Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The American Left: Hypocrisy and Totalitarianism
Does today's left care about rights? No. Read on for explanation.
We happened to hear Rush Limbaugh today, and I think it might have been one of his most profound programs, at least in the hour we heard. He was explaining the failure of so many critics of today's American left and today's Democrat party mainstream to understand that what we have today is not just politics as usual, a debate over the policies that will be pursued within the American system -- instead, we have an entire side that is devoted to destroying the American system. To be clear, that means destroying things fundamental to the American system such as freedom of speech. Limbaugh cited examples of Democrats in Congress attempting to promote criminalization of political speech and dissenting opinions (e.g. re climate) through RICO and through campaign finance laws. (It's rarely mentioned that the Citizens United case went to the Supreme Court because the Citizens United organization had made and shown a documentary unflattering to Hillary Clinton, and was convicted of a felony for doing so.) The stifling of free speech on campus -- complete with the insistence that free speech is not a value to be defended -- tells us exactly what today's left has in mind: imposition of a single ideology that allows no dissent. It's totalitarian. (I've had a blog post written on paper on this that has been sitting around for four years!) Much of his intro relied on an excellent piece by Kevin Williamson in National Review.
Limbaugh, and Williamson, are quite right about this. That's why I see substantial turmoil ahead for the United States. But I'll hold this topic for another post. Instead, this had me thinking about an example that exposes the hypocrisy of the left. There has been substantial opposition from the left -- from mainstream Democrat politicians and from mainstream progressive organizations such as ACLU -- to surveillance of questionable mosques and muslim groups. Sources of the criticism include the Obama administration, and it's sufficiently serious that federal law enforcement agencies have said it interferes with their investigations of terrorists, and that they've even taken to investigating non-muslim groups that were known not to be a threat, just to have investigations they could point to in order to defend themselves against charges of profiling. That's crazy, of course. If terrorist threats turn out to be overwhelmingly Islamic, then investigations should be overwhelmingly of Muslims.
But one can imagine a response from from the left: "This vigilance is necessary to protect all of us. If an unpopular group, e.g. Muslims, can be singled out today, who among us would be safe tomorrow? This is necessary to protect the rights of all of us." Leftist critics of mosque surveillance -- that is, of sending agents to listen to sermons -- claimed it would have a "chilling effect." It seems a good argument, only...
Only the left has no intention at all of protecting rights, except those of certain favored groups. For example, when the IRS was denying tax-exempt status to Tea Party and conservative groups before the 2012 election, the IRS demanded of a number of religious groups copies of their prayers. Where were these critics of the "chilling effect" of government surveillance then? Or more recently, in a Houston controversy over same sex marriage, the mayor ordered local ministers to turn over their sermons for inspection or face jail time. The ministers refused and eventually the mayor withdrew her demand. But during all this, ACLU was silent (I'm on several ACLU mailing lists). ACLU only spoke out once the voters of Houston overturned the mayor's policy, and then to condemn the ministers and the voters.
Today's left has no interest at all in rights. It uses the rhetoric of rights, but only as a political weapon. The left's arguments appear increasingly to be not arguments at all, not logical constructs designed to demonstrate truth of a proposition. Instead they are constructions designed to manipulate listeners and nothing more.
This does bode ill for the future. Some ideologies are incompatible with liberty, and adherents find it necessary to crush those of us who insist on liberty. There's no such thing as a peaceful solution to that.
On a related note, it's almost time for me to make my official Unforeseen Contingencies predictions for 2016, they are already in the works, and they include substantial trouble. Of course, we haven't yet finished 2015, and the dictator in the Whitehouse appears to be ready to impose gun control by executive fiat. If he does so, predicting "substantial trouble" will be like predicting wetness during a flood. The Whitehouse is keeping it secret for now, we aren't to know what Obama has planned for us. That's today's left for you -- secret government by dictate.
Photo: Chaos and Julie, with Manistique lighthouse in the distance.