It’s fairly obvious what this headline is really advertising: Why you need to hate them.
Dan McLaughlin, better known to some by his angry baseball head Twitter icon, usually comes off as a more reserved conservative as opposed to the furious shouters like Dan Bongino and Mark Levin. Unlike them, he actually has other interests in life besides owning the libs. But underneath McLaughlin’s veneer of civility lurks the same cold locus of absolute loathing that animates his more notorious brothers in arms, the blinding contempt of every last liberal or Democrat-voting American citizen alive.
This is not an exaggeration.
We get to why, when McLaughlin quotes somebody discussing Ben Shapiro versus moderate-liberal pundit Ezra Klein:
“Shapiro is thought of by the right as moderate in many ways, basically the way that maybe Ezra Klein is thought of on the left. But the difference is, if Ben and Ezra each decided to have each other on as guests, Ben’s audience would say, “Oh, man, you really showed it to Ezra!” And Ezra would lose 100 percent of his audience [emphasis mine — FB] if he didn’t then spend at least two weeks on a listening tour of the people he had hurt and expressing profuse apologies for allowing Ben the platform of speaking with Ezra.”
The radical left is certainly a thing. Call them what you want — the woke mob; the cancel culture; antifa; the “anti-racist” hustlers. The people who wish literal violence on women such as JK Rowling. The people who hate white people while also unironically declaring all white people to be racist. The people whose favorite activity is “calling out” professors and journalists, to subject them to a struggle session of humiliation and forced apologies if they wish to keep their jobs — only to still make their lose their jobs even then.
These evil lefties are indeed a real thing, and I loathe them just as much as McLaughlin does.
But the book editor quoted, and presumably McLaughlin, ascribe this foul belief system to literally 100 percent of the fans of a moderate, Clintonian liberal like Ezra Klein.
Never mind that what the far left actually thinks of center-left liberals like Klein and his former friend Matt Yglesias, not to mention the current president, may be summed up thusly:
Doesn’t matter. To even the more reserved conservative at National Review, every last reader or listener of Ezra Klein is an evil commie cancel-culture bastard who must be opposed at all costs.
And if this were the case, I or anyone else sane would also have no choice but to hate liberals just as much as McLaughlin and friends do.
But here’s what the hyper-partisans don’t want you to know: most people are not actually this awful.
I include conservatives and Republican voters in this remark. We all know who sucks up the oxygen in conservative politics and media and social media. Horrible people, basically. Most people are not actually this awful.
Hate Donald Trump or the 1/6 rioters all you want. Hate Ibram X. Kendi or the BLM rioters all you want. (Meaning the actual rioters, not the peaceful protestors in either case.) These are all awful people. Just remember: most people are not actually this awful.
Many of these horrible actors got that way by the belief that the other side is 100% evil and thus evil must be faced with evil. That is how they became exactly what they despise to begin with. That is what corrupts Dan McLaughlin. To him, bad right-of-center elements like Trump and the 1/6 insurrectionists were a minority or an aberration, a regrettable but passing phase; but the worst of the worst of the Left sums up every last goddamn Biden voter alive.
To prove how wrong he is, in the same post, he also declares that liberals despise Marco Rubio more than they hate Donald Trump simply because Rubio is more polite and articulate. Asking this guy about how liberals think would be like asking me about the intricacies of baseball sabermetrics!
Jay Nordlinger is nicer and an even more polite guy than his coworker McLaughlin; probably the polar opposite of the Breitbart crowd in both tone and temperament. He lives in the deep-blue Upper West Side and posts frequently about the opera. Yet underneath that, as noted previously, he too bases his politics on a singular creed: hating the dastardly, commie left.
And here’s where we get to the difference between the two sides. Most prominent conservative voices and politicians, from the yuge orange you-know-who on down, base everything on the belief that 100 percent of Democratic voters are evil commie woke bastards, and thus must be opposed at all costs. This is why most conservative books, when not declaring the eternal genius of a reality TV host of some repute, exist to poke the libs in the eye. Yet this animus is not shared on the left, who usually spend more time bashing each other than the Right. (Ask any socialist which senator they hate the most and they’ll answer not with Rubio or Rand Paul, but with Joe Manchin.)
There’ve been enough features in liberal papers talking to and trying to understand red-state voters on their own terms that the “Trump diner” has become its own cliche. Yet, has there ever been a single special about regular Biden or Bernie voters at FoxNews? At the Wall Street Journal? At McLaughlin’s and Nordlinger’s own magazine?
But, to be fair, some conservatives do back away from the usual stance of ever-more-hostility. Seth Mandel, Bari Weiss, Bret Stephens, and Ross Douthat are clearly able to engage with more liberal people without obviously wrestling with a desire to stab them in the throat. And Ben Shapiro himself had a Twitter thread a couple days ago urging people to lay down their arms and reach out to the other side, although his sincerity may be justifiably questioned given his career of shit-stirring.
Whatever the case, be more like Seth Mandel. Be more like Jane Coaston. Be more like what Shapiro perhaps wishes he were like. And whatever what some pundit or politician or Twitter troll would eagerly like to tell you, remember above all: most people are not actually this awful. Even if they voted for the other guy.