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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Left morality

posted by Razib Khan at Wednesday, July 26, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
Over at Wizbang blog there was a post about the most beautiful person on Capitol Hill. The winner was a woman of Guayanese orgin, specifically, mixed East Indian (that's what they call brown down there), African and European. The comments started out crass, no big surprise. Someone expressed the opinion that the winner was butt ugly, while others disagreed. Par for the course in "guy talk." But then this comes up, "I haven't noticed Kos postings as being racist." Now, there was a crack about affirmative action earlier, but the general tone is just one of crass sexism and objectification. Now, myself, I do objectify women quite a bit, it is a personal pleasure of mine. Though I admit that women are more than eye candy, but who can't enjoy a little sugar now and then?

The only reason I post this is that I was waiting for someone to call any criticism of the young woman's appearence racist. The problem with a segment of the modern Left is that it channels the Puritan impulses of the social conservative Right, but toward different ends. Where the Right seems "immorality" and "sexual license" and the Left seems "racism" and "sexism" under every bed. Dennis Prager's story that radio focus groups excluded blacks because it tended to distort how whites reacted is also part of the same dynamic, race distorts all normal discourse between objective citizens. It maybe that the sentiments about Michelle Persaud's appearance were racially motivated, but by applying a broad brush and being overly sensitive we separate her out and elevate her race about her individuality. Just as one can criticize Israel without being an anti-Semite (and be pro-Israel and and anti-Semite!), one can be crass and negative about non-whites without be racist.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.