It’s time to worry about left-wing fundamentalism too
Much of my recent career has been spent analyzing and resisting right-wing politics, often mixed with religion.
But today I say that there is also something to worry about on the left. There is left-wing (or anti-religion) politics and religion, which should also be alarming to thoughtful people.
Here are some of the most recent examples:
James Hodgkinson, the man who blew up Congressional Republicans’ baseball training, was clearly a disturbed and angry individual whose life had already done desperate harm to others before the shooting. But he found an outlet for some of that anger in liberal politics and heavily anti-Republican social media groups. Hodgkinson’s online presence is a case study in the angry social media echo chamber. His targeting of the practice of Republican baseball can only be described as political violence, if not a political assassination attempt. This marks another very disturbing descent in recent American politics.
Last weekend, a gay rights march in Chicago called Dyke March became national news when three protesters carrying Jewish pride flags (which are Israeli flags overlaid on a rainbow) were reportedly harassed and ultimately expelled from the march. In a march intended to represent âintersectionalâ justice causes, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel sentiment was too strong for the âWider Bridgeâ group representing lesbian and queer Jews to be allowed to participate in the march. (Everyone should read the full report to which I linked here in the “Windy City Times”, which reflects the peculiar nature of internal liberal-radical politics at this time.)
Liberal media stars have also played their part. Consider this recent summary of disturbing events compiled by non-conservative New York Times columnist Frank Bruni:
Madonna fantasizes about the explosion of the White House. Kathy Griffin displays a likeness of Trump’s severed head. Stephen Colbert uses a crass term to describe Trump as Putin’s sex toy. [Bill] Maher suggests that Trump and his daughter Ivanka engaged in incest. I do not question the seriousness of these artists’ objections to Trump, which are entirely justified. I ask if they even convert a person with a contrary point of view.
A number of recent incidents on campuses across the country also suggest that some kind of left-wing fundamentalism is on the rise. Sometimes these incidents are brought about by the presence or words of outside provocateurs, but other times it is simply professors who are seen to transcend the boundaries of liberal orthodoxy and facing the rage of their students and of some of their colleagues.
Why is all this disastrous for the Liberals?
It is a cultural disaster, because it widens the rift between our warring tribes, which degrades the environment in which we all live.
This is politically disastrous, as left-wing fundamentalism damages the image of the Democratic Party and liberals in general and is a definite loser in state and national races in most of the country.
This is intellectually catastrophic, as it blocks intelligent thinking on difficult issues and leaves dissidents or potential dissidents afraid to speak out.
There are plenty of fakes on the right. But there is also a lot of evil on the left. Each party must pull itself together. If there is a sensitive and mature center of American public life, it is time for it to come forward.