Every time I argue with a Liberal, I??¢â???¬â???¢m reminded of quarrels I used to have with my parents. The battles never seemed fair because my folks decided what the rules were and what was out of bounds. In addition, because they were parents, they could threaten me in ways I couldn??¢â???¬â???¢t threaten them, and they could say things I could never say.
Recently, for example, I was discussing the United Sates Supreme Court with one of my many Liberal friends out in Los Angeles when she said, without any discernable embarrassment, that Justice Anton Scalia was ??¢â???¬?????worse than Hitler.??¢â???¬ Realizing she wasn??¢â???¬â???¢t alive during World War II and perhaps she may have been absent on those days when her schoolmates were studying Nazism, I reminded her of some of Hitler??¢â???¬â???¢s more egregious crimes against humanity, suggesting she may have overstated the case. She had not; Scalia was worse. As I often did when my parents threatened to send me to my room, I let the conversation die.
Aside from being rhetorically hysterical — and demeaning to the memory of those who suffered so terribly as a result of Hitler and the Nazis — it served to remind me of how difficult it is to have serious discussions about politics or social issues with committed members of the Left. They tend to do things like accusing members of the Right of sowing the seeds of hatred while, at the same time, comparing them to mass murderers. And they do this while completely missing the irony.
The moral superiority they bring to the table allows them to alter the playing field and the rules in their favor. They can say and do things the other side can??¢â???¬â???¢t because, after all, they have the greater good on their side. If a Conservative — one of the bad guys — complains about the content of music, films or television shows aimed at children, he is being a prude who wants to tell other people what to read or listen to or watch; he is a censor determined to legislate morality. If, however, a Liberal complains about speech and, in fact, supports laws against certain kinds of speech, it is right and good because we must be protected from this ??¢â???¬?????hate speech??¢â???¬ or ??¢â???¬?????politically incorrect??¢â???¬ speech. (Of course, they — being the good guys — will decide exactly what that is.)
Protests about Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor and self-proclaimed Native American, who, among other things, likened some Sept. 11 victims to Adolf Eichmann (there go those pesky Nazis again), were characterized by much of the Left as an effort to stifle academic freedom. But, when Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers??¢â???¬â???¢ job is put in jeopardy over a caveat-filled musing about science and gender, it??¢â???¬â???¢s okay, because what he said was sooo wrong (even if it has to be mis-characterized to make the point).
When Liberals want to legislate what you??¢â???¬â???¢re allowed to drive or what you should eat or how much support you can give to a political candidate or what you can or can??¢â???¬â???¢t say, they are doing it for altruistic reasons. The excesses of the Left are to be excused because these folks operate from the higher moral ground and the benefit of the greater wisdom and intelligence gained from that perspective.
In a different West Coast conversation, I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Left??¢â???¬â???¢s tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those ??¢â???¬?????red state??¢â???¬ voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, ??¢â???¬?????Well, don??¢â???¬â???¢t you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices???¢â???¬ It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt.
The rhetoric has become so super-heated that, sadly, I find myself having fewer and fewer political discussions these days. And while I miss the spirited give-and-take, when Supreme Court Justices become worse than Hitler and when those who vote a certain way do so because they??¢â???¬â???¢re idiots, it??¢â???¬â???¢s time to talk about the weather.