Friday, February 04, 2005

Glenn Reynolds and "The West"

If you are a conservative and you're reading this (not likely, I know) then I have two questions for you:
  • Do you think Instapundit (a.k.a Glenn Reynolds) has the guts to answer Matt Yglesias' eloquent charge that:
    Reynoldsism -- the doctrine that "the left" (whatever it is) has been captured by an irrational and pathological hatred for western values -- is a dishonest, absurd, and manipulative piece of propaganda
  • Given that Glenn probably won't answer (he hasn't so far), how would you answer it? (I'll publish any decent answer.)
UPDATE: It seems my questions were a bit unclear (this is not uncommon since I'm not a very good writer). Here's my attempt at a clarification to a reader:

The point Yglesias was trying to make (I think) is narrowly confined to the notion of "western values". Yglesias argues that the world view of just about the entire "West" except America and Israel is different from that of American conservatives. He is essentially saying: "Look, you can ridicule and argue against anti-war people, pro-choice people, anti-capital punishment people, even pro-social benefits people, but you can not say that these people are "anti-western" because vast majorities in all countries that could reasonably be considered western (or western-inspired -- he lists a bunch of them) agree with American liberals more than they agree with conservatives."

Conservative pundits seem to automatically assume that all of heartland America's values are by definition "western". Of course one could debate what western values are, but at the very least such a debate should take into account what people in other western countries think.

Some might say it doesn't matter what people think, what matters is what has happened (i.e. "western tradition"). But even then the conservative argument doesn't hold water. For instance, I agree that pro-market policies are in line with western tradition. But so is the right to form trade unions. Bush supporters may think those who object to their anti-union policies (concerning Dept of Homeland Security and other initiatives) are "wrong", they may even call them "socialists", but I don't see how they can call them "anti-western".

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