Hatred crosses party lines

As I know because I spent the majority of my life on the Democratic side of the political divide, the conservatives still can’t shake the reputation as haters that they picked up during the 1950s, thanks to the John Birchers. Interestingly, the conservatives also got tangled in the reputation of the Southern racists, even though those haters were Democrats. The Northern Democrats, with their continuum of liberal, progressive and Marxist politics, effectively merged the Republican John Birchers and the Democratic KKKers in public mind and there they’ll remain, forever entangled.

But there is a new generation of haters coming along and it’s not the conservatives. The hatred on the further Left reaches of Democratic politics is beginning to frighten the moderates. Lanny Davis, a Clinton stalwart, writes a plaintive article describing the scary venom that came his way when he worked for Joe Lieberman’s campaign:

My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle comes from the last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Lieberman.

This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me, comes only from the right wing–in his day from people such as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with his tirades against “communists and their fellow travelers.” The word “McCarthyism” became a red flag for liberals, signifying the far right’s fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a “communist” or “socialist” who favored an active federal government to help the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field.

I came to believe that we liberals couldn’t possibly be so intolerant and hateful, because our ideology was famous for ACLU-type commitments to free speech, dissent and, especially, tolerance for those who differed with us. And in recent years–with the deadly combination of sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage–I held on to the view that the left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right.

Now, in the closing days of the Lieberman primary campaign, I have reluctantly concluded that I was wrong. The far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony.

Davis then gives facts to support his conclusions.  While those facts may have come as a surprise to Davis, they’re not a surprise to any of us who spend time in the blogosphere.  I’ve been mercifully insulated here because, almost without exception, my visitors have respected my rules about civility.  Disagreements are strong, but politeness dominates, something I very much appreciate.  I do worry, though, that something ugly and disturbing will appear here one day, and I do wonder how it will affect me as a blogger.

15 Responses

  1. People are people (are people)…..all the way down, in fact.

    The ideology doesn’t seem to make the difference – note that Christians have sinned as terribly (Rwanda) as Islamists (Hamas and Hezbollah) or atheists (USSR).

    It’s an inner commitment on the part of the individuals involved – the commitment to respect for human beings as human beings, and the obligation to treat them as ends in themselves, never as means to achieve our purposes. This can be done by those without a commitment to a higher power we call G-d, I think; but I’m convinced their foundation is not so strong, since it’s basically a preference for them, while for those who are committed to Him, it’s an absolute requirement.

  2. Bookworm, I have never had illusions about level of “hatred” or visciousness on the Left. I remember vividly a fellow student in the 1970s proudly telling me about how he watched a brick he had thrown crack open a policeman’s face. David Horowitz writes eloquently of the viciousness of the Left during the 1970s (remember SDS adn the Weathermen?). As Earl points out, people are people and those most susceptible to human fallibility are those that would deny their own.

  3. My own personal objection to left-wing hatred is based on the central dishonesty of the situation.

    While there are definitely haters on the right, the fact is that the right side of the spectrum has NEVER sat sanctimoniously on a moral high-horse, claiming to be “tolerant”. The left routinely does this, and then prove themselves liars every time they sneer.

    Some call this “hypocrisy”. I call it just plain lying.

  4. MPJ has commented, as Danny does above, on the violent past of the Left. There were no conservative demonstrators burning campus buildings, targeting policemen, or making bombs. How much damage in the millions/billions did the Left cost the US during the 60’s/70’s? We as a country made a mistake. We let them get away with that. Why were they not accountable?

    Look what we have today.

  5. Same track, it seems, Bookworm. T. Lifson finds Tom Hayden out to kill a few more of our soldiers, this time in the Middle East.

    See today’s comments at American Thinker and the link to the story at Investor’s Daily.

  6. McCarthy was a victim of what the left is doing right now to Lieberman. Also, read Ann Coulter’s Treason. McCarthy has been proven right.

  7. The hatred on the further Left reaches of Democratic politics is beginning to frighten the moderates. Lanny Davis, a Clinton stalwart, writes a plaintive article describing the scary venom that came his way when he worked for Joe Lieberman’s campaign:

    Summon forth the rage and fury, my denizens of the Dark, my fellow compatriots in the Army of Darkness. Cast out the unbelievers, rip asunder the downtrodden, only then will your journey to the light of Heaven succede. Every ounce of rage given will be returned to you a thousand fold, so come, show us the fiery strength of your furious heart!

    Bring forth the hate, the rage, the anger and fury. Only then, will you inherit the true reigns of power, ONLY THEN will you be able to tear away the veneer of civilization that allows you to propagandize!

    I said before, here, that the terroist’s weapon may be rage, and rage may be powerful, but what is your strength is also your weakness. What is your technological marvel, is your technological crutch. It is the unbreakable paradox of human affairs. The terroists rage, they grieve, they cut open their baby’s heads to emulate being a martyr. Feed them their rage, their grief. their hatred, ten, a hundred, a thousand fold back to them. Only then will their veneer of civilization fall away and they lose control of all humanity, they will be unchained. Only then, can you strike the death blow.

    The far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony.

    The KKK is a Democrat organization, among populist lines, and Robert Byrd is KKK. They dare try to limit their rage and fury? They should release the limits on the Democrat faithful, let us see what they have in store for us and the world.

