The allergic response of the “progressive” left, those great self-proclaimed vindicators of “the people,” to the only genuine popular movement most of them have ever seen has been a remarkable spectacle. If their blogs are any indication, every tea partier with a homemade sign is a racist, Nazi,and potential assassin with overactive saliva glands. They’ve been waving the bloody shirt non-stop since the health care bill passed, regaling us with hair raising tales of gratuitous vandalism and murderous threats. Instapundit was all over the story last week, with lots of good links to related stories. Examples of the usual ostentatious pious posing on the left can be found here, here, here and here, and reactions on the right here, here, here and here. The “violent mobs” meme was ubiquitous in the MSM and, of course, on NPR, where I noticed they were flogging it relentlessly every half hour or so as I drove to work. (I often wonder whether these people actually believe their own cant and think they’re just reporting the news. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?) Greg Gutfeld has a post about the selective outrage on the left today that hits the nail on the head. His take:
It goes like this: for the media, anger is only okay if its targets meet their stereotypical, romanticized criteria. Meaning: the corporation, the conservative, the daddy who never loved them.
Here’s a list of people doing angry things the media is okay with:
-People calling Bush a Nazi
-Students and non students rioting on college campuses
-Animal rights freaks dousing rich folks with paint
-Actors wishing average folks would get rectal cancer
-Bureaucrats labeling military vets as potential violent right wing extremists
-Radical environmentalists advocating violence against loggers
-Pranksters throwing pies at conservative commentators (you know, somehow they never pie Michael Moore, which makes him sad; he likes pie)
But this health care bill anger is different from all that – not just because it’s right, but because it involves Obama. And being angry at Obama is like being mad at Santa Claus. How can you be mad at Santa, when he brings us so many gifts?
And so, this anger is scary! It’s a mark of incivility! It’s deadly!
In case you’re an NPR reporter and therefore have no clue what Greg is talking about, I suggest you follow some of Instapundit’s links to accounts of threats and violence directed against people you don’t happen to agree with. You can find examples here, here, here and here. Now check your archives and find out how obsessive you were about reporting on those stories. Any questions? If you want to see what real political intimidation looks like, take a gander at what your pals in Canada have been up to.
Of course, when it comes to the health care bill, the ranting on the right has been at least as loud as that on the left. Sean Hannity has been making Nathan Hale speeches for months about how the “Louisiana Purchase,” the “Cornhusker Kickback,” and all the related traditional wheeling and dealing in Congress make the health care bill the “most corrupt” ever. I can only suggest that Sean get a grip and Google Teapot Dome and Credit Mobilier, or perhaps read a little about the history of the big railroads and their penchant for political manipulation in their heyday.
Indeed, when it comes to pious posing from the moral high ground, the right seems to have achieved parity with the left. We’ve become a mutual demonization society. In some sense that’s a good thing, because it demonstrates that in the US, unlike, for example, in Europe, the right has regained a public voice in the form of talk radio, influential bloggers, and Foxnews. The days when the left had such a monopoly over the public media that they could simply destroy people who criticized them the way they did Richard Nixon are long gone. Now the right can answer tit for tat, and they are in no mood to be intimidated with the “violent demonstrators” gambit. Who knows, perhaps cooler heads on both sides will eventually become bored with mutual villification and we will see a gradual easing of the current polarization between left and right. I’m not holding my breath, though.
Meanwhile, we must grin and bear the burden of another massive government entitlement program. Obama assures us that it will “cut the deficit.” If it does, it will certainly be a historical first. I’m not holding my breath for that, either. On the other hand, it’s unlikely to cause the collapse of the economy the right seems so worried about any time soon. Other countries have dealt with and continue to deal with much heavier public debts than ours, although we certainly appear to be catching up with them. A more likely outcome than the “train wreck” expected on the right is economic malaise similar to that in Japan accompanied by gradually increasing taxation in one form or another and an increasingly discouraging outlook for anyone contemplating any kind of private economic venture. I can’t rule out one of Nassim Taleb’s “black swans,” but I suspect that the American people will simply accept the continuing metastasization of big government and adapt to the resultant loss of liberty as best they can, just as they have accepted the gradual and continued morphing of our so-called “system of justice” into an abomination in which the only “winners” of legal battles in the courts can be the lawyers. The train wreck may be coming, but it’s still a long way off.