I happen to be a big fan of Andrew Klavan, both as a playwright and, more recently, as a political thinker and philosopher of sorts. My first introduction to Klavan was in the form of an article he write for the Wall Street Journal discussing the war on terror. He is a brilliant communicator and possesses a sense of perspective I attribute solely to those who have experienced a true conversion or transformation — which, in his case, happened to be both religious and political. (His interview with Peter Robinson seems to evidence this perspective quite convincingly, in my opinion)
In short, I have a great deal of respect for this man and usually walk away from his work feeling somewhat enlightened. I say “usually” because I was initially somewhat disappointed with his recent video series he is doing at pajamastv.com titled “Klavan on the Culture”.
Here is a makeshift (but reasonably accurate) transcript of the relevant portion I wish to discuss… wherein Klavan says:
“I’d like to explain the Liberal argument. SHUT UP. ‘Shut up’ is the central rationale behind the leftist program… but even if the left can’t turn ‘shut up’ into law… they’ve worked hard over the years to make it the custom of the country. Its the essence of politically correct phraseology and university speech codes. Say it our way or ‘shut up’. Its inherent in the media’s demonization of conservative commentators… the way they try to turn names like Limbaugh and Coulter into bywords for intolerance so they’ll just ‘shut up’…
His basic point was that the left has a habit of using personal attacks and political correctness to tarnish the reputations of their political opponents than engage them in real debate. The left tries to turn conservatism into a pariah of sorts… implying that any opposition to liberal policies is because of some underlying racist, bigoted, or sexist motive… in an attempt to shame them into silence. In fact, we are seeing this right now with the nomination of Judge Sotomayor… you can’t turn on the TV without hearing a lecture about how improper it would be for Republicans to oppose the first female, Latina court nominee.
Now, it is not that I disagree with Klavan, but I was really disappointed in the way he made the point. I was very skeptical and unimpressed with the simplistic explanation he offered… Liberals just say “SHUT UP” — as if most of them are mentally incapable of having a civilized discussion. Not only does this not match my own personal experience but I find it to be unnecessarily contentious and, well, rude. “This is simply an inaccurate description of the left,” I thought to myself.
But then something caught my eye on Facebook, of all places. I discovered that a liberal aquaintance of mine… a quite pleasant and reasonable woman from all appearances, had joined a group that wants “Dick Cheney to shut the hell up” (it is currently 185,000 members strong… and growning… a quick search for similar anti-Pelosi groups turned up at most 100 people). “This can’t really be what I think it is”, I thought to myself. “Is this really a group on facebook?” I was temporarily speechless. And then it dawned on me… Maybe Klavan was on to something… Maybe he was telling the truth after all…
What do you all think? Can you provide any current examples of this ‘SHUT UP’ mentality? Feel free to support or criticize this post in the comments section… I’d be happy to argue!