Saturday, September 14, 2002

I liked this comment I found over at Maxspeak:

OK, Rufus, this is a point worthy of debate. Does having the "loony left" as allies cost the "non-loony left" more than it gains them in the big picture?

I would argue that it doesn't. At least not when you factor in the cost of differentiating themselves from the loony left. And I actually think the reason you cite, because it gives your opponents an easy target to pin on you, is the only reason. I disagree with all sorts of people; I don't feel compelled to point that out every time I make a point on which I agree with these same people. I just don't get the compulsion to do so. It's like a nervous tic.

First of all, if Noam Chomsky did not exist, the right would invent him. They would find some other guy and distort HIS words into that same distortion of Chomsky's that they pin on Chomsky. (What about the right's distortions of Chomsky - sure he gives them legitimate targets to attack but they NEVER stop there.)

That is to say, as long as the right controls the discourse, the left has to learn to live with the bullshit. There's no easy way out and spending all your time differentiating yourselves from the loonies buys you nothing. Worse yet, it looks like craven begging. There's nothing more distasteful than a liberal pulling a punch just to avoid soundling like Chomsky.

I've brought this up a few times in the blogosphere recently but no one seems to get it's relevance - a picture is worth 1000 words - wish I still had a copy! In this case it's an old Fred Wright cartoon of cops billyclubbing pickets carrying signs reading "anti-communist union", with the police saying "we don't care what kind of Communist you are."

Secondly, I hate to say it, but what has the non-loony left accomplished lately, in say, the fight to prevent war in the Middle East? Seems to me the Democrats have been hoping to confine the campaign to domestic issues but the Republicans won't let them get away with that. In my opinion they HAVE TO talk about it and come up with a real policy.

The Republicans are the ones we need to differentiate from. The rest is a waste of time. Frankly, I'd lay off of you guys if you showed more of the former, as opposed to the latter.
No matter how nice a moderate liberal plays, he's never going to win winger friends by bashing leftists. They'll just smile, and nod, and either wait for you to join them completely (like Kaus) or tar you as a member of the "loony left" the nanosecond you diverge from them.

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