Narcissism and the American Left

John Perry Barlow, referring to the 2004 elections, writes:

We can’t afford to lose this one, folks. If we do, we’ll have to set our watches back 60 years. If they even let us have watches in the camps, that is.

“If they even let us have watches in the camps.” This is a perfect example
of a kind of left-wing rhetorical posturing that makes me want to go out and
vote for conservatives I normally loathe. In this it has exactly the opposite
effect from what John Perry Barlow intends.

Barlow wants to leave us with an if-this-goes-on image of a Bush-dominated
future in which Barlow and his friends are hauled off to concentration camps
by mirrorshaded thugs, crushing dissent as though the U.S. were pre-liberation
Iraq or something.

I would love to be able to echo Charles Babbage and say that I am
not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that
could provoke such a statement. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I find it
all too comprehensible, and not in a way that’s very flattering to
John Perry Barlow or others like him. It’s a form of posturing by
anticipatory martyrdom, simultaneously demonizing Barlow’s enemies and
inflating his own importance.

“Oh, look at me!” it says. “I’m a brave speaker of truth
to power, so brave that I’m going to say bad things about Republicans
despite the fact that they will certainly throw me in the gulags as
soon as they think they can get away with it.” I’ve been around long
enough to know that this is a line lefties of Barlow’s and my age
originally learned in order to pick up women back in those halcyon
radical-chic days of forty years ago. It gets a bit old after your
third decade of waiting for the Man to bust your door down.

Let’s get real. Even supposing Bush were really the concretization
of all those 1960s nightmares, an evil bastard backed by a cabal of
goose-stepping minions, from their point of view throwing John Perry
Barlow in the Lubyanka would be a ridiculous thing to do.
Remember how conservatives think: from their point of view, Barlow is
just another aging hippie burnout given to occasional quasi-coherent
rants about that Internet thing. In their model of reality, all
they’d be doing by giving him the Solzhenitzyn treatment is conferring
an importance on him that he doesn’t possess.

I have somewhat more respect for Barlow myself, enough that it
survived the fact that the last time I was actually face-to-face with
him he was obnoxiously drunk and patronizing. He’s an erratic but
occasionally brilliant polemicist. But trying to imagine anybody in
the inner circle of Skull & Bones (or whatever the left-wingers’ hate
focus is this week) taking him seriously enough to bother bagging and
tagging him just makes me laugh.

And if I can’t believe John Perry Barlow is enough of a threat to
get gulaged by the mythical Bush stormtroopers, how seriously am I
supposed to take the-Man’s-coming-for-us posturing from the rank and
file of the Bush-haters? Yeah, sure, the black marias are coming for
all of you, all you twentysomething unemployed sysadmins and riot grrls
and latte makers with your piercings and your Green Party T-shirts.
As if.

There are lots of objective reasons this scenario is silly. One of
many is that our institutions won’t support it. I know the police in
my town; they wouldn’t obey orders to throw Dean voters in jail. I
just got through reading a book about the force structure of today’s
U.S. infantry, and I can tell you that even if the second Bush
administration were to complete the trashing of the posse
comitatus
laws that Clinton began and withdraw every damn grunt
from overseas, there aren’t enough troops. Even assuming
100% of them signed up to be concentration-camp guards, there
wouldn’t be enough of them to man the camps.
And the trends are all
towards a smaller, more skill-intensive military, so in the future
assembling enough goons for a darkess-at-noon scenario will be
harder rather than easier.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Attorney-General Ashcroft is
not pushing for federalized gun control and a ban on civilian
firearms. Which is the first damn thing any right-wing cabal (or any
left-wing one, for that matter) would do if they were contemplating
really serious dissent-crushing. Again, the trend is in the other
direction — the assault-weapon ban is going to lapse, and the
Bush crowd is going to let it happen. Much of the American left
fools itself that civilian firearms don’t matter in the political
power equation, but conservatives know better.

For that matter, I am certain — because I’ve discussed
related topics with him — that John Perry Barlow himself knows
better. Which makes his willingness to posture about the Man coming
to throw us in concentration camps less forgiveable than it would be
in someone who’s a complete moron on the subject, like (say) Michael
Moore.

