And You’re Surprised By This?

I’m a pretty conservative guy, as you can probably tell from, oh, everything that’s written in this blog. But I appreciate the fact that there are some eminently reasonable people who like to consider themselves liberal, or “progressive,” or whatever the euphemism du jour is. Why, there’s a whole bunch of them over at The New Republic, whom I like to call “liberals who can be reasoned with.”

But I never cease to be amazed by (relatively) reasonable liberals who are shocked–shocked!–when their fellow liberals act like… liberals. Over on Winds of Change.NET we see an example of the anger and disappointment that comes from a progressive realizing that some of his compatriots really aren’t all that into progress. The author first refers to another progressive blog that approvingly cites this passage from Richard Clarke:

CLARKE: Well, there may be some other kind of remedy. There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process that’s been tried in other countries, South Africa, Salvador and what not, where if you come forward and admit that you were in error or admit that you lied, admit that you did something, then you’re forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way.

Then he responds with most outrageous outrage:

What we need to do, he’s saying, is have a hunt to find the people with evil thoughts or judgment. Maybe we can put them on a list and make sure they don’t find any work until they have stood on the Mall in Washington with a sign around their neck for a week or so.

Look, it doesn’t matter which side of this issue you’re on, you should be absolutely as mad as I am about this. Because once we set that style of politics in place – once we ‘ban’ people until they have passed some kind of smell test, our politics are no better than Zimbabwe’s. This isn’t a matter of who sits in the big chairs and who in the small, it’s not the division of power and spoils that happens every time there is a change in who governs here. It’s a call for the exclusion of the people who aren’t on top, whose ideas are not popular, who don’t pass the test of whatever the Establishment nomenklatura feels at the moment.

Of course, he’s absolutely right, but what floors me is how incomprehensible it is to him that there are a lot of liberals who think that’s a good idea. Hey man, what game have you been watching? Who’s been imposing speech codes in schools and workplaces (and all over Canada) for decades now? Who looks for any excuse to shut up opposing views on everything from global warming to (insert anything Barack Obama is talking about here)? Liberals, warriors for free expression? Puh-lease. Only if it means fighting for the right wear a leather thong and make out with your life partner in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.