After a few days away from the ranch, I am pleased to see my beloved Spartans still in the Big Dance and the hated Skunk Bears bounced early by a MAC team from Ohio.
While I was away, a fellow with the unlikely name of Stanley Fish outlined the new set of rules for discourse: Liberals can do anything they want because they are good while conservatives must always be abused because they are bad.
Much of the commentary in reaction to this has focused on how it reveals the hollow core at the center of the left, but to truly appreciate the implications we must (as usual) turn to the Belmont Club:
It is not correct to argue that ideology excuses everything; and provided that you mean well all is permissible. It doesn’t work that way. The Universe has an uncanny way of keeping score. You can run from consequences, but ultimately you can never hide.
Indeed, but there is more to it than that. There are to implications to the “Fish Doctrine” that I have not yet seen mentioned.
The first is that it ultimately demoralizes and therefore undermines the cause that adopts it. Liberals like feeling good about themselves – and being revealed to be amoral hypocrites causes those good feelings to go away. While it is true that the DC-Beltway liberal establishment has always had a Machiavellian core, the vast majority of the liberal base actually does believe in what it espouses.
For those people to learn that their leaders are simply playing them and willing to throw anyone under the bus for the pursuit of greater power is to finally wake up and realize that the Easter Bunny isn’t coming and never came.
Some will defect to conservatism in outrage, but the more likely reaction is apathy and withdrawal from the political scene – something the Obama campaign is already seeing.
The second - and more severe - consequence is that by announcing that adherence to liberalism carries with it the forgiveness of all sins, liberalism will find itself attracting those with the most sins to forgive.
The left is now the avenue for those who crave power to gain it, and the ongoing advertisement that one can get away with giving full vent to the hatred within. Anyone with anger issues or a need to settle scores is open to apply.
The fruits of this are already on display with the Occupy movement, and the media is dutifully airbrushing away the rapes, assaults and other crimes.
The end result of this second effect is to permanently alienate the vital center. While it may hearten the liberal cadre to know they can get away with anything, ultimately the brand will suffer irreparable damage.
There is an old saying that liberals want conservatives to shut up while conservatives want liberals to keep talking. This is one of those instances.