Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Laughing at Little Green Footballs

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has a post up called, "Why I Parted Ways With The Right." He lists 10 things that supposedly caused him to "part ways." Many others have already commented on his post. But I thought I'd give my take. Lest any LGF defenders think this is a typical knee-jerk right-wing response, let's quickly run down some of my positions. I probably agree with Johnson on many issues. For anyone new here, aside from being an atheist, I'm pro-choice, pro-gay marriage & strongly pro-gay rights in general, pro-immigration and in favor of some sort of amnesty for illegals, and pro-legalization of drugs & prostitution. With that out of the way, let's consider Johnson's points, and why I laugh at them.

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.) This is nonsense. Pat Buchanan isn't popular with most on the right, McCain is just a blogger, most on the right have no idea who Vlaams Belang is, and don't support the BNP. Pat Buchanan has been a conservative for decades. His influence is probably lower now than it's ever been, yet somehow he's now a reason to leave the right. And there is little or no support for actual fascists on the right. Johnson probably knows all that, so reason #1 is just blatant intellectual dishonesty.

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.) None of these people actually support "white supremacism," and bigotry and hatred is pretty vague. Smearing people as white supremacists could be described as bigotry and hatred. Lew Rockwell is not exactly popular with the vast majority of the right, so his inclusion is idiotic. And again, Buchanan & Coulter are long-time conservatives, hardly reasons to leave the right now. Point #2 is based on nothing but empty slurs, and an apparent personal vendetta against another blogger.

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.) Ridiculous hyperbole. The religious right and anti-abortion groups have long been part of the right. Point #3 can easily be dismissed as hysterical exaggeration.

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.) Support for creationism among part of the right is again nothing new. And climate change denialism is no more anti-science than extremist global warming fanaticism -- which is actually far more dangerous. Skepticism is far preferable to fanaticism. Point #4 is pretty weak, and only applies to part of the right anyway.

5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.) Sarah Palin is hardly some sort of poster-child for "homophobic bigotry," based on her record as governor. I'm no Palin fan, but that characterization is just another smear. That seems to be a Johnson specialty. And again, the religious right has long been part of the right. Pretending that its continued existence is a reason for breaking with the right is just silly and unconvincing. Point #5, gratuitous Palin smear and pointless sputtering about the religious right. 

6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.) Oh please. Why not just write, point 6, because I'm now a clueless leftist. Look, I'll even spout their propaganda. Fox News, Fox News!!! And although this point doesn't even deserve a response, I'll just note that most anti-government lunacy is still far preferable to most big government lunacy.

7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc Alex Jones isn't a right-wing figure, Glenn Beck is doing his own thing, and conspiracy theories are prevalent on both left and right. It's also pretty amusing that Johnson, who smears opponents as white supremacists, bigots, etc, is somehow worried about "hate speech." This point is sort of a combination of hypocrisy and irrelevance.

8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.) This is obvious nonsense to anyone who actually reads the right-wing blogosphere. I regularly read Hot Air and I've never seen a single instance of anything that could be reasonably described as hate speech, except from some commenters. And if you are going to count commenters, there's hate speech all over the internet on all sides. Point #8 is either a flat-out lie, or Johnson using a definition of "hate speech" to mean basically anything he disagrees with.

9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.) I think there are some that do go too far in their attacks on Muslims at large, as opposed to the radical element. Johnson either doesn't know what fascism is, is being deliberately dishonest, or is using the left-wing definition, just a smear for someone on the right who holds opposing views. And there's obviously no support for genocide, except maybe for a few extremists. As for "violence," that's so vague it's meaningless. Only the first part of this point has any validity at all, and it applies to only a minority of the right.

10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source) Another massive exaggeration and attempt to smear the entire right with the views of a extremist fringe.I'm sure Johnson is well-aware that most of the criticism of Obama is based on his policies, not racism, hatred or conspiracies. It's possible that Johnson really believes left-wing propaganda, but it's more likely this is just another example of his intellectual dishonesty.

Overall, Johnson's reasons for breaking with the right are nothing short of laughable. The majority of the right does not subscribe to most of the positions he attacks, and he relies on slurs, propaganda, ludicrous exaggeration, and vague terms like "hate speech." Having read some of his material before, I find it difficult to believe that he actually swallows the left-wing propaganda he's spouting. Therefore it appears that his post is nothing more than an intellectually dishonest attempt to cover up the real reasons he has left the right. I'm not sure what those are, but they appear to have something to do with personal vendettas against other bloggers.

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