What closing of the conservative mind?

posted at 11:27 am on April 21, 2010 by Karl

Libertarian-ish blogger Julian Sanchez recently wrote a post about the supposed closing of the conservative mind that got a lot of blog buzz. The ensuing back-and-forth discussed the conservative base, conservative policy wonks, and conservative political leaders. However, the most quoted part of Sanchez’s piece was holistic:

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile.

As Power Line’s Scott Johnson notes, in this discussion, the claim is assumed and the focus is on explaining it. But what evidence is there to support it?

Republicans tend to be more informed about the news than Democrats, even after adjusting for demographics. The regular audience of Fox News is about as informed as the the regular audience of CNN or network news generally. The regular audience of Rush Limbaugh is more informed than all of the above, as well as the audiences of cable news, online news, news magazines, C-SPAN and the PBS NewsHour.

The reason why Limbaugh listeners rank that high can be demonstrated by looking at his broadcast from Monday (the day I started writing this). Limbaugh did commentary on fmr. Pres. Clinton’s exploitation of the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to paint Tea Partiers and other Obama critics as a potentially violent fringe that endangers the country. His sources included: an Associated Press story on Clinton’s comments; an ABC News story reporting Clinton’s reply to Limbaugh’s earlier response; an Associated Press story on a Pew poll showing 80% of Americans lack trust in the federal government; and a WSJ op-ed by Debra Burlingame.

Limbaugh also did commentary on the claims made by TIME Magazine columnist Joe Klein and New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann, that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Limbaugh were “rub[bing] right up close to being seditious.” Limbaugh aired: audio of their accusations; audio of Hillary Clinton defending the right to dissent (when practiced by the Left); and a piece by Byron York documenting that while Heilemann claimed that referring to the Obama “regime” has connotations of tyranny, Heilemann had himself used the term on various occasions, as had Chris Matthews (the host of the show on which Heilemann was appearing).

Limbaugh also did a piece on the Obama administration’s coincidentally-timed suit against Goldman Sachs, based on articles from the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post, along with a blog post from Sweetness & Light, which in turn was based on a Bloomberg report and a Washington Examiner column. Limbaugh’s “stack of stuff” for the day included: a Rasmussen poll; two stories from the Los Angeles Times; one from the New York Times; one from the Associated Press; and two pieces from the UK’s unabashedly left-leaning Guardian. If Limbaugh is trying to keep his listeners from being exposed to a diversity of reporting and opinion, he is failing miserably.

With the exception of Fox News (a big fish in the small pond of cable news viewership), the same general pattern can be found across right-leaning media, which lack the resources and institutions to produce original reporting. The notion that conservative outlets and audiences dismiss the left-leaning establishment media is absurd. To the contrary, conservatives arguably are too focused on dissecting establishment journalism, at the expense of developing their own resources, institutions and stories.

Of course, right-leaning media break some stories, like the outrageous behavior of Pres. Obama’s allies at ACORN, or that Pres. Obama’s “green jobs” czar was a 9/11 Truther. When they do, the reaction of outlets like the New York Times is so pathetic that ombudsman Clark Hoyt warned the paper risked looking “clueless or, worse, partisan itself.” (Too late, Clark.) Relatedly, the NYT has become interested in reporting on the likely pitfalls of ObamaCare — heavily covered by right-leaning media — only after it was signed into law. Some might call these disconnects evidence of epistemic closure on the Left — suppressing stories until they either cannot be ignored or cannot harm the political agenda of the NYT’s editorial board. But do not look for those spilling crocodile tears over the closed-mindedness of the Right to notice it.

Indeed, Sanchez, Jonathan Chait and others addressing this topic apparently operate from the assumption that (with the possible exception of parts of the MSNBC schedule) that the establishment media does not lean Left. There is a wealth of data, from sources spanning the ideological spectrum, showing that the national press corps overwhelmingly favors Democrats and that the public views the national press corps as favoring Democrats. Public opinion is not always correct, even on questions like media bias, which are to some degree in the eye of the beholder. However, the fact that people like Chait do not seriously consider the point says as much about epistemic closure on the Left as such people have to say about the phenomenon on the Right.

Megan McArdle, even while arguing that epistemic closure is more of a problem on the Right, suggests that the marginalization of conservatives by the cultural elite fuels it:

The point is that when one group has privilege, and the other doesn’t, the response isn’t symmetrical, a fact that the dominant group tends to spend a lot of time remarking upon. The out-group is angrier and prizes its group identity–”conservative”–over weaker affiliations like “journalist” or “sociologist.” The angrier the out-group gets, the more uncomfortable and hostile the dominant group gets … which, of course, makes the out-group even angrier.

The dominant majority further reinforces the effect because membership of “journalist” or “sociologist” comes to be defined by “not having a strong allegiance to groups such as ‘conservative.’” Which further weakens conservative ties to those professional identities.

That’s why you have black newspapers, and Jewish magazines, and Irish arts centers, but no “Bland: The Magazine of the American White Middle Class.” The dominant group doesn’t enforce its group identity the way the out-group does. It doesn’t have to. It gets to decide what constitute the acceptable modes of behavior, sources of authority, and ways of knowing. The privileged group doesn’t need its own institution specifically devoted to advancing its interests. All it needs is a sigh, and a sneer.

It will come as no surprise that the response to McArdle from people like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Bernstein was, in essence, a sigh and a sneer — making no attempt to engage the sociological point McArdle argues. Conor Friedersdorf was more polite, though by restricting himself to opinion journalism, he fails to address the structural problems with the core, news-gathering side of journalism.

To put this all in context, consider some recent history. In 2004, the New York Times assigned a reporter to cover “conservative forces in religion, politics, law, business and the media.” This year, the Washington Post hired Dave Weigel to do the same. By their own actions, the nation’s two most-influential newspapers tacitly admit that to them, conservatives are The Others. The Sullivans and Bernsteins of the world apparently do not grasp it, because thery are so, er, open-minded. Such people may lack the perspective to judge whose minds are more closed.

Update: Sanchez responds by e-mail:

Apologies for not directing this straight to the author, but you might note to your writer Karl that I go out of my way to acknowledge, for several paragraphs, that mainstream journalists are mostly leftists, that this inevitably exerts some influence on coverage, and that the attempt to build conservative news outlets is (in principle) a reasonable strategy for introducing a corrective. I think the effort has misfired in important ways, but it’s a little odd to read a position I’ve explicitly (& almost tediously) disavowed ascribed to me. I’m happy to spar over things I actually believe, though.

