The leftist — one Nicholas Kristof — gets close (here), but misses some very important things that no leftist can ever understand. Because, if he understood it, well… he wouldn’t be a leftist.
In what’s generally a pretty good essay (I give him a “C-” Not bad at all for a leftist!), Kristof, a card-carrying leftist in good standing, shows that he almost sees what’s going on — rising thuggery, violence, censorship… fascism — in the thought tendency that he supports. But not quite.
Read the essay; it’s actually pretty good. Until, that is, you get to some parts, but especially at the the very end, where Kristof goes off the rails and says something so mind-numblingly stupid, so lacking in self-awareness, so ignorant, so jaw-droppingly, so droolingly idiotic, so…leftist, that it threatens to wipe out at a swipe all the goodness that this pretty good piece had been building up throughout.
Here’s one passage from Kristof’s piece:
My daughter and I were tossing a football back and forth while also flinging around arguments about free speech, sexual assault, youthful intolerance and paternal insensitivity.
We were discussing a Harvard law professor, Ronald Sullivan. He had been pushed out of his secondary job as head of Harvard College’s Winthrop House after he helped give Harvey Weinstein, accused of sexual assault, the legal representation every defendant is entitled to.
To me (Editor’s note: to Nicholas Kristof, the author of the essay), as a progressive baby boomer, this was a violation of hard-won liberal values, a troubling example of a university monoculture nurturing liberal intolerance. Of course no professor should be penalized for accepting an unpopular client.
To my daughter, of course a house dean should not defend a notorious alleged rapist. As she saw it, any professor is welcome to represent any felon, but not while caring for undergraduates: How can a house leader support students traumatized by sexual assault when he is also defending someone accused of rape?
Of course, the answer to Kristof’s daughter is, really, quite easy: What if the accusers are wrong?(1) What if Weinstein didn’t do it?
Would Kristof’s daughter really want Harvey Weinstein to be punished for his alleged crimes, infractions and offenses if he… didn’t do it? Look — never count me among the few admirers of Harvey Weinstein, but if he’s been accused, then the American way is to say to his accusers: “Okay, you’ve made your accusations, now… make your case. And if you can, then we’ll pillory this man (Weinstein), but if you can’t make your case, and until such time as you do make your case, then we presume that he’s innocent of the accusations you’ve made.”
Few things in the history of our species have been more revolutionary than that presumption of innocence. We lose that preciously bought principle at the peril of nothing less than the unleashing of the next Dark Ages upon the Earth.
Here’s more from Kristof’s piece:
The rise of President Trump has amplified this generational clash and raised the fundamental question of how to live liberal values in an illiberal age.
Close, but wrong. Here’s where Kristof misses a very important point: the Left created and imposed this climate of “illiberal intolerance” on our country. The “rise of President Trump” is not a cause of illiberalism, but a symptom — an inevitable result — of the nasty, ugly… worsening climate that leftists like Nicholas Kristof have been constructing for the last six decades.
Kristof plainly implies in that paragraph that he supports “liberal values,” but he hasn’t previously. It’s leftists like Kristof, whose inaction or whose tacit or active support have caused the current poisonous atmosphere. Thugs rush intelligent commentators like Ben Shapiro off campuses, goons shout down incisive commentators like Ann Coulter, not despite the good people like Nicholas Kristof, but because of them.
The deadly disease of leftism today is as virulent today as it is because of people like Nicholas Kristof. His essay is welcome, because of the very truth of it: the Left of today are goons. The Left of today are thugs… fascists, largely because of people like Nicholas Kristof… not despite them.
Here’s a bit more from Kristof:
Yet while I admire campus activism for its commitment to social justice, I also worry that it sometimes becomes infused with a prickly intolerance, embracing every kind of diversity except one: ideological diversity. Too often, we liberals embrace people who don’t look like us, but only if they think like us.
Serious question: What of “campus activism” lately has been even remotely admirable?”
