The Merger Of The Fringe & Mainstream On The Left

It’s no secret that Democrats are much more forgiving of the foibles of their own side than Republicans have ever been. Look to liberal heroes like Ted Kennedy (left a woman to drown to death), Robert Byrd (member of the KKK), and Barney Frank (had a prostitution ring running out of his house) for evidence of that.

However, there was once a time where even liberals had certain lines they were loathe to step across. Even websites like the Huffington Post and Daily Kos didn’t want that Truther crap polluting their blogs over the last few years, but now even supposedly “moderate” left-wing websites like the New Republic are embracing Trutherism:

Jones was wrong, actually, in disavowing his support for 9/11 conspiracy theory. He signed the document, which can only mean that he supports the idea that 9/11 was planned, or that the Bushies knew something more than they have said, or at least that the charge is plausible enough to require investigation.

But support for that idea is hardly unknown among people of the left and often gestural in its own way; look one of these types in the eye and ask “Do you really think George Bush and his cabinet engineered the murder of thousands and have kept the secret for eight years?” and watch the nervous pause and the look off into the distance. Speculations in this vein hardly meant that Jones was not sincerely committed to working within the government to do good.

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When even Trutherism has been mainstreamed on the Left, it would be interesting to know what liberals consider to be a “fringe” belief. Is there any such thing as a leftward bridge too far these days? In a world where Bill Ayers, Jane Fonda, Peter Singer, Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, and every other miscreant, deviant, and weirdo under the sun simply draw shoulder shrugs for their most bizarre views from their fellow liberals, is there anything that shocks the liberal conscience?

Heck, even “moderate” Thomas Friedman, on the pages of the most influential paper in America, the New York Times, is pining away for a one party state in America:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.

Our one-party democracy is worse. The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.

Friedman wrote a crackpot column that quite frankly, should cost him his job and should lead to his being treated forevermore like a kook across both sides of the political spectrum. However, judging by how situations like this have played out previously, Friedman will likely pay no price for publicly expressing a fascistic sentiment that many of his fellow liberals privately share.

This is why there are only two genuine “fringe” acts on the Left anymore: helping conservatives in some way, shape, or form or no longer being politically useful to liberals. It doesn’t matter how crazy, how totalitarian, or how monstrous your views are — if you don’t break those two cardinal rules, you aren’t “fringe” on the Left.

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