Sanchez’s original blog post is the first link in this piece. I recommend that people read the whole thing. But you will not find the “several paragraphs” about establishment media bias, which is why his snark (“How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!”) struck me as dismissive of the issue of establishment media bias. Sanchez may have stated such beliefs elsewhere, in which case I am glad to correct the record.

Taking him at his word, I merely note that his e-mail does not substantively address my main objection to his thesis, which is that — contrary to his bare assertion — conservative media spends a great deal of time presenting and responding substantively to establishment journalism. Although I used a day of Limbaugh to demonstrate the point, I could have as easily sucked up and used HotAir as an example. Allahpundit and Ed do a tremendous amount of substantive response to establishment news reporting and opinion journalism every day, under tight deadlines. Alternately touted and mocked as RINO candy-asses, these two were originally hired by no less than Michelle Malkin, and were retained as valuable assets by Salem Communications. Just another non-example of the epistemic closure on the Right.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Even Allah’s mind is opening!

Mr. Joe on April 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM

I could have as easily sucked up and used HotAir as an example. Allahpundit and Ed do a tremendous amount of substantive response to establishment news reporting and opinion journalism every day, under tight deadlines. Alternately touted and mocked as RINO candy-asses, these two were originally hired by no less than Michelle Malkin, and were retained as valuable assets by Salem Communications.

Okay, Karl, so you saved the big suck-up until the end. And neither Ed nor AllahP suggested deleting it before “promoting” it from the Green Room.

DaydreamBeliever on April 21, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I kid because I love (in a conservative platonic way).

Mr. Joe on April 21, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Karl’s such an outlaw!

Mr. Joe on April 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM

WOW! Great take down Karl :) The First part using Rush’s shows how ridiculous the idea that the riight is engaged in some epistemic closure. On the contrary we are constantly engaging the media. If we werent fox news would be our only source for information. (If you listen to Laura ingraham, Hannity, Levin or even our local Washington DC consevative Chris Plante you will see that they all pretty much follow the same format that Rush uses)

Dritanian on April 21, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Libertarian-ish blogger Julian Sanchez recently wrote a post….

That’s as far as I got.

logis on April 21, 2010 at 11:38 AM

“How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!”

I’m not sure if he is just projecting, or simply out of touch or ignorant.

I determine ‘liberal’ media to be those that openly mock conservative views, or shamelessly support liberal causes with disregard for fact.

Much of the cable news and print media can be described as such.

cntrlfrk on April 21, 2010 at 11:38 AM

The real problem is young fogey bloggers who use expressions like “epistemic closure”.

Esp. when, as your update indicates, they are also uber-defensive liars.

fivefeetoffury on April 21, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Karl, you are interfering with the narrative.

Your compliance ensures a Socialist America.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 11:39 AM

This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile.

Liberal blogs are mostly all about Huffington Post, frankly. I’m not seeing the “fragility” of conservative outlets.

AnninCA on April 21, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Julian Sanchez recently wrote a post about the supposed closing of the conservative mind that got a lot of blog buzz.

which almost no conservatives heard of.

sesquipedalian on April 21, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Julian Sanchez?

Never hear of him until now.

So, does that mean my mind is closed?

Or, that the weight of this yahoo’s foot-print is too close to zero to be measured?

I think the latter is the case.

CPT. Charles on April 21, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Alternately touted and mocked as RINO candy-asses, these two were originally hired by no less than Michelle Malkin, and were retained as valuable assets by Salem Communications. Just another non-example of the epistemic closure on the Right.

But they’re OUR RINO candy-asses, so it’s OK.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Libertarianal-ish blogger Julian Sanchez recently

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Great article! The left does not stand a chance against Rush,he has soundbites and transcripts of everything.When he told of matthews getting on Rush for using the word REGIME,Rush let him have it with Matthews’ own words!Loved it! Of course he’s on top of the g/sachs thing too.

ohiobabe on April 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Good job, Karl.

JKahn913 on April 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM

“There is a consensus; the science is settled!”

“Health care is a right!”

“This liberal is all about taking over your companies, if you don’t price your product so that it is affordable.”

Just a few quotes showing how open the minds of liberals are.

Vashta.Nerada on April 21, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I go out of my way to acknowledge, for several paragraphs, that mainstream journalists are mostly leftists, that this inevitably exerts some influence on coverage,

Well, we are coming a long way when people are willing to admit that it exerts “some” “influence” on coverage. Of course, I’m sure that “some influence” is considered incredibly minor and corrected by editorial policy or some-such. but, the conservative news attempt has “misfired”.

Funny, whenever I hear anyone complain about Faux news and its biased coverage, they always cite the opinion shows, never the actual reporting. These same people always fail to notice that NBC, CBS, CNN, et al, are dominated by left-wing opinion shows and pundits. And, typically, the conservatives they have on are usually milquetoast conservatives.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM

But they’re OUR RINO candy-asses, so it’s OK.

uknowmorethanme on April 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Anninca A!

katy the mean old lady on April 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I hardly ever read a thing from the NYT or WaPo until I signed up for Rush’s website. Now I wind up there several times a day. I don’t know whether to thank him or hate him for it. I’m sure I’m not the only ones that reads many items listed on his daily stack of stuff. I’ll bet you good money that Rush, Beck, Hannity, Shnitt listeners, Drudge report, Hot Air readers, read more background stories and are much more informed than the average citizen.

RonD504 on April 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Does “libertarian-ish” mean pedantic, because that would describe most of Sanchez’s intellectual discourse.

RedRedRice on April 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Also, this idea of the “closing of the conservative mind” is trotted out every year. Much like the idea of calling conservatives racist, sexist, homophobes, anti-science, anti-reason, etc.

It’s simply an ongoing attempt to define conservatives as “beyond the pale” and not worthy of anyone even paying attention to. It’s sad really. I’m sure Sanchez considers himself a reasonable, logical person, but when you reach for such idiocy you waive any right to be considered such.

Every liberal I personnally know can’t even have a conversation about liberal issues. If you try to present them with factual information contrary to their beliefs, they will make every attempt to change the conversation or not listen. They have no interest in considering any other argument. Their political beliefs are religious in nature, they believe and their is no reason to question. And yet, the conservative mind is the one that is closed.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM

After his take-down of public intelectuals, perhaps Sanchez can next take on the epistemic closure of the conservative mind in university faculties. That’s another rich lode of conservative self-reinforcing thought!

