Media

Marty Beckerman is Feeling Much Better Now…

|

In an entertaining Salon piece, the Generation S.L.U.T. and Dumbocracy author and occasional Reason scribe Marty Beckerman explains why he went from right to "rediscovered left-wing politics":

I am not an extreme leftist by any means—I still dream of swimming in a vault of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, I would die to protect the First Amendment from censorial progressive overreach (the same goes for theocratic conservative overreach), and I would consider voting for moderate Republicans if any still existed—but I've learned to see the big picture. It doesn't matter whether you are liberal or conservative, but it's dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks. Your stance on any particular issue is far less important than whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it. No ideology has a monopoly on reality—including my rediscovered left-wing politics.

Marty notes that the recession has helped move him leftwards on economics. Which means odds are better than even that after another couple years of stimulus, bailouts, and healthcare reform, he'll likely be shifting back to the right. Or just become a libertarian and live, dammit, live.

Read about it here.

Update: link fixed; dropped word inserted above.

NEXT: The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Remember David Brock!
    (Remember David Brock?)

  2. but it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.

    Whatever other merits the article may or may not have, the above quote is good stuff.

    1. A quick read shows he’s a bit like someone who leaves Scientology for the Raelians: they have the cult gene. In his case, he appears (based on a quick read) to have (other than perhaps the quote) the stupid gene:

      One by one I saw the flaws in conservative orthodoxy: attempting to fight terrorism with torture, which only aided our enemies’ propaganda efforts and thus created more terrorists; seeking to liberalize the Muslim world while curtailing rights for gay people at home; criticizing public schools for lackluster results and therefore cutting funds further; disdaining the weak while never analyzing why they are weak;

      1. I was saying that – and taking heat for it – in 2003. The position he describes is more NeoCon than “conservative orthodoxy”, whatever that is.

      2. Few with power are trying to curtail “rights” for gay people; understand what a “right” is. The author is thinking in exclamation points and can’t see the value in tradition and that some people on the far-left are deliberately trying to monkeywrench the U.S. in order to push their far-left agenda.

      3. Increasing funds doesn’t make much sense without striking at the root of the problem; once again he doesn’t seem able to understand that.

      On an unrelated note, if anyone would like to do the job that Reason refuses to do, go ask Janet Napolitano this question on 11/13/09 (tomorrow).

    2. but it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.

      I found it to smug and obnoxiously pious.

      See my little halo, everyone? You can have one if you bobbed your head around like me!

  3. “Your stance on any particular issue is far less important than whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it.”

    “Marty notes that the recession has helped move leftwards on economics.”

    Okay that is comedy gold. Basing your views on iquiry doesn’t do any good if you are an idiot.

    1. I am beginning to think many people do not understand how it was government that caused the recession.

      Do people just put on blinders when they read that Fanny may and Freddi Mac dumped over 3 trillion dollars into the sub prime market? A market that did not even exist until they created it?

      1. That’ not what Bawney Fwank said…

        1. I can not look at Bawney without thinking of him on his hands and knees squawking in ecstasy…shudder…

      2. FM/FM were corporations, you shill. They even had stocks and bonds on evul Wall Street!

        They couldn’t have had no connections to our government whatsoever, and I don’t believe anything you say to the contrary. LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA.

      3. Your just beginning to understand that?

  4. What?!?!?

  5. Epi.

    3:2 ratio. I think he would approve.

  6. John helpfully provides us with an example of speaking with exclamation points, idiot.

    1. If this recession causes you to believe in more government intervention in the economy, you are an idiot. Inquiry is only good if you come up with the right answers.

      1. “Inquiry is only good if you come up with the right answers.”

        Fascism now has a new slogan.

        You may well be the least self-aware person alive.

        1. Do you even know what the word means? You can inquire all you like. Hell, lots of people are inquiring. Marxism was a science. Lenin was one hell of an inquiring mind. History is full of inquiring genisus who got everything wrong.

          I may be un self aware, but you are just stupid.

          1. People are inquiring what? Did you mean to say inquisitive? The more you post, the more you humiliate yourself.

            Inquiry is often valuable on its own, particularly in complex questions that don’t really have “right” answers. If you assume what you set out to prove, that is not inquiry.

            1. The value of the inquiry is directly related to the value of the answer it produces. Saying that you should be inquisitive is saying nothing. Well no kidding. It is usually a good thing to think about things. But if your thought produces the wrong answers, like concluding that the current recession is an argument for leftist economic policies, you have wasted your time.

