In which I attempt to advance my English writing skills from poor to mediocre.
I tell you again, we do not understand each other; and you are fortunate in being eloquent, for otherwise all that you say to me would be practically worthless.
Published on June 28, 2004 By dreamtime iliaster In Democrat

I was at a bar with some campus liberals the other night when the conversation turned to Abu Gharib; one of them remarked that there must be something about war that causes people to commit atrocities. Everyone agreed that war, like the One Ring, is a corruptive force that is irresistibly turns people to evil. Good can't come from evil, so no good can come out of the occupation of Iraq. The Iraqis must all be outraged at the violation of the sovereignty of their nation, they said. Unlike them, I just don't understand the horrors of war. Unlike them, I can't possibly know what it is like. None of them have studied history, read accounts of this war, or any other, or know anyone directly involved in any war. But to them, war is no different from American Idol, or the World Cup: it is just a topic of conversation, something to be discussed for a few minutes then forgotten. It is different for the Vietnamese that I know: everyone was affected by what Americans call the Vietnam War, and everyone has close relatives who fought in the war. They know what war is like, what war does to people. They know what a truly oppressive regime is like. Any wars, the wars in vietnam, the gulf, the congo, are not just passing topics of conversation. Unsurprisingly, they come to different conclusions than campus liberals do.

I didn't bother to argue. I gave up on dialogue with campus liberals my freshman year. When confronted by statistics - empirical fact - the most common response of the campus liberals here is that I couldn't possibly know what it's like to be abused, oppressed, or unprivileged. They think that they know what oppression really is because they spent a week at a protest in Tibet, surrounded by other white, upper-middle-class liberals; that I must be wrong, because I disagree with them.

I don't mean to imply that liberals are the only people with ridiculous misconceptions. Most of the campus conservatives I know think that drug dealers are violent thugs when, in my experience, drug dealers are much less confrontational the average person. The difference is that the conservatives don't tell me that, unlike them, I couldn't possibly understand what goes on in the mind of a drug dealer, even though they've never met a drug dealer. When they tell me that there is an experience that I simply cannot understand, such as being moved by god, I agree.

Even though I'm a liberal, I can't stand having a political conversation with most of the campus liberals here. Strange, no?

on Aug 06, 2004
I'd rec' reading 'Cryptonomicon', there is a passage in it where the protagonist is having the exact same feelings about his current wife's very... academically liberal... associates. Analogies to him feeling like a Tokein dwarf in a room full of elves are made. I think you'd dig it.