Heh.

MTF on April 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

We’ve never called Ed a candy ass…/

Just kidding, AP.

d1carter on April 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I keep reminding my wife ( an English teacher) I was born/educated in England, and we invented the g**&!mn language. Having so said, I can’t be bothered reading any article which begins with the sentence:

“One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure.”

1. Couldn’t this doofus have used some alternative to the phrase ‘epistemic closure’

2. Was this doofus merely showing off for the hoi polloi?

3. Does this doofus’ use of the phrase ‘epistemic closure’ lend a sense of “sophistication” to the rest of his drivel? I submit not.

alwyr on April 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

You only learn from your opposition when you’re OUT of power, not in it. You’re too busy playing defense to learn new tricks, as we conservatives painfully found out from 2005-8.

Wonder what Julian Sanchez would think of this new “RightNetwork” being planned.

BradSchwartze on April 21, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Is there no news to discuss or comment on? Seems like all the threads are comments on the comments of celebrity commentators.

albill on April 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM

“Epistemic closure” is such a fancy phrase that it attracted a lot of attention. The response by smart conservatives, including the estimable Karl, has tended to turn it into the center of Sanchez’s piece, and then disprove a straw man definition. The heart of Sanchez’s post concerned ideological defense mechanisms that operate within a group whether it’s perfectly “closed” or not. He’s wrong to suggest that they’re unique to the right, but he’s not wrong that a) they’re widely observable – just check out the majority of responses on this thread – and b) that their features tend to become more pronounced among members of a movement on the outs, fighting to get back in – because they serve a purpose.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

3. Does this doofus’ use of the phrase ‘epistemic closure’ lend a sense of “sophistication” to the rest of his drivel? I submit not.

alwyr on April 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

My thoughts exactly. What a piece of junk article that makes absolutely no sense, but is jammed with fancy sounding words.

Johnnyreb on April 21, 2010 at 12:02 PM

great post karl. thanks. nice work.

I’d comment substantively, however, it’s 12:05 and Rush Limbaugh is on so it’s time for me to close my mind and screen out anything from the MSM in order to cocoon my narrow mind inside this show. //

cheers!

ted c on April 21, 2010 at 12:05 PM

We’ve never called Ed a candy ass…/

Just kidding, AP.

d1carter on April 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Ed has been jokingly referred to as such on teh Twitter. He may have even done it himself, iirc. ;-)

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Outstanding piece, Karl. Fantastic refutation to Sanchez, if I may be so epistemological to say so.

leilani on April 21, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Good article.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM

The first rule of liberal thought is projection.

As a movement, the best description of liberal open-mindedness is a child holding fingers in his ears, yelling at the top of his lungs, “I can’t hear you, nyah nyah nyah.”

They’re the movement that passed Pelosi-care without reading it. They’re lock-step, unthinking, robotic partisan hacks.

joeindc44 on April 21, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Every liberal I personnally know can’t even have a conversation about liberal issues. If you try to present them with factual information contrary to their beliefs, they will make every attempt to change the conversation or not listen. They have no interest in considering any other argument. Their political beliefs are religious in nature, they believe and their is no reason to question. And yet, the conservative mind is the one that is closed.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I believe this is what Sanchez is trying to say about the right.

Karl proves it not so.

However, I am struck yet again by the way liberals project.

I wonder if somewhere in their addled brains they really do see their own faults but can’t admit them to themselves so they pretend those faults belong to conservatives.

Five minutes of MSNBC and you see Sanchez’s point only in opposite politics.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM

“Epistemic closure” is such a fancy phrase that it attracted a lot of attention. The response by smart conservatives, including the estimable Karl, has tended to turn it into the center of Sanchez’s piece, and then disprove a straw man definition. The heart of Sanchez’s post concerned ideological defense mechanisms that operate within a group whether it’s perfectly “closed” or not. He’s wrong to suggest that they’re unique to the right, but he’s not wrong that a) they’re widely observable – just check out the majority of responses on this thread – and b) that their features tend to become more pronounced among members of a movement on the outs, fighting to get back in – because they serve a purpose.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

In other news, water is wet.

PS. Try condescending harder. It may not be possible, but I believe in you.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM

The biggest problem I see with liberals in the media is that they truly believe they are the mainstream, and are its spokespersons. They also consider themselves almost totally objective, and that a particular set of facts equal the entire truth. Those facts or details outside the presumed mainstream can then be ‘objectively’ dismissed.

Consider the ‘temper tantrum’ meme of the 1994 mid-term elections, carried out by ‘angry white males’. This was an ‘objective’ conclusion drawn in the MSM, so they need say nothing more. Nor would they need to further examine their beliefs or the platform of the ousted Congressional Democrats.

Any open-mindedness I see among liberals is they agree with whatever new cause the Left collectively takes up. It’s a new idea to go along with, adding to the list, so liberals will, with ‘open minds’, embrace the new goal. Any opposition is met with charges of closed-mindedness, at the most minor of accusations. Genuine discussion is thereby ‘objectively’ ended, and the fight over ideas takes new courses. Then, nothing is accomplished while the battles rage year after year. I would cite the abortion issue as a prime example of how terribly wrong can go an intention held by many to be a good one.

Given the MSM, I’d say the liberal mind closed long ago. Now it has atrophied.

Liam on April 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

First, I didn’t make a big deal out of use of the phrase “epistemic closure.” Had I done so, I would have started with the fact that it’s a term of art in philosophy that has little to do with Sanchez’s argument.

Second, Sanchez wrote:

Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted.

My position is that conservative blogs, radio programs, and magazines generally do not dismiss the liberal media simply because it is liberal. Rather, a great deal of the conservative media ecosystem is devoted to analyzing and critiquing establishment journalism on the merits. That’s not knocking down a strawman; it’s substantively disagreeing with what Sanchez wrote.

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 12:24 PM

because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted.

Correct. It doesn’t mean the source is automatically untrue, it just means it’s automatically suspect. Don’t believe it until independently verified. NBC and exploding trucks, CBS and forged National Guard documents, etc. They’ve surrendered their right to be trusted.

