Ed Driscoll

'The Left has a Mutually Reinforcing Dynamic at Work Here'

Last week, after the left’s terrible, horrible, no good, just plain awful week (actually entire month, come to think of it), there were several articles describing the train wreck that had just occurred. One of the best is Dennis Prager’s, who explores why “They Don’t Know Us:”

For 30 years I have had leading left-wing thinkers on my radio show, and I continue to be shocked at their lack of awareness of conservative arguments. About two years ago, for example, I asked one of the most powerful Democratic members of Congress — a major force behind every tax increase — what tax rate he thought might be too high. He replied that he had not given it thought. I asked a leading liberal writer who maintained that all American wars since World War II had been imperialist, if he thought the Korean War was also imperialistic. He replied that he didn’t know enough about that war to respond.

After interviewing leftists, liberal listeners frequently ask me why I don’t invite the best liberals on to my show.

The answer is that I have had some of the best liberals on my show. They just don’t tend to do well when challenged by thoughtful conservatives.

That may be why the majority of influential liberals refuse to go on conservative talk radio or to debate conservatives.

I bumped into New York Times columnist Tom Friedman at Dulles Airport a few months ago and asked him if he would ever come on talk radio. He said he doesn’t do such shows. Yet, shortly thereafter he went on NPR. What he meant to say was that he doesn’t go on conservative shows.

Why don’t liberals read us or listen to us or debate us?

Because the Left has convinced itself that the Right is unworthy of such attention.

They are certain that conservatives are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted, not to mention anti-intellectual and anti-science.

The Left has a mutually reinforcing dynamic at work here. Because liberals believe conservatives are all these terrible things, they do not bother acquainting themselves with conservative arguments. And because they do not acquaint themselves with conservative arguments, they are able to go on believing that conservatives are all these terrible things.

QED.

Or as Ann Althouse wrote a year and a half ago:

Welcome to my world: Dane County, Wisconsin, home of people who tell themselves they are the smart people and those who disagree with them must certainly be dumb. They don’t go through the exercise of putting themselves in the place of someone who thinks differently from the way they do. But how would it feel to be intelligent, informed, and well-meaning and to think what conservatives think? Isn’t that the right way for an intelligent, informed, and well-meaning person to understand other people? If you short circuit that process and go right to the assumption that people who don’t agree with you are stupid, how do you maintain the belief that you are, in fact, intelligent, informed, and well-meaning?

What is liberal about this attitude toward other people? You wallow in self-love, and what is it you love yourself for? For wanting to shower benefits on people… that you have nothing but contempt for.

Call it “epistemic closure,” to coin a rather pretentious phrase.

Related: “Conservatives Able to Go Both Ways.”