Travis Rowley: Heartless Conservatives? Or Deluded Liberals?
Friday, October 07, 2011
Conservatives often make the mistake of complaining that liberals use political correctness for the express purpose of silencing them. While there is some truth behind this assertion, it assumes way too much conscious insincerity. The fact of the matter is that most liberals have never conspired to recklessly charge their political opponents with “racism” and other forms of bigotry.
While liberals are often forced to resort to character smears once their arguments are confronted by superior ideas, this is usually a learned impulse, a portion of the Left’s anti-intellectual subculture that – because it actually has succeeded in silencing many conservatives – has largely prevented liberals from ever dealing with the weaknesses within their own philosophy. Thus, liberals have actually come to truly believe in the decades of smears that they have aimed at their political rivals.
A couple of months ago this writer referenced a “decades-old” media myth that liberals themselves created, and then proceeded to base future opinions and policies off of: “Republicans are old, greedy, grumpy, racist, rich, white males. Everyone else is a Democrat. Absurd, yes. But that’s really what liberals think.”
This sentiment is often referred to as “liberal elitism.” And it’s difficult to imagine a better case study than longtime Projo columnist Bob Kerr.
Within one of his recent writings, Kerr celebrated Governor Chafee’s despotic decision to place the question of offering in-state college tuition rates to illegal aliens in the hands of the Board of Governors. “It is such a good thing,” Kerr believes, that the Board of Governors “rescued the policy from the General Assembly, where, as proposed legislation, it had languished for seven years as senators and representatives yielded to the high, angry heat of opponents.”
The nerve of elected officeholders to actually listen to their constituents!
Kerr went on to ask, “Why oppose this? Why oppose something that helps and doesn’t hurt? Why try to deny opportunity to people who will be more productive because of it? Why use a line on a map to shut off hope?”
These are all great questions.
But the real question is this: Why is Bob Kerr asking these questions? Does he seriously not know the responses that Chafee’s critics would offer? Is he unaware of the concern over attracting even more illegal aliens to the state, people that would likely put further strains on state and municipal budgets? Is Kerr unaware of the sacred principles at stake – namely liberty, the rule of law, and a government process marked by checks and balances? Has he not heard people question the fairness and prudence of having undocumented students crowd out the children of Rhode Island taxpayers from state colleges? This is a point that even Eva Mancuso, a staunch Chafee supporter, referred to as “a valid argument.”
A reading of Mr. Kerr’s column illuminates a very revealing fact: Kerr never confronts any of the arguments that have been consistently articulated by Chafee’s conservative critics. He ignored them all.
This cleared the way for Kerr to offer his own explanation as to how anyone could possibly disagree with him, and oppose a policy that applies such “reason and compassion and common sense.” According to Kerr, this is a policy that only the most hideous among us could disagree with, and “that pretty much sums it up. It’s more a human question than a legal one.”
Kerr writes, “There has always been in the most virulent and hateful opposition to undocumented immigrants, a sense that these people living in daily uncertainty are being used to reaffirm a sense of American privilege. Keep them down to keep us up. Round ’em up, send ’em back where they came from, and let us all feel a little more special.”
That’s about as much as Kerr’s liberalism will allow him to understand conservatism.
The fact of the matter is that progressive Democrats have simply failed to convince Rhode Islanders and their elected representatives of the worthiness of this cause (Go figure, the liberals have lost the debate). The liberal instinct, however, is to then bring the debate to a shallower level – demonize the opposition in order to attain a moral high ground so decisive that it can justify just about anything, including tyrannical political measures. In addition to using the word “angry” several times to describe Chafee’s critics, Kerr called the entire resistance “small, mean and heartless.” And he meant it.
By ignoring their actual opinions, choosing instead to portray thousands of Rhode Islanders as selfish and cruel, Kerr only managed to further delude himself: “[This policy] is such a good thing, too, because it shows again how truly petty and desperate the effort to shut out undocumented immigrants has become.”
Desperate? Wasn’t it desperation that prompted Chafee and the progressive Democrats to resort to bureaucratic autocracy, making Rhode Island the only state (out of 13 total) to enact this policy without the consent of the legislature? As Kerr noted, the legislation “had languished for seven years,” forcing the progressives to “[rescue] the policy from the General Assembly.”
Aren’t rescue missions, by definition, acts of desperation?
Kerr has certainly remained loyal to the Left’s decrepit subculture of political correctness, self-deception, and anti-intellectualism. To Kerr, Rhode Islanders standing against Governor Chafee are cruel and stupid. That’s it. That’s all he needs to know. That’s all his readers need to know. And the world shouldn’t have to wait so long for a bunch of “small, mean and heartless” people to come to their senses.
Once one understands that many liberals have truly come to believe the lies and myths they have crafted and established, it becomes less perplexing to discover elites such as Bob Kerr championing the desertion of democratic institutions.
Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.
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