What do you think of this post?

Ann Althouse, a respected legal mind in the greater blogosphere, and a self-described moderate, says her “sad” experience is that people on the right generally try to give her positive reinforcement while people on the left spending their time snarking at her. I’m not a moderate, but I would tend to agree, although I would also point out that there are a huge number of “lefty” Latter-day Saints who do try to engage in civil discourse. I’m honestly interested in the experiences of those in the bloggernacle. Do you agree with Althouse’s take?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

10 thoughts on “What do you think of this post?

  1. Nope. I consider myself an ardent moderate. I have found that those on the left and right both typically engage civilly. The major exceptions in my own posts have been from the right it seems.

  2. Let me say out the outset that I generally like reading Ann’s website. She is a rational and thoughtful writer who won’t tow the Republican party line at the expense of intellectual honesty.

    That said, I think most folks tend to view Ann as falling on the conservative side of things. I’m sure some would disagree, but moderate is not the descriptor I would have used (perhaps moderately conservative). That, I think, goes a long way to explaining her experience.

    Moreover, to the extent that some are seeking to use her reading of her experience as establishing the general behavior of liberals or conservative bloggers, I’m not buying it, at all.

  3. I have to agree with Ann Althouse – the right appears agreeable while the left more often appears snarky and mean spirited. I do feel she falls more to the middle ground with many of her views.

    Beyond the article, what is interesting is that technically, LDS do not fit neatly onto either side either – the secular leads of the far left are not part of our doxology; worse, our theology certainly isn’t in harmony with the far right drive of Christian Reconstructionism (e.g. Dominionism, teachings of Rushdooney, Christian Theocracy, Christian Sharia, Gary North, etc.).

    Many LDS are being blindly lured by Christian media (Focus on the Family, Hannity, FoxNews, 700 Club, etc.) and their support of conservative family values to support it’s deeper goals and operations of the far right – the backward slide to strict Constitutional/Reconstructionist Zionist Christian America purged of all iniquity (per Evangelical standards) including: gays, abortionist rights activists, Muslims, Hindus, New Agers, yadayada, and yes, those “cultist” LDS members. We need to educate ourselves on the true platform and long range goals of the right. We have too many praiseworthy media sources of our own that we do not need to be going out to other areas for edification. We can listen to contemporary Christian media – but we must use our intellect and careful discernment (learn from both snark and possible subtle workings of the adversary) in knowing the truth to the purpose of the far right movement.

    It would be so refreshing to see more LDS move to the strict middle (true balance) of the moderate intellectual left and moderate religious right. By study and by faith…

  4. I have found both to be equally capable of hyperbole. The right’s tend to be more visible because they are more publicized (although, they are often publicized through the liberal media, so…)

  5. Left/Right/Moderate – they are all the same when they believe it is moral to use force (i.e., taxation and/or imprisonment) to achieve their goals.

  6. Geoff,

    Since nearly everything in the bloggernacle is discussed in a religious context, our experience will differ dramatically from Althouse’s.

    I’ve never read her stuff, but will suggest that if she’s actually a conservative of any stripe, it’s not surprising that she’d get that response. Ask somebody at, say, Daily Kos and you’d get the exact opposite view. C’est la vie.

    To me, the leftists and rightists are as likely to be uncivil as each other. That said, I think the bloggernacle experience is different. When the left isn’t civil, it tends to take the tone of mocking views or demanding evidence in a patronizing way. When the right isn’t civil, it’s generally about judging personal righteousness and an unwillingness to actually evaluate arguments. Usually, it isn’t a problem. Sometimes, though……

  7. I only read Althouse occasionally, so maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t consider her a moderate. Not on the far right, but not middle of the road. This may explain the responsed she receives from the left. I’ll go with D-Train’s description, even outside of the Bloggernacle. Lefties are prone to attack someone’s education or intelligence, righties usually go after people on moral grounds. I don’t think either side is more or less polite than the other, they’re just different.

  8. To the right others who think generally like them appear supportive and the left snarky. To the left others who think generally like them appear supportive and the right snarky. The fact is that both sides can be supportive and snarky and both sides have figures that go over the line.

  9. I think part of the structural context encourages differences in the approach of the left and the right. Often I think the left is seeking a utopia and the right is seeking a more pragmatic utopia.

    If Liberals were King we would have a utopia where there were no poor, everyone had health care, and equal access to eduacation at the expense of equalized outcomes (there would also be no rich).

    Conservatives generally think this is impossible because of human nature and so seek to motivate people with the reward system and those who aren’t sufficiently motivated will fall and we shouldn’t worry about them too much.

    RESULT: Liberals can understand why conservatives don’t want utopia and conservatives can’t understand why liberals want to take their money. Liberals approach arguments from an intellectual or theoretical perspective. Conservatives approach arguments from a personal and pragmatic perspective.

    These are all generalizations but represent some of the underlying structure I believe is responsible for the different general approaches.

    I find more often it depends on how prepared or knowlegable the person is. People who konw the arguments are willing to raise them and discuss them. People who don’t know the arguments their side supports are usually only willing to make ad hom attacks and the like; it doesn’t matter which side someone is on in this respect.

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