Patterico's Pontifications


Mead vs Sullivan: No Contest

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:33 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Andrew Sullivan made the mistake of challenging Walter Russell Mead, who does not think much of hysteria about the coming Republican theocracy.  Fair use prevents me from reprinting Mead’s reply in full, so you will want to RTWT.  An excerpt:

Many younger readers will have trouble believing that anybody older than Andrew Sullivan exists, but I am not only a good bit older than Mr. Sullivan, I’ve been immersed in American life much longer, and I can remember when the Right was really Right.  I remember KKK billboards on the roadside, and I especially remember one showing a picture of Martin Luther King in a photograph captioned “Martin Luther King in a Communist training school.”  I remember when you couldn’t buy a drink in much of the South, when mixed race dating led to bloody beatings if not death, when the liberal position on homosexuality was that it was a terrible and destructive disease that might, possibly, be treated by years of psychotherapy, when divorced people couldn’t get re-married in mainline Protestant churches, abortion was illegal, Ulysses was banned, marijuana was a life-threatening drug that beatniks and jazz musicians used in New York, and members of the Communist Party couldn’t speak on university campuses or hold teaching jobs.

In other words, I remember a United States where Andrew Sullivan’s darkest fantasies were fulfilled — and I’ve watched us move steadily away from that for nigh on sixty years.  (Yes, kids, people can be that old and still blog, but that’s only because my teams of underpaid, starving research associates can transfer my cursive Gothic script from the parchment I like onto one of those computational devices you young people use.)  In more than half a century of watching the ebbs and flows of American politics, I’ve seen this country steadily become more tolerant, more thoughtful, more open and in many ways more just.

The Christian right that apparently keeps Mr. Sullivan up at night shivering with fear is a pathetic, compromising bunch of namby pamby wimps compared to the holy warriors of my youth…

I would say that will leave a mark, but it won’t.  Sullivan is long past the point where things that do not feed his paranoia and conspiracy-mongering leave much of an impression.  The former maverick is increasingly a one-trick pony.


56 Responses to “Mead vs Sullivan: No Contest”

  1. It is irrelevant that the holy warriors of the past were crazier (term used affectionately) than the warriors of today. That someone or something in the past was really terrible doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be worried about some diminished strain of crazy emerging today.

    Having said that, Sullivan is a twit if he is truly worried about what he claims to be worried about. While there might be a significant bloc of true believers in the GOP, enough to swing the nomination for one of their own, and while Obama has p***ed off enough of the non-crazies that such a GOP nominee could win the election, if Sullivan thinks enough of the crazies could be elected to hold not only a majority in the House (which isn’t the case today) but also a filibuster-proof Senate, he is certifiably crazy.

    steve (254463)

  2. steve,

    Hence the RTWT.

    Karl (f07e38)

  3. Karl – The left has always needed boogeymen to demonize. Most of Obama’s presidency has been spent demonizing one group or another. The religious right has been a very convenient target over the past 30 years. I have never received a membership card, proving to me they are a lot less organized than the AARP.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  4. daleyrocks,

    You’re right, of course. But there was a time when Sullivan wouldn’t have beclowned himself engaging in it.

    Karl (f07e38)

  5. Karl, that was delightful. One of the triumphs of the progressive Left has been to minimize and obfuscate the teaching of history. Even someone supposedly schooled under the British system is not immune.

    I well remember an African American college President I knew. I was remarking to him how folks on campus were pushing multiculturalism and demonizing opponents. The President took a drag on his cigar, and told me that he remembered a time in the 1950s when he was not permitted to buy a house in San Diego. Then he said something that floored me:

    “Some people,” he smiled, “would rather have a cause than an effect.”

    Tru dat.

    Sullivan isn’t arguing fact. He is arguing his feelings. And so it goes.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. As great political philosophers go, Andrew Sullivan is right up there with Mike Tyson and deserves just as much attention.

    Huey (ddf1a4)

  7. We’ve more than one flatulent troll who runs the same line of anti-Christian insanity here.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  8. DohBiden,

    Don’t feed his sense of victimhood.

    Karl (f07e38)

  9. Huey,

    I presume Sullivan still gets a fair amount of traffic, though I would bet it’s overwhelmingly the progs to whom he is now forced to cater after burning all of those bridges along the way.

    But he is busy marginalizing himself.

    I posted Mead’s reply not only to make that point, but also because Mead neatly lays out the the consistent historical trend against the religious right, and offers some interesting thoughts on why the secular left remains hysterical (beyond the need for a boogeyman).

