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Rofer at Chicago Boyz

Left of center Blogfriend Cheryl Rofer cross-posts at conservative-libertarian Chicago Boyz to debate Lexington Green:

Others’ Shoes

Lexington Green is politically conservative, but he and others at Chicago Boyz have been willing to put up with me; I respect them, too, because they think out what they’re about. I think they actually listen to me, too, even as we disagree.

So when Green’s post was endorsed by Glenn Beck, I realized that this might be a way to get into his admirers’ minds. Green begins with a John Boyd hierarchy that I haven’t spent much time with; this is another of my departures from my friends at Chicago Boyz. But I suspect that that part can be skipped with little loss. He’s saying that Beck is taking a broad view, going up a couple of levels.

But I don’t feel like I get the rest of it. I can do a sentence-by-sentence exegesis, but that wouldn’t be quite right. I’m trying to get into Green’s and Beck’s heads, not dispute them. But there are barriers. Since I wrote that, Green has added another update, which makes some things clearer. I’ll get to the update later.

One is that so much of what Beck offers is factually flawed. Green is an intelligent person; how can he miss that? Perhaps because the bigger things he talks about in the post are more important to him. But those factual flaws are a barrier to me. A lack of fact is a poor foundation for anything to come after.

What Green likes is Beck’s creation of a large narrative.

Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom…

Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them.

This sort of narrative is indeed attractive; I have wished for a vision that can unite Americans, that would provide a solidarity that we can rest on, a positive vision.

But there is a double-mindedness to Green’s analysis that is another barrier to me. I agree that we need unifying themes for us as Americans. Period. Unfortunately, it’s easy to unify around an enemy, and, while talking about solidarity and unity, Green develops an enemy, “the Overlords”, and a sense of aggrievedness. Since “the Overlords” are Americans too, that sense cannot be the basis for unity. But that duality is in Beck’s words too: he condemns President Obama for a cult of victimization, and then tells his followers how victimized they’ve been. And for him and for Palin, there are very definitely an “us” and a “them.” Apparently I am one of “them.”

Read the rest here or here.

21 Responses to “Rofer at Chicago Boyz”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    I am glad to have Cheryl her have her say on this, then respond to it. I really fear sinking into groupthink and becoming an "amen circle." That is intellectual death.  

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    My warm appreciation to Cheryl Rofer, Lexington Green, and Zenpundit …

  3. T. Greer Says:



    That is one reason I would hesitate to ever join or create a group blog. I have seen very few group blogs where the participants do not share the same opinion on every issue of note. And in the few cases where differences of opinion exist, they are rarely voiced. (The League of Ordinary Gentleman is one of of the few exceptions to this rule.)


    Does this pose a problem for you? As a moderator of a large conservative group blog – is it ever difficult to remain open to outside ideas? Do you encourage ChicagoBoyz to write posts that might  "rock the boat"?


    Forgive  me if any of this is too forward. I am always seeking to know how other succeed at those things that would pose a great challenge to myself.

  4. toto Says:

    I wonder how many among hardcore Libertarian intellectuals see the Teabots as an army of "useful idiots". As in, "Yeah, they believe Obama is a muslim and they want to ban gay marriage, but who cares as long as they can get us to power?"
    I would recommend reading "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_(comics)">Persepolis</a>&quot; if they haven’t already.

  5. toto Says:

    Damn textbox formatting.
    That should have been <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_(comics)">Persepolis</a&gt;.

  6. slapout9 Says:

    Beck has established the moral high ground and because of that he can make many tactical mistakes and still do just fine. He will operationalize his campaign by using the tenets of Maneuver Warfare in and Unconventional sense.  The Mission,The Main Effort and Surfaces and Gaps. He has a Mission from God, his Main Effort is Love and the Obama administration has a Moral gap he could drive a truck through. The Obama administration is the equivalent of a Moral Black Hole, it attracts bad energy by always supporting the rich elite of this country and at the same time he asking the average American to loose their home, their job and their self dignity.  If Beck really studied Boyd and Lind he could bring this administration to it’s knees in no time…we shall see.

