A New Year's Resolution: Not to do battle with faceless ideologies

On Twitter, our J.P. Freire and the American Prospect's Adam Serwer had a little spat today about conservatives and overcriminalization. Serwer had made what I thought was a good blog post, sort of applauding the idea of Christian conservative audiences hearing arguments about overcriminalization.

But on Twitter, Serwer repeatedly characterized the “conservative approach to crime” and claimed the “conservative record on crime is clear and easy to evaluate,” dismissing Freire's objections that such a record might b emore complex than he thinks because, well, different conservatives have different views.

This was just another instance of the sort of head-butting we constantly see on blogs. Complaining about “liberals” or “conservatives” being inconsistent is a waste of time. Chris Matthews did this to me on Hardball last month, arguing that conservatives were only objecting to nudie-scanners at airports because Obama was in the White House. Maybe there are people for whom that's true, but then he should have them on the show. I was on CNN in 2001 opposing the creation of the TSA, so why would he ask me to defend some pro-TSA conservatives — many of whom were defending the nudie-scanners this year?

On the other side, I've seen conservatives rail about liberal hypocrisy on the filibuster, but again, name names. Matt Yglesias, as far as I can tell, has been consistent in opposing it. Just because some leftist activists held pro-filibuster rallies, (Chuck Schumer showed up and Mother Jones called the filibuster-backers the “protest of the year“).

Fine, pick on Schumer, or maybe Mother Jones, if they have since reversed pocition. Don't pick on “the Left.”

So here's my New Year's Resolution that I hope others will take up too: if you're going to try to make an argument about inconsistency or hypocrisy, name a person or a publication. In general, try to critique claims by individuals rather than by ideologies.

Do I have any takers?

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation intended to help California schools reopen. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Newsom signs $6.6 billion school reopening legislative package

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Gov. Gavin Newsom and state… Continue reading

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

Most Read