Registered Republican (as of yesterday) John Cole ran headfirst into this dualistic worldview yesterday when Michelle Malkin called him a "leftist" because he criticized her for staking out the home of 12 year old child despite him actually being opposed to the expansion of the SCHIP program. It's the same mentality that a Republican caller to the Rush Limbaugh show ran into when he was told that he "can't possibly be a Republican" because he favors withdrawing troops from Iraq.
In the minds of Malkin and company, there is really only one kind of American: Americans who think like them. Everyone else is "the left." When Cole is called a "leftist" what he's really being called is an infidel and/or heretic.
Let's recall what Al Gore wrote in The Assault on Religion
What is most troubling to me is the promotion of hatred as entertainment. Moreover, they [the conservative movement propagandists] have actively conspired to fan the flames of viscious hatred aimed at one group in particular: Americans with progressive political views. They speak of "liberals" with the kind of dripping contempt and virulent hostility that used to be associated with racism and sectarian strife. One of the best known right-wing commentators, Ann Coulter, advised her audience that she was in favor of executing an American citizen who had joined the taliban "in order to physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they could be killed , too."Yeah, it thinks it's in a civil war allright. And some of Rush Limbaugh's fans seem to be itching to amp it up a notch
The emergence of an ultraconservative, antigovernment dogma that increasingly relies on the encouragement of mass hostility toward nonbelievers is an extremely
troubling new development in America's public forum. As we've seen, it turns James Madison's prophesy on its head: A political faction has degenerated into a quasi-religious sect. It is a sect that sounds as if it believes America is in the early stages of an ideological civil war. It promotes its core beliefs as if they are impervious to reason. And it is is unleashing and encouraging ugly and violent impulses.
It never matters to you Left wing liberal bastards about the truth, but it appears that the control of the future of this country is at stake and like it or not, we may have to resort to the same tactics as used back in 1860 when this country went to war with itself, North vs South, only this time it's Conservative vs Liberal and I'm ready to join in as soon as the fireworks start.Gee, you think that has anything to do with Rush telling his "Dittoheads" that Al Qaeda are Democrats?
Just keep up the constant lying and sooner or later it will catch up with you and all those in Move On.org and Media Matters will get what you so richly deserve.
Now take a look at what Mark Steyn had to say about this: "If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game."
Fair game. I can't help but think of Scientology's Fair Game doctrine
The homes, property, places and abodes of persons who have been active in attempting to: suppress Scientology or Scientologists are all beyond any protection of Scientology Ethics, unless absolved by later Ethics or an amnesty ... this Policy Letter extends to suppressive non-Scientology wives and husbands and parents, or other family members or hostile groups or even close friends.I look at this sort as a possible end road for where the conservative movement could go if it were to metastasize as a full blown political religion. Steyn's "fair game" plan is not a formalized doctrine of personal destruction like Scientology's, but it shares the same root sentiment.
Steyn and Malkin and Coulter like to describe individuals like this family as "human shields" and complain that "liberals" are trying to silence them when normal Americans with a conscience criticize them for attacking people on a personal level. That is because in the dichotomized world view of the authoritarians, holding an unorthodox political position by definition brings your character into question. We see over and over again conservative movement figures attacking an opponent's person in an attempt to discredit him/her as if that somehow proves a political position in and of itself wrong.
A few examples: Coulter attacking the 9/11 widows for advocating an inquiry into the death of their husbands, Sean Hannity slandering Michael Schiavo, the insanity of the conservative movement generating conspiracy after conspiracy about the Clintons murdering people, attacking Glenn Greenwald, the obsession with Gore's energy use,etc.
These folks seem to be nearly incapable of distinguishing between attacking a position and attacking a person. The logic at play here seems to be something like that of the UnderPants Gnomes.
Stage 1: "Liberals" are wrong
Stage 2: ?
Stage 3: "Liberals" are wrong
Like for the Underpants Gnomes, Stage 2 is a magic step (A.L. beat me to this analogy by about a year) which generates the desired outcome. Movement conservative "know" that "liberals" are wrong or liars or hypocrites or whatever the particular scenario calls for, they start with this premise and end with it as a conclusion. The in-between is coming up with the "evidence". But they approach this endeavor like the creationist looking for "evidence" that evolution is false, and explains why being disproven (over and over again) does not lead them to abandon course. They just keep coming up with reckless accusation after reckless accusation. The "evidence" is the ? of Stage 2 - it exists because they will it to exist. As Greenwald put it
These right-wing bloggers operate at a level several beneath the National Enquirer, literally. They simply fabricate facts and recklessly and maliciously launch serious accusations against the media whenever doing so advances their political agenda.Why would she? Anyone questioning her is by definition a "leftist." And by definition "leftists" are wrong. Because they're "leftists".
They leap on any innuendo or gossip from the Internet swamps and tout it as fact whenever doing so bolsters their ideological view or can be enlisted to destroy the credibility of a journalist who reports unpleasant facts. They desperately seek out any basis for attacking media reports that cast doubt on their Leader and his policies. They repeat government and military claims as fact and then accuse the media of "lying" whenever their reporting contradicts Official Statements from Our Leaders.
They operate in a credibility-free zone where there are never any consequences for their mistakes because the partisans who read them will always dismiss every one of these unfair smears on the media as well-intentioned (one of the bloggers on Malkin's Hot Air site emphasized last night in defending himself how "well founded and well intended our suspicions were"). That led Malkin herself to add: "Just to clarify, I’m not apologizing for anything."
Air tight logic.
Update: "Leftist" John Cole explains the difference to Malkin between journalism and "journalism." Long story short, the purpose of the former is to find out what is true, the purpose of the latter is to find out what you already know. Which is what accounts for the different techniques.