Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Smear Goggles

John Holbo has an interesting post over on Crooked Timber, on Louis Hartz's The Liberal Tradition in America. The post is interesting in itself, but I'm especially struck by the second half, where Holbo outlines the phenomenon of the 'smear goggles,' where a person opts for "a tactical deployment of stupidity, shutting down inconvenient conversations," by choosing not to tell the difference between a moderate and an extremist.

I suppose that NI is rife with this, where people just wait for the opportunity to have their suspicion that everyone on d'other side is a nutcase and a bigot. Mary McAleese anyone? (And that can be interpreted in at least a couple of ways!) Of course, as a fervent reader of blogs I realise that we're in the monological moralising business, not that of politics per se, but still, like whataboutery, this sort of thing all terribly unpleasant and not particularly helpful.

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