But what really repels me about the kind of posturing I’m nailing
John Perry Barlow for isn’t the objective silliness of it, it’s the
fact that it represents a kind of triumph of paranoid self-absorption
as a political style. People in the (mainly left-wing) anti-Bush
crowd snort with derision when they hear hard-right propaganda about
how the Zionist Occupation Government is going to come after all true
American white men with those black helicopters; why do they tolerate
rhetoric that is just as narcissistic coming from their own?

Idiots. They make me want to go vote for somebody like Pat Buchanan
just out of spite. Fortunately, I’m not a spiteful person, and have so
far resisted this temptation.

And I don’t think it’s just me that sees people like John Perry
Barlow actually dealing themselves out of the future when they make
remarks like this. Narcissistic politics is not a luxury we can
afford any more. It was OK during our holiday from history,
1992-2001, between the fall of the Soviet Union and 9/11, but we’re in
serious times now. Our nation, and our civilization, are under
continuing threat by terrorists who have demonstrated both the will
and the ability to commit atrocities against Americans, and who loudly
trumpet their intention to keep killing us.

We need people like John Perry Barlow to be in the debate
about how to cope with this. That means we need people like John Perry
Barlow not to trivialize and disqualify themselves with silly
posturing. Please get real, people. George Bush has flaws I could
list from here to Sunday, but pretending that you’re all doomed
victims if he’s re-elected is pathological.

And deep down, you know better, too. The last two years have given
us not just relatively smart people like John Perry Barlow but legions
of mindless show-biz glitterati making a particularly ironic spectacle
of themselves — protesting the crushing of dissent in front of
huge audiences. Thereby demonstrating their own lack of
contact with reality in a way that can only help the very opponents they
think of as a sinister cabal. With enemies this visibly stupid and
feckless, who needs friends? They’ll drive the big middle of the
electorate right into Republican arms.

Let’s state the consequences very simply: Every time somebody like
John Perry Barlow goes on in public about how the camps are waiting
for us all, Karl Rove laughs and, quite rightly, figures his guy Bush
is more of a lock this November. And you know what? He’s right.
Because if I hear much more of this crap, even I am going to
vote Republican for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

52 thoughts on “Narcissism and the American Left

  1. “If they even let us have watches in the camps, that is.”

    it’s a figure of speech, eric — a dumb little metaphor that’s supposed to illustrate how repressive the author feels the right to be…calm down. you of all people should understand grandiose and bombastic literary techniques.

  2. We can all be prone to throwaway hyperbole. “A form of posturing by anticipatory martyrdom” could be used to describe your post where you spoke about personally preventing terrorists from kidnapping and torturing you to extract possible attack plans against the US.

    I’d say that both sides are prone to exaggerate the potential threats from their favourite bugbears. On a cranky day, JPB thinks that the domestic right-wing’s excesses will lead to the Gulag. On the other side, a rich religious fundamentalist with a team smaller than the Rotarians has convinced some that an entire civilisation is breathing down their necks.

    In both cases, it feels like jumpy hominid pattern-matching. The chains of reasoning stretch.

  3. I haven’t finished reading the article yet, but I hope you’re right about the lapsing of the assault weapons ban.

    One thing I can’t stomach about the liberals (of which I consider myself one) is their rabid gun control advocacy. Prohibition has failed time and time again and gun control will fair no differently.

    Good gun control is a steady hand and other trite sayings.

  4. But…but… as you know too well, Barlow is the very model of the modern major self-absorbed paranoid narcissist. If the colleges didn’t have a new freshman class every year, he’d never have new acolytes.

    In a way, folks like him (I especially like the Chris Lydon comment that Deanblog comments are not, NOT blather), are the canaries in the coal mine into which the Democratic Party has wandered. The gas gets thicker as they go deeper.

    Many footprints going in. None coming out.

  5. “Even assuming 100% of them signed up to be concentration-camp guards, there wouldn’t be enough of them to man the camps.”

    One armed guard is enought to watch over 50-100 detainees at concentration camps (past and present). Also, arresting one in a hundred citizens sends a powerful message that effectively crushes dissent. Furthermore, it is so easy to recruit ten times as much police/troops than we have now (e.g. in Serbia, Milosevic employed 0.5% of population as police within a couple of years).

    We already have facilities to incarcerate two million people. Theoretically, with the current armed forces, it is perfectly possible to replace all jailed crack addicts with left-wing “idiots”.

    And by the way, Eric, you should do what you preach: calling people who think differently “idiots” will not create a meaningful discussion. People like you make me want to vote for Dean just out of spite.

