By Arnold Kling
We, the Real Americans, in order to form a more God-Fearing Union, establish Justice as we see it, Defeat Health-Care Reform, and Preserve and Protect our Property, our Guns and our Right Not to Pay Taxes, do ordain and establish this Conservative Constitution for the United States of Real America.
Read the whole thing, which the Washington Post thought deserved prominent position in its Sunday “Outlook” section. It expresses what I call “The Attitude.” With The Attitude, progressives do not take on the actual ideas expressed by conservatives or libertarians. Instead, they sneer and engage in self-congratulation.
Do all progressives display The Attitude? No, but those who do tend to achieve more prominence than those who don’t. As a result, sometimes I fear that progressivism is going to degenerate into nothing but The Attitude. I think that when progressives are on the defensive, they are more likely to fall back on The Attitude. Right now, I think progressives should be thinking about where they stand with respect to large financial institutions, the long-term fiscal outlook, and the political power of public sector unions.
I am not denying that there are progressive approaches to those issues, and I would grant that conservatives and libertarians are hardly beyond reproach. But I would humbly suggest that these issues require thought, and that pieces like David Cole’s are an attempt to substitute Attitude for thought.