    Karl (f07e38)

  10. Used to follow the civil rights thing in the Sixties. Did a couple of summers, 67,68 in MS.
    Did know what the buttheads did. Didn’t hear much connection to even conservative Christianity.
    KKK claimed a connection, but the reverse was not particularly energetic.

    Richard Aubrey (cafc94)

  11. Theocracy, eh?

    Isn’t that what we’ve got right now?

    d. in c. (0b8a2b)

  12. Overall, times are much better today than they were when I was young in the 60s and 70s … except on college campuses. My son attended the same college I went to almost 40 years ago. There weren’t speech codes or real limits on student expression in my day. There are now.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  13. The KKK is throughly a Democratic Party animal:

    In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life

    To that end they worked to curb the education, economic advancement, voting rights, and right to keep and bear arms of blacks.[41] The Ku Klux Klan soon spread into nearly every southern state, launching a “reign of terror against Republican leaders both black and white. Those political leaders assassinated during the campaign included Arkansas Congressman James M. Hinds, three members of the South Carolina legislature, and several men who served in constitutional conventions.”

    BfC (2ebea6)

  14. While our sad, declining and grossly indebted little country circles the drain of history Team R is weirdly dogmatic about stupid stuff largely involving gays and fetuses. But they’re going to lose on gay marriage and you’ll always be able to get an abortion in America if you have money, which of course is how America should be.

    Bachmann is a faux-submissive gay-hating tardasil-baiting kook, and monster truck prayer rallies are what they are are they not?

    But that said I hope on Thursday these douchebags can stop yammering about gardasils and errant mexicans and talk about what a scary scary pickle our little country is in and where we can go from here.

    And that Romney twat needs to shut his douchey sniveling draft-dodging pie-hole about Perry’s stance on social security cause Mr. Governor Perry is right as rain on the issue.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  15. happyfeet = Exhibit “A” on the speech code for today’s generation.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  16. I don’t like speech codes they scare me

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  17. “what a scary scary pickle our little country is in”

    h.feets: just where do you think the scary scary pickle came from? Do you think the Stork brought it?

    d. in c. (0b8a2b)

  18. the scary scary pickle came mostly from the ghastly spendings

    also from the ungodly regulatings and the over-reliance on the foreign energies

    but mostly from the ghastly spendings

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  19. But where did the spendings come from?

    d. in c. (0b8a2b)

  20. the devil

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  21. happyfeet, it saddens me that your local pharmacy evidently runs out of inventory so often.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. The Christianists used to want to lock gay men and women up (well, mostly men I guess).

    Now they’re called religious extremists if they don’t want to give them marriage licenses.

    If that’s evidence of a nascent religious dominance then I’m Tomas Torquemada, Junior.

    It’s called defining theocracy down (with apologies to Daniel Moynihan).

    SteveMG (6252c6)

  23. how times change
    south africa is on genocide watch
    blacks are exterminating whites
    and to think i bought that ‘sun city’ album

    pdbuttons (25ef24)

  24. they make gardasil for genocide now you just have to have the right promo code

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  25. WRM and VDH certainly have a way with words, don’t they.
    It’s a miracle that Sully will even understand half of it.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (343797)

  26. Will wonders never cease! Apparently, doh biden followed my advice to get a check-up from the neck-up.

    ColonelHaiku (87d081)

  27. As a card-carrying member of the Evangelical Christian Conservative conspiracy to theocratize the world, I can assure you there is not thing one we Christians can do to bring that about. And the reason is quite simple for anyone who even deigns to look at the theology.

    At the beginning of the Tribulation, the Christians are transcended into Heaven, meaning there are no Christians available to theocratize the world in the Christian worldview. Then the 7 year Tribulation, where the Anti-Christ does indeed theocratize the world in the anti-Christian worldview. Only when it appears “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph” has been finally and completely defeated (at the end of the 7 year Tribulation) does Jesus return to Earth for a 1,000 year reign.

    As such, there is not thing one we Christians living on Earth can do to cause a Christian Dominion, Andrew “magic uterus” Sullivan’s hysterics notwithstanding.

    John Hitchcock (7af282)

  28. No one will be completely happy about the state of this society; Americans have been lamenting the downsides of American individualism for almost as long as we’ve been becoming more individualistic.

    Au contraire, Walter, I’m extremely happy with the scenario you presented. I just hope it comes true.

    Bradley J. Fikes (754ccd)

  29. “Some people,” he smiled, “would rather have a cause than an effect.”