  6. Please do vote for Dean, but before you do be sure to give him LOTS of money! Please, please, please do NOT give money or effort or votes to any other Democrat.

    And be sure, darned SURE, that you note the overwhelming CRUSHING of DISSENT frequently.

    Please.

    We’re depending on people JUST LIKE YOU.

    You are only in error when you berate Eric for calling people like Barlow. I’ve worked with Barlow and I can assure you that he is indeed an idiot. There’s a difference between ‘thinking differently’ and being just plain wrong. This idea that hallucinatory stupidity as found on Barlow’s page is just “thinking differently” is an insult to difference and thinking.

    “I’m thinking that ‘they’re’ coming to take ‘us’ away to the camps.” — I suppose you could say that that is “different thinking,” but why not save a word and call it “idiocy?”

    And as far as replacing crackheads with leftists in our jails, what good would that do? Crackheads can easily be swapped out for leftists in the Dean machine. You just teach them to type and give them a blog. A day of transistion and everything would seem the same.

  7. You guys sound so reasonable, and then I go & read this article:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/30/MNG1640F501.DTL

    It’s about how the Justice Dept is using a “sailor mongering” law from 1872 to punish Greenpeace for aggressive activism (hanging an anti-Bush banner on a ship) by its members. Can you even define “sailor mongering” without resorting to a dictionary?

    While we’re at it, can I hear some support for the “free speech zones” being set up by the Secret Service whenever Bush appears in public? Is that the America you want?

    Was Barlow engaging in hyperbole in talking about “camps”? Sure. Did it have a basis in fact, that dissent is right now being stifled in ways that go beyond anything the country’s seen since the days of COINTELPRO? Absolutely.

    s/n:r

  8. You said:

    “Narcissistic politics is not a luxury we can afford any more. It was OK during our holiday from history, 1992-2001, between the fall of the Soviet Union and 9/11, but we’re in serious times now.”

    Perhaps, but it’s not the first time we have attempted to take a holiday from history. In an effort to buffer themselves from the effects of war in Europe, the Republican Old Guard shut down most attempts to make any sort of global foreign policy, including and especially the League of Nations. The U.S. during the Twenties and, yes, the Thirties as well, was *incredibly* narcissistic.

    There is a long-standing strain of American thought running all the way back to Jamestown and Plymouth. That thought pattern states that we, the Americans, came to escape Europe and create our own land, and we should be able to ignore everyone else and become self-absorbed. It has been tried many times, and it *never* works.

  9. Gerard, Eric tends to call “idiot/moron” everyone he disagrees with. I personally think that half of the politicians out there are idiots, but calling them names makes the dialog impossible. Disclaimer: I have never heard of Barlow before and have not read his article.

    Eric and I are equally paranoid about ‘them’ taking us to camps. To prevent it, he clings to his firearms and I advocate against Patriot Act.

  10. esr:
    As others have noted in these comments, you have been known to use hyperbole yourself in your writings. Expressing such indignation over Barlow’s rhetorical excesses rings a little hollow, coming from such a noted polemicist.

    BTW, I doubt that you were old enough to be trying out any radical-chic pickup lines forty years ago. Perhaps thirty-five years ago?

    snr:
    Though using “sailor mongering” as the basis of the charge against Greenpeace is, um, innovative (to say the least), it sounds as they did commit criminal trespass. I’m a rocket engineer, not a lawyer, but I don’t think the First Amendment covers either breaking and entering or simple vandalism.

    If you want to run a sign past the Golden Gate, guys, get yer own boat. I’m pretty sure you have a few.

  11. tim smith = while i agree that somehting needs to be done stop greenpeace , there has to also be something wrong if the only way it can be done is to use a law that hasn’t been used in over 100 years . then again , there’s something wrong with laws that old and unused still being on the books.

    as to camps – again – the “free speech zones” are camps. fenced in with barbed wire.
    on top of which – Germany never had enough troops to encamp EVERY dissenter , only the ones who wouldn’t shut up. it was amazing how small the voices against the government became after a few people dissapeared in the night.
    i am a bush supporter , and a conservative , but i’m not about to shout “go bush – right or wrong , go , go , go”. he is trampling too many rights of the citizen’s in this war on terrorism , and doing it in a manner that does NOT offer the biggest bang for the buck.

