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This column by George F. Will reminds me of a sort of tendency I've noticed in commentary. It seems like conservative columnists are much more likely to defend conservatism as an overarching ideology, and to attack liberalism as a complete system of belief, than liberal columnists are to do the reverse. Granted, it's not every conservative commentator who does that. But it does seem like on average liberal commentators (as defined by popular opinion, as the commentators themselves don't seem to act as part of any coherent community) focus specifically on particular issues, while conservatives use particular issues as gateways into a broader critique of "liberalism" and defense of "conservatism."

Why? I don't know. Maybe it's a reaction to a time when the roles were reversed, so conservatives are taking up a defensive posture. Maybe liberals can't see the big picture. Maybe conservatives have this need to divide the world into black and white. And maybe being liberal myself has just made me ignore the times when liberals do the same thing (it's easy to overlook stupid rhetoric when it gets you to the right conclusions).


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