Thursday, July 24, 2008

'Hear No Evil' progressivism

Much continues to be made of the power of the vaunted Netroots, but it must be acknowledged that a lot of their power consists of intimidation -- the fervor with which they shout down any meme they don't want to acknowledge.

Case in point: Jamie Kirchick of the New Republic posted a little note acknowledging an incident on Obama's overseas tour during which Obama's spokesperson had to be reminded that the Democrat is not yet the president.

The comment field lit up like one of those Vietnam war-movie scenes where Charlie's storming the perimeter of a U.S. firebase. Kirchick was denounced as an Enemy Of The People.

I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like that in the comment field of any conservative blog. Yes, furious arguments sometimes erupt in comment fields, but Michelle Malkin and other bloggers on the Right routinely slam John McCain and mock his campaign's ineptitude without any of their conservative commenters accusing them of bad faith. Merely passing along a negative news item about the Republican is not seen as treason to The Cause, as seems to be the case with the reaction to Kirchick's post.

Which is to say that the strength of the Left online is also a weakness, insofar as it constitutes an intolerance of negative feedback. Ironically enough, an intolerance of negative feedback was a major factor in the blunders of the Bush administration, about which the Left has so often reminded us. Sitting around in an echo chamber, surrounded by yes-men, believing your own press releases -- doesn't this sound vaguely familiar?

Progressive, heal thyself!

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