    Yes, a very nice turn of phrase. I’ll have to steal that one. It definitely bears repeating and spreading as a meme.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  30. HF, did you have any substance in your namecalling blather, or were you just mindlessly bloviating like any good little liberal troll is taught to do in parrot school?


    errant mexicans

    I grasp you can’t comprehend how porous borders and illegals sucking at the public teat in multiple ways might actually be a threat in many different ways, but, well, that doesn’t change the fact that they do. Your lack of a clue does not affect the real world. Remaining clueless does not solve problems, though your parrot-trainers have never taught you the trick of begging for a clue…

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  31. that doesn’t change the fact that they do [represent one].

    In case the intent wasn’t clear due to the inadvertent truncation of the sentence.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  32. I don’t like speech codes they scare me

    just where do you think the scary scary pickle came from?

    the scary scary pickle came mostly from the ghastly spendings

    But where did the spendings come from?

    the devil

    So, HF, you’ve begun to grasp that the Democrats in general, and Government in specific, is * * The Devil * * ?

    Or had you not managed to quiiiiiite realize what you just said…?

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  33. Yeah, Mead’s old. That means unlike Christian and Newsome, the young adopted son of Louis Chao Chen, attendees of the Wisconsin State Fair, Steven Pagones, Betty van Patter, etc. etc., Mead won’t see the full import and impact of his ideals. I hear Althouse has had small taste of what can be expected under Liberal rule when she visited the goons occupying the state capitol. I wonder why they were so restrained around her compared to Gladney?

    And should anyone note my words for some studies class or report me into Attack Watch, I wish to affirm for the record that I am in favor of millions of abortions each year (abortion is a feminist sacrament); that I believe every sexuality (LGB2SVP5MRST3Z2) should have its own peculiar institution of marriage; and that our government and academia need more communism, not less. Death to Wal-Mart, the world is ruined by White Men’s Greed; the USA is most racist, fascist nation ever; etc. etc.

    ErisGuy (a68a5c)

  34. I don’t care who the Republican nominee is, I will vote for him or her. Period, end of discussion. That ANYONE would even consider re-electing Barack Obama is to me, utterly incomprehensible. In 2008, I did research, and I learned beyond any reasonable doubt that Barack Obama was, is, and always will be a Marxist. After almost 3 years, I now see that he’s not only a Marxist and a neo-colonialist, he’s a lunatic. This country will not survive a second Obama term, and yet I see that here in Florida, he is still getting 44% of the vote when matched against Republican candidates. I really, really, really don’t give a fiddler’s fart that some conservatives find him insufficiently conservative. All I know is that he’s a thousand per cent better than the November, 2012 alternative. If you fools want to see a 2nd Obama term, go ahead and vote for Ron Paul or whatever other nut case you want. As I said in 1992, a vote for Ross Perot is a vote for Bill Clinton.

    DV (045cef)

  35. I referred to Mitt Romney in my last post. Yet another senior moment. My apologies.

    DV (045cef)

  36. happyfeet,

    What makes you think Bachmann hates gays?

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  37. I see a couple of references to DohBiden, but don’t see a comment from him. Did I miss something? I hope he’s not being oppressed.

    Gerald A – I think it’s that she’s somehow involved with “pray away the gay” clinics. Phrases that I believe she has used in the past about gays are

    homosexuality is “a sad life,” “part of Satan,” ”personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.”

    I’d link the site that I got those from, but maybe I better not. Use the google.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  38. Bachmann is a faux-submissive gay-hating tardasil-baiting kook, and monster truck prayer rallies are what they are are they not?

    Oh good, happyfeet, the resident Sullivan doppleganger, has moved his misogynist ravings from Palin to the next female politician in line.

    Strong work, lad, strong work.

    A Fine Bunch of Rubens (54fbab)

  39. No carlitos I’m not being oppressed.

    Sorry for baiting this foppish dandy.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  40. you’ll always be able to get an abortion in America if you have money, which of course is how America should be.

    You’ll always be able to get a hit put out on someone in America if you have money, but the law does its damndest to change that. It will never completely succeed, but is that any reason to stop trying? Should America be a place where one can hire killers? (Of course this has nothing to do with America; the situation in most other countries is even worse.)

    Milhouse (9a4c23)

  41. I don’t like speech codes they scare me

    Me too. That’s why we have people like FIRE and even the ACLU.

    Milhouse (9a4c23)

  42. I don’t care who the Republican nominee is, I will vote for him or her. Period, end of discussion.

    In that case, why not nominate Hillary Clinton?

