Conspiracy theories and the left

Katrina Gulliver writes at National Review Online that far too many left-of-center partisans seem to have taken leave of their senses.

… [S]uch conspiracy-minded thinking is ascendant within the online #resistance. Left-wing Twitter sees secret white-supremacist symbols everywhere these days. In May, comedian Dean Obeidallah asked Twitter user Bill Presson “are u wearing a Nazi outfit?” Presson’s profile picture was indeed of a man in uniform — his father, who served in the U.S. Army and was killed in Vietnam. When this was pointed out, Obeidallah was decent enough to apologize. “I had no idea and I sincerely couldn’t tell that was an American uniform nor that the photo was your late father. Your father was a true patriot,” he wrote to Presson. Left unanswered was the question of who, upon seeing a military insignia they don’t recognize, immediately assumes that it’s a Nazi uniform.

In another Twitter outrage earlier this year, New Yorker staffer Talia Lavin was forced to resign after accusing a veteran who lost his legs in Afghanistan of being a Nazi, assuming that one of his tattoos, which was actually a symbol of his platoon, was an Iron Cross. And then there was Samantha Bee’s gleeful, televised judgment that a young man whose hair was partly shaved for cancer treatment was sporting a “Nazi haircut.” …

… Now we seem to be seeing a new version of this paranoia on the left. Rather than “love my country, fear my government,” the motto of the conspiracy-minded “resistance” seems to be “hate them both.” It’s hard to imagine even the most committed leftist 20 years ago thinking it likely that a U.S. serviceman was a fan of Hitler, or deciding that a half-Mexican, half-Jewish lawyer was a member of the Klan on the basis of the way she curled her fingers.

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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