This might have happened recently or it might just be the “Frog in a pot of boiling water” effect, but the recent controversy around Chick Fil A and gay marriage made me notice how that debate fits into a bigger picture. I’ve read articles, seen blog posts, and seen tons of electrons spilled on Facebook1 over the Chick Fil A / Gay Marriage issue. I’ve noticed that a great deal of the leftist sentiment often uses carefully crafted language to define their opponents’ positions – “against gay rights”, “anti-gay”, or my personal favorite, “Extreme anti-gay”. Aside from my referring to people who disagree with me as leftists (which as far as I can tell all of them have been), I try to avoid labeling other’s views, as it takes away from the argument itself.2 For example, I’ve followed the lead of other right-leaning writers in labeling people in the abortion debate by their chosen monikers of “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. All of that said, I’ve noticed a disturbing overuse of one particular word that I just noted – extreme.
We see the extremist moniker applied to any conservative position:
- Believe that marriage is between a man and a woman? Extreme anti-gay.
- Are you against abortion? Extreme anti-women
- You’re also part of the “War on Women” if you support a woman’s right to choose to buy contraceptives with her own money but don’t want to buy them for her yourself
- Against allowing our president and Congress to spend more money than we could ever hope to repay? Extremist!
- Believe in the rights of citizens to defend themselves? Extremists under the influence of the gun lobby
- Tea Partiers? Fuhgetaboudit – Believing that the government shouldn’t spend at insane levels so as to fund new and inventive ways to intrude in our lives is extremist, not to mention racist!
Sadly, we don’t see people on the right call out the Democrats or leftist journalists (but I repeat myself) when they throw out these buzz words. Naturally, everyone sees their own opinions as perfectly reasonable, but from what I’ve seen Conservatives use the “extreme” label a lot less frequently. Phrases like that are useful to try to paint yourself as the reasonable person in the debate while your opponent is out on the fringe, but it’s not useful for that respectful dialogue that leftists claim to want.
To go back to one of my favorite “extremist” arguments on cutting government spending versus raising taxes to balance our budget, I’ve already done the math and explained that tax increases will not work, and I’ve drawn the perfect analogy:
Leftists truly believe that we can balance our budget with a combination of spending cuts reduced rate of government growth along with tax increases on somebody else. To illustrate why this plan will not work I compare our economy to a car that is driving at 100 MPH and sees a sign that there is a cliff a mile away. The conservative will say that we need to alter our course by at least 90 degrees or we will drive off of the cliff. The leftist at the wheel will call for a balanced approach of slowing down to 80 MPH and altering our course by 30 degrees. While your driver is patting himself on the back for being reasonable and the balance of his bipartisan approach, at the end of the day the economy does its best impression of Thelma and Louise.
You can call me extremist all you want, but while nobody likes the guy who holds an intervention, keeping our country alive is not extremist. Driving us off of a fiscal cliff is.
And as much as leftists hate to admit it, their party has taken a leftward turn that can not be described as moderate. Anyone who has followed the president’s policies over the last few years can see it firsthand. There have been smaller signs too. Remember porkbusters.com? That was a site dedicated to exposing pork spending projects when we had a Republican president. For some mysterious reason it went inactive some time in late 2008. I’m not sure what happened, but it might have been around the same time that dissent stopped being the highest form of patriotism. Even more disturbing was one segment of the Democratic party that went away. Back in the early 2000s I was looking for a good moderate Democratic site for news. One of my lefty pals recommended the Democratic Leadership Council – the DLC. I signed up for their newsletter and heard from them at various times until early 2010 – Apparently they disbanded. Given all of the other events happening around that time this would not have been a big news item (unless it was about the GOP), but it was one sign that in today’s Democratic party there is no longer room for moderates.
I want to close with a favorite example of how leftists like to think that conservatives have “become” so much more extreme than years ago. They do this by bringing up Ronald Reagan, who while they loathed him while he was alive has now become a model “leftist”. They like to point out that based things like his tax increases (I’m not giving a link on this one – if you think Reagan loved raising taxes do your homework on his deal with the Democrats in Congress) and that given his overall record he could never have been elected in today’s toxic, extremist environment. Those are fair points to raise, and easily shot down but the kind of points that deserve to be debated. So let’s look at this from another direction…
Do you think that Bill Clinton could even get elected to the Senate in today’s environment? I doubt he could even get out of a Democratic primary today. He is a Democrat who:
- Negotiated a massive trade deal with our neighbors
- Signed welfare reform into law
- Was on the verge of making a deal with Newt Gingrich to reform and save our Social Security system when Monicagate broke and had both parties circling the wagons
Look where we are today – getting minor bilateral trade deals is a phenomenal chore, President Obama decided to use an executive order to gut welfare reform, and fighting Social Security reform was the rallying cry for Democrats after the 2004 election. It looks like the only major policy of Clinton’s that Obama likes were his tax increases.
Far be it for me to judge, but could it be that our president and is supporters are…. extremists?
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog
1.My Facebook citation may not be an accurate sampling, as I think that most of my FB friends, or at least the most vocal wants tend to be leftists or center-left.
2. My personal exception is the issue of
global warming climate change. I always refer to them as global warm mongers or as followers of an anti-scientific religious cult. I know it’s not the most constructive way to debate, but since nobody on the left is willing to renounce the fools who continually label any naysayers as “flat earthers”, “Holocaust deniers”, or “anti-science”, I’m not going to afford your side any respect if you won’t do the same. Curse the British all you want for bombing Dresden, but it only happened after years of the Luftwaffe bombing their civilians. That said, I’ve had some very enjoyable debates with my saner friends from that side of the issue.