Dear 1585:

    I have been reading your articles for a while now (since about 500 on the site-meter) and I always enjoy reading the newest one and getting an idea of how you see a certain prevalent issue.  However, what I have noticed is a quite distinguished shift from fairly hard-line liberal ideas to some quite conservative theories on society.

    Now I want to make it clear.  You aren't the "average" conservative, in that you are well-spoken, obviously well-educated, and can, to some degree, see things from another perspective.  And you make it clear (usually with one or two mentions per article) that "conservatives are stupid," to put it bluntly.  However I can't help but feel that you think that, yes, the standard conservative is stupid (yippee, lower taxes means i get richer!), while believing that conservative ideals are actually more right (yes, I believe you can be a liberal and believe in right and wrong).

    Your articles began with a very liberal bias.  Pro-gay rights, secularism, all that great stuff.  But you had that one thing that you happened to agree more with conservatives than liberals on: Feminism.  And you were determined to make clear your view of feminism, and you make a reference to its evils fairly commonly (yeah yeah, i know, you only dislike radical feminism, the point is that you still agreed with Conservatives on something).  And with this you realized that perhaps Conservatives could be right on more issues, and maybe, despite stupidity in the masses, the concepts at the heart of conservatism were correct.  Your past few articles have been significantly more hostile towards liberal ideas, while blandly dismissing conservatives as stupid.  You make claims that X (where X is a bad thing) occurred, and the only reason liberals get away with it is because conservatives are dumb.  That is, undoubtedly, more pro-conservative, at least pro-conservative ideals, than it is pro-liberal.  This shift from liberalism to conservatism is fairly constant, you don't go back and forth.

    Anyways, you may have noticed this yourself.  And if you have, does it make you think that perhaps conservatism is right, despite being made up of stupid people (who you hate to associate with)?  And liberalism is wrong, despite it being made up of intellectual academics (people who you would like to associate yourself with)?

    I'm going to keep reading your articles, because they are well-written, interesting, and, now, fun for me.  Watching this evolution from a self-proclaimed "cool, down-to-earth liberal" to an excitable conservative beats American Idol any day.


    Dear J.H.:

    Thanks for the in-depth e-mail.  Sorry we didn't respond sooner.

    We're honored to know that you like the site, and doubly honored that you've put in enough effort to trace this alleged transformation of our views...  But we're not sure your analysis is correct—we would say "we're sorry to say...," but it seems like you'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    Anyway, unless we've been fooling ourselves, we don't think we've become any more conservative recently.  We mean, as caught up in theory as we all sometimes get, it's sometimes hard to remember that "conservative" and "liberal" do ultimately refer only to positions on the issues, and we'd be very surprised if anyone could find a legitimate conservative position on a specific issue espoused anywhere on the site—and this should be a relief to all of us.

    What we guess you're alluding to is that in the last few pieces (the Avril one, the Byron one, the 300 one) there has definitely been more "tough love" directed at Liberals, and that's true.  We get annoyed when the Left shoots itself in the foot, and we guess we make that pretty clear.  But we hope it's also clear that what the "tough love" is aimed at is freeing Liberals from believing that they have to do or believe things that hold them back in order to "count" as Liberals.  We think, in a weird way, it's become a lot like traditional Christian guilt, even though the Liberals are supposedly the secular ones.  With the 300 essay, for example, we're trying to say that the liberal reaction to a macho movie doesn't have to be "macho stuff is terrible;" it's perfectly fine to be inspired to work out by it instead.  You don't have to be "against power;" you can be "for" power, as long as you use it for good.

    It's possible that you just don't run into a lot of Liberals who demonstrate that such rhetoric is necessary—some of our friends have the same reaction; kind of "What Liberals are you talking about here anyway?"  Usually in those cases, it can be assumed that we're talking about academia.  We realize that academia is a small niche, but it's also the case that a lot of Conservatives never really meet any Liberals in real life except in college—so, since there are a lot of Conservatives who end up thinking that wacky academic stuff speaks for all Liberals, it needs to be addressed, even if in reality it's not that common.

    There's also, of course, the fact that we didn't want to have "just another" liberal website that only Liberals read.  Since a bipartisan readership is important to us, it's possible that we sometimes "pump up" our complaints against Liberals a bit, to try and get Conservatives to keep reading, in the hopes that ultimately the effect of this will be net positive for everyone.  We like to think that we never cross the line into being unfair or sensational when we do this, but we'll keep an even closer eye on it now.  Thanks for the warning.

    We'd like to close by specifically addressing the "feminism" thing.  It's true that we criticize feminism—or, more specifically, the broader influence of academic feminism and "victim" feminism—but the way you put it was that we "agree more with conservatives than liberals on" feminism, and this isn't true, simply because it isn't the case that any critique of feminism is automatically a conservative one.  The conservative critique of feminism is based mainly on puritanical anti-sex stuff that wants women to be "chaste" or "demure" or something, and on assigning some kind of importance to traditional gender roles within the family, and we hope it's clear that neither of these things comprises any part of our own critique.  We like to think of our stance as being "more feminist than feminism," and basically as an alternate (but still liberal) path towards enabling women to truly be as free as men, and in the same ways—e.g., feel free to think of sex the same way that men do (if you want), don't feel compelled to automatically side with other women about something if you're better than they are and they're dragging you down, don't feel like it's always the better choice to play the victim, etc.  Perhaps the most illuminating thing here would be to point out that the most-represented person in our Quotations section is Madonna...  Does that give you an idea of what we're getting at, or trying to?

    Anyway, thanks very much once again for your e-mail and for your concerns.  We hope we addressed them adequately, but please write back if we did not.

    —S.G. and the Crew

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