The phrase “Too often, we liberals embrace people who don’t look like us, but only if they think like us.” Really? Seriously? Now you’re seeing this, Nick?!? Are you frickin’ kidding me?!? This crap has been going on for decades!
I got an ironic kick out of this paragraph from Kristof:
For those of us who believe that liberalism should model inclusivity and tolerance, even in intolerant times, even to the exclusive and the intolerant, it was disappointing to see Cambridge University this year rescind a fellowship for Jordan Peterson, the Canadian best-selling author who says he will not use people’s preferred pronouns. Debate him — that’s how to win the argument — rather than trying to squelch him.
I especially got a chuckle out of the last phrase of this paragraph: “Debate him — that’s how to win the argument — rather than trying to squelch him.”
Yep. That’s the way to defeat us… but the reason the Left don’t debate us; the reason the Left try to “squelch us”… is simple. They’ve tried to debate us before… and they’ve lost.
The Left learned from those difficult experiences not to actually learn from those difficult experiences… but rather to be sure never to have the experience again.
Read this, and read it well: if you never debate, then you’ll never lose a debate.(2) Whenever leftists debate people like the above-mentioned Jordan Peterson — who’s not even a Conservative!(3) — they get walloped.
Their problem is not that they can’t defeat us. Oh, we can be defeated in debate, but not by the Left. The Left is entirely out of ideas that haven’t already been long defeated by ours. They’re reduced on the Left to recycling the same tired, old, flaccid arguments and using new words to sell them.
I’m not revealing anything new here. Anyone who’s studied it knows that Socialism is nothing more than hideous, old, medieval feudalism all gussied up in pretty words like “social justice,” “fairness,” and “equality.” It’s thus with every issue and cause the Left embraces.
Liberals sometimes howl when this newspaper brings in a conservative columnist or publishes a sharply conservative Op-Ed. We progressives should have the intellectual curiosity to grapple with disagreeable views.
Liberals should “have the intellectual curiosity to grapple with disagreeable views“… but they don’t. “Liberals” — of the leftist variety — haven’t had that intellectual curiosity, literally… for generations! It’s a sign of Kristof’s rather massive intellectual myopia that he’s unaware of this.
Leftists — the ones known as “liberals” today — were the very same blithering morons screaming in Americas’s streets in the ’60’s, that President Nixon — a moderate-liberal squish if there ever was one — was somehow a “fascist,” and the most evil thing to come along in American history.
Nicholas Kristof was part of — in fact he was an enthusiastic participant in — that ghastly, fraudulent, lying, ghoulish tradition. Now, however, he wants the Left to rein in its younger, more zealous members. Where were you 60 years ago, Nick?
Okay, okay, okay… anything for a decent admission from the Left that the Left is going too far, right?
Here’s more from Kristof’s essay:
I fear that Trump has made it easy for liberal activists to demonize conservatives and evangelicals. People are complicated at every end of the spectrum, and it’s as wrong to stereotype conservatives or evangelicals as it is to stereotype someone on the basis of race, immigration status or sex.
Ummm… excuse me? Trump has made it easy for liberal activists to demonize conservatives and evangelicals?!?!?!? Don’t you love it how leftists are never wrong for doing bad things? In this case, “Trump made it easy“… to be a dirtbag. Right.
George Will once said — in defense of money in politics — something to the effect that, “money can’t corrupt the incorruptible.” The meaning was simple: if money in politics is corrupting politicians, it’s not the money’s fault, it’s the politicians’ fault. After all: money can’t corrupt the incorruptible.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not aware of any super power that Donald Trump possesses that would allow him to force leftists to demonize evangelicals and Conservatives.
That’s because Trump possesses no such super power.
Let’s re-write Kristof’s incorrect phrase properly. “Trump proved to be an excuse for dirtbags looking for any excuse to be dirtbags and demonize evangelicals and Conservatives.” And: Kristof’s blaming Trump for causing dirtbags to be dirtbags is kinda pathetic. Did “Johnny made me do it!” ever work with your mom?
