with Phil Robertson than with Lunchbox Joe. My rationale; folks like that will base their opinions of me as an individual, with my own life-resume and what I have to say, from my own mind and heart.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
But just think of all the things they'll do for you! They'll totally get offended on your behalf is someone only mentions two sexes in a tweet. They'll take over Dartmouth's offices so you can have your very own bathroom in every building on campus.

Whether or not you ever asked or even want such things.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you mean to say people on the right judge you by your actions, and not by the "stereotype label" that defines your grievance group voting block to the left (and hence how the left should treat you.)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good recap!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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