    Incidentally a few years ago Colonel Warden was interviewed on a Religious radio show on how to use the 5 Rings analysis to fight the ……Devil!!! Beck has copied that almost to a tee. Again it will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  7. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Mark.
    I don’t feel like Daniel in the lions’ den, actually. Having a bit of fun over there. Your comment is the next I intend to respond to!

  8. Mercutio Says:

    It should be fairly obvious to anybody who is not blinded by partisan attachment that Glenn Beck and the Fox News crowd are in their own was as contrived and politically correct in their won way as the post-60’s liberals whom they decry.

    Indeed, the two factions feed off of one another.  Each, by pointing out the other’s foibles, diverts attention from its own shortcomings.  Jung called this "projecting one’s shadow."  Both do it.   This Red State vs. Blue State thing has become quite a cliche’.

    It should be obvious to anyone with an artistic background that we need a third color to mix things up.  Coming from a traditional oil-painting based background, I would prefer to see Yellow; so we could have the traditional Red, Yellow, Blue primary colors.  Computer graphics fellows, however, would prefer Green, so they could manipulate their RGB variables.  Either is fine.  Indeed, I would even consider CYMK.

    However we resolve this, advocates of racial harmony should note the following:  We are not White.  Nor are we Black.  We are all actually Orange.  If you don’t believe me, muck around with Photoshop for a while and you will discover this to be absolutely true.

    Those interested in establishing Yellow States, please contact me.  I understand Glenn Beck rakes in big bucks; so I could use a gig like his.  I need the income.


  9. Seerov Says:

    The difference between Obama’s victims and Beck’s victims is that the former want affirmative action, quotas, and special privileges, while the later just wants to be left alone.

  10. onparkstreet Says:

    <em>There is an edge to some opposition to Democratic policies and President Obama, along with talk on talk radio, that sounds an awful lot like racism. I could even pull a few quotes from comments in this thread.</em>
    I wasn’t going to continue with this conversation over at CB but I see it has "metastasized here." (I’m on "home call." Might as well pass some time reading the regulars on my blogroll.)
    The italicized quote above is by Cheryl Rofer and from the thread to her post. Wow, you’ve got a lot to respond to – and kudos for jumping in and doing just that! – so I shouldn’t do this, but….
    Which exact comments in that specific thread were racist? Did I miss them in scanning the comments thread?
    – Madhu

  11. onparkstreet Says:

    Aargh, this is the second time in two days I’ve messed up my HTML because of a misplaced period. Apologies.
    – Madhu

  12. onparkstreet Says:

    Okay, even that came out wrong. This is Nature’s blog way of saying: go do something else and shut off the computer.
    – Madhu

  13. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Hi Madhu – I’ve got a lot to respond to over at CB, and I’m hoping to get to your comments. I didn’t want to get specific, because there are some unpleasant comments over there that I just don’t want to highlight. I’d like to keep that discussion polite, as Lex has asked.

