Roger L. Simon

In defense of the (political) hybrid

Glenn Greenwald has a post today in which he quite graciously acknowledges my apology to Kos of yesterday. (Thank you, Glenn). He also goes on to make a well-reasoned, well-written case for the necessity of lumping people into broad political categories. This is, of course, the conventional wisdom and I don’t think I need to rehearse the argument here. You can click to Glenn for that, but for the most part, you already know it.

That argument, however, turns me and I think a substantial (perhaps even a majority) percentage of the American public into “non-people.” We just don’t think that way. We are Political Hybrids.

Now I don’t just mean by that centrist, I mean actual hybrids with passionate feelings about a variety of issues that cross lines. And a hybrid, of course, could cross those lines in a variety of ways. Since I see this site is being visited today by many who have not been here before, I will risk boring some people and give a quick tour d’horizon of my views (with the obvious caveat that I am just one guy – though there are others who share my constellation).

Woman’s right to choose – favor
Gay marriage – favor (neither presidential candidate did)
Stem cell reserach – favor
Death penalty – oppose (except in rare case of political mass murderers like Hitler, Saddam whose
supporters could release from jail)
National health insurance – basically favor – don’t think anyone has come up with good system yet
Global warming – agnostic, don’t know enough
Energy – completely favor conservation and alternative source research
General economics and taxation – I’m with Chairman Deng Tsiao Peng on this (“I don’t care whether a cat is black or white, only if catches mice.”). Show me what works and I’m with you. The ideological arguments are way too 19th Century on this one.
Immigration – I’m with Bush here (in other words more liberal, in the conventional sense, than most Dems and Republicans, ).
War on Terror – as everyone knows, I favor (in part because it seems in harmony with my views above- confusing, huh?)

Anyway, had enough? I know I have. But my point is this – with all due respect Glenn Greenwald’s approach encourages the worst in us and certainly the worst in the Internet. We are, I hope, sophisticated people capable of sophisticated argument – not simply generalization and attack. The Internet can be a great tool for that, for seeing and understanding, not for lumping. Maybe I am an optimist fighting pathetically against the stream, but polarized thought is a form of lobotomy that I will continue to oppose.

UPDATE: ShrinkWrapped comments.


MORE: Dan is getting impatient with the length of this discussion. Can we blame him?