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The Wrath of Krugman: The Left’s Anti-Discourse Gambit

January 12th, 2011 by Jim May · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

The Right has reacted loudly to the Left’s ongoing exploitation of the attack on Gabrielle Giffords. Glenn Reynolds has been supplying a steady stream of links to rebuttals, including this incredible compilation by Michelle Malkin of Leftist violence (not just “rhetoric”, note, but actual violence), as well as egregious examples of Leftist projection, one of the most revolting ones being Paul Krugman.

Some, such as George Will, have spotted the nub of the Left’s real goal: to keep the national discourse away from ideas, which is the pre-eminent danger posed to the Left by the Tea Party.  As I have noted before, that would be a battle they would lose.

Some, however, are worse than wrong; they actively play into the Left’s hands.  One such is Dan Riehl, who not only fails to realize what the Left is afraid of, but posits as their biggest fear what is in fact a key part of their goal: the inflammation of passion.

Riehl writes:

I’ve meant to elaborate on this before, but don’t believe I ever have. It isn’t our rhetoric that scares the Left politically. It’s the passion from which it springs. And it’s the passion, not the rhetoric, that they actually want to quiet most of all. Call it anger, or passion, it’s mostly the same thing.

My responding comment, edited slightly here:

Aside from the fact that the Left does not fear mere “rhetoric” one bit, this is stupid — downright primitive, in fact.

The Left doesn’t fear your “passion”. That’s just an emotion, blind on its own terms, and they are just fine with that. They want it. Seethe and be “passionate” all you want, as far as they are concerned. That’s the entire point of this current exercise. Their goal is not to save or even monopolize the national discourse, but to end it outright, make it impossible — because they know what you evidently don’t: that when discourse is impossible, there is only one thing left: Passion, the mindless passion of angry tribes — the passion of civil war.

Theirs is not so much an assault on ideas, as it is a vicious attempt to avoid them — to derail discourse before it becomes about ideas again. Especially certain ideas that they thought they had defeated and deleted from the mainstream mind long ago.

That is what they fear. Not your stupid “passions” alone, but passion guided by reason — by ideas. They know what Ayn Rand told us fifty years ago; their philosophy, their ideas and ideals, all died in the Gulag and in the German camps, discredited forever — persisting like zombies only for lack of principled opposition. They fear the return of their old enemies — ideas, like individual rights and limited government.

The Tea Party is not necessarily an embodiment of those ideas (it is rife with conservatism also, alas) but it definitely has the potential to bring them back into the political debate — and that possibility alone is just driving the Left batshit. That would mean that the Long March through America’s institutions, a century of vandalizing its culture and erasing its founding ideas from the mainstream, would have failed to achieve their goal.

The Left is now speaking to America, playing out a scene which Star Trek fans will instantly recognize:

“From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

“To the last, I will grapple with thee. “

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Don Kiss

    Correct and well said!

  • Inspector

    Yes. Yes! You have hit the nail quite squarely on the head, sir.

  • madmax

    Note to Jim May. Have you seen this:

    This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s…

    …Regular readers know which side of that divide I’m on. In future columns I will no doubt spend a lot of time pointing out the hypocrisy and logical fallacies of the “I earned it and I have the right to keep it” crowd. And I’ll also have a lot to say about how far we really are from being a society of equal opportunity, in which success depends solely on one’s own efforts.

    Have you ever seen a Leftist draw the lines this clearly before?

  • Andrew Dalton

    madmax –

    The line that stood out the most to me is this: “There’s no middle ground between these views.”

    So, Paul Krugman is making the choice we face clear: liberty or servitude, and no “third way,” split-the-difference handwaving about having the “advantages” of both. Does Krugman really want the issues laid out so plainly? Most of the political victories of the Left in this country have depended upon the fundamental moral principles remaining muddy in people’s minds.