My God … He’s Right

by Kieran Healy on September 4, 2003

I am blinking in the glare of Right on the Left Beach‘s analysis of my fellow bloggers and me:

bq. Lefties just cannot stand back and take an honest look at their agenda and supporters and admit the truth — they would rather be living under Stalin’s Soviet Union than the United States headed by President George W. Bush — they will defend without logic any lefty miscreant that supports the lefty agenda. Lefties crave power at all costs.

I’d write more, but I am craving power at all costs right now. Coffee! I mean craving coffee at all costs. Yes, that’s it.

Coming up later, a new installment of our ongoing series, “Defending Stalin and All His Works.” This week we’re focusing on the long-term social benefits of Show-Trials and Lysenkoism. This will be followed at three by our “Miscreant of the Month” pledge drive.



Norbizness 09.04.03 at 5:13 am

I admit it, and I’ve only got two questions: (1) How much are the purges? and (2) Gimme the purges.


Laura 09.04.03 at 5:33 am

Damn. If we crave power at all costs, we must be totally incompetent, given the political power balance in the U.S. right now.


Ted Barlow 09.04.03 at 5:34 am

hee hee hee hee….


Andrew Edwards 09.04.03 at 5:47 am


Strange, just the other day I was thinking about moving out of Canada. I was considering moving to the US, but then I realized how much I’d prefer Vietnam! After all, I do hate freedom and progress.


Presumably it would be a fair comment to say that conservatives would rather live in Fascist Italy than in the US under Clinton.


John Casey 09.04.03 at 5:51 am

It’s the clothes, really. I just fell in love with those keen suits Nikita and the boys wore at state functions.


Andrew Edwards 09.04.03 at 6:01 am

Ooh! Ooh! I just went and read the rest of the linked post.

Bustamante is one of the extreme left socialists. If he wins, then, my fellow Californians, welcome to Cuba.

Awesome. Just awesome.


Keith M Ellis 09.04.03 at 6:11 am

“Presumably it would be a fair comment to say that conservatives would rather live in Fascist Italy than in the US under Clinton.”

Hmm. Well, if you account for hyperbole, I think that might be true for a small but significant part of the right-wing. That leads me to consider the possibility that the contention in discussion is similarly “true”.

I had this cognitive frisson earlier today when I was reading an analysis of Ann Coulter’s statements. Much to me displeasure and resistance, I could see that there was *some* truth in her underlying complaints, once you account for her extreme exageration.

So, I don’t know. I confess that I have a tendency–proportional to my irritance and disgruntlement–to characterize all conservatives in an extreme manner. I don’t actually believe that all conservatives are fascists, of course, but the point is that sometimes it feels that way and that there is definitely a subdued fascist impulse deeply associated with conservatism.

I’m not comfortable with a double-standard that evaluates all right-wing rhetoric as if it were completely in earnest (and then debunks it) if it doesn’t similarly turn such a harsh eye on all left-wing rhetoric. If I can respond with “you know what I meant” to a criticism of an extreme rhetorical generalization of my own, then so should conservatives be allowed.

Is hyperbole a bad thing and should it always be criticized? Maybe. I don’t know. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, I agree with Plato’s suspicions about rhetoric. On all other days, I think it’s not only a useful tool, but natural and essential.


laura 09.04.03 at 6:28 am

Comments like Keith’s are a big part of what makes Right on the Left Beach’s comment so funny. Liberals so often sit around saying things like that, analyzing their motives, padding their criticisms, conceding points, etc. That recent Michael Tomasky study on newspaper editorials seems entirely to the point here — liberal editorials criticized Bush much less than conservative ones criticized Clinton, and in much less harsh terms. I’ve spent my life examining my motives and trying to be fair to people who disagree with me. At this point I’m saying fuck it. (Am I allowed to say that here?) If my opposition to war gives some people/media outlets license to call me pro-Saddam, then I get to call conservatives fascists.


Nabakov 09.04.03 at 9:23 am

Hmmm, some disquietingly revanchist tendencies are manifesting themselves here. We must resist them with the utmost vigour if we are to further the cause.


Anna 09.04.03 at 1:37 pm

Actually, I doubt that we should even be called lefties. We’re not actually “on the left”. I just think that we have the ability to take a few steps back and see the whole picture. That is probably the only generalization about conservatives that I am willing to make, they cannot (or perhaps just don’t want to) see the whole picture.


pathos 09.04.03 at 1:38 pm

1. True believers in Marx anxiously await the coming proletarian revolution.

2. The revolution won’t occur until the excesses of capitalism make the lives of the workers unbearable.

3. Part of making rhe lives od the workers unbearable is their belief that the government doesn’t care about them.

4. Therefore, those who really prefer to live in a Communist country should be voting straight Republican.


Camilo 09.04.03 at 2:58 pm

We may be already living in a USA version of Stalin’s Soviet Union. OK, perhaps there is a little exaggeration there, but consider a) persecution of free expression b) political corruption c) concentration of wealth and power d) high military expenses, and e) DHS.


EKR 09.04.03 at 3:18 pm

A *little* exaggeration? Last time I checked, millions of Americans weren’t being hauled away to Arctic labor camps for no reason in particular.