MassVictim on April 21, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Try to have a conversation with a liberal about Health Care or Government spending without having them get spittle all over, and tell me about closed minds.

cntrlfrk on April 21, 2010 at 12:27 PM

…build conservative news outlets is a reasonable strategy…misfired in important ways

Well thanks for the permission dude but why don’t you offer explains of the misfire? What contemporary to Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk show host without any legislative or judicial powers, has the President of the United States of America calling them out? What private citizen has a President ever called out? And how about you apply that to Fox News. If they attempt to build conservative news outlets is reasonable then the President should be antagonistic to it. If it’s misfiring the President wouldn’t need to address them at all.

The bottom line fact: It’s working and that’s your problem with it.

Sultry Beauty on April 21, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Oh my, I just garbled that up. I should preview before I post. My head works faster than my hand. A President should never be antagonistic to anyone’s 1st amendment rights. The only reason THIS President is is because it makes him look bad.

Sultry Beauty on April 21, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Conservatives are, for the most part, reluctant activists. But when the leftist media blatantly advocates for its own point of view while conspiring to ignore, stifle, silence, or ridicule the other side, tea parties happen.

Connie on April 21, 2010 at 12:32 PM

“Closing of the conservative mind”… let’s suppose Julian is right, that the Right is less tolerant of incorporating leftist thought. Might it be because of the empirical evidence of the last 30 years. Liberal policies failing at near 100% rates. The definite successes of lower marginal tax rates (see Reagan, Bush, Ireland, etc. etc.). The down-right mendacious behavior behavior of liberal politicians and media since 2000. The cost to the republican party and thus the citizens of squishy RINOs ‘finding a middle road’ where derivative-Marxist democrat policies get the chance to infect society.

The conservative mind is “closing” because the data is in… Modern Liberalism is anti-freedom, anti-progress, anti-prosperity, anti-humanity. It’s why any libertarian worth his salt began moving right in the early 2000′s and why ‘We The People’ are waking up to depose the current derivative-Marxist regime.

phreshone on April 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM

With the exception of MSNBC there is no “Left Media”. Brent Brozell and his crew have worked to form that opinion in the minds of Conservatives to try to make talk radio and Fox News legitimate.

Decider on April 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Excellent article, Karl. I’d never heard of Sanchez before, but he is obviously very confused and his email reply was kinda pathetic. One of the things I love about “our side” is that Rush, Beck, Levin, et al tend to use leftist journalism against leftists, it’s a delicious irony, at least to me. The Drudge Report is the perfect counter-argument to Sanchez’s ramblings. I’m on Drudge virtually every day and I have to say that more than half the stories linked to are from left-leaning sources.

SG1_Conservative on April 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM

My position is that conservative blogs, radio programs, and magazines generally do not dismiss the liberal media simply because it is liberal. Rather, a great deal of the conservative media ecosystem is devoted to analyzing and critiquing establishment journalism on the merits. That’s not knocking down a strawman; it’s substantively disagreeing with what Sanchez wrote.

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Sanchez’s relatively short post is about the “conservative movement.” The “media system” is one largely external reference point for one part of his discussion that concerns how the movement processes – reacts to, organizes, segregates, controls – argument and information. If you read on to Sanchez’s addendum, he’s quite comfortable with the notion that leading conservative intellectuals draw information and ideas from outside the conservative media.

That Rush Limbaugh exploits THE GUARDIAN remains rather irrelevant if whatever comes from THE GUARDIAN has been ideologically pre-processed.

Sanchez:

If disagreement is not in itself evidence of malign intent or moral degeneracy, people start feeling an obligation to engage it sincerely—maybe even when it comes from the New York Times. And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation. A more intellectually secure conservatism would welcome this, because it wouldn’t need to define itself primarily in terms of its rejection of an alien enemy.

Thus your average blog commenter who puts up a comment proclaiming his unwillingness even to read or consider an argument because a non-conservative authored it (see above), or maybe because it used a suspiciously fancy phrase or was written in a suspiciously unfamiliar style (see above, see above), or because it seemed condescending (see above), or because it engages another person’s ideas critically (see above), and so on, and so on.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:46 PM

“Epistemic closure”

I see Sanchez’s use as probably correct. He is trying to say Conservatives don’t accept any new knowledge that might change our minds.

But that supposes that the left is offering new knowledge.

Perhaps Sanchez doesn’t realize that in order to be truly intellectually conservative you have to already gone through a liberal line of thinking and rejected it. Liberal thinking is not new. It is wrong.

Socialism is not new, communism is not new, those are the old ideas left over from a century and a half of trying them and finding they don’t work in the real world.

Those are old ideas that don’t work to produce fairness or “equal justice”. And in fact those constructs have much in common with the even older construct of Fuedalism. They really are just modern or post-modern Fuedalism.

While it is not a new idea that Capitialism is better at producing “equal justice” than those other constructs. It is an idea that has been out of fashion for a time. At least among the “educated” class.

Therefore, the really new idea is to go back to the one and only social construct that has proven itself.

Reject epistemic closure Sanchez. Capitalism is good and it works. New idea for you?

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 12:46 PM

try to make talk radio and Fox News legitimate.

Decider on April 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM

What are the requirements to make a new agency “legitimate”? NBC, ABC, and CBS are entertainment giants who present one-half hour (actually, 22 minutes) of news per day. How is Fox News not “legitimate”?

As for talk radio, they neither claim, nor need to claim legitimacy. Its programs offer opinion and provide an avenue for people to call in and make their voices heard. Are you saying these aren’t real people?

MassVictim on April 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting

This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile.

What a steaming pile of gobettygoggle. This person was clearly educated way beyond their intelligence level.

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Great post Karl. And the observations regarding liberal’s accusations=projecting and liberals engaging in debate end in them running away screaming is experienced by every one of us that makes the attempt to engage them, whether family, friend or political foe.

The best resolution a liberal will provide to a point a conservative has made against a liberal concept is the “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree” as though that makes it all okay to ignore the truth.

DanMan on April 21, 2010 at 12:58 PM

With the exception of MSNBC there is no “Left Media”. Brent Brozell and his crew have worked to form that opinion in the minds of Conservatives to try to make talk radio and Fox News legitimate.

Decider on April 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM

To make a statement this ignorant, you must either ignore or lie to yourself about the multitude of studies on the topic that have been unanimous in their assertions of the media’s bias.

And you’d also have to lack a basic understand of supply and demand.

