Liberating Bullying

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.
–Herbert Marcuse

We hear a lot from the Left on the topic of supposed bullying by the Right. Typical headlines:

“The Right-Wing Bully Machine” (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post)
“Right-Wing Bullies Continue to Attack Children” (Bob Cesca, Huffington Post)
“Right-wing bullies will hold the nation hostage” (Robert Reich, Christian Science Monitor)
“Right wing demands freedom for bigots and bullies!” (Daily Kos)
“How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids” (PFAW)
“‘Slut’: The Voice Of A Right-Wing Bully” (Eric Boehlert, Media Matters)
“Right-Wing Bullies Target Steph Cutter For Daring To Speak Truth” (Crooks And Liars)

And that’s only two pages into a search on the keywords: right wing bullies.

Then of course there’s Bridge Gate, the Left’s Holy Grail of purported right-wing bullying:

Chris Christie’s perception as a ‘bully’ increases amid bridge scandal, poll shows” (
“Christie a Thug, Not a Bully, If Claims True” (Bloomberg)
“Barbara Buono, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s electoral opponent, says he runs a bully state” (NY Daily News)
“Bridgegate Scandal Provides Insight Into Christie’s Bullying Politics” (

And so on. You get the idea.

(I’ll resist the impulse to delve, for comparative purposes, into the sort of thuggery, naked corruption and intimidation typical of Democrat-controlled cities, particularly in the Northeast; suffice it to say there are abundant examples.)

The inherent hypocrisy in this endless parade of accusations of bullying directed at the Right becomes painfully evident with even a cursory look at the systematic bullying engaged in by the Left:

Tea Party, anti-abortion and other conservative groups told Congress on Tuesday that the Internal Revenue Service held up their applications for tax exemptions, harassed them with questions and leaked their donor lists to political opponents.

“What is going on is, behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep [insurers] from publicly criticizing what is happening on this Affordable Care Act rollout. Basically, if you speak out, if you are quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet,” reports CNN.

The Obama administration has turned the executive branch loose on its enemies — part of a disturbing and unprecedented trend toward delegitimizing political differences and marginalizing conservatives.

“It may be a violation of blackmail and extortion laws to threaten management officials with release of ‘dirt’ about them if they don’t settle a contract,” the [SEIU] manual allegedly says. “But there is no law against union members who are angry at their employer deciding to uncover and publicize factual information about individual managers.”

Grassley and Issa said that in early 2011, right around the time Grassley first made public the whistleblowers’ allegations about Fast and Furious, Scot Thomasson – then the chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division – said, according to an eyewitness account: “We need to get whatever dirt we can on these guys [the whistleblowers] and take them down.” Thomasson also allegedly said that: “All these whistleblowers have axes to grind. ATF needs to f—k these guys.”

Again, you get the idea.

Nevertheless, Leftists surely do love to paint themselves as victims, as Stanley Kurtz points out:

And why should the privileged wish to become victims? To alleviate guilt and to appropriate the victim’s superior prestige. In the neo-Marxist dispensation now regnant on our college campuses, after all, the advantaged are ignorant and guilty while the oppressed are innocent and wise. The initial solution to this problem was for the privileged to identify with “struggling groups” by wearing, say, a Palestinian keffiyeh. Yet better than merely empathizing with the oppressed is to be oppressed. This is the climate movement’s signal innovation.

I’ll admit to feeling a bit sorry for those who go through life dragging around a tractor trailer-load of cognitive dissonance such as has been touched on in the foregoing. Having been on the Left earlier in my life, I know it’s not fun–not fun at all.

So what am I rambling on about here? Only this:

None of this blatant hypocrisy is an accident. Perhaps the most popular political theorist of the 60s New Left, Herbert Marcuse, was quite clear that blatant hypocrisy is a revolutionary necessity (emphasis added):

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: … it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate to a stage where the whole society is in the situation of the theater audience when somebody cries: ‘fire’. It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War.

So while we should of course point out the flaming hypocrisy of the Left on the topic of bullying (and in the countless other areas in which their hypocrisy manifests itself), we should also bear in mind that it is not an accident.

See also, Saul Alinksy.


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