Ends Before Means

Conor Friedersdorf hammers home a truth:

On reading Mr. Beck’s defenders, I can’t help but think that their judgment and integrity are being corroded by politics. The ideological battle between conservatives and liberals has become for them the most important struggle in American life in order to win it, they are willing to defend and count as allies anyone in their insular world who advances the appropriate side in what they regard as a two-sided battle for the country’s soul. The most honest among them are explicit in arguing that their ends justify whatever rhetorical means it takes to achieve them. Even worse, they are using this total political warfare as a litmus test temperament and political philosophy are insufficient to be a conservative in their minds, because they’ve redefined the term such that it demands loyalty to a political coalition and even the particular tactics it employs.