Conservatism is a political philosophy; the farce currently performing under that marquee is an inferiority complex in political philosophy drag.Well, thanks for your assertion, Julian. Thanks also to Theodor Adorno, Richard Hofstadter and every other practicioner of the Psychoanalytic School of political theory that inevitably views popular opposition to liberalism in such terms.
From the psychoanalytic perspective, there can be no rational objection to, inter alia, EFCA, the Waxman-Markey bill, or the health-care legislation passed by the House and now pending in the Senate. Nor for that matter could any reasonable person object to the sharp turn toward Keynesianism -- massive deficit spending for bailouts and "stimulus" -- that began in the final year of the Bush administration.
Turning Sarah Palin (or Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc.) into a symbol, and then analyzing reactions to that symbol from a perspective of cultural criticism, is a sort of avoidance strategy.
In the real world of politics, Obama and his supporters are desperately attempting to pass a health-care bill -- any health-care bill -- just so they can claim to have accomplished something useful since his inauguration. Every new poll shows a new low in Obama's popularity, and Democrats are beginning to fret about a massive electoral backlash next November.
"Hey, let's change the subject and talk about what a bunch of yahoos those Republicans are!"If you do not like Palin, it is not surprising that you also do not like her supporters. Nor is it surprising that if you are a clever writer, as Julian is, you will be able to compose an essay justifying your dislikes. But this merely proves you're a clever writer, doesn't it? If Julian Sanchez does not like Budweiser beer, his argument against Budweiser will be persuasive, but we ought not confuse his skill in argument with the merits of the beer. To wit:
The secret shame of the conservative base is that they've internalized the enemy's secular cosmopolitan value set and status hierarchy -- hence this obsession with the idea that somewhere, someone who went to Harvard might be snickering at them.An eloquent sentence. Yet it strains the imagination to conjure up an engagement between (a) "the conservative base" and (b) their "secular cosmopolitan" antagonists, in which Julian Sanchez would declare at the end that the conservatives had deservedly routed their foe. He despises all provincialisms -- except his own, and certainly the provincialism of Alaska's former governor is not of the Sanchezian sort.
Sanchez is entitled to his class prejudices, but we are not required to share them, no matter how much he ridicules us --- really, Julian, our "secret shame"? -- with criticism that treats political disagreement as a form of neurosis.