    Disagreements are strong, but politeness dominates, something I very much appreciate. I do worry, though, that something ugly and disturbing will appear here one day, and I do wonder how it will affect me as a blogger.

    Well book, I won’t make any predictions but I will point you to what happened with Neo Neocon (gasp the infamous Neo Neocon) when she got two new “fans” by the name of NeoNeoConned and ConfudeForeigner. They were some very persistant agent provocateurs. At one time, reasonable seeming, at other times flinging accussations of racism and various other things from the grab bag of “how to heckle”. Neo’s policy is to let disruptive comments stand, but even she underestimated the tenacy of these two new and improved versions of the Democrat faithful. When people believe they are given free reign, they will come to visit more often. But that doesn’t mean they will behave, however.

    Prevention is the best trick towards disruptive and hateful commenters, who have psychological problems that should not be aired online. It is much harder to get rid of unwanted people, after allowing them free reign at a place that they think is vulnerable and open. Show weakness, and they will swarm, show strength, and they will retreat. Human nature, at its most predictable. You might even feel pity for them, because in 2 years Bush will be gone. So who will they complain about, RUsh? Coulter? Republikkkans?

    Hate is a corrosive emotion, it brings you great strength and determination of will, but it corrodes your soul, your mind, and your body. Like any weapon, it cuts both ways. 9/11 gave people a chance to see things in a new light. I don’t think they will be too many additional chances for personal redemption. Few people will change their minds, but the ones that do, they are worth much more than usual.

    Hate can be useful. I admit I hate terroists and those who pick on the weak, but I control that hatred, it does not control me. It does not cloud my judgement, in fact I have to become closer to the ideology of terroists to understand them. I have to look at my enemies objectively, without hate, in order to see their weak spots. Hate causes a distortion effect, that must be removed first before things can be judged.

    True liberals, those who hate seeing the downtrodden abused by the power, those who hate seeing the innocent destroyed for the joy of some power mad few, those are the liberals I respect and like. The fake liberals, the betrayers, they wrap the cloak of righteousness around themselves, but they do not truly hate terroists and those who abuse power. True hate lets nothing bar its path to fruition, not even itself.

    Martial artists are few and far between. I have always wondered, how many people who have practiced martial arts for years, are part of the Democrat party right now? That’s one poll I’d like to see.

  8. The rancor and paranoia on the left should not come as a surprise to anyone who has clicked on lefty blogs (Atrios, for example, or The Left Coaster) and read thru the comments, where vicious and puerile comments are generally the rule. The paranoid style of politics that Richard Hofstadter wrote of in the early 60’s has firmly taken root on the left. I watched 911 conspiracy theorists on CSPAN last week: these people are off the charts. The John Birch society was sedate by comparison.

  9. The funny thing is, Democrats used to put into legislation banning gun ownership from blacks and former-slaves. This way the KKK come go in and lynch blacks without any danger.

    This has resulted in the entire Democrat party disarming themselves. So now we have the guns and the weapons of war, and they no longer have the firepower to put into effect the intimidation, assassination, and subversion tactics akin to the Sunnis in Iraq right now.

    Ain’t that ironic. That what once was used to make innocent people more vulnerable to terror, has allowed innocent people in the 21st American century to be safer from terror.

    There was a right wing militia that was forming in the South, a few years before 9/11, that was going to assassinate government officials with assault rifles. The FBI and undercover agents infiltrated the organization, and rolled it up. Since assassination is out of people’s hands, they resort to the ACLU and the courts.

  10. Has anyone seen an anti-semitic twist to the Lieberman attacks? With its Islamist tilt, the Democratic Party are vulnerable to that charge.

    I hope I’m wrong but I wonder if many of the American Left would not discover the power of ‘reasonable compromise’ with Islamism. Much as in Europe, Democrats here would negotiate all sorts of way to concede the world to the new Fascism.
    Taking a cut of the loot, of course.

    Q: should we be checking those Dem fat cats for IRANIAN contributions– a’la’ Bill Clinton and his Chinese best friends?

  11. JG… “Q: should we be checking those Dem fat cats for IRANIAN contributions– a’la’ Bill Clinton and his Chinese best friends?”

    And another Q: Should we be checking out George Soros for connections to Iranian/Syrian interests?

  12. “I wonder if many of the American Left would not discover the power of ‘reasonable compromise’ with Islamism. Much as in Europe, Democrats here would negotiate all sorts of way to concede the world to the new Fascism.”jg

    When the Iranians get the bomb, the left will elevate appeasement to a whole new level.

  13. Actually, I’m of the opinion that when Iran gets the bomb, the Left will send in some Marines, get them slaughtered, and use that as an excuse to deploy nuclear weapons on Tehran. More or less, that way anyways.

  14. I am with D_Brit on this one. If anything, the Left would welcome the destruction of the “old” West as an opportunity to reclaim power and to rebuild it (Utopia, that is) in their own image. I can almost hear the methodical thumping of fascist jackboots in the distance. I think that they truly believe that they could negotiate the terms of such a scenario with the Islamo-fascists.

  15. There are some interesting points in time in this article however I donít know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

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