So it's interesting that, as if to prove our point about inferiority complexes, the folks who objected to our post responded as though we asserted the inferiority of these conservatives and their audiences, rather than merely laying out the particular way their politics are wrongheaded.
This confused post by Mike Farmer, who tellingly but absurdly assumes that Julian Sanchez is a "moderate" and that Rod Dreher disdains social conservatives, contains this excerpt:
Social conservatives are a dying breed, so why the sudden
hand-wringing over this irrelevant and dwindling political
faction? Perhaps it's the new polls showing the popularity of the Tea
Party over Republicans or Democrats, and the Tea Party is not even a
political party. This has to be disturbing to people who view the Tea
Party as southern, conservatives hicks. The moderates are dying of
embarrassment. They don't want to be associated with this movement so
they are pulling out every cliche and stereotype they can dust off
and use as a weapon.
Now, the angle is that the Tea Party crowd in envious of
the moderates' superior intellect and have to make monsters out of
these intellectual giants in order to muster to courage to even
approach this superior class of people. The hicks in the TP movement
are insecure and frightened by ideas they don't understand, so they
hold on to their simplistic culture and religious ideas, clinging to
their guns and religion.
Who said anything about moderates being a "superior class of people," or "intellectual giants"? Who called anyone a hick, or even invoked stereotypes that amount to the same thing? Who called the culture of the conservative base "simplistic" or denigrated their religion? All these supposed insults are conjured out of thin air.
It isn't surprising that a writer as clever as Robert Stacy McCain didn't make the same mistake as obviously, but he made it nonetheless:
Shorter Sanchez: "Hey, let's change the subject and talk about what a bunch of yahoos those Republicans are!"
Of course, Mr. Sanchez's post didn't assert that Republicans are yahoos, it argued that they're mistaken in obsessing over the possibility that somewhere, someone at Harvard is calling them a yahoo. These are very different things.
Mr. McCain goes on:
He despises all provincialisms -- except his own, and certainly the
provincialism of Alaska's former governor is not of the Sanchezian sort.
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.
Notice that it is Mr. McCain here who not only asserts that Sarah Palin is provincial, but assumes the qualities she possess -- the ones Mr. Sanchez is supposed to despise -- are shared by "us." Mr. McCain lives near Washington DC. Occasionally you'll find him attending the same social gatherings as Mr. Sanchez. Even if we grant that it is understandable for him to assume that Mr. Sanchez dislikes Sarah Palin's uncommon Alaskan subculture of moose hunting and oil exploration, what on earth would possess him to imagine that Mr. Sanchez sees the conservative base, and even Mr. McCain himself, as part of that same "class" subculture? In fact, any coherent "us" here cannot refer to class or provincialism, it can only refer to styles of politics, a perfectly unobjectionable attribute to criticize.