12 September 2008

Peggy Noonan Slices & Dices

Comes now the discovery that my nephew, who professes himself libertarian, has got problems with Palin. Lyrcism intended. I dinna ken what's driving this, but I suspect it's some of the social conservative stuff Palin asserts. And that leads to an interesting point. Libertarianism -- or classical liberalism, if you'd prefer -- does not demand moral lockstep. You can, if you'd like, assert that same-sex marriage is immoral and still call yourself a Libertarian; what you can't do is invoke coercive power to force that view on others.

The incomparable Noonan documents one of the strangest hissyfits in modern history. Read it all by clicking on the title. Bottom line: fire a broadside when the target's in range.
Then Mrs. Palin, and the catastrophe of the Democratic and
media response to her. Books will be written about this, but because it's so
recent, and so known, we're almost not absorbing how huge it was, and is. Here
was the central liberal mistake: They used the atom bomb just a few days in.
They used it so brutally, and yet so ineptly, in a way so oblivious to the true
contours of the field, that the radiation blew back over their own lines. They
used it without preliminary diplomatic talks, multilateral meetings or Security
Council debate. They just went boom. And it boomeranged.
The atom bomb was
personal and sexual perfidy, backwoods knuckle-draggin' ma and pa saying, Tell
the neighbors the baby's ours. Then the ritual abuse of the 17-year-old girl.
Then the rest of it—bad mother, religious weirdo. (On this latter it must be
noted that Mrs. Palin never told a church that the Iraq war was God's will; she
asked them to pray that it was God's will. It wasn't the sound of Republican
hubris, it was the sound of Christian humility: We can't know the mind of God,
we can only pray we are in accord with it.)
All of this was unacceptable to
normal Americans. They experienced it as the town gossip spreading rumor and
slander before the new neighbor even got to put down her bags. It offended the
American sense of fairness. And—it still lives!—gallantry.
Most crucially,
the snobbery of it, the meanness of it, reminded the entire country, for the
first time in a decade, what it is they don't like about the left. Really,
America had forgotten

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