It takes determination, but it’s a perfect example of the liberal closed mind.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Delicious.

juanito on April 21, 2010 at 1:06 PM

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure

Spoken like a brain damage intellectual.

docdave on April 21, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Thus your average blog commenter who puts up a comment proclaiming his unwillingness even to read or consider an argument because a non-conservative authored it (see above), or maybe because it used a suspiciously fancy phrase or was written in a suspiciously unfamiliar style (see above, see above), or because it seemed condescending (see above), or because it engages another person’s ideas critically (see above), and so on, and so on.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Since when do we judge a movement by an “average blog commenter”?

I’m sorry, but that’s as disingenuous as using youtube comments to tell future generations how intelligent Americans were in the 21st century.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Perhaps Sanchez doesn’t realize that in order to be truly intellectually conservative you have to already gone through a liberal line of thinking and rejected it. Liberal thinking is not new. It is wrong.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Excellent argument, and it accurately reflects the experiences of conservative media figures like Andrew Klavan and David Horowitz.

RedRedRice on April 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Since when do we judge a movement by an “average blog commenter”?

I’m sorry, but that’s as disingenuous as using youtube comments to tell future generations how intelligent Americans were in the 21st century.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Youtube comments give evidence of a certain very low baseline within a definable stratum, and probably are in some ways reflective of “how intelligent Americans [are] in the 21st century” – on average, adjusted for selection factors.

The “average blog commenter” can’t stand for the movement as a whole, but gives evidence of the mechanisms Sanchez is describing in operation. When someone posts “I didn’t read past [political description of author]” or the equivalent of “my brain hurts” with expectations of approval from the in-group, then you have evidence of a closing of some conservative minds.

How far and deep it goes is another question, and debatable, but a starting point might be a general agreement that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and that, in a democratic-republican society that values free inquiry and discussion, an idea – not merely a news item – from a lefty intellectual shouldn’t be presumed a bad idea merely because a lefty intellectual proposes it.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I do a lot of writing, but I have never had the desire to use the phrase, “epistemic closure” nor do I imagine I ever will.

Forced language like that makes me itch.

pugwriter on April 21, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Where can college kids find summer volunteer tea party or ultra right Rwpublican volunteer jobs or paying jobs? Dad will reimb. pay and contribute more besides if you teach the poor soul something.

I know of this beautiful 19 year old tough and sweet blonde who wants to volunteer on the border but Dad will not let her. Law enforcement…

IlikedAUH2O on April 21, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Youtube comments give evidence of a certain very low baseline within a definable stratum, and probably are in some ways reflective of “how intelligent Americans [are] in the 21st century” – on average, adjusted for selection factors.

I can’t possibly disagree more but at least understand a bit more about why you made your statement.

Youtube commenters aren’t even the best representatives of themselves. Not only do some pretend to be ignorant or racist to troll, but some simply get heated at a video and spout off with something they’d otherwise never say or even think past the time it took them to write the comment.

Very few people always write online in comments things they’d back up in person. It’s false reality.

then you have evidence of a closing of some conservative minds.

Did you really need any? This type of person exists in every movement. I’d argue that they’re even more prevalent in mainstream movements simply because those movements have to go out of their way to encounter differing viewpoints, where as those “on the out” have to go out of their way to block differing viewpoints.

And I’d also argue, as a side note, that this is a cause for the closure, specifically from people like the commenters you see here. They’re not reacting to something simply because it comes from a liberal organization but because (for the vast majority) they’ve already been burned so many times by liberal organizations that they’re done with the “fool me 100 times” absurdity and can no longer view these outlets as anything but what they’ve presented themselves as time and time again.

Yet, finding that some conservatives are like this goes without saying, or at least should, and isn’t at all related to the topic of whether or not conservatives have closed minds and is instead more related to the topic of whether or not some people have closed minds.

but a starting point might be a general agreement that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and that, in a democratic-republican society that values free inquiry and discussion, an idea – not merely a news item – from a lefty intellectual shouldn’t be presumed a bad idea merely because a lefty intellectual proposes it.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I don’t intend to be rude, but this comment does come off as condescending precisely because this much also should go without saying, at least in a conversation between two people of minimally equal intelligences (i.e., so long as we’re both at or above 90).

Of course people shouldn’t do this. Of course ideas themselves should be taken as neutral, not liberal or conservative. Of course people should take in as much information as they are able to dissect no matter the originator of the information.

You could also add that of course youtube commenters shouldn’t use the n-word or threaten bodily harm on those who disagree with them. And that of course they should learn to spell properly, at least enough so that their word choice is apparent to the average English reader.

But in coming back to the youtube comments, I will say that I do believe that most people are not themselves online and that most people are not fully honest here. I believe (and am half certain there’s evidence to back me up) that many simply like to vent online, knowing that the anonymity keeps them free from personal judgment. I also think many might even have seen this as the initial purpose of a blog named Hot Air that once featured daily Vents.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

How far and deep it goes is another question, and debatable, but a starting point might be a general agreement that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and that, in a democratic-republican society that values free inquiry and discussion, an idea – not merely a news item – from a lefty intellectual shouldn’t be presumed a bad idea merely because a lefty intellectual proposes it.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM

And, of course, vice versa. I don’t see any lefty blog commentators doing any intellectual heavy lifting, or for that matter, lefty bloggers. The idea that conservative minds are any more closed than liberal minds is too stupid to really debate.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

The heart of Sanchez’s post concerned ideological defense mechanisms that operate within a group whether it’s perfectly “closed” or not. He’s wrong to suggest that they’re unique to the right, but he’s not wrong that a) they’re widely observable – just check out the majority of responses on this thread – and b) that their features tend to become more pronounced among members of a movement on the outs, fighting to get back in – because they serve a purpose.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

The left in this country claim that the “corporate media” is overwhelmingly conservative and discount it – go to KOS, or DU or any other such site. They discount anything and everything any conservative anywhere states, and often discount the media as not reporting the real news. thus, every argument holds for a closed mind holds just as much water for the left as the right.

But I note that both you and Sanchez are trying to claim this is a particularly strong phenomena of the right, which is outright laughable on many levels. And, again, this claim is made by some writer or other every single year.

the left has always claimed that conservatives are “close minded” (and evil, homophobe, sexist, greedy, etc).

It is so much easier to demonize your political enemy than engage in logical debate.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:04 PM

just check out the majority of responses on this thread – and b) that their features tend to become more pronounced among members of a movement on the outs,

So, during 2000 – 2006 everyone would agree that the left’s mind was closed?

