as i have been saying (and saying, etc), this kind of jive is a tribute to the industriousness of cretins. i gave you a chance to reform; now i'm launchin. zachary goldfarb argues that obama's inaugural wasn't liberal, on the grounds that most people agree with it. one entailment, of course, is that no view that most people agree with is liberal. now to determine whether zachary goldfarb is himself the sort of person who might consider himself a liberal, or that other people might consider a liberal, would require reading more zachary goldfarb, which would be indefensible. but if zachary goldfarb is a liberal, then on his own account he ought to oppose regulating greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, support cutting spending on medicaid, oppose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, support cuts in education and transportation funding, and oppose same-sex marriage. for the contradictory positions, goldfarb flatly asserts, are not liberal. or another obvious implication: it is conceptually impossible to have a liberal majority, you doink.
but really, you see this everywhere every day: these are examples of the fact that our political discourse is dominated by meta-level 'analysis' that has no connection to any sorts of policy, or any practical matters of any sort, whatsoever. even the mere labeling (of a policy as 'liberal' or 'conservative, much less 'extreme'), even if someone were doing it coherently, is without any practical weight in the sense of reasons to do or believe anything about the issues of the sort goldfarb suspends in it, like mini-marshmallows in a bowl of turd-flavored jello. what turns on whether more education funding is a liberal policy or not? does that help you figure out whether it's a good idea? aw just spitballing here but you might want to look at the effects and costs of the policy and stuff like that. but at any rate, it cannot possibly be a liberal policy, according to zachary goldfarb. so, if you you are, sadly, the sort of person who evaluates policies according to whether they are or are not liberal, and tends to endorse those that are, you should oppose increased education funding with every piece of your big liberal heart. and you should not engage your mind at all.
but really, merely giving ideological labels to particular policies etc is the least of it, though zachary goldfarb cannot manage to do even that with even superficial coherence. the meta-discourse consists entirely of deciding who counts and who doesn't, who's extreme and who's not, according to who is doing well in the polling this week. same sex maririage, goldfarb points out, is polling at a bare majority. the moment it got to 50.1 was the moment it ceased to be a liberal policy. should that poll have a margin of error, or oscillate slightly, then it will, day by day and hour by hour, cease to be and then become again a liberal policy. so another lovely entailment here is that you are a liberal only if you are constantly changing your mind about this. the polling isn't used to lend weight to the actual positions, as 'ultra-brite is the best-selling toothpaste in toronto' might be held vaguely to provide some reason to buy it. all it says is: most people agree with me, hence, my opponents are wrong. ponder that inference. the polling is used to develop the ridicule, and none of it has a damned thing to do with anything even in competent versions.
just an absolutely minimal standard of consistency: if polling shifts, you've got to own your own crazy, anti-american, evil extremism. when jim crow segregation or anti-communist witch hunts or screeching homophobia were polling well, then of course all of your basic ideals were the views of extremists. that, by your own account, is what you yourself were the day before yesterday, and what you'll be again the day after tomorrow, and it is on your account a fundamentally important way to evaluate how plausible or morally good an opinion is. a decent person would just say 'so what?', which is precisely what martin luther king or harvey milk did say when people said (which they did) that they were extremists.
however, zachary goldfarb does provide a stunning argument that educational funding ought to be cut, or perhaps elminated entirely. the people who are basting the world with irreason on this scale are people who emerge from our educational system with advanced degrees. (right i am speculating that zachary goldfarb has undergone this sort of training; finding out for sure would require googling 'zachary goldfarb,' which would be wrong.) we like to think of education as imparting knowledge or something, but we probably ought to regard it as a systematic, intentional corruption of possibly-promising minds. evidently, the better your training in statistics or whatever it may be, the more ignorant you become, or the more boldly you endorse glaring fallacies or contradictions. it appears that whatever institutions zachary goldfarb emerged from pursued a policy of systematic neurological damage, which is a liberal policy, because it is not polling well. certainly it suggests that the whole educational structure from which goldfarbs emerge is entirely counter-productive. folks like this would be better and wiser people, they would have more reasoned positions - or at least they might have positions - if they were, for example, illiterate.
as on all such occasions, i feel that the best revenge against zachary goldfarb would be to take his 'arguments' at face value. don't assume that he is deploying them as clever manipulative strategies. that is particularly plausible in this case because goldfarb so signally fails to be clever in any dimension. if you take goldfarb to be sincere, or to mean what he says, the piece provides a devastating reflection on himself and his like. (on the other hand, if you assume that he is not sincere - and also on the plausible assumption that he is not some sort of master of irony - that is also a devastating reflection.) we should assume until shown otherwise that folks who put these sort of items forth are sincere, or would be sincere if they had said something. treat them as being precisely (as roget, consulting his excellent thesaurus, would put it) the sort of blockheads, dimwits, dolts, dullards, dunces, ignoramuses, imbeciles, and morons who would believe that they just made a good and important argument. assume that they believe that they are saying something and assume that this is the best they can do, until they actually display competence. then see that what they're saying is both completely empty and obviously incoherent, a stunning combination.
but i'm not at all angry! like jesus, i love your stupid ass.