Monday, February 20, 2006


Haven't really read much rightwing material of late, save for the occasional peek at the creatures in FrontPage's terrarium (comedy relief mixed with incomprehension). Back in the day, I spent weeks in the New York Public Library at 40th and 5th, up in periodicals reading thru bound copies of the early National Review and The New Freeman (a pseudo-libertarian/elitist mag from the late-1930s that attacked FDR, the New Deal, among other actual socialist targets), so what passes for "conservative" thought today is pretty lightweight compared to those earlier, denser essays, few of which I agreed with, but at least those older reactionaries put some thought into their work. Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter would've never been able to hold their own against the likes of James Burnham, Whittaker Chambers and Albert Jay Nock. At best, they could fetch coffee or run out to buy fresh typewriter ribbon, when not sweeping up the office and making sure the lights were turned off at the end of the day.

However, many online libs are obsessed with today's rightwingers, quoting some of their crazier comments and mocking them for partisan sport. You'd think that after the 257th reference to Kate O'Beirne's raw lunacy, the point would be well established and the libs could Move On to other pressing items, like dissecting the Dems and agitating for some kind of structural change. Hell, even some good ol' radical idealism would be refreshing, anything but more "Aren't those righties assholes?" posts. It's become as repetitive as a Coulter rant.

This is not to say that we should completely ignore the reactionsphere; that would be equally ridiculous. But timing, topic and context should be considered when engaging the trogs. For example, while perusing some lib sites the other day, I came across a post at Hullabaloo dealing with Who Hates More: the right or the left? This has to be the dumbest question I've encountered this month, sorta like asking "Which breed of wild dog bites harder: Cape Hunting or Tri-Colored?" Your flesh is ripped all the same as you try to beat down and escape from the mauling cur. The left & the right can be and are equally vicious, noxious, nasty and crude. And in the US, the majority of these people openly identify with one of the two ruling parties -- parties that not only engage in hateful language, aggression and corruption, but actually kill people, mostly on foreign turf, and rob the survivors of wealth and political choice. When your city is cluster bombed by Americans of both mainstream persuasions, does it really matter if one hates a bit more than the other?

This "You're a bigger hater than me!" crap further illustrates the narcissism and narrowness of online political gab. Libs like Digby in the link above may truly believe that the right makes a better living peddling hatred than do the Dems, and I'm sure that one can toss out a few isolated cases that supposedly answer the larger question. But no matter how expansive an online liberal's thinking may appear, when pushed, he or she will rally to the mule and try to hoist the filthy stubborn beast on their shoulders. In other words, the libs are as inherently tribalistic as any rightwinger they oppose. And tribes waving flags (of purity, distinction, political sagacity, whatever) need an Other to justify their existence. In short, someone to hate.