“Why is it that the left is allowed to throw around the dangerous accusation of racism without any evidence as a means to malign half the country, yet if I want to use the word ‘socialist’ I have to go to the D.N.C. and get a notary public to sign it for me?”Or, as Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds testified during the gathering of Conservative bloggers to pay tribute to the late Andrew Breitbart (see 6th video of 9, at 02:32):
…one of the things that the Democrats and the Left really have down — and they totally have gotten inside the minds of most of the GOP politicians and media — is they've established this notion that, somehow, it's impolite to call them on their bullshit. That if you call them on their bullshit, you have farted. You have done something that shouldn't be done in polite society and if you did it, you should at least act ashamed and look the other way for a few minutes. Andrew didn't fall for that. And neither should you.
Ed Driscoll quotes Jonah Goldberg on Hugh Hewitt's radio show:
One thing that he [Andrew Breitbart] and Bill [Buckley] shared was this basic contempt for the premise that the mainstream liberal elite institutions in the United States are in a position to judge and adjudicate the worth of conservatives. That they are in a position to judge our souls. That if we disagree with liberals, that proves that we are somehow wanting or lacking in compassion; lacking in humanity. That is a fundamental thing that enraged Andrew, this idea that if you disagreed about public policy, if you disagreed about how to organize society, that proved you were a racist. That proved you were a fascist. That proved you were a homophobe. It was the fundamental bad faith of the leading liberal institutions that controlled the commanding heights of this culture that infuriated him. And he refused, at the most basic level, to give them that authority over him or his ideas, and that is was fueled his Righteous Indignation, as his book title called it.This is why, from the very beginning of when I started to blog, I have always said the basic message to pass is to point out that self-declared position of liberals' morality and authority in as clear as possible a way.
It serves little purpose, in my opinion, it does little good, to simply state, say, the official positions of the Republican Party, if the opposition has already falsifié les règles du jeu — by predetermining that all Republicans, or that most Republicans, are simple-minded, greedy, hypocritical, treacherous, lying, racist, neo-fascist, war-loving, capitalist pigs.
For those who have suggested that here in France, all that American conservatives should do is state our positions and then let the public decide: If the left (the American left or other) has pre-established the "fact" that America's conservatives (or Americans in general, from a European point of view) are lying, conniving, greedy thieves (or the equivalent thereof), simply stating that the Republican Party stands for lowering taxes or for opposing Iran will be of little to no import. At worst — according to what the public (in France as in America) has been told — it means you are part of the conspiracy of evil capitalist pigs, at best, it shows you are a mindless dunce of said conspiracy of evil capitalist pigs.
No. What must be done is to counter the premise! This must be the main message of conservatives, not the details of what they stand for (or, in the left's narrative, what they claim to stand for). What must be countered is the idea that Republicans, that conservatives, are these monstrous beings along with the countervailing thought (stated or inferred) — that self-serving thought of theirs — that the Democrats, the liberals, the left, les gauchistes, the Europeans in general are, au contraire, these generous people espousing moderate, tolerant, peace-loving, oh-so-humanitarian views.
We do not have to be (or appear) unduly confrontational about this, but we do need to be sure to point out the left's double standards (the "Left" meaning both the American left and the French in general — for here the notion is fueled by, and it in turns (re)fuels, anti-Americanism throughout society, in America and abroad), even if stated with an entirely calm voice only in a matter-of-fact way.
This is also why we must not refuse to appear on TV shows. They may try to shut us down (Guy Millière, a right-thinking author who wrote the introduction to my book, La Bannière Étalée, remembers getting kicks under the table from the TV présententarice in order to prompt him to keep quiet — and that was when he was the sole conservative voice in a debate including… seven or eight (!) anti-Iraq war pundits), they may succeed in doing so, but, in my strongly-held opinion, we must make an appearance and we must fight back.
Indeed, our being shut up on TV can become a(n important) sub-text of the narrative. If we do not appear, the French will have heard simply the things — the very ugly, grotesque, caricatural things — they have been taught by l'Éducation Nationale since they first went to school. If we do appear, we will have a chance to counter the very ugly, grotesque, caricatural things (if only be pointing out how caricatural they are). Remember, we are not just talking to half a dozen VIPs on a TV set; we (or they, rather, they alone if we do not show up) are reaching hundreds, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands. We owe it to ourselves to at least try to get conservative views and principles across. And if we are shut up — so be it. At least some fraction of the viewership will notice that the politically correct cannot bring their views across, unless they forbid people from contradicting la pensée unique.
Remember: The left asks us — and Europeans ask us — to be polite and decent, and then… But listen to Instapundit quoting
Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone: “Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.”
Remember this stuff the next time one of these people tries to play the “Have you no decency?” card. As I said, even in death Andrew is exposing them.
Reminds me of the Frenchwoman I almost dated until she said, when she heard of American and British soldier deaths in Iraq during the summer of 2003, "Bien ! Ah je suis contente ! Bush l'a dans le cul ! Blair l'a dans le cul !" (That ended that romance in a hurry!)
More from Ed Driscoll:
Again: perhaps we do not need — not always or not all of us (we can have good cop/bad cop kind of appearances) — to be as confrontational as Breitbart. But we do need to stop letting the left, and the Europeans, have the monopoly on the dialogue!
At National Review Online, former Breitbart colleague Michael Walsh describes Andrew as “the Right’s Achilles:”
There was no combat in which [Andrew Breitbart] would not engage, no battle — however small — he would not join with glee, and no outcome acceptable except total victory. His unexpected death last night at the young age of 43 is not the end of his crusade, but its beginning.
No figure on our side was more despised in the whited sepulchers of the media/academic/political Left, and Breitbart wore their loathing as a daily badge of honor. His refusal to grant even a glimmer of moral absolution constantly enraged them, and his very existence was an affront to their carefully constructed — to use one of Andrew’s favorite words — “narrative” of moral superiority. Naturally, they are already dancing on his grave, with the manic joy of being suddenly and miraculously delivered from one of their most potent enemies.
… Confrontation was his métier, and he routinely and gleefully waded into groups of lefties to challenge them face to face. Puckish humor was his stock-in-trade, and he would often disarm opponents with his boyish, goofy side.
Update: Bernie Marcus, Home Depot co-founder, on "the rules of the game" (0:41):
…the Republicans play the rules of playing golf. In golf, if you miss a putt or you touch the ball, you call a shot on yourself. We're playing the game of golf. The Democrats are playing ice hockey. It's a killer game. And that's the difference in politics.