The totalitarian left

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online highlights those Americans who cannot separate politics from the many aspects of life that have nothing to do with politics.

One of the less understood criticisms of progressivism is that it is totalitarian, not in the sense that kale-eating Brooklynites want to build prison camps for political nonconformists (except for the ones who want to lock up global-warming skeptics) but in the sense that it assumes that there is no life outside of politics, that there is no separate sphere of private life, and that church, family, art, and much else properly resides within that sphere. …

… Esar’s Comic Dictionary (1943) contains two definitions of the word “fanatic,” often wrongly attributed (by me, among others) to Winston Churchill: First, “A person who redoubles his efforts after having forgotten his aims.” Second (my favorite), “One who can’t change his opinion and won’t change the subject.”

If you want to see fanaticism at work, try looking for a roommate in Washington or New York City.

From the New York Times we learn of the emergence of the “no-Trump clause” in housing ads in our liberal (which is to say, illiberal) metropolitan areas. The idea is nothing new — I saw similar “No Republicans Need Apply” ads years ago when looking for apartments in Washington and New York — but the intensity seems to have been turned up a measure or two: In 2017, the hysteria knob goes up to eleven. Katie Rogers of the Times offers an amusingly deadpan report:

In one recent ad, a couple in the area who identified themselves as “open-minded” and liberal advertised a $500 room in their home: “If you’re racist, sexist, homophobic or a Trump supporter please don’t respond. We won’t get along.”

That’s a funny kind of open-mindedness — it is in fact literal prejudice. It is also illiterate: Whatever Donald Trump’s defects, to associate him with homophobia is a stretch to the point of dishonesty, inasmuch as Trump in 2017 is well to the liberal side of Barack Obama in 2008 on gay marriage. Trump’s personal style is abrasive and confrontational, but he also is on the actual policy issues arguably the most moderate Republican president of the modern era, one who often has boasted of taking a more progressive view of such issues as abortion, gay rights, gun control, raising taxes on Wall Street, and what we used to call “industrial policy.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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