A reader writes:

You and Kain are too right. The conservative movement's consciousness of itself as a movement has led to some of its victories -- liberals are famously disorganized compared to conservatives -- but also some of its worst impulses. The "movement" paradigm calls forth a siege mentality that inevitably results in a paranoia about policing the margins of the "movement." Thus do creative thinkers get denounced as heretics.

You love to talk about "theocons," but the true theological conservatism is not religious, in the traditional sense, but this quasi-religious view that many conservatives (and certainly the movement's leaders) take of politics. I am a conservative myself, but one thing I admire about liberals is that the term DINO (Democrat In Name Only) has no real meaning.

I know that liberal Democrats have their own sacred cows, but you don't generally see left-liberal opinion leaders troubling themselves to read heterodox liberals out of the party. I understand the concept of heretics in religion, but not in politics -- at least not in any healthy politics, conservative or otherwise. When critics of the GOP say that the party has turned into a "church," I agree -- but as far as I can tell, the most sacrosanct dogmas defended by the hierarchy are the immaculate conception of the free market, low taxes, and an interventionist foreign policy. It's far easier to get elected a Republican being pro-choice than anti-war.

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