This award, named after blogger Matthew Yglesias, is for writers, politicians, columnists or pundits who actually criticize their own side, make enemies among political allies, and generally risk something for the sake of saying what they believe. Below are the finalists we’ve selected for the 2014 Yglesias Award, please review them and then vote for your favorite at the bottom of the page.
1) Richard Sterns on Same Sex Marriage:
“Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues. It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage,” – Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., one of the largest evangelical aid organizations in the world, in Christianity Today, evangelicalism’s flagship publication.
2) Michelle Malkin on Pot Use:
“Do I worry about the negative costs, abuses and cultural consequences of unbridled recreational pot use? Of course I do. But when you get past all the ‘Rocky Mountain High’ jokes and look past all the cable-news caricatures, the legalized marijuana entrepreneurs here in my adopted home state are just like any other entrepreneurs: securing capital, paying taxes, complying with a thicket of regulations, taking risks and providing goods and services that ordinary people want and need. Including our grateful family, ” –Michelle Malkin.
3) Mozilla’s Erin Kissane on Brendan Eich:
“[A]s a queer employee of the Mozilla Foundation, this stuff isn’t even an abstraction to me. Perhaps most of all because of my acute awareness that my mother’s marriage to my beloved stepfather would have been illegal under anti-miscegenation laws not repealed in their home state until they were overturned in 1967 by Loving v. Virginia. It is because I have a real stake in the issue, and because my own views on the matter are so clear, that my own ambivalence this week has been strange to me. …
Several of my colleagues have called for Brendan’s resignation. I have not done so, despite my strong feelings on the issue, in large part because of my conviction that the open internet is not and cannot be a progressive movement or a liberal movement or even a libertarian movement. In the climate-change fiasco here in the US, we’ve seen what happens with a globally important issue becomes identified with a single political point of view. We can’t let that happen here: the open internet is not more importantthan gay rights or any number of other progressive causes, but it should and must be a broader movement. The moment we let “open internet” become synonymous with progressive causes—inside or outside Mozilla—its many conservative supporters will be forced into an impossible position. … I don’t see there’s much to gain by asking Brendan to resign,” – Erin Kissane, prior to the forced resignation yesterday.
4) Pete Wehner on the Federal Government:
“I would argue that conservatism and the cause of limited government are undermined by loose talk and an excessive animus toward the federal government. These days, in fact, conservatives would be well served to focus a good deal more attention on the purposesof government, not simply its size. I say that because during the Obama era the right has been very clear about what government should not be doing, or should be doing much less of, and for understandable reasons. But it has not had nearly enough to say about just what government should do. That needs to be corrected — and in the process conservatives need to be careful to speak with care and precision about our Constitution and the role of the federal government in our history,” – Pete Wehner, Commentary.
5) Patrick Brennan on Palin’s Waterboarding Support:
“Torture — waterboarding being something reasonable people may consider to constitute it — is and should be a question of grave moral consequence for Christians, and is for any Catholic familiar with the Catechism. Palin wasn’t even just jokingly comparing a serious violation of human dignity into one of the most important transcendental recognitions of it – she was mounting an expansive defense of something near torture, on the grounds that our prisoners ”would obviously have information on plots,” and therefore ought to, apparently, be subjected to a horrible practice not as a morally necessary last resort but a habit of quotidian intimidation. There’s a word for that kind of practice: barbaric. The Greeks used to use it to describe the other guys,” – Patrick Brennan, in a post called “Sarah Palin’s Barbarism”, NRO.
6) Krauthammer on Cliven Bundy:
“It isn’t enough to say I don’t agree with what he said. This is a despicable statement. It’s not the statement, you have to disassociate yourself entirely from the man. It’s not like the words exist here and the man exists here. And why conservatives, or some conservatives end up in bed with people who, you know, he makes an anti-government statement, he takes an anti-government stand, he wears a nice big hat and he rides a horse, and all of a sudden he is a champion of democracy …
Look, do I have the right to go in to graze sheep in Central Park? I think not. You have to have some respect for the federal government, some respect for our system. And to say you don’t and you don’t recognize it and that makes you a conservative hero, to me, is completely contradictory, and rather appalling. And he has now proved it,” –Charles Krauthammer.
