Liberals and progressives are nothing if not patient – if not on the surface, then deep down. They wage a constant war of attrition on conservatives, working to wear us down through allegations of racism, sexism and bigotry. Who on the Right hasn’t breathed an exasperated sigh and thought of quitting in frustration at the unfounded ad hominems relentlessly slung by the Left?
Of late, the popular approach is guilt by association. Apparently, someone somewhere who is a racist or a bigot is somehow affiliated, however loosely, with conservatism and therefore casts a cloud over the whole movement.
Take, for example, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy has been involved in a land dispute with the Bureau of Land Management for a couple of decades, which finally came to a head with an armed showdown a few weeks ago. A few in the conservative movement – not many, mind you – sided with Bundy in what they saw as governmental overreach by the BLM in trying to make the rancher pay fees for letting his cattle graze on lands he claims a right to, but the government says is public.
The nuances of the dispute aside, the second wave of controversy began when Bundy waxed eloquent about some opinions unrelated to his land claims. Speaking of African Americans, he said, in part:
They didn’t have nothing to do … they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.
Now, none of the conservatives supporting Bundy in the land dispute had any idea of his views on race or slavery and neither should anyone have expected them to. Besides, it doesn’t take a logician to recognize that Bundy’s right to land or lack thereof does not hinge on his personal views. One can argue in favor of his right to graze his cattle somewhere while simultaneously denouncing his words on race – something every one of his conservative supporters under the sun did immediately after the quote went viral.
Nonetheless, fingers were pointed at the open and shut case of conservative racism – if not on the part of Bundy’s handful of conservative supporters, then at least in his own case.
Yet, Bundy doesn’t look like a conservative to me. He looks like an anarchist wackjob. Calling him a conservative is akin to calling the participants of the Whiskey Rebellion conservatives and President Washington a statist liberal. Furthermore, Bundy’s views on slavery – that it might be better for blacks than the welfare state – is not especially different from the views of American socialist and Democrat George Fitzhugh, who was a defender of the Southern slave system, considering it “the best form of socialism” and praising its effects on the black family.
Liberal statists, unlike Bundy, have since evolved from this kind of paternalism to a more enlightened form, which is why they can no longer endorse such a view. Still, as the reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against affirmative action shows, liberals still believe that black people need the help of white people to get by.
(Curiously, this ruling is also called racist by liberals. It is a strange sort of logic that says that when comparing two otherwise identical applicants, one ought to prefer members of one race at the expense of members of another in order not to be racist. But I digress…)
The Bundy case is not the only recent example of liberals rushing to find an opportunity to falsely accuse Republicans of racism. As soon as Donald Sterling’s disgusting comments went viral this past week, liberals were quick to point out that Sterling donated $505 to the Republican National Committee. So engrossed in this discovery they apparently were, that they missed the fact that Sterling has donated thousands of dollars to multiple national Democrat campaigns, such as John Kerry and Bill Bradley’s presidential campaigns and Patrick Leahy’s Senate campaign. He was also said to have been a supporter of Democratic California governor Gray Davis.
Well, liberals object, since the Republican donations were more recent, he must have changed parties, perhaps because he wouldn’t support Barack Obama for president. I don’t pretend to know where he has stood politically since 2004 (unlike all of the liberals who think they know for sure) but it is not a clear case that he is a Republican. If Sterling could not vote for Barack Obama because he is black, that makes Sterling an idiot, not a conservative.
Strangely, no liberals objected to his discriminatory leasing practices or other racial controversies when he was donating to Democrats pre-2012. Or maybe it’s not so strange. The liberal war of attrition by accusations of racism, bigotry and sexism is waged solely against political opponents.
For example, Carl DeMaio, an openly gay California congressional candidate, is on the receiving end of anti-gay attack ads, not from the Right, but from supposedly pro-gay-rights liberals.
One false attack drew the attention of the San Diego Ethics Commission. An anonymous left-wing group funded a SuperPac and sent mailers of DeMaio Photoshopped next to a drag queen to neighborhoods with a majority of elderly and African-American voters, knowing that such a photo would depress support for DeMaio.
That was so egregious and false that the group was fined by the city’s Ethics Commission, but even after that, and with his 100 percent voting record with the LGBT community, the Left still didn’t speak up to defend him. They told DeMaio, “It’s complicated.”
I’m sure. The Right, on the other hand, did speak up about it.
“I’ve found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I’m a Republican who happens to be gay…versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican,” DeMaio said.
Rush Limbaugh has astutely pointed out that liberals are liberals first before they are anything else. They will defend the Left at the expense of any other group, individual, philosophy or position if it comes down to a choice. This is why they can talk a good game of tolerance toward homosexuals and then turn around and run hateful, false ads about a congressman’s sexual orientation. This is why they can turn their heads at known racist housing practices while the culprit is donating to their candidates (and the NAACP).
And it is why they will never stop calling Republicans racist, sexist and bigoted, even when they know we aren’t. It’s something we will have to get used to, prepare for and learn to shrug off, or liberals will achieve their goal of making us give up.
So buckle your seatbelts: it’s gonna be a bumpy life for us conservatives and libertarians. Or, as my former boss Jonah Goldberg said, “Cheer up, for the worst is yet to come.”