  12. dead cell: Politics is sometimes unfortunately reduced to picking the least of many evils, tempered by pragmatism. Saying “I’ll vote Bush to keep Dean out of office” is sometimes necessary, especially when your chosen third party has yet to recieve an electoral college vote or even come close.

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  14. Though using “sailor mongering” as the basis of the charge against Greenpeace is, um, innovative (to say the least), it sounds as they did commit criminal trespass.

    Greenpeace the organization didn’t commit trespass, but it’s the organization that’s being prosecuted. There may be cases where an activist organization should be held liable for the actions of its members, but if you have to break out a law that hasn’t been used in 100 years to do it, there’s something else going on.

    In case anybody’s missed out on the “free speech zone” attacks, here’s a good article on it:

    http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/feature.html

    And while we’re at it, here’s the docket sheet for one of the cases mentioned in the article, USA vs Bursey:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/bursey-docket-dsc-03cr309.html

    I dare somebody to tell me this is what they want people to think of when they say “America”. Can you do it, Eric?

    s/n:r

  15. Saying “I’ll vote Bush to keep Dean out of office” is sometimes necessary, especially when your chosen third party has yet to recieve an electoral college vote or even come close.

    Third parties will never work in the US, because the Constitution says the President must be elected by a plurality of the Electoral College. This means third parties will always be a spoiler for whichever party they split off from.

    s/n:r

  16. whoah now settle down get a-long

    now you are saying that he can;t be an internet expert because of his lack of knowledge of instapundit?

    i’ve been an internet expert since 1997, and i didn’t know what instapundit was back than.

  17. I mean, blogging was the Hot Technology Media DotCom Buzzword of 2001/2002, and Instapundit was the #1 blog of the time. I would like to think by Dec/2003 any Internet “expert” would at least know who the guy is.

  18. I dislike the hysterics as much as a next man, but I do have to say that “Solgenitsin treatment” was applied to Solgenitsin when he was a nobody, a lieutenant in Soviet Army. And, lack of armed force never stopped a government from runnig a gulag. “Build it and they will come”.

    I certainly hope that mr. Bartlow (whoever he is) will not be jailed any time soon, but your arguments against that possibility are silly at best. Have you read “Gulag Archipelago”?

  19. I certainly hope that mr. Bartlow (whoever he is) will not be jailed any time soon, but your arguments against that possibility are silly at best. Have you read “Gulag Archipelago”?

    Comparing Soviet rule to the US government is pretty silly. By the time Solzhenitsyn was sent to the gulag, millions had been killed in many rounds of Red Terror. Note that Red Terror began with the toppling of the czar and the establishment of the Soviet Union. That’s right – the really serious repression in Russia began with the Soviet Union’s establishment – the czar fell because he kept on sending radicals to jail, from which they emerged to plot another day, whereas the Communist regime persisted because Communists used to kill dissidents (and in cases, their entire families).

  20. I am dating myself, but I do recall a silly professor–otherwise quite a good teacher–who smiled happily when he told us LBJ was refurbishing abandoned WWII posts for the purpose of jailing intellectuals and dissenters. That, he implied, included him. Since his lunch was not running down his trouser leg, to use Mark Steyn’s phrase, we can assume he didn’t really, really believe it.
    I never heard anybody trying to pick up chicks directly with that line, but I saw it used in groups, with a “poor me, I should get a pity pop before they take me away” overtone. No idea if it worked.
    As an ex-grunt, I will say that the current US military isn’t going to jail their fellow citizens.
    We currently jail those who commit what are generally considered crimes.
    It isn’t transferable to those who commit thinking. That would require jailing the entire military establishment. That would truly be a who-will-watch-the-watchers moment.

  21. Take a look at what happened at the FTAA summit in Florida. Take a look at what’s happening at every Bush appearance anywhere. People are being jailed for dissent. Not by the millions, but it is happening. What’s the formula, how many should be punished for their opinions before it’s a problem that needs handling?

    I suspect we’ll find out this fall in NY and Boston.

    s/n:r

  22. On setting up the Gulags. History has shown us that it seems to be necessary to have an “us” vs. “them” dynamic to start the camps. Aryans vs. Jews, Russian Commies vs. Opressors/Ukranians/etc., Serbs vs. Croats, etc. We don’t have that here. We didn’t in the 60s when the politics were much more divided.

    On the Fla. protest arrests being an EEEVIL GWB/Rove plot: The cops that did the arrests were in a city and county controlled by ….. Democrats.

