Apologize, it’s the liberal thing to do

8 Nov

Micheal Kinsley apologizes for being blue:

It's true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose and where gay relationships have civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values…don't involve any direct imposition on you. We don't want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same sex, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant?

We on my side of the great divide don't, for the most part, believe that our values are direct orders from God. We don't claim that they are immutable and beyond argument. We are, if anything, crippled by reason and open-mindedness, by a desire to persuade rather than insist. Which philosophy is more elitist? Which is more contemptuous of people who disagree?

As many conservative voices have noted, American society suffers from a cult of grievance. To put it crudely, everyone wants some of the things blacks got from the civil rights movement: sympathy, publicity, occasional preferential treatment and a general ability to put everybody else on the defensive. No doubt liberals are responsible for this deplorable situation, and I apologize. Again. As a softheaded liberal, I even like the idea that our competitive culture has a built-in consolation prize.

But be fair! (A liberal whine, I know. Sorry.) Conservatives shouldn't assert the prerogatives of victory and then claim the compensations of defeat as well. You can't oppress us and simultaneously complain that we are oppressing you.

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