Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I go to extremes

Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein kindly provides me with a working definition of a "left wing extremist" --

A left-wing extremist exhibits many, but not necessarily all, of the following attributes:

--believes the United States is a fundamentally negative force in the world.

Ummm... hmmm. Let's see. Have I ever stated anywhere that I believe the United States is a 'fundamentally negative force in the world'... well... there was that previous blog post where I called the U.S. an 'evil empire'... yeah, yeah... okay, that's a big ten-four, good buddy.

--believes that American imperialism is the primary cause of Islamic radicalism.\ Hmmmm. Well, there was that whole thing where Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State encouraged the radicalization of Afghani Muslems so they would fight the Soviet Union as our proxies... gee, where did I see that...

Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski
Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76*

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intégrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Oh, yeah, that's where. Okay. Let's put a check mark on that one and move on to...

--believes that the decision to go to war in Iraq was not an individual case of monumental stupidity, but a consequence of America’s fundamental imperialistic nature.

It... I... well, gee, where do I start with this one? The Louisiana Purchase, the systematic campaign of terror and genocide against the indiginous races of the North American continent, the annexation by force of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Phillipines, 700 U.S. military bases all across the globe, the World Bank being pretty much entirely U.S. controlled... yeah... sounds like we're pretty imperialist to me. Is that the major reason behind the invasion of Iraq? Well, I suspect there are many, many reasons for the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq, but, yeah, sure as shit, I suspect American imperialism figures high on the list. So sign me up for this one, too.

--tends to blame America for the failures of others—i.e. the failure of our NATO allies to fulfill their responsibilities in Afghanistan.

I... don't know what this means. I think it requires translation. I suspect it means "tends to blame America for the consequences of its own actions", and if so, well, yeah, I'm climbing in that boat, too.

--doesn’t believe that capitalism, carefully regulated and progressively taxed, is the best liberal idea in human history.

Show me an example of capitalism, carefully regulated and progressively taxed, and I'll advise as to how I feel about it. We sure as shit don't have anything remotely fitting that description here in the good ol' U.S.A.

--believes American society is fundamentally unfair (as opposed to having unfair aspects that need improvement). American society is perfectly fair to the 1-2% of the American population that currently controls something like 92% of American wealth. For the rest of us, not so much.

Okay, let me expand on that a little bit. American society has never been about being 'fair', not in economic terms, nor, for that matter, in any other. The United States was founded by a group of rich white guys who came to North America because they were sick and tired of being fucked with by the Church and the State back home. They believed in (among other things) private property, gun ownership, chattel slavery, and the utter immorality of the very notion of an income tax. They kicked Britain off the continent and set up their own government and that government was never about being 'fair', whatever the fuck 'fair' means. The government they set up was about common defense and interstate commerce, and the governing documents they wrote denoted a very long list of things that the government could never, never do to United States citizens... by which, our Founding Fathers meant, white landowning males, and their property, which included by definition, all the non-white, non-landowning males and pretty much all females.

None of this is 'fair'. You could pulverize all of human history and sift through it like bread crumbs for the rest of your life and you would never find a bigger, more arrogant bunch of snobby class-centric elitist pricks than the American Founding Fathers. They had no desire for, nor intention of setting up, a 'fair' society; they wanted a government and an economic system that would support, protect, and defend the already entrenched and wealthy land owning interests. And that's what they (and the rest of us) got.

So, yeah, I guess I can put my initials next to this one, too.

--believes that eternal problems like crime and poverty are the primarily the fault of society. Well, I'd say they are the fault of the entrenched and wealthy property owning interests, which enjoy living in a world of enormous economic class distinctions, because it allows them to live very very well off the labor of others, and feel snotty about it, too. But if you want to boil all that down to 'society', well, sure, what the hell. I'll buy that for a dollar.

--believes that America isn’t really a democracy.We're a representative republic, assneck. In theory. In practice, we are currently pretty much a tyranny. You may disagree simply because Homeland Security hasn't shown up at your door and sent you off to some secret prison to be interrogated for being an enemy combatant...yet... but it could happen in the next five minutes, and there is nothing you or me or anyone else can do about it once it has. That smells like tyranny to me. Take a big whiff of Jose Padilla next time he shuffles by in leg irons and tell me what it smells like to you, you bonehead.

--believes that corporations are fundamentally evil.I like John Brunner's definition of evil, which is basically, anything that treats human beings as chattel, is evil. This is essentially what corporations are all about -- treating everything in the world, including human beings, as marketable, fungible assets. To me, that seems pretty evil, yeah.

--believes in a corporate conspiracy that controls the world. Well, I believe the sonsofbitches do their best, but on my good days, I hope to jesus they aren't quite all the way there yet.

--is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources. Um... you're going to have to give me an example so I know which kind of 'conservative sources' you're referencing. Conservative sources who believe in small government and taxes on consumption instead of income and a non-fiat economy I'm willing to listen to. On the other hand, if you're using 'conservative' to mean "AAARRRGGGHHHHH FAGGOTS AND NIGGERS AND LIBERALS ALL SUCK AND SHOULD BE DEPORTED AND KILLED AND LOCKED UP AND TORTURED YEEEEEAAAARRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!" and all that other hateful white power shit, then yeah, all those fuckwads can kiss my ass, backwards, forwards, and upside down.