  23. I believe “free speech zones” have been around for sometime. Doesn’t anyone remember the ruccus at the 2000 Democrat and Republican conventions. Protestors were going apeshit b/c they couldn’t get close to the conventions.

  24. snr: Take a look at what happened at the FTAA summit in Florida. Take a look at what’s happening at every Bush appearance anywhere. People are being jailed for dissent.

    That’s another load of BS. Protesters are being jailed for vandalizing public and private property, preventing people from doing business and obstructing traffic. Protesters may feel they should be allowed to vent in a manner that includes property destruction and inconveniencing other people, but there are laws against that in this country.

  25. “People are being jailed for dissent.” That’s another load of BS. Protesters are being jailed for vandalizing public and private property, preventing people from doing business and obstructing traffic.

    It would help if you read the thread of comments before posting to it. I already posted two links that lay out in great detail how this is being done. But since you’re too intellectually lazy to bother, I’ll have to do it again:

    http://www.amconmag.com/12_15_03/feature.html
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/bursey-docket-dsc-03cr309.html

    Read the whole damn trial docket and tell me what Bursey vandalized or who he interfered with. I won’t hold my breath for an apology.

    s/n:r

  26. I should’ve taken my own advice and read the docket more closely myself; Bursey was where he shouldn’t have been, his case is not the best example for my point.

    But the point still stands, if you read the American Conservative article (I’m looking for a good one on the FTAA). People are being harassed and arrested because of what they’re saying, and it’s not all about vandalism or trespass.

    s/n:r

  27. OMG the sting of the arrows is a horrible thing, but someone had to do the dirty job. And he did. Reread this article if there’s any confusion.

  28. Barlow was overstating the case, but I think you sunk somewhat lower than he, when you ascribe his bombast to knee-jerk rhetoric, on the part of an aging hippie trying to get laid.

    Come to think of it, you invoke that canard to explain other people’s views with surprising frequency. This idea of leftists getting all the chicks (as if!) seems to really bug you. Maybe I’d understand if I was on campus in the 60s and 70s.

    Anyway, under the Bush administration, we really have seen moves towards giving the executive branch the power to arbitrarily strip Americans of their rights. I do not think this is a matter open to interpretation — the text of Patriot II has it in black and white.

    I think Barlow is a lot more on target than someone (for instance) publishing a picture of Bill Gates as Hitler. And furthermore, in his blog, he’s recognized that many opposing views are well-reasoned and civil.

    You are free to believe that he’s still a fool, but it is beneath reasonable discourse to tar him the way you did.

  29. Not knowing who Instapundit is doesn’t mean someone is ‘net illiterate. Yeesh. Blogging is a small part of the net; it would behoove folks to remember that particular fact.

    Barlow founded the EFF, an organization that has been one of the most influential when it comes to the online world.

    Remember that next time you pirate some music from Kazaa, or something. They’re defending peer-to-peer sharing.

    Morons.

  30. I doubt Bush will lock us all in camps, despite his having asked for the power to do so. But do you trust the government to use its new powers for good, indefinitely? Do you trust the armed forces to resist tyranny indefinitely? And do you think the threat of terrorism will go away in the foreseeable future?

    Also, I have to mention this: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/01/04/INGPQ40MET1.DTL&type=printable Of course, the man they sent to Syria’s Ministry of Love was from Canada. No word on whether or not the secret program allows such treatment of Americans.

  31. Summary of ESRs Article:
    – We have nothing to fear from a government that seeks more power over it’s people
    – It’s OK, they’re letting us keep our guns anyway
    – Poor US has so many enemies, these impositions on liberty protect us from our enemies
    – Skip analysis of why America has a hard-on for the Right
    – Skip analysis of why America’s support of Israel might actually be the root cause of the “War on Terror”, and for what benefit to the US?
    – Turn 12 words of hyperbole into a case for narcissism, in a blog of all places

    But that’s ok. He was sitting in a “free-speech zone” at the time.

  32. There’s no need to actually arrest everyone who disagrees. All they have to do is arrest the most vocal ten thousand or so and torture them. That will scare off almost everyone else. Concentration camps are never needed for idealogical purification — only for eugenetics projects.

    How close is this to happening? Well, look at the FTAA meetings. I personally know ten people who went down there. Eight were injured. One of those required hospitalization. None of them engaged in any violence or property destruction. None of them were arrested.