              Talk about the need to be inquisitive and ask questions is just intellectual poser bullshit put out by people who have nothing of substance to say about the topic. Considering that, it is hardly surprising that you like Beckerman. You seem to have no views or opinions beyond platitudes and insults. If you like inquiry so much, do yourself a favor and go think about a some things, develop a belief system and some knowledge, and then come back and talk. In the mean time, the rest of us grownups would like to go back to our conversation.

              1. “The value of the inquiry is directly related to the value of the answer it produces.”

                We’re talking about the relative value of inquiry compared to “incuriosity” in determining an overall worldview. The claim is that a worldview based on inquiry is superior to one based on incuriosity. The implication is that even if you are wrong on certain issues (i.e., government intervention during hard times), a world view informed by inquiry will yield a superior person.

                More importantly, if you are an idiot, your views will be idiotic regardless of whether they are based on inquiry or incuriosity….though at least inquiry gives you some hope of maybe being right at some point. Incuriosity is the proverbial broken clock.

              2. “Saying that you should be inquisitive is saying nothing. Well no kidding.”

                This wasn’t exactly the GOP mantra from 2001 – 2008. It was more like “trust us or you hate America”.

                1. That is crap. You don’t like their answers. But there answers were not just that. There were lots of arguments made in favor of Iraq, Afghanstan, the Patriot Act and every other thing you hate about the 00s. You just don’t like them, which is your right. But it is completely disengenuous to claim that there were no argurments in the 00s and just one side claiming my country wrong or right. That is not what happened and you know it.

            2. “People are inquiring what? Did you mean to say inquisitive?”

              “Inquiring” can be an intransitive verb. It doesn’t require an object, as you’re implying here.

          2. “Marxism was a science”

            It was? Do you know what science even is? Just because social science and political science have the word in there, does not mean they are sciences. Neither is econ.

            Oh and just so you know, metaphysics is not physics.

            1. Marxism claimed to be a science. Yet it was an absolute pseudo science. But it claimed to be one and of course said that its claims were scientific truths.

              I in no way meant to imply that it was a legitimate science. My only point was that it claimed to be a science.

            2. I should have put “science” in quotation marks.

        2. Reminds me of Bill Buckley saying that we had freedom of speech so we can have good speech.

  7. DUDE????????!

  8. YES?!?!?!?!

    AND?!??!

    NO?!??!!

    added or it would not post:

    Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English.

  9. “it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.”

    But what about the FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!?

  10. it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.

    This is supposed to pass for profound, I suppose. It’s much safer to think with squeaky toys.

    1. I prefer to think with nogahide myself. But that is just my preference.

      1. Did you conduct a siance with a Rhoades scholar on your nogahide couch?

        1. As a matter of fact yes. It was right before I lied and promised not to cum in your mouth.

          1. A repressed homosexual? Perhaps you can hook up with the guy above who spends large amounts of time imagining Frank on the ground beneath him quivering.

            At least you spelled cum right.

            1. Who said I was repressed sweetie?

              1. Both “come” and “cum” are correct, but “cum” is a corruption of the original term, “come.”

  11. No ideology has a monopoly on reality?including my rediscovered left-wing politics.

    ??????????

  12. I think in semicolons misused to separate lists of heavily modified nouns.

    Come, touch the mind.

  13. I imagine I could qualify for someone’s idea of least self aware…whatever, but I have a hard time imagining re-discovering left wing politics. I just fail to see how anyone who has at any time understood the inherent value of freedom, and how the values of the left necessarily reduce it, can subsequently find value in taking peoples freedom for larger more involved government.

    1. Curious, has anybody ever known a libertarian who became or went back to being a liberal or conservative.

      1. The only libertarian I know is myself.

  14. Marty notes that the recession has helped move him leftwards on economics.

    Still doesn’t compute.

    1. It means he swallowed the msm’s bullshit about the recession being caused by deregulation.

      1. Maybe he just sees families going through tough times and wants unemployment extended. His column wasn’t exactly clear on specifics. What the hell does leftward even mean these days?

        1. That is true. My guess is that he probably hasn’t thought that much about it and thinks the whole thing was caused by evil bankers and that we need to have more regulation and control of said bankers.

  15. nebby’s a fucker. And Marty Beckerman owes me 20 bucks for the cab ride the time we got loaded at CPAC and went home with those GW girls.

    1. Did he at least agree to take the fat one?

    2. Most of the trolls here are former libertarians who ‘outgrew this youthful ideological excursion’ coincidentally around the time LP kicked NAMBLA out, and they have been bitter whiners ever since.