7) Glenn Beck on the Iraq War:
“In spite of the things I felt at the time when we went into war, liberals said: We shouldn’t get involved. We shouldn’t nation-build. And there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free. I thought that was insulting at the time. Everybody wants to be free. They said we couldn’t force freedom on people. Let me lead with my mistakes. You are right. Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have,” – Glenn Beck.
8) Freddie deBoer on Liberal Intolerance:
“Argument is like all other human behaviors: subject to conditioning through reward and punishment. And we’ve created these incentives on the left: always politicize; always escalate; always ridicule. We’re living with the consequences of those tendencies now. Unfortunately, I don’t know how we build a new left discourse, given that the two current modes of left-wing expression appear to be a) showily condescending ridicule and b) utter fury.
I mean you can guess what the response by some will be to this essay: deBoer doesn’t think racism is real, he doesn’t think sexism is real, he wants people to just get over it when they’re the victims of sexism and racism. None of that is true. I write about the structural racism of our society constantly. I believe that we’re still a deeply, inherently sexist culture. (For example, you may have heard of #GamerGate.) And I absolutely believe that there are tons of daily encounters that demonstrate these problems, and that the victims of them should feel comfortable speaking out.
I just also think that we have to be able to say “you know, I don’t think that your particular political critique here is correct” without being accused of failing to oppose racism and sexism in general,” – Freddie DeBoer.
9) Julie Bindel on Feminist Vitriol:
“The current climate of McCarthyism within some segments of feminism and the left is so ingrained and toxic that there are active attempts to outlaw some views because they cause offense. Petitions against individuals appear to be a recent substitute for political action towards the root causes of misogyny and other social ills … The “ban this sick filth” approach is starting to look more like censorship than progressive politics. Political protest and heated debate has been replaced with a witch-hunt mentality …
It is hugely important to hold abusive men to account, but we feminist campaigners have learned that the state allows men to perpetrate individual crimes, and have therefore tended to focus on making root and branch change. Lately we appear to have gone backwards. It is as though we have lost the strength and confidence to effectively challenge institutions.
Moral superiority and “call out” culture has trumped political activism. Feminists have a proud history of taking state institutions and corporations to task. It would seem this is being lost in a sea of vitriol. We built this movement on a desire and willingness to question and challenge old assumptions and truisms. We are in danger of becoming autocrats who would rather organise a pile-on than try to change systems. The life blood of feminism is in danger of becoming bile,” – Julie Bindel, The Guardian.
10) Jazz Shaw on Cuba:
“It’s been a half century now. Unless and until someone can show me something besides political talking points to the contrary, the embargo was simply not working. The Castros remain in power and the government has not significantly changed. And as we have repeatedly demonstrated in our negotiations regarding sanctions and punishment of other nations such as Iran, Iraq or Russia, sanctions and embargoes do not work unless you can get significant buy-in from your allies. Nobody is joining us on this. Canadians regularly vacation in Cuba. Nearly every other western nation trades with them. We simply don’t have any backup here,” – Jazz Shaw, Hot Air.
Browse our archive of Yglesias Award Nominees here. Last year’s winner is here. Polls will close on Wednesday, December 31, at midnight. Winners will be announced soon after. Be sure to vote for the rest of our 2014 awards below:
- Beard Of The Year
- Chart Of The Year
- Cool Ad Of The Year
- Face Of The Year
- Hathos Alert Of The Year
- 2014 Malkin Award
- Map Of The Year
- Mental Health Break Of The Year
- Poseur Alert Of The Year
- Window View Of The Year
Please note: due to there not being enough nominees this year, we will not be issuing a 2014 Hewitt Award, Moore Award, or Dick Morris Award. Learn more about all our awards here.