Michael Totten

Centrism and Irony

A while back I mentioned in the comments section on “The Commenter’s” Uninformed Opinion blog that there are political ironies that conservatives miss, there are political ironies that liberals miss, and there are political ironies that centrists see that both liberals and conservatives miss.
Victor Davis Hanson zeroes in on one of the latter. It is – I think – the biggest irony of the post-911 world, one that does not cease to amaze me even today.

The more left-wing the Westerner, the more tolerant he is of right-wing Islamic extremism; the more liberal the Arab, the more likely he is to agree with conservative Westerners about the real source of Middle Eastern pathology.

There’s more to be said on this, though. I wish I could add another level of irony to it, but I can’t. Anyway: the more right-wing the Westerner, the more intolerant he is of Middle Easterners in general – not just the Islamists. And the more right-wing the Middle Easterner, the more intolerant he is of Westerners in general – not just the Bush and Blair administrations.
For those reasons (and plenty more reasons to boot), I’d advise everyone to gravitate toward the political center as much as your principles and opinions will let you. There are enemies to the left, and there are enemies to the right. Best to keep them far to your left and far to your right.