Civility, Not Surrender

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 March 9, 2018|
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Two recent articles, “How Progressives Win the Culture War” by David Brooks and “A Hillary Staffer Goes to CPAC” by Annafi Wahed have generated discussion about the renewed need for political civility. Brooks describes how progressives are on track to persuading “the mainstream that conservatism is vulgar and socially illegitimate, somewhere between smoking and segregationism.

The Hillary staffer, by contrast, was astounded by the friendliness of people on the Right to someone from the other side of the political spectrum, and she was surprised by the diversity and complexity of thought at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Neither author is a “conservative” (though Brooks is what passes for one at the New York Times) and both admit that the Left tends to be more uncivil, with a greater tendency toward violence. Common sense, experience, and scholarship have all shown that the Left is not as capable as the Right of articulating what the other side thinks and believes. Leftists are less able to articulate what their own side believes because articulating emotions is difficult and always changing.

Right-leaning Americans aren’t organizing demonstrations that turn into riots, destruction of property, or looting. And there can be no doubt that it is the Left at the vanguard of efforts to squelch free speech on college campuses and elsewhere when those seeking to speak their minds differ from them politically. It’s an astounding development, really, considering Republicans hold the majority of political power at present.

Facts vs. Fevered Fantasy
Clearly hatred, misbehavior, and crime are not limited to one side of the political aisle. Evil and sin are equal opportunity employers. Nevertheless, the share of the blame attributable to the Left is massive.

Your online discussions may be different from mine, but if you participate in political discussions, there can be no doubt that the number-one topic for discussion over the last year has been the Trump-Russia collusion story.

In the last week, I was upbraided by a leftist. (Yes, a “leftist,” not a “liberal.” Jefferson, Locke, Madison, and I are liberals. The people I’m talking about are leftists, progressives, and Marxists.) He asked why I wasn’t upset by Trump breaking the law and colluding with Russia.  My answer was, “ I would be upset if that was what actually happened.”

I said we were going to look at obvious facts. There may be much to recommend my position in the details of FISA warrants, FBI and DOJ misbehavior, or Clinton corruption, and so forth. But I am going to stick to the obvious and known facts that any leftist who is halfway honest would have to admit are true.

The case is clear. It was the American Left, not the Right, that made excuses and sought accommodation with the Bolsheviki and the Soviet Union. It was Walter Duranty of the New York Times who published a series of articles claiming there was no starvation in the Ukraine under Stalin.

It was the Left that denigrated the Strategic Defense Initiative as “Star Wars” and reacted with shock and outrage when Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” It was the Left that dismissed the extent of Soviet espionage in the United States during the Cold War. It was the Left that insisted Alger Hiss was a good man, and that the traitorous Rosenbergs were innocent.

It was Obama and Clinton who arranged the sale of uranium to Russia. It was Obama who canceled the missile defense program for Eastern European countries to defend themselves against possible Russian or Iranian attack. And it was Obama who refused to sell weapons to the Ukraine after Russia invaded Crimea. (Obama eventually condemned Russia for its invasion of Georgia, but his initial response was to condemn “both sides.”)

It was Obama and Biden who told Romney his opposition to Russia was outdated. It was Clinton who presented a literal “reset” button and wanted friendlier relations with Russia. It was Obama who told President Dmitri Medvedev to tell Vladimir Putin he would have more “flexibility” after his reelection in 2012.

Are You Being Serious?
Given all that history, Mr. Leftist, you want me to believe that Trump is the one in bed with the Russians? And you still insist on this after he has reversed several of Obama’s policies that favored Russian interests?

Trump has reduced or eliminated regulations that hampered energy production in the United States and opened the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration. This will place downward pressure on energy prices, and energy is one of the few products that Russia has to sell in world markets.

Trump has also revived the missile defense program for Europe with a promise to Poland to deploy missiles there. And he has approved a program to sell weapons to the Ukraine including anti-tank missiles.

In the words of a talented but volatile tennis player: “You cannot be serious!

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About the Author:

Michael Johnson
Michael is a graduate of California State University at Long Beach in political science. He did graduate work in Russian and East European Studies and added a minor in economics. While in school he was the chapter president of Young Americans for Freedom and vice chairman for YAF's California chapter. After a career in financial planning and investment management, he is now a leadership coach and writer. He is currently working on a series of three novels.