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Arianna Calling!
December 2, 2005 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Arianna Calling! Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, we learned from reading the New England Transcendentalists, yet Arianna is often put down, bad mouthed, for having moved from the Right to the Left...Yes. she is very wealthy. Yes, she seems always in a spotlight. But there is much substance to this woman, as is indicated in this piece, found via Arts&Letters.
posted by Postroad (26 comments total)

 
Political movement is common. Look at William Kristol, or Ronald Reagan. True, usually it is from left to right, likely in recognition of their own growing wealth and a desire to keep more of it.
posted by caddis at 6:49 AM on December 2, 2005


Incredibly wealthy people often move from right to left when they aren't so concerned about keeping all of their money.
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on December 2, 2005


The quote is actually "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. There's nothing inherently wrong with being consistent, unless you're doing it merely for the sake of being consistent.
"I'm a big believer to this day that you also cannot solve the problems of this country without people stepping up to the plate and contributing time and money," she says. "I mean, can you imagine what would happen if everyone tithed 10 percent of their income or their time? The effect would be amazing." But her swing to the left came when she saw that that was "unrealistic" and "that the problems were so huge that you needed the raw power of government appropriations to address them."
This confuses me a little bit. She says it would be "unrealistic" for everyone to tithe 10% of their income; it seems that her solution is, instead, to forcibly extract that 10% through taxes.
posted by Godbert at 6:54 AM on December 2, 2005


Godbert:

Why is that confusing? It's unrealistic to expect people to voluntarily tithe 10% for common goods out of the goodness of their hearts which is why we have taxes. There are many things that only government can handle and government needs taxes to operate. It's not really complicated.
posted by octothorpe at 7:03 AM on December 2, 2005


If government was forcibly extracting 10% of people's time (directly), there'd be even more complaints.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:07 AM on December 2, 2005


Why is that confusing? It's unrealistic to expect people to voluntarily tithe 10% for common goods out of the goodness of their hearts which is why we have taxes.

I suppose because of the way I read it. I took it to mean that it's unrealistic to expect people to part with 10% of their income. In retrospect, it seems like the 'wrong' way to interpret that.
posted by Godbert at 7:14 AM on December 2, 2005


If the government was only taking 10% of my income, I probably wouldn't complain about that. Looking at my pay stubs though, I can see they take closer to 50%, and they still can't solve anything.

So no, no more money from me, they waste 50% of that 50% I send them waging a personal vendetta in a country that wanted to kill the president's daddy.
posted by inthe80s at 7:18 AM on December 2, 2005


Political movement is common. Look at William Kristol, or Ronald Reagan.

Not just among candidates, but among the electorate, too. Most people don't just pick an affiliation and stick with it for life, teir point of veiw is informed by their experiences.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 AM on December 2, 2005


I suppose because of the way I read it. I took it to mean that it's unrealistic to expect people to part with 10% of their income. In retrospect, it seems like the 'wrong' way to interpret that.

Most people already part with more then 10% of their income forcibly, don't they? Obviously that works. Really I don't know what you see as so confusing.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 AM on December 2, 2005


Is it really true that Arrianna moved from the right to the left? As I recall it when Clinton was in her cross hairs, she mainly took him to task for overreach, mendacity, and his propensity to equivocate on everything. In terms of Clinton, as often as I disgreed with her, I respected her as a part of the loyal opposition (as opposed to say, Newt and Rush).

As far as Bush goes, she seems to have climbed more on the environmental bandwagon -- which, to me, shouldn't be a right/left issue -- but she mostly has similar criticisms of him, but with one more: he's incompetent.
posted by psmealey at 7:28 AM on December 2, 2005


jonmc : "Most people don't just pick an affiliation and stick with it for life, teir point of veiw is informed by their experiences."

You have a cite for this? I remember reading the opposite. Also, existing points of view filter how new experiences are integrated. It works both ways.
posted by Gyan at 7:31 AM on December 2, 2005


I remember reading the opposite.

I would agree with jonmcs' assumption that most people don't stick with a certain viewpoint. I have no evidence except for observations:

Tony Blair: was a 'lefty' now a 'righty'

Churchill: left/right/left/right shake it all about. He didn't know where he was at.

Mussolini: started as a socialist

And also the majority of my Anarchist schoolmates who are now lawyers and such.
posted by twistedonion at 8:03 AM on December 2, 2005


Summed up nicely by Machiavelli:

"People are fickle by nature; and it is simple to convince them of something, but difficult to hold them in that conviction."
posted by twistedonion at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2005


"Left" and "Right" are nearly useless descriptions (but not as useless as "Liberal" and "Conservative.") This is but one example.

