This sort of intellectual food fight
is just so 2003, but since I am susceptible to this sort of radical-baiting, I had to write into the Stranger Slog
about it. One of the knee-jerk responses I got for calling "islamofascism" racist, among other things, was the idea that I am some granola-eating hippie on Capitol Hill. (We have one in Seattle, dear readers.)
Leaving aside where one would find such a creature in Seattle these days, my politics--and fashion sense for that matter--are literary and tweedy. I probably share with many neoc0ns and neoneocons (Paul Berman and Christopher Hitchens, for inst.) a fetishization of literature and philosophy as a guide to life. (Ah, but dears, the question is not whether or not one shall fetishize, the question is what
do you fetishize! The world is in the trenches!) I would submit that the question--the niceness of distinction--between liberal anti-totalitarianism and neo-conservativism is something that concerns, mostly, literary and mostly male readers, and mostly on the East Coast. I know whereof I speak, since I am a literary intellectual as well and grew up on the other side of the country.
There are many examples of how Savage, and the Stranger, have toed this new line--call it neo-con lite--but most of them will no doubt be arguable, as nice political distinctions usually are. I take the appearance of this musty, and in the light of NSA surveillance, idiotic debate that the commitment to neo-con lite remains. My other term for this kind of this discussion is trying to out-Marx the Marxists. Though nominally opposed to the left, what is this discussion more like than the search for the correct line? Berman wants to find completely acceptable origins for a democratic left, one that never crossed paths with the Weathermen or Palestinian extremism, while Bauwer outdoes him by finding sins in the background of Berman's saints. The fantasy of the correct line is the idea that purity in human action and motives exists. The truth of the matter is politics is--and always will be--about compromise. Compromise always means unlikely, sometimes unsavory bargaining. This means there will be much to do for theorists, but whether it amounts to anything besides blowing their own horn is another thing.