Conformity scorned, the dangers of within group criticism….

By Razib Khan | May 26, 2009 11:06 am

In light of my post on politics and personal perspective yesterday, I thought this “exchange” between Mark Levin and Conor Friedersdorf would be of note. Also see Rod Dreher on the controversy. In any case, here you have a case where the principals agree on the broad political issues at stake, and many of the specifics as well, but disagreemants over style lead Levin to takfir his critics. In fact, if you read the comments at the first link it’s clear that Friedersdorf’s point is basically unintelligible to many fans of Levin.

  • John Emerson

    As a liberal I’m perfectly happy for Levin to be the poster child for conservativism.

  • TGGP

    I remember once Vox Day approvingly linking to a clip from Mark Levin’s show which promised a takedown of Keith Olbermann. I looked forward to it, but found that it (at least the part after his lame defense of nominating Rush Limbaugh for a Nobel prize) only consisted of childish name-calling (“Overbite”) and discussion of tabloid stories regarding’ Keith’s personal life. Perhaps I tuned out too early, but I never heard him criticize anything Olbermann did as a public figure. Contrast that to thoroughgoing liberal Ben Affleck on SNL (part of Olbermann’s sister network, and which has Alec Baldwin on all the time) tearing into him for his smug self-righteousness combined with unseriousness. But at his most insufferable, Olbermann will always be able to look in a mirror and say “At least I’m not Mark Levin”.

  • John Emerson

    I actually love Olbermann’s self-righteousness. One of the crippling weaknesses of the Democrats when it comes to talking to ordinary people is their reflex refusing to make a moralizing case. Democratic politicians always talk about process, cost-benefit, law, strategy and tactics, tolerance, neutrality, etc., and let themselves be stigmatized as relativists, cynics, social engineers, and bloodless rationalists, and as a result they disqualify themselves from being able to denounce Republicans the way Republicans habitually denounce Democrats. And denunciation is language a big proportion of voters understand.
    Sure, many Democratic constituencies are intensely moralistic, and those are the PC people most GNXPers hate, but the Dems don’t necessarily give anything at all to those constituencies. Peace Democrats have been out in the woods for 61 years, for example.

  • TGGP

    Funny enough, Cass Sunstein actually caught-flak from some folks on the left who thought cost-benefit was somehow inherently right-wing.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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