In response to my post on the overuse of hypocrisy, some local bloggers have responded by, essentially, calling me a hypocrite. While I am sure that I do not always obtain the consistency that I would like, I think my observation may just rise to the level of a metanarrative.
Part of their mistake is to think I was making a partisan point. I wasn't. Both liberals and conservatives overemphasize the hypocrisy argument. Both sides overemphasize flip flopping. Both sides spend too much energy flogging what usually turn out to be nonscandals.
But I want to riff off these posts to comment on the notion that there is an inconsistency between concern over Obama's for his celebrity/charisma/rapid rise and celebrating Palin for the same things.
I suppose that this might be true in some circumstances, but the concern that I have expressed about Obama is not simply that he is charismatic or popular, but that he uses his considerable power to advance the notion that our lives can and ought to be transformed by the state and by politics. If he wins, Michelle Obama says, you can never go back to your old life. His nomination, claims Barack Obama, is some portentious historical moment at which the nature of life in America is forever changed.
This type of megaenthusiasm for the role of the state is, I think, misplaced and potentially dangerous in that it wants the one entity in our society that has the power of legal compulsion to remake the world.