  14. Eddie Says:

    I look forward to LG’s book with James Bennett, or at least a more detailed series of posts that make a coherent case for this Revolution. 
    I see no revolution. I see an incompetent President set upon by an economy that crashed before he came into office, motivated by promises to his base (much the same way a Republican in 2012 will have to risk political suicide to please the base, something GWB escaped b/c of 9/11 and Clinton b/c of incompetence and 1994 Contract w/ America) that were bound to at least scare and at worst piss off most Americans who don’t want explicitly ideological legislation that costs a lot of money, and a populace that is largely fearful of being laid off, of what will happen to their retirements (b/c their 401Ks and other savings instruments were basically wiped out by the corrupt Wall Street gang both parties then and now vigorously compete with each other over, including Freedomworks, a leading Tea Party partner and an org that will likely be the re-election fundraising arm for most of the newly elected Representatives who will have to raise massive amounts of cash to fend off the Democrat backlash in 2012), and what the hell is going on with their country where various wealthy Americans absconded with massive amounts of taxpayer money in the various illegal bailouts by the Fed in 2008 and 2009).
    That is not the stuff of revolution, especially when you’re leading a movement that is comprised of social conservatives who have become so extreme they’re now trying to force a total abortion ban (including in the case of rape and incest) down the throats of voters and insist that its an absence of God (despite the religious right essentially being in legislative or executive power for 30 years except for two 2-year periods, 92-94 and 08-10) that is hurting the country, not more concrete things like people just breaking the law and getting away with it (whether it be illegal immigrants, corporate executives, gov’t employees, banks, etc)  as well as fiscal conservatives who promise deficit reduction via unknown means (abstract references to cutting SS and Medicare notwithstanding, a political suicide mission in a country that will soon have a third of its typical voting base over the age of 55 and freaking out over retirement costs and financial security) and who scream about taxes even as they also claim America must also give its military whatever it wants (when it will cost between a trillion and 2 trillion to repair, refit, and retire the American military and its equipment after 10 years of war). 
    So hey, I’m sure LG has a plan and I hope its a good one like Bruno Behrend’s was a few weeks ago. Yet at this point I’m where Ms. Rofer is, wondering what the heck he’s talking about in the context of Palin and Beck (now if he’s talking Mitch Daniels and Reihan Salam, then let’s talk).

    Btw, you want a real revolution in American politics? How about 2012 after an Israeli or US attack on Iran sends us back into a massive financial crisis b/c of oil prices? You think you’ve seen populism and demagoguery, just wait till people are paying 6-7-8 dollars a gallon and people are getting laid off by the millions b/c the economy’s come to a standstill, all so America could protect a friend.

  15. onparkstreet Says:

    Ah, now I understand Cheryl. Yes, I think that is the correct approach.
    You have a lot more stamina that I do for arguing points. I take a break from the computer and come back to see an amazing thread with your commentary interspersed.
    – Madhu

  16. Lexington Green Says:

    The comments on Cheryl’s post are remarkably civil by blog standards.Her post has provoked a remarkable volume of responses.

  17. Lexington Green Says:

    I said remarkable twice.  Bad form.  Time to get some sleep.

  18. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Hey! If the "lions" were unexpectedly docile, as Lex says, then just how far do we push Mark’s visual metaphor above?

  19. MM Says:

    It is interesting that many things about America are in play again.  Nothing is settled anymore and there are arguments all over about the existential questions of what makes America and what makes a nation state in the 21st century.  Must be generations changing again.Too many of the arguments look at the past with rose’s glasses and not forward to what the world is today and how people think today.  The history of China is as important as American history today.  How 7 billion people get along and how they are fed and sheltered and how they think and how they believe are as important to the future of America as how the Supreme court decides a case using an 18th Century document that has served well, but may need an update.It is good to think and talk about everything again with no preconditions and with a new century and the next generations who will carry it forward.

  20. Jonathan Says:

    T. Greer:
    "Does this pose a problem for you? As a moderator of a large conservative group blog – is it ever difficult to remain open to outside ideas? Do you encourage ChicagoBoyz to write posts that might  ‘rock the boat’?"
    We’re not telling anyone what to write. The bias at Chicagoboyz, as at most group blogs, I think, comes from the selection of contributors. I don’t think there’s any way around it other than to be open about it and to try as best we can to evaluate arguments on the merits. Readers can guard against bias by reading a variety of blogs and opinions.
    Zen is obviously using the lions-den metaphor with good intentions and humor but it makes me wince a bit. We don’t want to gang up on Cheryl but to welcome her into our salon, which is different than hers, and learn something by the comparison. I think that the discussion has been productive on the whole and I hope that Cheryl and Lex agree.

  21. Larry Dunbar Says:

    "…and learn something by the comparison"

    Perhaps that is the difference between conservative and liberal blogs.

    Conservative blogs are more than willing to generate diversity within their ranks, while liberal blogs are only interested in enforcing conformity to their liberal interpetation.

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