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM

just check out the majority of responses on this thread – and b) that their features tend to become more pronounced among members of a movement on the outs,

So, during 2000 – 2006 everyone would agree that the left’s mind was closed?

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:06 PM

And I note, the left did not suddenly come up with new ideas and thoughts when they regained congress in 06 and then the WH. The same old socialized health care, demonizing the rich, etc. held sway. So, if their minds were closed from 2000-2006 b/c they were on the outs trying to get back in, where is the evidence that their minds have opened back up?

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:08 PM

If Limbaugh is trying to keep his listeners from being exposed to a diversity of reporting and opinion, he is failing miserably.

Exactly. I have argued for years that the one of many reasons that the Orwellian “Fairness Doctrine” is not needed is because conservative talk radio insures that exposure to liberal ideas and the liberal agenda will not die on the vine.

Buy Danish on April 21, 2010 at 2:15 PM

The idea that conservative minds are any more closed than liberal minds is too stupid to really debate.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

That’s not the argument – which turns in part on tendencies that get accentuated during certain political circumstances. I should add that I don’t buy Sanchez’s argument 100%. I’m simply saying that dismissing it out of hand tends more to support than to contradict it.

I see at this point little evidence of anyone treating his argument with an “open” mind. Instead, I see a defensive rush to dismiss it in its entirety, and also to attack him as well as anyone who takes him seriously, including the blogger who presumed to disagree with him and mount a counter-argument.

But if you find the discussion too stupid to be worth your time, you can seek alternative entertainment options. I understand that American Idol is a trending topic on Twitter. Maybe that.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Youtube commenters aren’t even the best representatives of themselves. Not only do some pretend to be ignorant or racist to troll, but some simply get heated at a video and spout off with something they’d otherwise never say or even think past the time it took them to write the comment.

Very few people always write online in comments things they’d back up in person. It’s false reality.

These are assessments of the content of the comments and touch on the selection factors (including self-selection) that influence who comments and how they comment. In terms of reflecting operational intelligence of 21st C Americans, however, youtube comments may even be above average. Hard to say. I haven’t attempted a study and would leave that to sociologists with a lot of time on their hands. Can we leave this one aside? HotAir threads, though criticizeable, aren’t YouTube.

I don’t intend to be rude, but this comment does come off as condescending precisely because this much also should go without saying, at least in a conversation between two people of minimally equal intelligences (i.e., so long as we’re both at or above 90).

Maybe it – basic presumptions of civil discourse – should go without saying, but it obviously doesn’t, as evidenced by the comments I referred to, which are typical of every HotAir discussion thread concerning any post that attempts any critical discussion of ideas. Such comments often take up the majority if not the overwhelming majority of discussion threads, even when, as here, the blogger has put much evident work into arguing on conservatives’ behalf.

I always took “HotAir” or even the long ago “Daily Vents” as meant somewhat ironically and playfully, not as implicit support for the idea that discussion on the site should be, e.g., overheated and empty.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 2:23 PM

I see at this point little evidence of anyone treating his argument with an “open” mind. Instead, I see a defensive rush to dismiss it in its entirety, and also to attack him as well as anyone who takes him seriously, including the blogger who presumed to disagree with him and mount a counter-argument.

But if you find the discussion too stupid to be worth your time, you can seek alternative entertainment options. I understand that American Idol is a trending topic on Twitter. Maybe that.

Wow, you really are good at that logical argument. Your premise is that the conservative mind is closed b/c conservatives aren’t in power and we don’t accept liberal ideas and we group identify.

Now, you don’t respond to the fact that liberals, even in power, group identify and reject wholesale any conservative ideas.

Your argument starts with a premise that is self-defeating. You are arguing a premise for which nobody has offered a scintilla of proof.

And yet you take this arrogant and haughty tone as if you’ve made some kind of logical point that refutes what we are saying about the idiotic thesis by sanchez? Please. As I said, this same argument is floated every single year, it is always floated about conservative, is never floated about liberals, and yet there is as much, if not more, evidence to support the idea that liberals minds are closed. After all, if you look at conservative thought over the last 20 years, you will see significant changes. Indeed, conservatives supported the idea of a mandate for health care in the early 90s but oppose it now.

In contrast, liberal ideas are the same now as they were in the 90s.

the very fact that this thesis continues to get raised, and only as to conservatives, proves it is simply an excersize in opponent demonization. It is silly and sophmoric. The people pushing it would be better off spending their time watching american idol rather than pretending to have any intellectual heft with this drivel.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Maybe it – basic presumptions of civil discourse – should go without saying, but it obviously doesn’t, as evidenced by the comments I referred to, which are typical of every HotAir discussion thread concerning any post that attempts any critical discussion of ideas.

How is coming here and telling us we have closed minds “intellectual discourse”? Seriously, you start with an insult, offer no proof to back up the insult, and then tell us we are uncivil?

What is the idea that you are pushing here? That conservatives are stupid? Unable or unwilling to think critically?

Seriously, do you have self-awareness?

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:39 PM

CK,

You really don’t think the argument is that conservative minds are more closed than liberal ones?

Really?

I grant you that Sanchez does not argue it, but in the ensuing discussion across multiple blogs, the participants have generally conceded that both sides have some degree of epistemic closure, and are instead pushing precisely the argument that conservatives have it worse — that’s what McArdle is addressing, for example.

The discussion of blog commenters has already established that there’s plenty of closed minds to be found all ’round (which is another reason why people pushing the meme have already moved on to assessing relative closure). Beyond that, it doesn’t change the fact that consumers of conservative media almost invariably end up engaged with establishment media, because the former is so often derivative of the latter. Conversely, consumers of the establishment media won’t find out about Van Jones — even incompletely — until he is forced to resign, won’t find out about ACORN until Congress votes to defund, etc.

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Everyone has a closed mind to a degree. Catholics minds are closed to islam being a true religion. Liberal minds are closed to the idea of a flat tax. Conservative minds are closed to the idea that centralized economies work. English minds are closed to good dentistry. French minds are closed to deodorant. And so it goes.

The idea that somehow conservatives have it worse than anyone else is idiotic and unsupported by any evidence. What could the evidence possibly be? That conservatives don’t support something you think they should support? That is circular logic. That’s what is silly.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:47 PM

A strong counter-argument to liberal minds being more open than conservative minds is the global warming scare.