Let’s just take one of your points. What persecution of free expression do you think is happening?


JP 09.04.03 at 3:24 pm

4. Therefore, those who really prefer to live in a Communist country should be voting straight Republican.

Or possibly for Ralph Nader…


Brad DeLong 09.04.03 at 4:53 pm

Now there are people in the world who have called me “Bread ‘Vyshinsky’ DeLong”…


Sniffy McNickles 09.04.03 at 5:09 pm

ekr –

No, millions are not being hauled off. But we do have a regime in place that wants the right to strip citizenship from those acting against “US interests” and who doesn’t respect due process.

As far as free expression, look no farther than restrictions on talking about technical issues relating to security (the DMCA).

Sure, you’re right about hyperbole, but that’s rhetoric for you. I’d encourage you to expore around the issue of slippery slopes, though.


MMR 09.04.03 at 5:38 pm


Just curious as to how the DMCA is an example of how the Bush “regime” is restricting freedom of expression since it was enacted in 1998, Which, if I’m not mistaken was during the Clinton “regime”.

Hyberbole indeed.


W. Kiernan 09.05.03 at 12:24 am

Gee, I don’t suppose I speak for every last lefty but I certainly would prefer to live in Stalin’s glorious CCCP – particularly during those wonderful years 1935 through 1950 – than here in the U.S.A. today. O if I could only be hacking a vein of pitchblende with my pick-axe out of the wall of a Siberian mine right now, dear Comrades!

Equally so, it cannot be denied (so don’t you even try it!) that every last right-winger (that category includes Sen. Lieberman & his supporters) would vastly prefer to live in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich than here today. If that weren’t so, then why would so many Fox News watchers, such as the folks upstairs, don gleaming black SS uniforms every evening and goose-step around their apartments, howling out the Horst Wessel Lied? “Clomp clomp clomp” go their jackboots all night. I don’t need to bother further justifying so obvious an assertion.


Will 09.05.03 at 4:24 am

Since it wasn’t the Soviet Union until 1922, I don’t suppose I could go any earlier, but I might prefer the early USSR to the current USA, given that I’d have a chance to affect the history of Really Existing Socialism. Of course, I’d probably be executed as a Trotskyite wrecker or assassinated while in Parisian exile.


Anthony 09.05.03 at 2:01 pm

I think we’re due another crop of ‘boy meets tractor’ films.


Dugger 09.05.03 at 5:09 pm

A rather, thoughtful intelligent post by RLB. The left has always been motivated by (#1) hate of some US person or symbol. There’s always been an American moderate or conservative devil that preoccupies their every waking momemt: Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich, Bush. After Bush is gone, another will follow. Do not doubt it. The left is consumed with hate. The jokes about Stalin and the good ol’ USSR fall a little short. Many, many leftists in this country betrayed their country to help Uncle Joe and even now many who did are lionized by mainstream leftists as hero icons. Can you say Alger Hiss. The Hollywood ten. Lillian Hellman.


Kristjan Wager 09.05.03 at 5:18 pm

Now if I am not mistaken, the Hollywood ten was members of a perfectly legal organization, which happened to be Communist. How did that make them traitors? Do you have any proof of any traitorous acts by them?


dugger 09.05.03 at 6:51 pm


Didn’t say Hollywood Ten were traitors (your word), just leftists who betrayed their country to help Uncle Joe and have been lionized as heroic icons by the left for having done so. I consider writing Communist propaganda (you know about communists right, Kristjan, they murdered five time as many people as the Nazis) betrayal. You may not. It is technically legal, if morally reprehensible. You agree do you not?


Kevin Brennan 09.05.03 at 8:06 pm


I am having trouble with the distinction between “traitors” and “people who betray their country”. Can you help me out here?


Dugger 09.05.03 at 9:01 pm

Certainly Kevin – be glad to help. My distinction is that traitor has a legal connotation whereas betrayal need not. The best example is someone who would write propaganda for the most murderous ideology and regime in history, a regime actively trying to subvert a free democratic republic. That person would, in my mind, be guilty of betraying his country – if not necessarily committing technical treason. Another example would be Mr. Alger Hiss. Not, according to the technicality of the law, a traitor, but do we doubt he betrayed his country?


Will 09.06.03 at 2:11 am

If said propagandists didn’t regard the regime as anti-democratic but as a model for fuller realization of our own values, how can they be said to have betrayed their country? Their information was incomplete; there was no ill intent.


Dugger 09.08.03 at 2:50 pm

Wow, Will.

First, the answer to your question is “of course.” They can be regarded as betrayers.

But do you really mean to say that propagandists for the most murderous regime in the history of mankind didn’t have a clue about mass killings, starvation, purges, Katyn Forest? The Nazi-Soviet pact? I agree that IN THEIR OWN MINDS there was no long term ill intent. Likewise the prison guards at Auschwitz. Even the worst of people seldom wake up in the morning and say I think I’ll do evil today. They murder millions for a good cause. A good omelet requires a few broken eggs. I wonder if you have a “millions-murdered” threshold above which we can start questioning the evilness of the Ten?

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