July 18, 2005

Conservative Heretics

Yesterday I highlighted hysterical reactions to centrism on the left but didn't mention any on the right. That's because I was focusing on responses around the blogosphere to the new centrist blog Donklephant. I didn't see any hysterical reactions to that blog on the right so there was nothing there to highlight.

It seems to me that conservatives in general are more comfortable with centrists than are liberals in general. And I'm not just talking about myself here. I write far more about foreign policy (where my views are hawkish and “conservative”) than domestic policy (where my views are usually liberal) so I'm not an ideal test case. It’s not just me, though. I see a lot more denunciations of the center-left New Republic magazine on the left than I see on the right – and I don’t know what else could explain it except for a loathing of heretics.

Anyway, I don't want to give the impression that I naively believe conservatives take kindly to those who buck their own party line. They don't. John Cole - who blogs at Balloon Juice - has been having a rough time of things lately since he started taking on right-wing partisan hacks. He's a good object lesson for any disaffected former liberal who is tempted to move beyond the middle and actually join the conservatives. His experience with the right isn't much different than mine has been with the left. Formerly liberal centrists may be acceptable to conservatives. But formerly conservative centrists aren't so much.

Perhaps the reason conservatives in general are more tolerant of centrists in general is because - for right now anyway - there are more former liberals around than there are former conservatives. It might not be any more complicated than that.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 18, 2005 6:18 PM
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