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It's not that cliches are wrong
12/14/2006 01:12:00 AM | Timothy

Some editors at the Dartmouth Review write:
There are no “racists” or people who “hate” at The Dartmouth Review. Such terms are the clichés of unearned, but desperately desired, moral superiority.
In other words: How dare those liberals try to say what we really think? But our side knows what the liberals really think. It's not that cliches are wrong, always: It is that our cliched view of the other side is right, and their view, based on what we do, is wrong because they cannot see into our hearts. Or something like that.

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This post is so ironic because your analysis falls victim to exactly what the Review writer was attacking in the Left.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 PM  

It might have been ironic. Except that both sides would agree that racism is a greater offense than self descrived moral superiority. I don't think Tim and I mind being accused of claiming moral superiority over those who are racist! So by all means, please do continue to call us morally superior. We appreciate the sentiment.

By Anonymous Justin Sarma, at 12:24 AM  

Anonymous: How exactly?

By Blogger Timothy, at 2:57 AM  

Anonymous: To be clear, I don't associate myself with Justin's comment.

I guess the "irony" is that somehow I am expressing moral superiority in this post, the very thing Reviewers are criticizing. I don't see any great moral superiority in writing a blog post that makes a small point how one sentence was silly. You have a rather small threshold. I might see myself as being superior at logic or argument than Reviewers on this one point. But Reviewers claim that type of superiority all the time, so the most you could accuse me of is being *like* Reviewers (which is a grave accusation). You accused of me being what they criticize. Hardly. If you want my motivation, I enjoy bashing bad arguments.

By Blogger Timothy, at 3:10 AM  

I interpreted the comment to mean that Tim is assuming he knows what the Reviewers really think with his paraphrase in the same way the comment he is paraphrasing professes to know what liberals really think (ie: That liberals are morally superior). That point does make a bit of sense, at least, if that's what was intended.

By Blogger Justin Sarma, at 10:41 AM  

I was only being half serious in my first comment, btw. Sorry Tim, if it sounded like I was putting words in your mouth.

On another note, I think it's so funny how the Review tries to brand liberals as thinking we are 'morally superior'. There's is the party of the 'moral majority'. Tomorrow, they'll be returning to calling us 'moral relativists', which so clearly contradicts this other label. Besides, it's kind of a stupid label, because no one can really espouse any sort of opinion without being subject to accusations of moral superiority.

By Blogger Justin Sarma, at 11:02 AM  


I'm pretty sure that no one at the Review explicitly has the thoughts I attributed to them in italics. How could they? That would be far too self-aware of the internal contradictions of their statement.

In any case, I don't think racist statements always stem fromexplicit feelings of superiority to other races. I'd guess that conservatives purport to be against 'holier than thou' attitudes, at least when they are (liberal) feelings of moral superiority. Reviewers sometimes (though not all) want to say: you can't call me racist, because racism is a feeling in my heart, and you can't see into my heart... Does that mean I can't even call *Kramer* racist because I can't see into his heart? Racism is made into a sin of the heart that only God (or at least no human) can judge.

But while some conservatives may be correct that some lefties are just like them (or the 'holier than thou' among them), not all lefties even accept this version of what racism must amount to.

By Blogger Timothy, at 3:35 PM  

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