@zackbeauchamp @smsaideman @jay_ulfelder You guys: One of you please, PLEASE do a "Top 10 Warning Signs of Elitist Condescension" blog post.Here is my attempt:
— Christopher Zorn (@prisonrodeo) May 21, 2013
- The title includes a description of the target that is just a bit overstated, such as liberal imperialism. Indeed, any blog post that includes imperialism in the title automatically qualifies (is this the Noam Chomsky rule of elite condescension?).
- Any post that tells people that they are whom they hate might qualify. Such as telling liberal internationalists/interventionists that they are akin to neo-cons.
- Saying that you have no right to an opinion if you have never visited a place or speak the language. When a generalist tell other generalists that they cannot discuss stuff unless they are an area expert, he/she just might be an elite condescender.
- Accusing your opponents of hypocrisy when many are not. Saying that liberal interventionists do not condemn Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and other mis-deeds/abuses by the US seems just a bit inaccurate. Plenty of liberal interventionists have been critical of the US and its allies. Confusing liberal interventionists with neo-cons again?
- If you assert that believing that democracy can only work where there are no cleavages and that have much experience with democracy, you might be an elite condescender that ignores the progress democracy has made across the globe and the vast literature on democracy in plural societies, such as Lijphart, McGarry, Horowitz and the gang.
- If you accuse your opponents of having secret beliefs.
- If you suggest that your intellectual opponents might need a twelve-step program, you might be an elite condescender.
- Confusing hyperbole with good arguments. Do liberal interventionists really say that staying out of Syria makes the US as bad as Assad?
- You hold an endowed chair (damn, guilty!).
- At Harvard.
decisions to intervene need to clear a very high bar and survive hardheaded questioning about what the use of force will actually accomplishBut the message gets lost since it is covered in smug sauce.* Again, I agree with Walt on the basic premise that intervention in Syria (and other places) is very hard and that some advocates underestimate the difficulties. I have argued that the US has exceeded the war cap--that there has been too much intervention. There is a reason why I have taken to calling the Mideast the Land of Lousy Alternatives. Of course, standing by has consequences, too. Which is why I have gotten in the habit of posting this particularly song: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
*Yes, smug sauce, a new, somewhat bitter addition to Saideman's Sauces. We know have Secret, Denial, Perspective, Awesome, Ignorance, Distraction (tastes like squirrel), and Scary.