On Andrew Sullivan

03/06/2009 //

This is written by commenter Wile E. Quixote and taken wholesale from the comments over at John Cole’s Balloon Juice. I don’t usually like cribbing stuff, but this was just too good.

I like Andrew Sullivan’s blog, I read it occasionally, have sent him fan-mail and we both love the Pet Shop Boys. However there are times when I want to subject him to an intellectual waterboarding to get him to realize how completely hypocritical he is on certain issues.

Andrew Sullivan is intelligent, but most of what his intelligence is dedicated to is intellectual gymnastics and rationalizing and reconciling inconsistencies between his lifestyle and his beliefs. He is a doubleplusgood doublethinker.

A dumber person than Sullivan, someone who didn’t go to Oxford and have a picture of Burke tattooed on his left buttock and Micheal Oakeshott on his right, would say “Hmmmm, I’m gay, and I grew up Catholic, but the Catholic Church doesn’t want anything to do with me except to demonize me for being gay and to blame people like me for their molestation problem. Time for me to pop smoke and haul ass out of here and find another church.”, but not Andrew Sullivan.

Andrew Sullivan can write hundreds of blog posts lamenting the homophobia of the Catholic Church, their complicity in child molestation and their new Nazi pope and then turn around and talk about how wonderful the Church is, despite their homophobia, their complicity in child molestation and their Nazi pope and then rotate around another axis and lament how hard it is for him to be a Catholic because of their homophobia, complicity in child molestation and their shiny new Nazi pope. Andrew Sullivan can write eloquently about the need for the church to recognize gay marriage and relate moving stories about gay couples who are denied basic civil rights and then rotate around another axis and write about his pro-life beliefs and how he cannot in good conscience support abortion, even after reading moving stories that other people told him. Andrew Sullivan can write hundreds of posts about how horrible it is that there are intolerant bigots who want to control or deny his sexuality but then spin around yet another axis and support taking away a woman’s control over her body.

Then there’s his position on conservatives serving in the military. Andrew went to great lengths to point out that just because most of the people who supported the War in Iraq, himself included, had never served in the military that that didn’t mean that they were cowards or hypocrites or chickenhawks. Oh no. Again, someone dumber than Andrew, someone who didn’t go to Oxford and who hadn’t sent away to RealDoll.com for a life-sized, anatomically correct male sex doll with interchangeable Edward Burke and Michael Oakeshott heads, would have said “Hmmm, these assholes don’t practice what they preach. What hypocrites.” and wouldn’t have been able to write an eloquent defense of the principle “Do as I say, not do as I do” as Sullivan did when confronted with this topic.

Then there’s Andrew’s take on health care. Andrew hates single-payer and decries government interference in the health care system. But if it weren’t for government interference in the health care system Andrew Sullivan would have died of AIDS back in the 1990s because there wasn’t a whole lot of willingness in the private sector back in the 1980s and 1990s to spend lots of money researching treatments for a disease that primarily affected IV drug users and homosexuals and private insurance companies had no interest in providing health insurance to people infected with a fatal disease and paying for their expensive drugs and treatments. So the government stepped in and started researching HIV and laws were written that prohibited discrimination against HIV positive people and requiring insurers to accept them as clients. So Andrew is willing to countenance enough government interference in the health care system to keep his ass alive and insured, but not so much as to actually provide health care for people who aren’t expatriate, gay, British Catholic Tories suffering from AIDS.

There is a certain mad brilliance that is required in order to do this sort of thing and to continue doing it, day in and day out, year after year and in print, without waking up one day, looking in the mirror and saying “I am completely and reprehensibly full of shit”. Me, I’m just too stupid to do this sort of thing, probably because I went to public schools and a state university and grew up Lutheran to boot.

When I was a teenager and before my ideological immune system was fully developed I had a dalliance with Ayn Rand (Via her books, it was only via her books and was never physical and it was just a phase I was going through and anyways I was just experimenting.). I had read Atlas Shrugged and I used to bitch and whine about all of the lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare. My Dad, an amazing man who survived childhood polio and at the age of 67 is still working on ballistic missiles, got tired of listening to my ranting bullshit and said that someone who was having his parents pay for his college education and who had never worked for a living had no business whatsoever bitching about how other people were lazy.

Now, if I had been smart I would have been able to rationalize, ala Sullivan, a means of not only continuing to have my parents pay for my college education, but also continuing to bitch about those lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare. I could have had my Rand cake and my parents could have eaten my bills too. But I wasn’t smart enough to figure this out, I was just too fucking stupid to reconcile the inconsistencies between my beliefs and my actions. I had to admit, because I lack Andrew Sullivan’s mad skillz at rationalization, intellectual gymnastics and doublethink, that the old man was right and that my shit was weak. Someone smarter than I was and perhaps possessing some empathy or a greater understanding of the world, would have realized that his shit was weak and that the solution to this was to shut his mouth about the lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare while letting his parents continue to pay for his education. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart and at the age of 18 went out and got a job and started paying for my own education so I could continue to bitch about the lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare.

Of course once I was working for a living, going to school and spending weekends with my National Guard unit I didn’t have as much time to bitch about lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare. And once I met people, some of whom became my friends, who had been on welfare and who were working their asses off to get through school, I realized that some of the hardest working people I knew came from poor backgrounds and had been on welfare and that most of the lazy, useless, stupid people I knew came from incredibly privileged backgrounds, and spent lots of time bitching about lazy, dirty no-loads on welfare.

But if I had been as smart as Andrew Sullivan I could have built a beautiful fortress out of denial, hypocrisy and rationalization and reconciled my Randroid worldview with the fact that I was cashing mommy and daddy’s checks to pay tuition and room and board and I would have had a much easier time in college. And if I were as smart as Andrew Sullivan I could get a job where someone would pay me to write about it and to clutch my pearls while doing so.