    Milhouse (9a4c23)

  43. Carlitos – I’m familiar with the quote you mentioned, of course; how could I not be. It *really* irritates me, and demonstrates at the very least that Bachmann has prejudice against and about gay people.

    But I don’t think it shows that she hates us.

    I mean, she’s wrong that gay people are per se experiencing “personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement”, and that’s a wrongness which really could only be come by as a result of not talking with people who are happily gay, or by dismissing what they say about their experiences; it’s a clear case of prejudgment.

    But … saying that people are experiencing bondage, despair, and enslavement, is not something you say about someone you hate; it’s something you say about someone you pity.

    aphrael (5d993c)

  44. Fair point, aphrael.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  45. America is a craphole thanks to Omoron.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  46. But … saying that people are experiencing bondage, despair, and enslavement, is not something you say about someone you hate; it’s something you say about someone you pity.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/22/2011 @ 9:01 am

    If I were in your shoes, that would probably piss me off a lot more.

    Bachmann is not trustworthy. I think she simply tries to one up everyone else in the room. If you love your country, she really loves her country. If you dislike taxes, she hates taxes. If you think Obamacare is unconstitutional, she thinks Obamacare is a stain on the fabric of humanity that can only be eradicated with nuclear weapons, and anyone who says otherwise is not committed and perhaps a communist.

    I wouldn’t let her get under your skin, as she probably hasn’t really thought her comments through.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  47. She really does have a tendency to ‘dial it up to 11’, but she is a legitimate candidate, even though
    she spent more time at Fox studios, rather than on
    the House floor

    ian cormac (ed5f69)

  48. Ian, she really had won me over, at least as an organized politician to consider in the future. Then I actually had to pay closer attention to her and she lost me instantly.

    I don’t think she’s a legitimate candidate at all, actually. I wish she were, as I agree with her main policy points and think it adds a lot to the primary to have someone focused on Obamacare.

    But she’s dead to me, politically. I would choose Romney over Bachmann without blinking.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  49. Dustin, it pisses me off a lot. I don’t like her, and would really prefer that she not get the nomination.

    But I want to be fair, even to those who are probably my enemies, and the quote does not seem like hate to me.

    Pity isn’t all that much better, though.

    aphrael (5d993c)

  50. Comment by carlitos — 9/22/2011 @ 8:16 am

    I found where she said that. She also said this in that same speech:

    “We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders.”

    It takes a delusional mind to get that she hates gays out of that or supporting places that help gays change their lifestyle through a relationship with Christ. There’s a number of Christian ministries which do that. Typically they are run by people formerly in the gay lifestyle.

    Gerald A (9d78e8)

  51. Comment by IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society — 9/21/2011 @ 9:12 pm

    It has been remarked many times re the ongoing partisan battles in DC that one party or the other would rather have a campaign issue than to engage with the oppostion to solve a problem facing the country.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  52. Comment by Milhouse — 9/22/2011 @ 8:38 am

    Well, it seems to be relatively easy, and not expensive either, if you can anonymously convince the cops that your intended target is a drug distributor who is heavily armed.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  53. Comment by aphrael — 9/22/2011 @ 9:38 am

    A “dismissive” attitude toward the target is much more painful than full-on “hate”.
    At least with “hate” you are someone, but when you’re dismissed/ignored, you’re a non-entity.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (d32895)

  54. I’m not sure which I’d rather have, someone “hate” me or someone think that my sexual orientation was a “sexual dysfunction” that they needed to fix via Christ.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  55. I’m not sure which I’d rather have, someone “hate” me or someone think that my sexual orientation was a “sexual dysfunction” that they needed to fix via Christ.

    Well, carlitos, seeing that the Old Testament calls homosexuality an abomination and the New Testament repeatedly calls it a sin and unnatural and the Bible declares living in sin to be living in bondage, a truly compassionate Christian would do what he or she can to help a person out of that bondage.

    And yes, I still have strong respect for aphrael’s Liberal debating on issues because he debates honestly, unlike most Liberals I’ve seen in my perusals of various and sundry blogsites.

    John Hitchcock (7af282)

  56. Well, carlitos, seeing that the Old Testament calls homosexuality an abomination

    It does so of one particular act between men. Many gay men don’t habitually engage in that act, and there is no basis for supposing any specific one does unless he says so (e.g. Sullivan). And it never uses that word of sex between women, but it does use it of at least a dozen other offenses. The most common use of that word in the Bible is of idolatry.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

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