Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Cheney Derangement Syndrome

People used to take Texas law professor Sandy Levinson seriously.

Discussions - 18 Comments

When was that?

Levinson should stick with scholarship; the professoriate in general is reducing itself in recent years to the screed-throwing of Ann Coulter and Al Franken. Instead of personal attacks and drivel from a professor, let’s have substantive policy and principles debate.

Yup...
C.D.S. coming from these Cheney-Haters looks just like another new school version of Daddy-Hate.

I used to read a listserv called "religionlaw," moderated by Eugene Volokh, which numbered among its contributors Michael McConnell, Douglas Laycock, and other legal luminaries, including (as I recall) Levinson, who participated well and civilly in the discussions, and who was treated with respect by the others.

What I wonder about is why the Left feels so comfortable in such overt hatred, while conservatives would find it distasteful. Is it normative in America today to speak your mind freely if you are on the Left, but to pull your punches if you are on the Right? True, I heard some harsh things about Clinton, but those pale in comparison to Left-spewing.

5: Dain, as we know, the right generally has more respect for social order and for the dignity of the individual. (Sometimes people assume that the two things clash, when in fact they may, but do not necessarily.) The left generally has much less respect for social order and the dignity of the individual. Thus, even on its (politically and socially) higher levels, let alone the Michael Moore fan club level, it expresses hatred much more freely -- and rarely apologizes when it does.

4: It is possible to become stupider or more irresponsible with age, even though it’s supposed to work the other way. Therefore, past performance is only part of the puzzle of character, not the whole story. If Levinson talks this way about a serious public issue (or a serious public figure, like Cheney), I would question both his current scholarship and his current fitness as an interlocutor. The fact that he has sometimes "participated well and civilly" is the sort of thing that can be said of many people, not all of them commendable. We don’t dismiss the worst things a person says or does just because the rest seems OK.

"Dain, as we know, the right generally has more respect for social order and for the dignity of the individual."

"The left generally has much less respect for social order and the dignity of the individual."

That’s right, Dain. As Patrick Leahy said, when Cheney told him to go F himself, "It is much better to be told to go F myself by someone who respects me than by someone who is disrespectful, as a Leftie would have been.

I think this is why Cheney’s attorney friend had the good sense to apologize for being shot by Big Dick: He knew that, despite all evidence, Cheney was a really good guy who would never shoot another human being in the face. Therefore, he didn’t.

So, if we just learn to ignore the evidence, we can learn to blame the hatred and anger that Cheney arouses in all his critics to "C.D.S."

It helps when a great generalizer like David Frisk can contribute to the phenomenon. Accusing the Left of spreading hatred while he spreads his own "polite" brand of it, himself.

What a crock, David! I am reminded of the scene in Woody Allen’s "Love and Death," where the grandfather is showing the child a picture of a Jew.

"Do they all have such horns?" The child asks. That is supposed to be funny, because it’s a parody. But it is not so funny when people really think and communicate the way you do, David.

8: Fung, if we can’t generalize, we can’t think. I don’t shy away from generalizations. There are too few of them, not too many. Generally speaking.

The example of Dick Cheney’s commendable comment to Leahy is overused precisely because it is so rare. And I strongly suspect the "F" word was well justified here. The question isn’t whether a vice president once used a swear word on the Senate floor. The question is whether major leaders and spokespeople for the left and the right are equal in their use of invective. And the contest isn’t even close.

David,

I think this is the blog where I first learned that Jimmy Carter is "execrable."

I would also point out that the frequency and use of "invective" is perceived differentially depending on whose group it is aimed at.

Finally, you are right that we could not think without generalization. But, integration must also be accompanied by discrimination, if we are to think well. I would suggest that you generalize more than is healthy, and that you discriminate more easily when you observe your own group, and too little when you "think" about the outgroup.

I googled the term with my name (I happen to like the word "execrable"), but apparently I’m not the one who applied the adjective to the former president. Of course, if we’d been left-wing bloggers, there would likely have been expletives intensifying the adjective.

Jimmy Carter is execrable.

I rest my case.

Why don’t you rest your tenth-rate mind and your scabrous tongue. Go to some leftie blog. Leave us in peace.

Do you monitor your own behavior AT ALL, you jerk?

"Thus, even on its (politically and socially) higher levels, let alone the Michael Moore fan club level, it expresses hatred much more freely -- and rarely apologizes when it does."

Quote from David Frisk, comment 6.

time to apologize, now, Davey.

"The example of Dick Cheney’s commendable comment to Leahy is overused precisely because it is so rare. And I strongly suspect the "F" word was well justified here."

Why was Cheney telling Leahy to go f himself "commendable" exactly?

What made Cheney’s use of the word "well justified"? I get the impression that your logic doesn’t get far past "If a conservative uses foul language towards a liberal/Democrat it’s well justified. If a liberal/Dem uses foul language it’s further evidence that they can’t behave in a civil, refined fashion and restrain their worst impulses."

"The question is whether major leaders and spokespeople for the left and the right are equal in their use of invective. And the contest isn’t even close."

Do you have ANY statistics to back up this squishy claim? Even some kind of homemade statistics? I would be curious to see them, along with a description of your methodology for collecting them.

I hear crickets.

That’s par for the course here, Fung, in this kind of situation...

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