Ideology As Bludgeon

Greenwald tweeted:

Conservative Conor Friedersdorf: “Why Self-Respecting editors should be embarrassed to publish Marc Thiessen”

Friedersdorf winces:

[A]ffixing “conservative” to my meant not to identify the tradition of thought that I find persuasive, but rather to place me into a political coalition for rhetorical effect or as context for readers: “Why look, this guy is a member of the same political coalition as Mark Theissen, and even he, a fellow conservative, thinks that Mr. Thiessen is an embarrassment.”

I understand why this might seem like a legitimate thing to do if one didn’t think about it long enough. But I don’t share a political coalition with Mr. Thiessen or his allies that is to say, those on the right who argue that waterboarding isn’t torture, that the Bush Administration took the appropriate approach to detainee issues, and that lawyers who represented War on Terror detainees are equivalent to mob lawyers. I’d never support a candidate who believed those things, I write against them, and insofar as I care about the Republican Party at all, I do my utmost to steer it in as far in the opposite direction as possible. When it comes to the War on Terrorism, Mr. Theissen and I share neither an ideological nor a political coalition, even those we both call ourselves conservative as far as I can tell, that’s because he is using the word to refer to the political coalition called the conservative movement, whereas I am using the word to refer to a body of thought contained in old books. On domestic policy, I think there is still some overlap between these camps, but on foreign policy, not so much.