Chait gently ridicules David Brooks' lament over the scourge of "partyism," best summarized in the latter's closing, "To judge human beings on political labels is to deny and ignore what is most important about them.... If you’re judging a potential daughter-in-law on political grounds, your values are out of whack." Observes Chait:
It is certainly true that partyism--or "partisanship," as we used to call it in the old days--can drive the human brain into all manner of prejudicial thinking. There is too much name-calling, knee-jerking side-taking, hypocrisy, and mindless tribalism in politics. We should all endeavor to be dispassionate and fair. It’s only fair to try to understand Republicans’ thinking, engage with their arguments on their own terms, and concede when they have a fair point. I know Republicans, and some of them are lovely human beings. That doesn’t mean I want one of them to move in next door and marry my daughter.
There is, I think, integrity in Chait's analysis, most easily demonstrated by (admittedly) a reductio ad absurdum. Would Brooks say Chait's values are "out of whack" if he judged a potential son-in-law by the young man's fascistic sympathies?
It's just a matter of degrees.
My daughter recently and sadistically asked me if I would vote for her if she ran for president as a Republican. I said I would not. I added that I would still love her and indeed I might even get religion and pray for her in such a deplorable and desperate circumstance, but I wouldn't vote for her. She seemed shocked by this confession until I elaborated, which began with my expressed concern about what in God's name could ever attract anyone of any human decency to join the party of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Louie Gohmert and Ted Cruz?
Softening that, I further asked why anyone would join a political party that has so consistently acted against the interests of working Americans ... that has so consistently favored the unafflicted ... that is presently laboring to deprive certain Americans of their vote ... that has villainously thrived for a half-century by inflaming cultural backlashes ... that hucksters Hayekian nonsense and promotes macroeconomic fantasies ... that has engaged us in reckless foreign adventures, robbed us of trillions and thousands of lives ... that has arrogantly appropriated God, the flag, and Americanism itself ... that salivates over the thought of booting people from healthcare ... that is intent on gutting public education ... that has laid waste to the last four years ... and, as an unmistakable signal of their prepubescent unseriousness, refuses, even, to pronounce the name of the opposition party correctly.
I think my daughter got the idea. It's not "partyism" on my part, but a revulsion against certain, and extremist, brands of it.