    About 600 people were arrested, however. I don’t think any of them were charged. A few of them may have been raped, but I haven’t heard a first-hand account of that.

    And yes, that protest would have been a lot larger if more people had dared to come. Whenever anyone conciders going to a demonstration, the first question is “How likely am I to get arrested?” The answer is sometimes “very likely” and sometimes “not likely”, but it’s always “but you never know.”

    And for most purposes, that’s enough to intimidate people.

  33. “Much of the American left fools itself that civilian firearms don’t matter in the political power equation, but conservatives know better.”

    I’m probably coming to this thread far too late to get any attention, but can anyone explain this? I understood that in any possible armed conflict inside America, which seems kind of unlikely viewed from the YouKay but what the hell, victory would be decided by the possession of battlefield systems operated by military units, and the presence or absence of groups of fat guys in camo armed with civilian firearms would not be terribly relevant. If by “the political power equation” you mean the NRA’s letter-writing/lobbying machine, otoh, fair enough.

  34. We on the Right define freedom as not having the government crush us. The Left defines freedom as the freedom to get the government to crush those they don’t like.

  35. “The Left defines freedom as the freedom to get the government to crush those they don’t like.”

    Do they define it that way explicitly, or is it necessary to sort of read between the lines?

  36. Why does the Right favor police state tactics like domestic surveillance and persecution of demonstrators, and corrupting government and law (especially victimless “crimes”) with dogma from their religion?

  37. “victory would be decided by the possession of battlefield systems operated by military units, and the presence or absence of groups of fat guys in camo armed with civilian firearms would not be terribly relevant”

    What you seem to misunderstand is that civilians WOULD have larger pieces eventually. If you have a pistol, you use it to gain access to a rifle. You use a rifle to capture grenades and explosives. You use those to disrupt larger vehicles and tanks. Why everyone seems to think guerilla warfare can work anywhere in the world except in the US with civilian arms is beyond me.

  38. Gregory : I’m not talking about individual pieces of heavy equipment, but about heavily-networked battlefield information systems which are likely to provide effective supremacy on any non-urban battleield. Tanks are ridiculously vulnerable these days, too, and civilians are unlikely to be capturing and teaching themselves to operate combat helicopters, for example.

  39. Ken : I have (unless you mean “Go get some education, in which case “phthbttt”), and the lefty stoonts there, while in many ways sadly deluded and given to PC silliness, were in no way trying to get the government to crush those they didn’t like. They seemed to think the government was going to try to crush *them*, although it appeared to have much more important things to do. But I don’t know what US colleges are like.

  40. Eric, another thing along the same lines as your post are those who keep insisting now that Bush is not the President. I’m currently engaged in a debate with someone who at every point (regardless of whether it’s relevant to the debate at hand) has to refer to him as The (p)Resident. I’ve pointed out to him that this shows a weakness in his argument, since he needs to resort to ad hominem, but…

    Anyways, to get back on topic, your comment about almost wanting to vote for Buchanan strikes a chord. I’m not voting for Bush (probably will vote for Nolan), but part of me hopes Bush wins big, just to silence this sort of silliness.

  41. You have not left the democratic party it has left you. They have moved so far to the left now it’s insane. JFK, no not John Kerry the real JFK was for strong military, lowering taxes, and was a lifetime member of the NRA. Look at your party now. That’s right. Your a Republican and didn’t even know it. Put away your Union news letter, they don’t care about you anymore.

  42. This is but one example of many ridiculous statements by the left.

    From Howard Dean saying “Oh, it is an interesting theory that George Bush knew about 911 before it happened,” to “Oh Bush lost the popular election, so he is an invalid president” (uh, we do live in a republic).

    Obviously, these statements are ridiculous to anyone remotely intelligent and informed. But they are made anyway. These comments are calculated to engender the maximum unity of a group of people. When the facts don’t work for them, they invent ridiculous statements and specious reasons in order to do make unity, because after all, truth is subjective, and the end justifies the left’s means.

    The left has become more religion than political organization. While I do know leftists whom I admire, the rank and file appears to follow a very predictable profile:

    Renewable Energy (Wind, Solar, Biomass, whatever) is Good, Nuclear Bad
    Cold Fusion, the Conspiracy
    Democrat, Good
    Bush Evil
    Michael Moore, the most insightful person on earth

    In short, the mass of the left are non-thinking religious zealots, who are often inspired comments such as John Barlow’s.

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