American Elephants

Dissent Must Be Suppressed. Do Not Disagree With a Liberal. by The Elephant's Child

The Left Machine is out in full-throated talking points. Republicans are just trying to pursue a “crazy conspiracy theory” in wanting to investigate Benghazi. Old history. Darrell Issa is just a super-partisan muckraker, conspiracy theory, conspiracy theory, nothing to see, nothing to hear, just move along. The left is no longer liberal, as Fred Barnes explained in an article titled “Shut Up, They Explained.”

Now, in case after case, dissent is to be suppressed, censored, or at the very least marginalized. Brendan Eich, the CEO of the Silicon Valley firm Mozilla, was forced out recently because he had supported a California referendum in 2008 barring gay marriage. Brandeis University rescinded an honorary degree for writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who criticizes Islam’s treatment of women. Asuza Pacific University canceled a speech by Charles Murray of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

That’s not all. Many liberals condemn dissent over political issues. Global warming activists are seeking to silence “deniers,” urging the media to ignore them and publications to reject their writings. Liberals, including Obama, claim Obamacare is a success, thus critics should shut up. Others say dissent from Obama’s policies is illegitimate, motivated only by his being an African-American.

Liberals, it turns out, aren’t very liberal these days—and not just in their efforts to stifle dissent. They’ve become name-callers, casually using words like “racist” to delegitimize thoughts, ideas, and proposals they oppose without mounting any substantive argument against them.

In the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger explains how the Obama administration created a federal hunting license for the far left, in “Obama Unleashes the Left:”

In the U.S., the politics of the left versus the right rolls on with the predictability of traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. It’s a lot of honking. Until now. All of a sudden, the left has hit ramming speed across a broad swath of American life—in the universities, in politics and in government. People fingered as out of line with the far left’s increasingly bizarre claims are being hit and hit hard.

At The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead, a man of the left defines The Left-Liberal Narrative. He promises to attempt to construct a conservative counter-narrative which appears as “The Right Wrestles with the Inequality Debate.”

It’s easy to focus on the differences between the liberal and conservative inequality narratives, but the similarities between them are in some ways more revealing. If there is one overarching trend in American life today, it is that Americans are less optimistic than we have usually been. Most people seem to agree today that American society is in trouble. Wave after wave of rapid change—economic, social, cultural, demographic—sweeps across the country, and everywhere we look, Americans can see even the most basic and important elements of our national life under threat.

But if we are (mostly) united in pessimism, we are divided, even polarized in the way we identify our troubles and prescribe cures, and the national debate over inequality is shaped by a deeper struggle over why, exactly, this country is headed downhill and about what we should do about it. Both on the left and the right, attitudes toward the inequality debate often reflect peoples’ views over the political consequences of the debate as much as their intellectual convictions over the causes and cures of economic inequality. For Democrats, growing economic inequality is an issue that unites the disparate elements of the blue coalition behind a common narrative and summons the faithful to a defense of the blue social model. For Republicans, the issue is more of a hot potato, and the GOP would probably rather see the whole issue drop off the national agenda.

Mead is always interesting, and fair and honest, from a left point of view. His two articles are long essays, but very worth your time.

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