A fascinating Kevin Drum post: Like you, we thought of the old Carter Family hit, Anchored in Love:
The tempest is over, I'm safe evermore
What gladness, what rapture is mine
The danger is past, I'm anchored at last
I'm anchored in love divine.
For the hit recording, with complete lyrics, click here.
We thought of that famous old hit when we read a fascinating post by Kevin Drum. Also, when read the fascinating comments his post occasioned.
For our money, Drum began with a slightly peculiar question. Basically, he wanted to know why the term “anchor baby” is offensive:
DRUM (8/21/15): I'm curious about something. Last night I read a longish piece at TNR by Gwyneth Kelly titled “Why ‘Anchor Baby’ Is Offensive.” I was actually sort of curious about that, so I read through it. But all the article did was provide a bit of history about the term and quote a bunch of people saying it was disgusting and dehumanizing. There was no explanation of why it’s offensive.Why did we think that presentation was a bit peculiar? Here’s why:
Don't everyone pile on me at once. If you don't ask, you can't learn, right? So I guess my question is this. Is “anchor baby” offensive because:
*It riles up xenophobia over something that doesn't actually happen very much.
*There's something about the term itself that's obnoxious.
I'm probably going to regret asking this. But I am curious. It's not obvious from first principles what the problem is here.
For himself, Drum didn’t seem to know why the term in question is offensive. But when he posed his question to readers, he offered them only two options.
They could judge the term offensive for Reason A. Or they could judge the term offensive for Reason B. He didn’t offer them a third option:
Maybe the term isn’t offensive at all, or isn’t all that offensive.
Do you see the possible oddness there? As we read his post, it didn’t seem obvious to Drum, coming in, that the term in question actually is offensive.
He read the piece at TNR. But he found no attempt at explanation, just irate statements that the term is offensive.
He then asked his readers to explain what makes the term offensive, saying this: “It’s not obvious from first principles what the problem is here.”
Are we reading that post correctly? In our reading, Drum doesn’t know why the term is offensive, but he simply accepts the claim that it is. To our ear, that’s the way a great deal of our modern “liberal” discourse works.
Here’s the problem as we see it. We’re not sure that familiar approach is especially smart or constructive. We’re not sure it produces results.
We were fascinated by Drum’s post, and by the explanations it occasioned. In our view, a great deal of modern “liberal” politics is captured in that one short post.
Anchored in love for the whole human race, we’ll consider it further next week.