There has been much evidence of late that the “science” behind the global warming theories was cooked and rigged. A serious, open-minded person would say, hey, before we do anything drastic, let’s investigate the studies that were done, demand the raw data, and if necessary, do fruther research to see if there really is a problem, and if so, what causes it.

The left instead calls people saying such things “deniers” (a term purposefully used b/c it invokes holocaust deniers) and argue that we should move even quicker to pass significant legislation.

That seems to me to be clear evidence of close-mindedness. I can’t think of anything similar on the right.

Monkeytoe on April 21, 2010 at 2:51 PM

…an idea – not merely a news item – from a lefty intellectual shouldn’t be presumed a bad idea merely because a lefty intellectual proposes it.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010

I presume it to be a bad idea because “lefty intellectual”, is an oxymoron. The motivating power of the left is feelings and belief that those feelings make their conclusions correct and proper and their statist aims “good” because they are “good” by virtue of their feelings. That is the opposite of intellectual. They don’t use or need reason to arrive at their conclusions. They know they are right because it makes them feel good.
That is the power of the left. The power is real but the core is hollow.

SKYFOX on April 21, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 2:42 PM

I’m thinking the charge of closed-mindedness is often too broad. It’s not being such a thing to set limits of personal view; in my experience an all-or-nothing mindset leads invariably to dead ends.

While there are, without question, Conservatives who won’t budge an inch on anything, I find most times such a thing exists most fervently on the Left. I’m willing to listen to a liberal idea on a subject, with an eye toward reaching a compromise both of us can live with. But I find the liberals tend to be absolutist, inflexible. That’s why we’re still arguing matters, after fifty years, like abortion and affirmative-action. We haven’t moved anywhere on those social matters, largely because of the Left in my not-so-humble opinion.

Excellent essay, by the way!

Liam on April 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Can we leave this one aside?

I have nothing else to add and was really just shocked in general that you think youtube can at all be reflective of intelligence of 21st century America.

Maybe it – basic presumptions of civil discourse – should go without saying, but it obviously doesn’t, as evidenced by the comments I referred to, which are typical of every HotAir discussion thread concerning any post that attempts any critical discussion of ideas. Such comments often take up the majority if not the overwhelming majority of discussion threads, even when, as here, the blogger has put much evident work into arguing on conservatives’ behalf.

Sure, but it’s also typical that each post will get a few trolls interested in nothing but trolling. To call them out, is foolish, just as calling out the close-minded is. They’re not the people who will listen to you, because, as you already said, they’re not interested in critical discussion.

Those who are, are the only ones who will listen, and are the at or above 90 who don’t need to be reminded of the obvious.

I always took “HotAir” or even the long ago “Daily Vents” as meant somewhat ironically and playfully, not as implicit support for the idea that discussion on the site should be, e.g., overheated and empty.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Don’t get me wrong, I have taken it in much the same way; however, Michelle stated her interest in creating a counter to all the biased media she sees and that this website was supposed to help with that. I do believe that while Michelle was being playful with the words “hot air” and “vent” that she also intended some truth in them. I’d argue that it’s not the kind of venting that we’re talking about here, but that’s because Michelle is an intelligent conservative commentator, not a random blog commenter, who can’t be expected to vent as intelligently as she does. They simply don’t have the same tools.

However, being exposed to those who do, helps. I’ve seen commenters here grow, and as they’ve grown and become open to going beyond shallow debates and delving into real issues and finding it possible to agree to disagree, they also learn to read opposing viewpoints.

This happens when they’ve been allowed to grow at their own pace, not when they’re told they’re being obtuse.

Esthier on April 21, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 2:42 PM

CK,

You really don’t think the argument is that conservative minds are more closed than liberal ones?

Really?

I read Sanchez as describing ways in which conservatives, under current circumstances, are induced not just to close their minds, but to proclaim their minds effectively closed in order to appeal to the prejudices of the base, in something like a feedback loop. Obviously, there are numerous exceptions to any such general rule applied to a mass population. Whether the result is a conservatism that’s overall more or less closed-minded than left-liberalism isn’t something that anyone is or could be in a position to judge objectively.

Regardless of “who’s worse,” it still might be useful to consider how different factors play out in the different subcultures. I read McArdle’s piece, and appreciated her effort to be respectful to both sides’ presumptions, and to try to point to just such concrete factors that might explain why conservative intellectual culture has developed differently than left-liberal culture has – even though the effort resulted in her going on much longer stating “the obvious” than some people cared to cope with.

Given the impossibility of quantifying closure – even via survey data – since everything depends on debatable presumptions and definitions, one alternative would be to attempt a comparative study of the “narrative frames” through which the same information or event is processed (or excluded from processing) at representative outlets – the same story or stories in the NYT, Limbaugh, Beck, Karl, Matthew Yglesias, and so on. Needless to say, that would entail a lot of work, and the product might fall to a large extent under “tell me something I don’t already know.”

Another approach, the one that Sanchez’s post somewhat exemplifies, is to take that very predictability – what makes you able to predict ahead of time how almost any news on, say, Global Warming, will be treated by Beck or Limbaugh or Yglesias or the NYT Op-Ed pages or The Corner – and proceed outward, seeking to detect and define mechanisms or internal laws that influence or determine the frame – determine how information or arguments are (pre)-processed and received.

The use people make of such a critique should be independent of “who’s worse.” If being “open-minded” is good, then being more so should be worth striving for, regardless of whether we start out better or worse than the stupid libs. If there are different kinds of open-mindedness – some useful, some counterproductive – then that’s worth understanding, too.

I understand that this is all very abstract, but abstraction is inevitable for a discussion of these matters. The political questions are twofold: to what extent is it beneficial for conservatives or anyone else to seem more or less open or closed (e.g., Obama’s moderate demeanor as a political tool), and to what extent are we actually thinking and acting more effectively (arriving at intrinsically better policies/approaches). Maybe conservatives are 10 times more intellectually effective than liberals: That’s gotten us where? This far – further would be better.

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 3:33 PM

What a sad thing to deflect this into another “both sides do it” dismissal.

I think it’s more than apparent that the Left has perfected the art of epistemic closure, as that term is understood by people who actually know what it means.

