left, right, muddle

The web site ‘Red State’ has an interesting post, especially when you pair it with another note, from ‘Slashdot.’

Red State chief Erick Erickson picks some low hanging fruit, making fun of the newly formed ‘No Labels’ group. (Read the whole thing here.)

‘No Labels’ is trying to push the political debate out of left versus right, but Erickson catches the scent of something else:

It is a group of snobs, elitists, true believers, and other left-of-center Democrats and Republicans who share nothing in common except being rich, pretty white, repudiated by the American political system, and convinced that if they are good enough and, doggoneit, serious enough, they can bring Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing to reality.

Ok, point taken. People who attack the holier-than-thou attitudes of the right and left can be pretty attitudinal themselves. And they do tend to be centrists to left of center.

But here’s where the wheels come off: Erickson – and many other people – won’t allow that you can look at problems other than through the lens of left and right. He dismisses people who feel that way as mere ‘technocrats,’ who “stand for nothing and everything at the same time — hardly a compelling way to get into power. It’s like a convention of Unitarian-Universalists.”

So what are we to make of the mere technocrats who do things like this?  Their analysis of terrorism, and the implications of it, will comfort neither the left nor right. It is as geeky as it gets, and if it’s correct, neither a ‘left’ nor a ‘right’ response is in order.

Why? Because the analysis says you have to play the numbers, that there is no certainty, there are just smart and not so smart ways to deal with a complicated problem. In other words, your beliefs about good and evil, and the people who commit awful acts, won’t help you.

Erickson gives the game away at the end, when he writes “In politics, as in life, the only thing found in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead skunks.” But looking at things as a ‘technocrat’ would doesn’t mean you’re always trying to cut up the baby, to find some ‘compromise’ that leaves everyone vaguely unhappy. It means you are looking for an answer on the merits, and that those merits can be separated from the way you think the world should work.


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