Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Ghost of Emmanuel Goldstein

Joe Klein gets the David Broder treatment.

Congresswoman Jane Harman of California called as the debate was taking place. "Look, I would love to have cast a vote against Bush on this," she told me. "We need a new strategy, and I hope we can force one in September. But I flew into Baghdad [with 150 young soldiers recently]. To vote against this bill was to vote against giving them the equipment... they need. I couldn't do that." I posted what Harman said on Swampland, the political blog at, along with my opinion that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had changed their positions and voted against the funding for the worst possible reason: presidential politics.

And then Harman changed her position. After we spoke, she voted against the funding. The next day, I was blasted by a number of left-wing bloggers ... This is not the first time this kind of free-range lunacy has been visited upon me. ... But the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.

This is how the Left maintains cohesion. Once upon a time it was called Party Discipline. Although Party Discipline is no longer formally enforced, those who step away from the Party Line (not a telephonic term but one which denotes the current position of the "progressive" leadership) are still subject to informal reprisals. It is necessary to make examples both of Deviationists, as well as well as Enemies of the People. This is in part why Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby will be crucified. That is why David Broder and Joe Klein will be excoriated for the simple act of disagreement. The Left is not about democracy. It is about power.

None of this argues against being on the Left or holding a Leftist point of view. But those who think they can pick and choose should disabuse themselves of the notion. The bonds may have loosened, but they are still there. To join is to bind yourself.

Party Discipline is the reason the Left fights so well politically. It operates like a Hopline Phalanx against individual barbarian skirmishers.


Blogger Alexis said...

The Left is not alone in enforcing Party Discipline. Other political and religious factions have acted the same way.

Still, I am concerned that the Left has become as authoritarian as its worst opponents, to the point where it has effectively become yet another form of absolutist monarchy.

6/08/2007 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger John Foster said...

Hoplite. Although a hopline phalanx sounds more fun. Sort of what you'd do at a well-oiled wedding reception.

6/08/2007 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I know Emmanuel Goldstein, he's no ghost. Joe Klein, never heard of him.

6/08/2007 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Here is a link to an explanation of what really happened:

6/08/2007 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

The Hard Left has been authoritarian for a long time.

Even the Soft Left has had authoritarian tendencies, it just doesn't show up so blatantly. That's why they fawn over Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

But 9/11 sent a lot of "progressives" into denial, and a common reaction to anyone who endangers that denial is Affect Storm. That's why any acknowledgment of seriousness of the WoT makes you worse that a pariah on the Left.

6/08/2007 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

The [Communist] revolutionary believed it to be in the nature of things that dictatorship and terror are needed if the good of humanity is to be served, just as the Aztec priests believed themselves to be entirely justified in ripping the hearts out of thousands of victims, since had they not done so, the sun would have gone out, a far worse catastrophe for mankind. In either case, the means are acceptable, being inevitable -- that is, if the theory is correct....
-- Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century

We are still fighting the European Monarchists and the Bolsheviks. It's that simple. Which is the doppelgänger of the other, I can no longer tell.

6/08/2007 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/08/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

Unless someone can explain otherwise, based on Kevin's link, it looks like the 'left wing bloggers' were correct to 'blast' Klein. His information may have been right at one point, but he posted it after it was already wrong.

6/08/2007 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

Alexis compared the Left's version of party discipline with "religious factions." At least religious factions that abide by the scripture tend to be more consistent in applying their standards. The "progressive" Left is truly that, always "moving the goalposts" progressively on any issue. It's never enough. Oppose the cause/standard de jour and you're a bigot/fascist/sexist/heteroist/whateverist.
Liberals deserve their children, the Left, and their inhumane humanistic culture.

6/08/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm amazed that I never saw this kind of whining and hurt feelings on the part of Mr. Klein after he was revealed as being the author of "Primary Colors" which described in detail the character of Mr. Bill Clinton. Evidently either Mr. and Mrs. Clinton never took revenge on Klein, or the moonbat blogs are much more vicious even than Hillary.

6/08/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I'm amazed that I never saw this kind of whining and hurt feelings on the part of Mr. Klein after he was revealed as being the author of "Primary Colors"

From an article by David Corn:

That night I was at a table with Jacob Weisberg, the political scribbler for New York magazine. We were gossiping about fellow journalists, when Klein passed by. He spotted Weisberg and came to a stop. That week New York had published a piece about how a literary expert had used a computer program to pinpoint tell-tale similarities between Klein's bylined writings and "Primary Colors." Weisberg had written a sidebar noting that there were other reasons to suspect Klein. The author of the book, Weisberg reported, was knowledgeable about New York politics, a onetime Clintonphile who now felt betrayed, and a man obsessed about the subject of race. All these attributes fit Klein.

Klein was enraged. He launched into a blistering attack on Weisberg. Why hadn't New York -- where Klein once had been the political columnist -- called him, he yelled, for a comment? (A comment which, obviously, would have been a lie.) "Thanks, thanks, a lot, Jacob," he said with bitter sarcasm. "That was real nice." Klein's face was red. His eyes steely. He wouldn't let Weisberg talk. "And that bit about being obsessed about race -- I really liked that. Do you think being concerned about an important national issue is the same as being obsessed?" How could the magazine do this to him, he demanded to know, playing the wrongly accused to perfection.

Increasingly wound up, he charged Weisberg with possessing no class and making improper use of off-the-record information. Getting meaner, Klein said Weisberg was gaining a reputation in journalistic circles as an unlikeable fellow not worthy of a dinner-party invitation. (I know of no evidence of this and find Weisberg entirely likable.) When Weisberg tried to squeeze in a word, Klein shot him the look of daggers and hissed: "You don't understand. This is the very last time you and I will ever speak. The last time."

I had rarely seen such a display of unrelenting anger. Weisberg turned white. Finally, Klein huffed, "By the way, this is off-the- record. You do know what off-the-record is, Jake, don't you?" Then he stormed off. (Since I do not believe public outbursts can be placed off-the-record ex post facto, I do not feel bound by Klein's parting comment.)

Wow not worthy of an elite media dinner invitation, that has go to hurt.

6/08/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger southernbygrace said...

The right is just as vicious, intolerant and authoritarian as the left - note the comments on myriad issues by the Freepers, on and other sites about "RINO" Republicans In Name Only. I'm afraid we have our own group too. Hopefully the center can hold.

6/08/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Good points about the dinner party observation.

That comment right there tells you all you need to know about the pretensions of journalism and class.

Journalism is really a hobby for a new nobility. That's all it is: elite dinner parties.

6/08/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Hillary herself said: You don't have to fall in love, you just have to fall in line.

Exhibit 2: Joe Lieberman.

6/08/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

What Klein and other reasonable progressives riding the Leftist tiger never seem to notice is that, elsewhere in the world, come the revolution, their kind are the first to be stood against the wall when the great purification begins.

And they're always surprised; certain it's all a big mistake. What was that nickname for Stalin the doomed would invoke in last minute pleas for clemency?

6/09/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

To Cosmo:

I believe it was "Koba."

6/09/2007 10:05:00 PM  

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