Arianna is for:
a spiritual politics
fighting poverty
posted by eustatic at 8:18 AM on December 2, 2005


Politicians have different motivations for changing their views or affiliations than regular citizens, the main one being political expediency. Identifying politicians who have moved about the spectrum doesn't shed much light on whether or why normal people do the same.

I haven't looked at this issue for years, but my recollection is that by far the strongest predictor of an individuals' party affiliation is the party affiliation of the parents. This is true regardless of the age of the person (i.e. party affiliation is relatively static). Of course, this does not address changes in citizens' substantive views about political issues, which I agree seem relatively fluid, at least based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience.
posted by brain_drain at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2005


Looking at my pay stubs though, I can see they take closer to 50%, and they still can't solve anything.

If you live in America and are not getting most of that back, you need to find an accountant fast.
posted by spicynuts at 8:21 AM on December 2, 2005


I'd say that political philosophy is flexible till mid to late 20s, after which a stable core emerges. Party affiliation may be fickle, depending on specific self-interests (taxes..etc), but most people don't flip-flop between base philosophy. Pointing out examples to the contrary doesn't prove anything except that the rule isn't absolute. Scientific opinion polls aren't conducted by calling friends out of one's own phonebook.
posted by Gyan at 8:22 AM on December 2, 2005


MeFi on HuffPo

psmealy- She's gone far beyond issue-specific criticisms toward a broader "WTF?" outrage toward the GOP. Her rants on Left, Right, & Center (iTMS- excellent show, btw) and the general tone of HuffPo make it seem pretty clear to me that she's modeling herself as the Drudge of the Left. She's very, very savvy- an egotistical media hound who decided to fill a vacuum in the political landscape (which is just fine by me). As much as she's part of the economic elite, her editorial style is very populist.
posted by mkultra at 8:56 AM on December 2, 2005


You're right mkultra... I was positing. Arrianna's views/rants have gotten much more focused in terms of her populist bent since I first had heard of her in 1993. That said, I don't think she's shifted from conservative to liberal so much as the backdrop/context has changed dramatically since then.

As a matter of fact, I am a huge fan of Left Right and Center. The weekly L,R&C podcast is a staple of my Saturday morning jog. The format of the show is excellent... I had previously thought of Tony Blankley as a blowhard hack, but he actually comes off pretty reasonable most of the time. Well... some of the time.
posted by psmealey at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2005


Looking at my pay stubs though, I can see they take closer to 50%, and they still can't solve anything.

If you live in America and are not getting most of that back, you need to find an accountant fast.


Well it's certainly closer to 50% than it is to 10% (I assume he was including of course state and local as well)
posted by poppo at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2005


I remember Arrianna and Al Frankin doing a left/right political commentary in their pjs during one of the "Indecision" Comedy Central shows. It was called "Strange Bedfellows" or something like that. I have had a warm spot in my heart for her since then.
posted by pointilist at 11:42 AM on December 2, 2005


Btw, why is it considered "cognitive dissonance" or some such nonsense for a wealthy person to be politically liberal even extremely so?

In the sense of the Kantian categorical imperative and all that shite, the heart of the modern conservative, the "I got mine, you get yours ethos" is immoral to its core.
posted by psmealey at 12:28 PM on December 2, 2005


"But there is much substance to this woman..."

As Arianna Stassinopoulos she used to be best known for her 1970's book The Female Woman. Contrary to reputation, this was not anti-feminist, but rather advocated a more natural feminism that would support equal legal rights but not deny innate differences. (Link is to her own blurb; it's out of print; didn't see any independent reviews on first page of Google).
posted by jam_pony at 12:40 PM on December 2, 2005


I'm not worried about Arrianna's ideological constancy, so much as the fact she's completely nuts.

She's a member of an INSANE cult, a social climber to an offensive degree and an extensive plagarist. All of this was detailed much better in the original VF profile of her written by Maureen Orth (Tim Russert's wife) included in her latest book.

Arrianna sicced a private investigator on Orth for writing it, and to this day she carries a grudge as evidenced by her "Russert Watch" feature on HuffPo.

Yet somehow when she moves more to the left, suddenly she's no longer crazy, she's "complex," much the same way David Brock, amazingly, makes a living as a media ethicist.
posted by Heminator at 1:38 PM on December 2, 2005


er, media watchdog, might be more appropriate.
posted by Heminator at 1:55 PM on December 2, 2005


I remember reading After Reason (1978) back in the day and thought it a bit of rip-off of Paul Johnson's Enemies of Society (1977), albeit rather less polished.

Minor irony come from the fact that by then Paul Johnson had gone from editorship of the New Statesman to the all around conservative gadabout he is today.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:07 PM on December 2, 2005


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