The Left's Thought Police
A reader writes:
First off, good on Nyhan for sticking to his guns. Second, I recommend that Sam Rosenfeld take a good, long look in the mirror. His acquiescence to the true believers besieging his e-mail server is more odious than those true believers themselves, and they're stinkier than a horde of Visigoths. Nyhan sums it up perfectly:
...while TAP can choose to (almost) exclusively criticize conservatives, isn't open and honest debate a value that liberals prize? Is it appropriate to largely ignore one side while jumping on virtually any misstatement from the other?
Self-criticism and honest inquiry are hallmarks of the liberal mindset. Bloggers like Atrios apply filters to their facts and judge dissent and criticism as the height of disloyalty, a crime punishable by ridicule and financial ruin. Schopenhauer's point about taking care not to become the beast you fight is eerily apt. In their fanatical drive for unity and victory, they risk becoming what they hate.
Eric Hoffer once wrote, "The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without." This could not be more true of anyone, Right or Left - we all have the propensity. Once we stop accepting criticism as an opportunity to reflect and evaluate, we become less. The only way we can avoid doubt within and retain our humanity and honesty is to weather the slings and arrows that come our way, using reason as our shield. Going on the offensive, by calling someone 'wanker of the day' for example, isn't the act of someone confident in their opinions. It’s the act of a coward afraid of his own shadow of doubt.