This morning we got a couple of emails that indicated that Dymphna and I are considered extremists.
Now, that wasn’t the point of the emails, and these were friendly communications, but our correspondents seem to take it as a given that we are… well, extreme.
I suppose I am an extremist by today’s standards. If you pay much attention to the legacy media, you know that anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat (or maybe Green) is an “extremist”.
It wasn’t always that way. Back when I was growing up, in the ’50s and ’60s, extremists were people who fought the fluoridation of the water supply, who saw Commies under the bed, who liked racial segregation or wanted to impeach Earl Warren. Extremists belonged to the John Birch Society and wanted us out of the UN.
But in those days you could vote Republican and still hold your head up in polite society. You weren’t an extremist.
Barry Goldwater was an extremist. George Lincoln Rockwell was an extremist. George Wallace and Joe McCarthy were extremists. But not Dwight Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller. They were nice, tame Republicans. Maybe a little bit stupid, and amusing to your average East Coast intellectual. But not extreme.
And there weren’t any extremists on the Left, really. Not even the Communists — they were just misguided and somewhat overzealous Progressives, not that much different from us.
Let’s look at some of the “extreme” statements from those days:
- Impeach Earl Warren
- US out of the UN
- Keep the Negroes in their place
- Hunt down the commies
- White supremacy
- Bring back the monarchy
- No fluoride in the water
That’s quite a varied group of positions. But they were all lumped together into the general category of “right-wing nuts”.
I suppose I do the same thing with the hard Left today. To me, the anti-globalists, the “no blood for oil” people, the Socialist Workers’ Collective, the tree-huggers, and the “Meat is murder” crowd are all more or less the same. But I’m sure that some of those factions are barely speaking to one another.
Of all those old-time “extreme” positions, the “US out of the UN” one has become the most respectable these days. After watching the last forty years of malevolent UN actions towards Israel, and its coddling of genocidal tyrants of all stripes, it’s hard to see the point of the UN.
But I’m not sure what made me the extremist I am today. It might have started when those barbaric “students” took Americans hostage in Tehran. Watching the bumbling and inaction of the Carter administration made me feel helpless, ashamed, and frustrated. It awakened in me an atavistic urge to kick Iranian butt.
Then there was the little matter of leaving Saddam in power in 1991. That one rankled. Oh, I could understand the geopolitical arguments for doing what we did; we would have faced the same kind of thing we’re facing now, namely sectarian strife, insurgency, terrorism, and fratricide. But still — there was something wrong with leaving a thug like Saddam in power.
And I wanted to see those Bradleys sitting in the heart of Baghdad.
I knew I was naughty, but I still wanted to see it. It took another twelve years, but I finally got my wish.
And now there’s the Iranians again. The extreme viewpoint says it’s time to do something about them. Because we didn’t do anything about them in 1979, it’s going to be a much harder job. A lot of people will probably die, and if we wait long enough, it will be a gamma ray blast and radiation disease that will kill them.
But the regime in Iran is determined that people will die. They don’t really mind at all; it serves their purposes, since they want to usher in the chaos that precedes the End of Days.
I’d like to prevent the return of the Twelfth Imam. I guess that makes me an extremist.