Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marching in Lockstep

Atrios refers to this post about the mass discipline of the Republicans:
Most clear-eyed political observers thought that Newt Gingrich's candidacy would be unsuccessful, but no one could have foreseen just how rapidly it would implode. Forget about the Tiffany's revelation -- after criticizing Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, Gingrich was actually forced to call Ryan to apologize. Just imagine how humiliating that must have been for someone who sees himself as a world-historical figure. But this episode is about more than Gingrich.
Atrios' comment:
That THE LEFT demands complete ideological purity has been an article of faith for as long as I can remember.

But it is increasingly true of the Right, that there is a growing list of views and beliefs which one must adhere to.
I don't know enough about the purity demands of the old left to comment on that part, though trying to make liberals or progressives to work together on a concrete goal often amounts to trying to herd cats.

So yes, I agree that rigid demands of identical ideologies are somewhat nasty and bring to mind goose stepping and similar unpleasant concepts. I also agree that this rigidity is currently more common on the right than on the left, at least in the sense of successful unification of everyone behind a detailed set of principles.

At the same time, the "big tent" concept has its own problems. Not much gets achieved with that cat-herding, and the need to bargain with those who hold a different set of basic principles can result in the sort of ugliness where someone else's basic principles are pawns in the eleventh-dimensional chess game the Obama administration is rumored to play.