Michael Totten

Hate Pundits

There’s an awfully big market these days for cheap political hack screeds. Michael Moore, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter have all cranked out polarizing polemics against the Bad People.
It looks like Sean Hannity decided to try his hand at the genre.

I hate to review a book by its cover, but look at that title. Deliver us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and…Liberalism?
I’m sure it’s fun to lump dictators, terrorists, and libruls™ together into one happy and convenient evil ball. It’s got to be even more satisfying to ask the Lord to come down and deliver us from such a horror. My far-left friends know all about it. You know – Republicans hate black people, adore Hitler, throw Muslims into concentration camps, and kill Arabs for oil.
From the looks of these books you might think we’re gearing up for our own American version of the Spanish Civil War. It’s the commie-loving Democrats against the jackbooted GOP.
Millions of people buy into this line of thinking. These books are best-sellers.
I admit to not having read Hannity’s book, and perhaps he “clarifies” his position on the evil of liberalism in its pages. He does sit there every weekday for an hour on his Fox News show with his liberal counterpart Alan Colmes. They seem to get along well enough, better than if his co-host were Charles Manson. But he is playing the evil card to get people to buy his book. Right-wing hate works as a sales pitch whether or not that’s what the book is really about.
We are not going to have a civil war. Yet at risk of seeming to undermine that sentence, I do want to say something about this mentality.
Writing off your political opponents as evil isn’t just stupid and rude – it’s only a step away from yearning for tyranny.
Sean Hannity, at least on his cover, equates liberals with dictators and terrorists. And here’s the problem: If you ask me what’s the best way to deal with terrorists and dictators, I’ll tell you straight up to put them in a cage or put them in the ground. Sometimes dictatorships reform themselves under pressure: witness Chile and South Africa. Other times you have to wait them out: See Soviet Union. For the most part, though, as far as I’m concerned, the answer is revolution or invasion. Dictators have no right to exist.
Terrorists? Jail ’em or shoot ’em. That’s it. Negotiating, cutting deals, appeasing, or feeling their pain only enables them.
So if liberals belong in that same nexus of evil…what’s to be done about liberals?
The answer, of course, is nothing. Liberals aren’t evil. They aren’t guilty of treason. Unless Hannity reverses himself in the text, the premise of his book is bogus on its face. He doesn’t mind using hate as a marketing tool either way.
It isn’t nearly good enough to acknowledge that the other political party isn’t evil. In a liberal democracy (there’s that word again) with two major parties, each party, each overall governing philosophy, brings something to the table and gets some things right. They balance. Liberals are the gas, and conservatives are the brakes. (Or is it the other way around this year?) Yin, yang, Venus, Mars, and all that. And each party gets some things flat out wrong. It’s just not possible to split a reasonably healthy political culture into halves and end up with one side completely right and the other side utterly wrong.
If you’re a partisan for one side and you truly believe in your bones that the other side is evil or wrong on all counts, it really does logically follow that you’d prefer a one-party state. If the other party has no merit and causes nothing but trouble, everything would be solved if everyone became a Republican. Or a Democrat. Or whatever. And so democracy, from this point of view, is pointless and even dangerous.
If our hate pundits followed their logic to its conclusion, they would demand that we cancel elections.