Saturday, April 02, 2005

A silent liberal majority in America? The BBC's Justin Webb thinks so ..

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Justin Webb | Schiavo case tests America

A BBC Commentation is stunned by his "discovery" of what he considers a "silent liberal majority" pushing back against the seemingly dominant forces of social conservatism (emphases mine):
...The reason the Schiavo case is so important, the reason it has Americans talking and arguing, and the reason it should, in my view, have the rest of us re-assessing our view of this nation, is that Americans were corralled but rebelled.

They were emotionally blackmailed but refused to budge, were told that their deepest held religious beliefs should push them in one direction, but thought for themselves and thought differently.

America is often portrayed as an ignorant lazy sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge.

I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture, and that picture is in many respects a true one...

...There is plenty of barminess and plenty of nastiness here if you look for it, but for me, the revelation of the Schiavo case was that there is plenty of good sense as well.

Plenty of honest disagreement among reasonable people, religious and non religious, Republican and Democrat.

And in the end a majority who value what we can call, without irony, the American way of life, and believe their politicians and the right-to-life campaigners over-reached themselves in this case...

...It is possible at least that the high watermark of social conservatism has been reached. Its limit set by the will of a silent liberal majority.

The founding fathers must be watching from their heavenly perches and wondering at the power of the constitution they created.

It is common to scoff at American attempts to export Jeffersonian democracy, but after these two weeks the scoffing should stop.

This system work.
I think he's drawing too many conclusions from a single media eruption, but I liked the conceit of a "silent liberal majority". His opinion of America is so low that he finds even modest rationality astounding. I think that's the interesting aspect of this article. The world now thinks so little of the US that we can't help but exceed their expectations.

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