Still, Kristof’s trying.
He followed up with this:
As a liberal, I mostly write about conservative blind spots. But on the left as well as the right, we can get so caught up in our narratives that we lose perspective; nobody has a monopoly on truth.
I could have written nearly that same paragraph!
It’s the very next sentence in that paragraph that ruins what’s a not horrible — just kinda stupid — essay from a committed leftist who’s responsible for a lot of the discord in America today.
Here’s the next sentence:
If Trump turns progressives into intolerant agents of incivility, then we have lost our souls.
Blyeech! Oh, spare me!
No one can ever turn anyone into “intolerant agents of incivility.” I was reading Kritof’s essay with a general feeling of well-being, of charitable benevolence toward a man — Nicholas Kristof — I’ve long known to be a leftist half-wit. Then Kristof pretended that Donald Trump has the magical powers necessary to “turn progressives into intolerant agents of incivility,” as opposed to the actual truth:
Leftists are agents of incivility because they choose to be agents of incivility, and for no other reason. Period. Full stop.
Leftists are the sole causes of their own character deficiencies, and no one else. This should not be controversial. No one on the planet possesses any special powers to turn leftists into the bad people they are.
One aspect of the disease that is leftism is the notion that people are like leaves in a stream; prey to forces far stronger than they, and when bad people become bad people then it’s really the fault of other bad people… who just happen to disagree with the leftists politically.(4)
What’s surprising to me is that I’d have to point any of that out to anyone on the planet, much less a respected, veteran commentator on the American scene like Nicholas Kristof.
(1) Or lying, or conspiring to ruin Weinstein, or a million other possibilities… Remember: it’t feminists who’ve been making these accusations. Their veracity is immediately suspect.
As many of you who follow this blog know, we’ve been focusing on that question lately. The question — What if you’re wrong? — must be answered by anyone contemplating anything of any importance.
We’ve posed that question lately in the context of the topic of slaughtering babies in utero. (<– we also have a policy of avoiding euphemisms when we can. Another person who tried to be plainspoken was: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) However, you — whoever you are — should always pose that question whenever you face an important decision.
Wrapped up in that question are literally (in the correct sense of the word) hundreds of lengthy books, so we don’t have time to discuss it now, but we’ll visit in in the near, and not-so-near, future, you can be sure of that.
(2) I did some stand-up comedy in my younger days. One of the routines I used to do was to riff on something like this. I’d find some person who had a perfect record at something, and I’d show how remarkable I was by indicating that I, also, had never lost to that person. If you ignored the fact that I’d never competed against that other great person, then you could conclude, indeed, that I was of the same caliber as the person with the perfect record. It made for some good laughs.
Once, I extended that a bit. A heckler in an audience was taking me to task and she said something about how she’d never heard anyone as unfunny as I was. I quickly shot back that, “we shared something in common… I’ve never met anyone like me either.” She laughed inadvertently, inhaled part of a peanut and some beer, and had to be rushed to the hospital. She was fine, thank goodness, but I stopped doing stand-up after that evening.
(3) Watching leftists, feminists and other assorted thugs, goons and fascists try to dismantle Jordan Peterson is generally pretty funny. The point is that Peterson’s not political. He’s a scientist… a psychologist, in fact. He has no political agenda. He does little more than… point to “the scientific literature” The Left, however, are not interested in science, except in pursuit of its political agendas.
(4) Interestingly, the leftists conclude that the blame stops, though, with the right. No outside forces forced them to become “bad people.” If you read Kristof’s piece you recognize readily that Kristof understands that leftists are becoming jerks and he believes that Trump is making them that way. That’s the leftist disease. In the Leftist mind, leftist evil is okay, because it’s not their fault. But rightist evil is bad, because it is their fault. Don’t try to make sense of it… trying to make sense of what Leftists believe will make you crazy.