The Trouble With Tactical Imitation of the Left

My young colleague at Chronicles, Pedro Gonzalez, recently published a blog piece on Mark Elias that went viral. Our readers resonated to Pedro’s assessment of the Democratic activist Elias, as someone whom we on the Right should admire for his fixing skills. Indeed, we should be looking for our own Mark Elias, who would crush the Democrats with lawsuits every time it appeared they had somehow pulled out an election.

Since I myself have written often in the same vein, I can’t criticize Pedro for his wishful thinking. I too have ridiculed the GOP establishment and Conservatism, Inc. for their lack of “thumos” and have held up the fanaticism and competitiveness of the Democratic Left as qualities we on the Right should want to emulate. There are of course certain obvious reasons that we couldn’t get away with the Left’s bullying behavior, starting with how the woke leftist media would portray our bold actions. The Left is allowed and even encouraged to attack the headquarters of pro-life activists, and they can threaten the lives of judges whom they don’t like with impunity. Pro-life advocates by contrast will incur the wrath of the media and may even have the FBI come after them if they do anything as subversive as sing hymns in front of an abortion center.

While the Left continues to depict counterfactually the events at Charlottesville in August 2018 and the Capitol break-in on January 6, 2020, as attempted Nazi or fascist coups, the same media try to wipe from our consciousness anything that does not fit its narrative of “democracy” being threatened by a surging “white nationalist” presence. The black racist who ran over a crowd in Waukesha, Wisconsin last Christmas was allegedly a poor soul who had trouble controlling his vehicle; while the hundred or so riots, some of them paid for by Democrats, during the “Summer of Love” in 2020 are recast as understandable reactions to the racist death of George Floyd. No matter how the Right reacts to the other side, the media will denounce its action as a “threat to democracy.”

There is, however, another reason that I couldn’t imagine a serious American Right that successfully imitates its enemy’s behavior, except in a limited tactical way. Some of the Left’s actors are so peculiarly leftist that it is hard to see how our side could imitate them. What would be the right-wing equivalent of Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Beto O’Rourke, or the “ladies” on “The View”? I couldn’t begin to imagine how we’d offer our own version of these whinging guilt-mongers or splenetic true believers. 

Is there for example a right-wing equivalent of my least favorite Democratic congressman, Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who represents the Maryland/D.C.-suburb where I used to live? Raskin rants nonstop against all the hobgoblins of the Democratic Left. Those who question the CDC’s hardly consistent instructions on how to deal with COVID or dispute climate change have become for Raskin the organized legions of anti-Reason. Thus he proposed on the floor of Congress a National Day of Reason to support Democratic talking points, against the “science-deniers.” Raskin also spoke movingly about his religious rebirth experience upon receiving the COVID vaccine. Getting vaxxed with government-approved serum became for Raskin something profoundly spiritual. 

As a supercharged member of the January 6 committee, Raskin is incessantly telling us that Republicans who question the last presidential election constitute a unique threat to “American democracy.” Presumably no high-ranking Democrat ever challenged a Republican electoral victory and if one or more Democrats did, (well!) that’s hardly worth mentioning. The break-in on January 6, moreover, was not what it seems to have been, that is, unlawful trespassing aided by cooperative police. It was a right-wing insurrection engineered by Donald Trump to overthrow Our Democracy™, and let’s not forget that.

Even more interestingly, this Maryland lawmaker wishes us to redouble our efforts to fight Vladimir Putin. What is at stake in this cosmic struggle is more than the territorial integrity of Ukraine. For Raskin, Putin is a Christian fanatic and a “fascist” who has brazenly opposed the redemptive light of LGBT. In a statement last week Raskin warned other progressives against scaling back support in the “war against Putin”: “Moscow right now is a world center of antifeminism, antigay, anti-trans hatred, as well as the home of replacement theory for export.” Raskin stalwartly resists any plan for making peace between Ukraine and Russia. Instead, we must go on fighting this leftist holy war, no matter what the cost to our crusader state, until we have vanquished the enemy of our sacred woke ideology. 

I’ve no idea what a right-wing version of Raskin would look like. His combination of self-importance and drooling party-lining may have no equivalent on any politically useful right. How exactly would our side use such a fool even if he suddenly and unexpectedly switched sides?

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

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