Must We Act As If They Mean What They Say? — Crooked Timber

3 Sep

Yep, Americans be crazy. And so is the world.

The deeper question, I think, is why it appeals so much to so many Americans that conservatives constantly say things that they don’t really mean. Let’s go back to that oft-quoted line from Free and Cantril (The Political Beliefs of Americans: A Study of Public Opinion). Americans are “philosophical conservatives but operational liberals”. But, honestly, Americans aren’t really philosophers in a seminar room ‘this strictly implies that’ sort of sense. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that what Free and Cantril found is that when Americans say Big Things about American politics, whose consequences they aren’t really prepared to affirm, in practice, they say conservative things. Whereas when you find out what they really want, in practice, they are liberals.

via Must We Act As If They Mean What They Say? — Crooked Timber.

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