Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Delusion of Tolerance and The Hypocrisy of Exceptionalism

Spectacular work by the Daily Show correspondents last night on the delusion behind Democrats' proud self-image as the party of inclusion and tolerance:

Hope and Change 2 - The Party of Inclusion

You don't get to lavish tolerance on stuff you like, and withhold it from stuff you don't like, and still feel smugly tolerant! In fact, that's the precise definition of intolerance!

And it's a foundational fallacy for the left. To be sure, Republicans have their delusions, too; lots of them! Both build vapid self-righteousness upon blind hypocrisy (hypocrisy's always easier to spot in others!), and it's this symmetrical nuttiness that's inflamed our national contretemps.

There is a uniquely American brand of hypocrisy which stems from our long tradition of national exceptionalism. One problem with exceptionalism is that the mindset is infectious. At this point, most every group in America has fervidly adopted it for their own. And exceptionalism and hypocrisy go hand in hand. The two are made for each other, and that poses dangers far darker than political fractionalization. The following is a brilliant, clear-eyed plumbing of those murky depths - once again via a Daily Show bit, this one from shortly after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal:

Prison Abuse Scandal

That's it, right there. The distilled gist of exceptionalistic hypocrisy:
"We shouldn't be judged on actions. It's our principles that matter; our inspiring abstract notions. Remember, just because torturing prisoners is something we did doesn't mean it's something we would do."

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