Perhaps the author used the term in a slang sense, meaning anything to do with knowledge. Fine. It is perfectly legitimate that choice of words to call attention to the irony of a Leftist saying the whole problem with conservatives is that they don’t ground their knowledge in first principles.

Not to nitpick, but that’s sort of exactly what conservatives do, and it’s exactly what the socialist-democrats DO NOT.

jeff_from_mpls on April 21, 2010 at 3:47 PM

CK,

The use people make of such a critique should be independent of “who’s worse.”

Agreed, but if you look at most of what has been written about this topic is on the theme of “why is the epistemic closure on the Right worse?” And even assuming the premise, when someone like McArdle suggests that the Left’s own attitudes might be a factor, they can’t deal with it. Add all of that up and it starts to look like a big exercise in concern trolling (though I don’t think that Sanchez himself is guilty of that).

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM

What a sad thing to deflect this into another “both sides do it” dismissal.

I think it’s more than apparent that the Left has perfected the art of epistemic closure, as that term is understood by people who actually know what it means.

Perhaps the author used the term in a slang sense, meaning anything to do with knowledge. Fine. It is perfectly legitimate given that choice of words to call attention to the irony of a Leftist saying the whole problem with conservatives is that they don’t ground their knowledge in first principles.

Not to nitpick, but that’s sort of exactly what conservatives do, and it’s exactly what the socialist-democrats DO NOT.

jeff_from_mpls on April 21, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Salem communications, would it kill ya to get a commenting system that allows editing?

jeff_from_mpls on April 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Dare I even issue a challenge:

Name for me the first principles of the modern socialist-democrat party.

Warning: “equality” is not a principle, it is a mathematical symbol. It has no meaning, which is exactly what socialist-democrats want. It’s an ink blot principle guaranteed to sucker the ignorant.

jeff_from_mpls on April 21, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Add all of that up and it starts to look like a big exercise in concern trolling (though I don’t think that Sanchez himself is guilty of that).

Karl on April 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Maybe – can’t speak for all of the writers you waded through, of course. At the same time, the real closed-mindedness of the left, the extent to which leftwing political discourse is “pre-scripted” according to unexamined ideology – with identifiable roots in academic Marxism and its direct descendants – has been one of the left’s great weaknesses, and a major impetus to defections. One of the worst things for the right to do may be to devote so much effort to its own blunt instruments as to miss the exploitable growth opportunities in the space of “unafraid/in favor of free inquiry and discussion.”

CK MacLeod on April 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Making up your mind and deciding on which ideology you most subscribe too isn’t closed minded. Unless of course you think deciding what you really want and believe is a bad way to approach life.

We do have serious disagreements with the left. It isn’t closed minded not to change your mind and agree with them.

One honest Democrat… the one running in the Primary against Boxer admitted that Democrats are the party of Government control. He argues that they just need to do it better.

I don’t believe that. I think it is better to have liberty and make my own decisions even if in the long run I end up worse off.

I value liberty over a supposed perfect life imposed on me by government.

I’m not closed minded and neither is he. We simply don’t agree on what good government looks like.

People like Rush and Beck and Palin make their arguments. People hear the arguments if they agree they are more apt to watch or listen. If they disagree they aren’t.

I don’t see closed mindedness in that, I see agreement on issues.

The left doesn’t have any Rush or Palin or Beck’s because less people agree with them. Or maybe they really don’t articulate their arguments well. I tend to think they make them well enought they just don’t have much merit.

It’s not that I don’t hear them. I just don’t agree with them.

It is not closed minded to disagree with the left. Or the right for that matter.

The whole idea is just not true.

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Salem communications, would it kill ya to get a commenting system that allows editing?

jeff_from_mpls on April 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM

I’d like one to tell me when I type there instead of their. And things like that. OR when I leave out whole words… Actually if they could just get one that reads my mind and makes me sound more intelligent. And tells me when I’m offending people and could state things better…

anything else?

petunia on April 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

It it meeds saying, conservatives seek to conserve our founding principles. Liberals want to pervert and overthrow them in whole or in part.

I seek conservative authors/commentators that agree with me on first principles. I couldn’t care less about those that don’t. I don’t need Liberals’ perspective or input to be fully informed.

One thing’s for sure, it didn’t take any effort or research for me to become a liberal by the time I was twenty-five. All I needed for that was the Baltimore Sun and CBS Evening News. It did, however, take lots of reading and research to become a conservative worthy of the name.

So in my case I opened my mind to become a conservative, and left childish things behind.

Akzed on April 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM

But Allah is a RINO candy-ass, so what\’s your point there?

Haunches on April 21, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Funny. I distinctly remember reading tons of books over the years, everything from history to politics to whatever, resulting in a natural progression to a classical liberal Founding Father type of viewpoint. I got good reasons for not being a liberal and they involve continuing adult re-education on my own part. I wanna sue the schools for the stuff, the true stuff, they did not teach me.

I am 46 by the way.

Anyway, liberals these days are not liberals but socialists and fascists and/or socialists by default cuz they “know nothing” (Hogan`s Heroes). The true liberals are those who want to preserve liberty so that would be most conservatives. But we are really classical liberals. I want my liberal back and I want to stick the socialist sticker all over those suckers–the other guys. Like that old old tire commercial.

The hippies used to be the opposition to the man but now they are the man and we are not the man but the opposition to the man. Obama is not a hippie but was educated by such —with a terrorist in the mix and a guy named Alinsky who wrote a crappy book–yeah, badly written–and his estate continues to make money off of it. If Alinsky is/was so radical why didn`t he just give the book away instead of . . . uh . . . using good ole capitalism to make a buck on his junk–so we can call him(Obamarama) a junior hippie. We rebel against a huge central government. A central government that contravenes both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.

So Obummer you can put that salt in your pipe and smoke it.

Sherman1864 on April 21, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Anyway, liberals these days are not liberals but socialists and fascists and/or socialists by default cuz they “know nothing” (Hogan`s Heroes). The true liberals are those who want to preserve liberty so that would be most conservatives. But we are really classical liberals. I want my liberal back and I want to stick the socialist sticker all over those suckers–the other guys. Like that old old tire commercial.

Sherman1864 on April 21, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Amen.

Though I wasn’t as wild over the book I could have been ;), maybe it’s time to borrow a word from the title of Dinesh D’Souza’s book “Illiberal Education” and refer to statist leftists as “illiberals” from now on, to distinguish them from true liberals. :)

RD on April 23, 2010 at 1:28 PM