Thursday, August 25, 2022

Return of the Petruchio liberal

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Petruchio liberals

As Shaw observed, Taming of the Shrew can be difficult for modern sensibilities (Benedick and Beatrice, by comparison, stand up well and are still being repackaged by comedy writers), but recently one particular element of the story has been coming to mind.
In Verona, Petruchio begins the "taming" of his new wife. She is refused food and clothing because nothing – according to Petruchio – is good enough for her; he claims perfectly cooked meat is overcooked, a beautiful dress doesn't fit right, and a stylish hat is not fashionable.

There is a certain type of vocal liberal, almost always white and reasonably affluent, who insists on blocking virtually every viable attempt to advance a progressive agenda because nothing meets his or her standards. They feel enormously proud of themselves for refusing to compromise, despite the fact that the price of their principled stands are invariably paid by the most disadvantaged.

Lawyers, Guns and Money has spent the past year or so dismantling this silliness.

Here's Scott Lemieux:

There should be a fancy Latin term for “arbitrarily chosen deal-breakers selected to reverse-engineer a justification for not voting for a candidate you’ve decided a priori you don’t want to support.” People who actually care about how the next president will affect environmental policy evaluate the candidates on environmental policy. People who want to effectively ignore environmental policy focus solely on fracking.

Her laundry list also serves to illustrate the utter stupidity of “dealbreaker” logic. “If Hillary Clinton favored a $15 minimum wage that won’t pass Congress, I might support her. But since she only favors a $12 minimum wage that won’t pass Congress, I’ll take my chances on Trump winning.” “I used to be a Democrat, but when I found out that Hillary Clinton is insufficiently woke on GMO labeling I can live with several decades of a Supreme Court where the median justice would have to turn to the left to see Antonin Scalia.” OK.

First of all, with the FBI director having decided to try to throw the election to Trump, this is an odd characterization. Clinton remains a favorite and probably an overwhelming favorite, but it would be wrong to say that Trump has no chance, and if Stein got any real traction he certainly would. But, hey, not only will it not be Sarandon who might die because she can’t get medical care or be unable to get an abortion or lose her legal marriage privileges or lose her welfare assistance or have no remedy for discrimination or be denied the vote if Trump wins, she stands to gain considerably from the Trump presidency she’s urging her fans to make more likely.

And it’s worth noting again that what utter chickenshit the qualifier is. At least the “heighten-the-contradicitons” crap she was peddling earlier is an argument — a really terrible argument in the vast majority of circumstances including this one, but an argument. “Vote Stein because it won’t matter anyway” just makes you a free rider patting yourself for what a special snowflake you are. Lamest. form. of. masturbation. ever. If you think that we can’t have an omelet without Trump breaking America’s most vulnerable then own it, and if not spare us.

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