Alternate Headline? Confirmed: the left has no humor, and is eager to devour its own at the slightest opportunity.
The left-leaning Boing Boing site actually tweets something funny — and the outrage mob, always on hair-trigger alert, always sweeping the airwaves and the Interwebs Bletchley Park-style in search of something to force them first to the fainting couches and then to the barricades, swings into action.
And Boing Boing crumples like a cheap suit in response, whining, “We’re sorry for this offensive tweet. Its transphobia was unintentional, but the hurt it caused is our responsibility.”
Mencken — and Charlie Hebdo and the late Christopher Hitchens — weeps. That’s one brave stance, fellas. Of course, the fact that the Wrong People laughed at the original tweet in the first place made things ultra-problematic for the site. So naturally, to get back into the good graces of their core audiences, they insult those who defended them:
Kevin W. Glass of the Franklin Center tweets that he “couldn’t make a better study of Scott Alexander’s outgroup thesis if I tried.” Alexander describes himself as psychiatrist who gets his “news from vox.com, an Official Liberal Approved Site. Even when I go out to eat, it turns out my favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, is [ranked as] the most liberal restaurant in the United States.” As one of several examples in a lengthy post written last September titled “I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup,” Alexander writes that when Osama bin Laden suffered his fatal case of lead poisoning, “[I] didn’t come out and say I was happy he was dead. But some people interpreted it that way, and there followed a bunch of comments and emails and Facebook messages about how could I possibly be happy about the death of another human being, even if he was a bad person? Everyone, even Osama, is a human being, and we should never rejoice in the death of a fellow man:”
Then a few years later, Margaret Thatcher died. And on my Facebook wall – made of these same “intelligent, reasoned, and thoughtful” people – the most common response was to quote some portion of the song “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead”. Another popular response was to link the videos of British people spontaneously throwing parties in the street, with comments like “I wish I was there so I could join in”. From this exact same group of people, not a single expression of disgust or a “c’mon, guys, we’re all human beings here.”I gently pointed this out at the time, and mostly got a bunch of “yeah, so what?”, combined with links to an article claiming that “the demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous”.
And that was when something clicked for me.
You can talk all you want about Islamophobia, but my friend’s “intelligent, reasoned, and thoughtful people” – her name for the Blue Tribe – can’t get together enough energy to really hate Osama, let alone Muslims in general. We understand that what he did was bad, but it didn’t anger us personally. When he died, we were able to very rationally apply our better nature and our Far Mode beliefs about how it’s never right to be happy about anyone else’s death.
On the other hand, that same group absolutely loathed Thatcher. Most of us (though not all) can agree, if the question is posed explicitly, that Osama was a worse person than Thatcher. But in terms of actual gut feeling? Osama provokes a snap judgment of “flawed human being”, Thatcher a snap judgment of “scum”.
I started this essay by pointing out that, despite what geographical and cultural distance would suggest, the Nazis’ outgroup was not the vastly different Japanese, but the almost-identical German Jews.
And my hypothesis, stated plainly, is that if you’re part of the Blue Tribe, then your outgroup isn’t al-Qaeda, or Muslims, or blacks, or gays, or transpeople, or Jews, or atheists – it’s the Red Tribe.
And as Charles Krauthammer said over a decade ago, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” Which is why Boing Boing would rather be trapped in PC purgatory with their fellow leftists than know that there’s someone on the right willing to defend them, as this round-up of tweets at Twitchy.com illustrates.
Have fun storming each others’ castles, fellas — as you discover the hard way Jonathan Chait’s recent warning to his fellow leftists that PC was devouring them:
— TANSTAAFL (@TANSTAAFL23) April 17, 2015
Over a decade ago when he first proposed it, I balked at conservative blogger/book reviewer Orrin Judd’s thesis that “All Comedy is Conservative,” but it’s becoming truer and truer every day. And as John Birmingham in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote on the topic in 2006, “By establishing an exclusion zone around a whole category of topics that are ripe for exploitation by comics because of the very tensions they create, the left abandons the field to the enemy and often confuses itself over just who are its friends and who are its foes.” That sounds like a pretty concise foreshadowing of today’s meltdown by Boing Boing.
But heck, these days, free speech itself is becoming exclusively the purview of conservatives as well.
That’s not likely to end well.
In the meantime, salute!