Sunday, June 05, 2005


It was Phil Ochs who said that liberals are 10 degrees left of center in good times but 10 degrees right of center when it affects them personally.

When you mix liberalism and scientism in the way that Unitarian Universalists often do, this can easily lead to to an odd competition to appear more moderate or more reasonable, independent of the actual issue at hand.

In lifestyle issues, this is particularly troublesome. You meet vegetarians who want to prove to you that they are reasonable and not as extreme as vegans. You meet protestors who want to prove that they are the good ones unlike so-called anarchists. For UUs it is often, we are religious but not like that.

In coarse language, I would like to ask: who do you shit on to prove you are not a freak? So many of my UU friends struggle so hard between being so middle of the road, middle class and middle America and the knowledge that they are also on the fringe of maintream American culture.

A lot of the time, people pick on groups that overlap with my community such as vegetarians, hippies, militant breast feeders, union members, anarchists, Buddhists, or any other group that can serve as sufficiently beyond the pale. It is even more fun when it happens within a group (such as when pre-consolidation Unitarians and Universalists used to do this to each other or when Democrats try to do this to left leaning members of their own party)


At 8:53 PM, Blogger Chalicechick said...

I think this is a pretty natural human impulse. My favorite libertarian always qualifies her political position with the clarification that she's not "one of the wacky libertarians who doesn't believe in the public schools."

Excepting the union members, there's a certain self-righteousness I percieve to all the groups you list that i don't especially want to be a part of.

I've known reasonable union members, though these days I feel like the people who need unions the most are the least likely to achieve them.

When I talk about "hippies," I'm talking about modern hippies of the sort I went to college with. Some of them were OK. Most of them were lazy, frequently stoned and disdainful of people who did not see the world the way they did. TheCSO worked his behind off to help one hippie couple get "married" (though they weren't actually filling out the paperwork because the bride is legally blind and if she gets married she loses her government check for blindness.) When the same couple came to our wedding they spent their days sightseeing and their nights complaining that DC wasn't as cool as they were expecting. (Apparently they have nicer monuments in Hickory, North Carolina?)

As someone who has protested in marches, I have a HUGE beef with anarchist protestors. 95 percent of the protestors at the WTO riots were peaceful. A few hundred anarchists breaking windows and throwing things at cops were the all the television cameras showed of 18,000 peaceful protestors.

Couldn't have done a better job of making the left look brutish and dumb if the WTO had hired them.

Maybe the anarchists I've known have been especially tiresome, but theCSO's high school buddy who came back from college believing that if anarchists bombed a McDonalds and it killed half a dozen minimum wage workers, their deaths were their own fault for working for an evil institution, does not market anarchism well.

"On the whole, I have position x, but I'm not as radical as some people are" is not an unreasonable thing to say at all, and I'm not sure what your beef is.



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