When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

April 14, 2004

Do Unto Others as You Have Had Others Do Unto You

Charlie Victor Echo

I understand the angst, but I don't get the surprise that my counterpart is expressing over the vitriol coming from the Left of late.

It is, after all it only mirrors the attacks that conservatives have been making against liberals for years. Limbaugh and company have made "liberal" a dirty word, so why should anyone be surprised that the Left, particularly after four years of being on the outs, is as angry in 2004 as the Right was in 1998?

Does it suck? Sure does. Is it in poor taste and a detriment to the political process? Absolutely. Do I wish Kos would shut up? Definitely.

But how about this notion: "And if half of a two party system is in trouble, then the republic is in trouble."

Well, I'm afraid its far more than "half". The Right side of the fence has been upto thier necks in this kind of crap for over a decade. And not just on a blog, no matter how popular it is, but on radio, television, and in print!

I'd like to hope that both sides would cool it and we could get back to reasoned, rational debate about the merits and flaws of the actual canidates, but I'm not naive enough to think it'll happen that way. Hot-button pushing and emotional appeals are the flavor of the day, and nothing we say or do will change it.

Launched by Charlie Victor Echo at April 14, 2004 11:55 PM

Retaliatiory Launches

In principle I agree - but the two things that did suprise me about this most recent round of gibberish are as follows:

1) I am rather surprised that Kos didn't say something a little bit more compassionate (or at least less stupid) about folks getting killed. That's a redline that isn't often crossed.

2) I am also honsetly a bit shocked to hear rascist cant coming from the left - its an area of such traditional democratic strength. It would be like a pro-McCain guy ranting about Bush being equivalent to a Jim Bakker.

In general, I do tend to agree with your basic assertion - at least in type if not degree. But I guess I'm just not used to seeing vitriol becoming so genuinely counterproductive and tactically ill thought out.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at April 15, 2004 01:33 AM

The other thing that comes to mind is the notion that liberal has been a dirty word for as long as I can remember.

Certainly that doesn't make Coulter, Limbaugh, et al. any less idiotic that Moore, Franken, et al. - but rather it is to suggest that ascribing the rise of vitriol in politics to talk radio doesn't seem to be borne out by history.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at April 15, 2004 02:25 AM


I've actually been on both sides. I was part of the Nader grassroots revolution througout the 1980s, as one of the more successful Citizen Action canvassers and organizers for close to a decade. (What sort of person canvasses for a decade you might ask? I don't know. I just liked it. Go figure.) But there are a number of problems with acquiring a "golden mean" between conservative (classical liberal, or whig) and liberal (social democratic or socialist).

The thought errors in left-leaning ideology are absolute, and no amount of compromise will fix them. The sentiment for relative equality of condition, no under or uber "class," relative equality of educational achievement (at least, eliminatation of the "race gap") are laudable, but their achievement can in no way be attained by adjusting any of the conventional left-leaning bromides. One would have to actually do "something completely different" as Herr Python used to say.

And the left isn't likely to comprehend that because it was in power so long that it feels entitled. All one needs are the right sentiments, and the right policies naturally follow. So there's no remedy. They're simply going to have to get their noses rubbed in the dirt for awhile longer, before there's even an incentive for any new or creative ideas that don't elevate bureaucrats to the "commanding heights."

There's actually a decent book out with some rather newish ideas, called The Real State of the Union. It's problem oriented, rather than ideology oriented. I wouldn't hold my breath that you'll see the left actually endorse something that might work though. Not for a decade, at least.

The other problem is that we're at war, and one of the parties can't let go of a wishful longing that it weren't so. It, illogically in my view, tends to blame the opposition rather than the real culprits. And, not to put too fine a point on it, tolerance for this perspective pretty much has to be limited. Otherwise we might as well just surrender to the barbarians at the gate. In fact, I think our penchant for indulging the left is already costing lives, for if the enemy really understood that there was little or no possibility of winning the PR battle by appealing to this wishful thinking predispotion there'd be less inclination for them to obtain the indulgences they need to keep operating, and the process of ousting the autocrats in the Middle East could proceed without the danger of establishing Islamo/Fascist totalitarian regimes in their stead.

In almost every case I can think of the positions adopted by the Left actually punish the very people their sentiments would favor. And in some cases they actually know it.

Posted by: Scott at April 15, 2004 03:44 AM

Good points all.

OT: I love the new banner!

Posted by: Ted at April 15, 2004 03:59 AM

I don't think this is correct.

What I am seeing - albeit from a considerable distance - is that a very substantial part of the left has gone insane to a degree only ever exhibited by the furthest fringes of the right.

Where's the Chomsky of the right? The Pilgers and the Fisks? There may be pundits on the right expounding dubious opinions, but where are the ones with the same antagonism towards fact?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 15, 2004 04:47 AM

If we get nuked for Chomsky, I'm afraid you'll have to take responsibility for Jerry "Tellytubbes are about the 'homosexual agenda'" Falwell, Pat "Liberals caused 9/11" Robertson, and Bill "There is no Uprising in Iraq" O'Reiley.

You don't get to take the Religious Right to the Convention, let them declare Constitutional Amendments(!!!), accept thier votes and money and not get the blame for the crazy things thay say.

I'm as much influenced by Choamsky as BRD is by Falwell, and that's to say not at all. If you want to hang the entire Democratic Party for what a bunch of left wing extremists say, fine, but I hope the noose feels nice and snug around your necks for what the right wing extremists are saying when you try to string us up.

Posted by: CVE at April 15, 2004 06:54 PM

I'll grant O'Reilley to your Franken. But are Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson accepted and indeed revered by the right to the degree Chomsky is by the left?

And, err, calm down. I loathe the RRRs (Rabid Reactionary Right) nearly as much as the LLLs. And I'm not trying to string anyone up, merely pointing out that it seems to me that the present insanity of the left appears to be deeper, broader, and more extreme than any prior outbreak on either side.

If you don't want your party to be "strung up" for the Post-Modernist nonsense, you need to get the Democratic Party to distance itself from it. As they did recently with Kos's manic outburst, much to their credit.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 17, 2004 06:14 AM

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