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Eine Klein knock

vastleft's picture

From the mighty Avedon Carol (in comments), a dead-eyed dissection of Joe Klein's bashing of his fellow (ha, ha, ha) liberals:

"--believes that eternal problems like crime and poverty are the primarily the fault of society."

Government policies do, in fact, influence how much crime and poverty exists in a society. LBJ's Great Society programs cut poverty in half, for example. Crime goes up as money becomes tighter on the lower rungs of society. Any first-year sociology student could tell you that.

"--is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources."

What "good ideas" would those be? Is that code for ideas like school vouchers and "privatized accounts" - both ideas that are intended to sabotage valuable social programs?

"--dismissively mocks people of faith, especially those who are opposed to abortion and gay marriage."

Most Americans support Roe v. Wade and gay civil unions. Although they are uncomfortable with the idea of "gay marriage" when so named, they aren't generally anti-gay and don't support the religious right's anti-gay agenda. The so'called "people of faith" whose agenda is essentially a combination of sexism and homophobia flavored with racism are, in fact, extremists, and do not deserve our respect.

However, your assumption that only these right-wing extremist "people of faith" are actual people of faith is offensive, and sneers at the millions of Americans - the majority of Christians, in fact - who do not think that having faith and hating gays are the same thing. To most of us who were raised as Christians, what the likes of Bill Donohue and Jerry Falwell preach isn't "faith", it's blasphemy.

"--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives."

Oh, grow up. The "f word" is just a modifier. Grown-ups are capable of ignoring such language for the sake of the larger discussion. It's astonishingly shallow for an allegedly literate person to think this is even worthy of bringing up. And no matter how many times Atrios or any other blogger may use this sort of language on a for-dog's-sake BLOG, it's not as if we were telling people to go Cheney themselves on the floor of the US Senate.

Context, darling. The only people who are using this kind of language on television news talk shows and in the Senate chamber are conservatives who support or are part of the Bush administration. We wild and crazy liberals confine such language to the blogosphere or private conversation. I don't use the same language when I write articles for the Guardian or The Baltimore Sun, when I write submissions to Parliament, or when I debate at Cambridge and Oxford. (Yes, these are things I have actually done.) Blogs are just blogs.

Smart, literate, articulate people don't have a smaller vocabulary than other people - we use ALL the words, we just write better sentences with them.

It's as annoying as it is surreal as it is vapid as it is pretty darn (if I may be so bold) obviously wrong when MSM "journalists" persist the myth of a widespread, ominous, and powerful extreme left.

At some level, it's simply human nature that we seek to see symmetry in things, but sometimes it ain't there. And in this case, it ain't there.

The extreme right is the base and the highest echelons of the GOP. There is absolutely no such correlative on the donkey side.

The Republicans who are in office pushed us into an unnecessary war, voted to gut the Constitution, and they're raping the treasury and environmental regulations. Further, they treat the Limbaughs and Coulters as honored guests at mainstream events.

Equivalation and Overton windows take advantage of our tendency to assume everything evens out, and all the while the GOP and MSM tilt the playing field ever more, and we don't notice just like Al Gore's frog.

Oh, and fuck Joe Klein.

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Submitted by lambert on


This is the same kind of battle that we fought, successfully and rightfully, against that vile locution, "sheeple."

Only the conservatives can be accurately described as authoritarians. This word also gets at the psyhcosexual roots of the convervative moment, which is all about perpretrating and relishing the abuse of power.

Extremist is way too co-opted by the right, who use it to mean anyone who doesn't kneel to Dear Leader, and the SCLM, who use it to mean anybody holding opinions outside the Overton Window, which it's our job to open to the left.

So, don't use extremist for wingers! Use authoritarian.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by lambert on

If the argument is a bad one, refute it.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"A left-wing extremist exhibits many, but not necessarily all, of the following attributes..."

Seems to make sense, then, that Avedon and I would compare the right's actual, empowered (and indeed, authoritarian) extremists with the -- wait, where are these extremists on the left?

In any case, I agree with you that we should regularly use "authoritarian" in our framing of the GOP.

Submitted by lambert on

I thought that was a high-school level essay that simply combined half-heard and half-remembered talking points into an ill-organized list. I don't see why we should dignify that mess of pottage with the word "thesis."

Words used to conceal, rather than express, thought.

Klein's real object is to reinforce the culture of deference that keeps authoritarians in power. A key tactic here is to obfuscate who has the real power, and what they do to keep it.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

...straw-man claims of a pernicious, extremist left and his total avoidance of citing the clear-and-present-and-totally-empowered authoritarian extremist right?

Does it not make sense to say that the over-the-top crazies of any note are all on their side -- and at the very pinnacle of power?

The best they can come up with against the left are unverifiable, anonymous blog comments (an area in which they also thoroughly outpace us... in those righty blogs that dare let their lunatic rabble rear its bigoted little heads).