  16. Here’s a list of my transgressions in pursuit of bullshit right-wing culture war objectives on issues such as homosexuality and Terri Schiavo…. which is why I’m now a leftist on economic issues.

    Huh?

    He even managed to Godwin the damn article at the end.

  17. “One by one I saw the flaws in conservative orthodoxy: attempting to fight terrorism with torture, which only aided our enemies’ propaganda efforts and thus created more terrorists; seeking to liberalize the Muslim world while curtailing rights for gay people at home; criticizing public schools for lackluster results and therefore cutting funds further; disdaining the weak while never analyzing why they are weak; always seeing the effect but never the cause, which on a mass scale perpetuates the effect.”

    I will give him torture. But so what? A lot of conservatives are against torture. The homosexuality thing is just bizarre? Who the hell is trying to “curtail rights of homosexuals at home”? Gay marriage is an expansion of existing rights, not a curtailment. Further, even if we are is it Beckerman’s opinion that the US should never try to liberalize other countries until it has achieved perfection at home? It seems pretty stupid to say that the US should do nothing about homosexuals being crucified and stoned in Muslim countries until it achieves gay marriage and adoption rights here.

    The public school statement is even more stupid. We spend and waste more money on public schools in this country than any country in the world. It is pretty clear that throwing money at the problem hasn’t worked. And yes, schools, especially inner city ones, need to be criticized and held to standards. And the money spent on them ought to be controlled by the parents not the bureaucrats and union toadies.

    “always seeing the effect but never the cause” That is just unmitigated bullshit. Everyone, on both sides looks for the cause. That is the whole debate. What causes poverty? Conservatives and libertarians think that poverty is cause in large part by destructive government policies and regulations. If Beckerman doesn’t agree with that, fine. But, make an argument why that is wrong. Don’t just say, they don’t look for the cause.

    Beckerman is an idiot of the first rate.

  18. John, well said.

    One point though, his statement on torture doesn’t even make sense. No one was trying to fight terrorism through torture. There were a few limited situations where it was deemed appropriate to us interrogation techniques that some considered torture to extract potentially valuable information from high value detainees. Obviously that doesn’t include situations were people were punished or prosecuted for illegally torturing people. Additionally, most of the alleged torture occurrences were reported by our enemies, their lawyers, and people with angst for our government, military, or mission.

    1. Beckerman, like David Brock, shows how you have to be careful who you let identify with your movement.

  19. “. . .whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it.”

    Y’know, that sounds an awful lot like Virginia Postrel’s “dynamist” vs. “stasist” to me.

  20. Nothing makes me more nervous than a certain man.

    1. Depends on what they are certain about. Further, an uncertain man, if he is faced with a certain man who is wrong, can make you just as nervous.

  21. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, on guest, expecially low life zombies, or served on stale crackers because you were to cheap to get the Old Stone Mill Fancy Wheat Crackers with garlic & sun dried tomatoes already cooked in.

  22. ‘it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.’

    You know who else thought in question marks?

    John 18:38 – ‘Pilate said unto [Jesus], “What is truth?”‘

    1. Genesis 4:9 – ‘And the Lord said unto Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, “I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?”‘

        1. Perhaps Beckerman hates exclamation points because of the number of women who told him ‘NO!’

  23. And the most dangerous phrase ending with a question mark, when uttered by a politician or activist:

    ‘Why not?’

    1. 1+1+0 = 2, so I’m ahead!

      1. And I mean the number 2 in a good way, not a bad way.

    2. That zero is an artifact of HTML fail, not an editorial comment.

  24. it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks

    Ah yes, someone with no fixed beliefs, always ready to follow the latest fad and demagogue. Note his history of always being pretty much aligned with whatever is popular at the time.

  25. So when the Obamabots were exclaiming
    YES WE CAN!!!
    He was hearing
    YES WE CAN???

  26. “It doesn’t matter whether you are liberal or conservative, but it’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks.”

    “You might imagine my moralizing stemmed from our cultural anxiety about sexuality, but it actually came from a longstanding need to position myself as superior to others;…”

    Apparently, that aspect of Beckerman’s personality has not changed.

    From what I read, Beckerman is not somebody who has changed his positions because of inquiry, he changes his position based on whoever he enjoys or does not enjoy hanging out with. In college, he got with a conservative bunch so he became a conservative, since then he’s been hanging out with more liberal folk and changed again to please that group. The question I have is whether Beckerman has eveer had a belief that was his own or just a reflection of his peer group?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.