Michael Totten

Taking a Flying Fuck

Matthew Yglesias says I’m getting ready to become an ex-ex-liberal.
I don’t know about that. Just because my vote is up for grabs at this moment doesn’t mean I’ve undergone a personality change. It’s not like I was pro-torture a month ago. (And it’s not like I was a pacifist two years ago, for that matter.)
More interesting are some of the comments, like this one from the anonymous BP:

As far as I am personally concerned, any pouting ex-hawk who feels entitled to a warm, bygones-be-bygones welcome back into the “fold” can go take a flying fuck.

I know it’s silly to make a big deal out of a dumb thing someone said somewhere on the Internet. But this attitude is so depressingly common. If you’re on the left and don’t believe me, try dissenting from the Official Left-Wing Position in public and watch what happens to you.
First of all, I’m no ex-hawk. Just because some American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners doesn’t mean I wish Abu Ghraib prison was back in Saddam’s hands instead. Let me know when we start dumping hundreds of thousands of innocents into mass graves and I’ll revise my opinion.
Second, I’m not asking anybody for permission to return to the left-wing “fold.”
Dictionary.com has plenty of definitions for the word “fold,” and these two stand out in particular.

A flock of sheep

and

A religious congregation

I am neither religious nor a herd animal.
People like BP have no desire to actually be successful in politics. No politician would ever act that way. You don’t win elections by pushing potential supporters away. It’s just plain suicidal. This is the behavior of people who approach politics the way a fundamentalist takes his religion. Heretics must be punished. Stubborn heretics must be banished. The more compassionate inquisitors may (if they feel like it) allow the wayward children to return if they prostrate themselves before the tribunal and beg for forgiveness.
I’ll beg for no one’s forgiveness because I think independently. I’d rather take the flying fuck.
(As a side note, in case you don’t already know, Matthew Yglesias is a reasonable person who does not engage in this type of behavior. It’s not his fault he has jerks in his comments.)