instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's never just the other guys

The reaction at Vox Nova to that same Anchoress post is of a piece with past writings at Vox Nova, and so not noteworthy for its own sake.

Still, some of the comments do counter-illustrate a lesson in generalization:
Anchoress seems like the typical Republican Catholic, where secular ideology always comes first...

This is one of my least favorite things about the Right. They complain that something is BOTH not wrong AND constantly perpetrated by their opposition...
Secular ideology doesn't come first among typical Democratic Catholics? The Left doesn't complain that something is BOTH not wrong AND constantly perpetrated by their opposition?

Different political positions are susceptible to different intellectual and moral failings. To oversimplify: I am more likely to oppose the government doing something it ought to do than is someone to my political left; I am more likely to support the government doing something it ought not do than is someone to my political right.

But this relative susceptibility arises from relative political positions. "Secular ideology always comes first" and "something is BOTH not wrong AND constantly perpetrated by their opposition" are failings unrelated to political position. We distinguish different species of political position -- left, right, however you want to carve it up -- from each other according to specific differences between them. Susceptibility to secular ideology coming first tracks with the intensity of political position, not the specific position.

This is not to say that a non-political failing can never correlate with a political position. I don't think you'll go broke, though, betting that, when someone says "the problem with Them is" something unrelated to the specific difference between Them and Us, they're basing it on their own pro-Us interpretation of the world.

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