Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cliff Report

One of the first conservative blogs I read when I got into this trade was a site called Little Green Footballs by Charles Foster Johnson. I found it to be right-wing but not strident and it didn’t always frame issues in terms of political advantage, and there were a few occasions where I thought we had some common ground. So I wasn’t completely surprised when I saw this post labeled “Why I Parted Ways With the Right.” He lists, among other reasons, support for fascism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, anti-government lunacy, anti-Islamic bigotry, and Obama Derangement Syndrome, and concludes,

The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff.

I won’t be going over the cliff with them.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen people throw in the towel on the radicalization of their beliefs by others, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last. I don’t presume to know Mr. Johnson (either personally or as a blogger, and I doubt he even knows this little blog exists), but my guess is that he and a lot of people on both sides of the spectrum are simply tired of trying to maintain the level of energy it takes to be angry all the time at everything that you don’t agree with. It simply can’t be done — or at least sustained — without causing damage to both your credibility and the lining of your stomach. It’s possible to be passionate about your beliefs without being hidebound (or in need of physical restraint) and open-minded enough to acknowledge that there are opposing views based on reasonable thought. That doesn’t mean you have to give up what you believe in for the sake of going along with the wave and perhaps over the cliff.

I’m pretty sure that Mr. Johnson is going to be trashed by his now-former allies on some sites, including the people he called out by name as reasons for his departure. I also have no delusions that he’s going to move over to the left and start blogging at Daily Kos. But I think he’s not going to find himself all alone, either.