I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that we have managed to survive four years of the left fantasising and cosplaying “The Resistance” against an aspiring fascist dictator who tried to destroy freedoms and the Constitution in his quest for some sort of an authoritarian regime – all at the behest and the bidding of a foreign enemy power. Tried and failed, thanks to the courage, determination and clear thinking of brave men and women (and other sexes and genders) who stood up to and defeated the wannabe Mussolini.
The bad news is that we have now entered and need to survive another four or more years of the left fantasising and cosplaying the “War on Terror” against half of their fellow countrymen and women, the radicalised Trumpian extremists and terrorists who, just like their spiritual cousins the Taliban, want to destroy freedom and democracy and replace them with a malignant nationalist Christian caliphate.
What both of these scenarios have in common are the self-styled heroes at the centre stage of the Manichean life-an-death struggle for the soul and the survival of civilisation as we know it. The most prosperous, comfortable, peaceful, safest, indulged and spoiled cohorts within the last few generations are trying to add some spice and some meaning to their otherwise boring and drama-free lives by imagining themselves as historical and history-making actors in a vast drama that combines the aspects of World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and the Soviet Era dissent. The freest and the most mollycoddled people in the history of humankind not only live to make mountains out of molehills of oppression, but their sense of self-worth, self-importance and self-entitlement now also extends to dressing up and impersonating the French Resistance, Martin Luther King Jr and Andrei Sakharov. Welcome to the stolen valour of anti-totalitarian struggle.
It’s not just the generals you can say it about – the left also always fights the last war. During the Trump presidency, it was the Cold War redux, now it’s the War on Terror 2.0. And just as during the original wars, the left (after, in fairness, some initial enthusiasm and support) went soft on America’s enemies, whether communists or Islamists, whining about witch hunts, politicised scares, moral equivalence, justified grievances, and the need for accommodation (“we all need to learn to live together”), in their new and imagined wars, there is no mercy and no compromise. The left will in time learn excuse and downplay any and every foreign enemy of America’s, but they will fight tooth and nail and all scorched earth against the enemy within – their fellow Americans.
In case you were wondering why you’re not seeing now any old-style self-reflections on the left – “What have we done that they [MAGA people] hate us?” or “It’s chickens coming home to roost, the blowback for our past policies and actions” – it’s because they are too busy thinking about the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, reeducation camps, or, like Bush Jr’s former NSA/CIA director (and the left’s new favourite, because the left now hearts intelligence), fantasising about a more radical solution to the internal threat.:
This explains the new trend to compare the January 6 riot (as I warned at the time, a monumental own goal by a few hundred idiots that the left will use as their Reichstag fire) to September 11 (the former being far worse) or to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan (about the same magnitude). There is a twisted logic to it: sticks and stones from overseas will never cause as much harm to the nation as an internal threat, particularly if leading to a successful overthrow of the current political system.
It’s absurd, and the fact that many take it seriously tells you more about their attitude to politics than about treality. It certainly serves its main purpose, which is to reinforce the fantasy about the struggle against an evil, barbarian, and dangerous enemy that’s a cross between Hitler and Mullah Omar. It not only makes you feel like a real hero without having to leave your armchair but it also justifies any measures, no matter how extreme, to save the country from this existential threat. To paraphrase John F Kennedy, one of the last of the left’s real Cold Warriors, the left is now telling the other half of the nation: “you shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship… to assure the survival and success of our liberty. Oh, and to save us from ennui and reassure us we are good and courageous.” Greatest Generation, eat your hearts out: your grandchildren don’t need to go the beaches of Normandy, they are fighting fascism right at home. And who needs to be in Afghanistan when a far more serious threat comes from a red baseball-capped Taliban next door?
What for us, the bit players and the extras in this giant make-believe? Ridicule is the most potent weapon to prick the balloon of self-righteous fantasies. Never tire reminding the left’s faux resisters and warriors that they are clowns whose political preening is an affront to the memory of the millions of fought and died fighting real totalitarian nightmares in the cause of peace, justice and freedom. But ridicule is not enough against people who want to use the apparatus of the state to criminalise their political opposition. Dress-ups are not all harmless. Their fantasy is our nightmare new reality. So push back and punch back twice as hard.
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where a version of this piece also appears.
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