--dismissively mocks people of faith, especially those who are opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

Hey, I mock nearly anyone of faith, if one of their articles of faith is "There's an invisible Scoutmaster In The Sky who loves me unconditionally despite the fact that I want to have everyone who disagrees with me locked up, tortured, and/or killed".

Now, if you add in there that these 'people of faith' use their 'faith' to justify denying other people the right to (a) decide which medical procedures they will and won't have, and (b) get married to whomever they choose, then, you know, I say they're asparagus and I say the hell with them. And if that's dismissive mockery, well, joke 'em if they can't take a fuck. Dumbasses.

--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives. I don't know if I regularly use harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives, but I sure as fuck will break into some serious cocksucking vulgarity in response to idiotic horseshit like, I dunno, a fucking drug addict like Rush Limbaugh demanding that that all drug addicts but him be immediately executed, or a she-troll like Anne Coulter calling a Democratic candidate for President a faggot at a major conservative gathering and getting a for the love of Christ standing ovation for it. Show me pictures of Iraqi kids with no arms or legs or newlywed Marines with melted faces and I'll get positively goddam abusive with the fuckheads responsible for that shit, too. Those who do not like this; I have an ass, I presume they have lips; apply as necessary to resolve the issue.

Oh. Um... yeah, yeah, I guess I qualify for this one, too.

This is a partial list, off the top of my head--additions and subtractions will be carefully considered.

No, no, I think this is a fabulous list. Honestly. I had no idea I was such a nutjob, but I'm delirious at the validation.

If readers would like, I'll give you my definition of right-wing extremism next week.

No need, I've done that for you. Where was it... oh, yeah. Anyone who thinks that people who disagree with them should be (a) locked up, (b) tortured, (c) beaten in public, (d) executed, or (e) any/all of the above, are extreme right wing nutballs. You can tell them from the extreme left wing nutballs, because while we believe many things that are actually true regardless of how offensive you find that actuality, we do not advocate anyone being locked up for refusing to subscribe to our belief system, much less such people being beaten, tortured, or executed.

P.S. It would be wildly stupid for me to get into a pissing match by naming names.

One man's 'wildly stupid' is another's courageous honesty, but, y'know, what the fuck, you're a dipshit anyway.

I won't go there...And bear in mind, the characteristics above should be regarded as tendencies, not cast-in-stone beliefs.

In other words, you don't need to REALLY believe any of these things all that strongly for Joe Klein to dismiss you completely (but not harshly or with vulgar language, cuz he's too cool for all that shit, yeah buddy); he'll dismiss you completely if you only kinda-sorta believe one of them. Sweet!

Correction:: Sean Hannity is a ideological extremist and a bully.

He's a fucking jack ass, too. Thanks for playing our game.

Atrios may or may not be an ideological extremist--I was wrong to say he was, since I don't know enough about him--but he sure is a purveyor of extreme and terminally smug rhetoric.

I don't know if Atrios is an ideological extremist, either, but 'smug' is endemic to the blogosphere and the pundit class in general. 'Terminal' is a thoughtless, kneejerk misuse of the language in this context; a great many people writing and voicing their views on a great many subjects are smug, but none of them (perhaps unfortunately) are going to die of it. And from what I've read, Mr. Klein, if anyone was going to die of terminal smugness, you'd be in Cheyne-Stokes respiration right now, you fucking asshat, you.

Readers' Bottom Line: There are no lefties left.I am King!

There are no socialists left.

I hear there are a few in Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Maybe a couple down in Cuba, too, I dunno.

No one has ever assumed that "corporate" equals "evil." I do! I do!

No one has ever said that America was an aggressive, imperialistic power in the world. Dude, you need to get out more. Try this blog, or this one, or this one, or this one over here. Lots of people have said that America is an aggressive, imperialistic power. Honest.

No one has ever accused anyone of "blaming the victim" when it comes to crime or poverty.

I... ::staring into space, mumbling to myself:: No, I can't understand this one, either. I'm moving on.

No one--certainly no one in the blogosphere--has ever mocked Roman Catholics. What? Are you crazy? Do we mock Roman Catholics on THIS blog? Does a bear wear a tall hat? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Fuck Roman Catholics and the pedophile priest they rode in on, that's what I say.

Jeez, that's a relief.

Happy to help. Any time, really.

Anyway, while I have always suspected I must be an extremist of some sort or another, I had no idea I was this extreme. I am deeply grateful for the information. Does the position have a salary? Or is it merely titular? Either way, I am proud and honored, and I humbly pledge to never let my constituency down.


At 6:17 PM, Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...


'Twas as grrreat, grrreat a wee bit o' smug leftward-leanin' word-smithying as I've seen since Gorgeous Goergie found a new use for Norm Coleman's sorry arse (a speech before the great & impartial Congress of these uniformly-fused Corporate States that every schoolboy should have to learn by heart.)

Hats and other adornments off to ye, Laddie! (What do ye reckon your Mr. Klein would make of the late (but always with us) Uncle Frank's modest appearances before those same upholders of freedom & justice?)

Once again, 'twas brillig (Bewahre doch vor Jammerwoch!)

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Shrubageddon said...

I second that notion, Highlander. It was one hell of a rant....and I concur with your thoughts and sentiments...and I like your style.

At 12:17 AM, Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...


Where have you beeeeen? It's getting awfully lonely at the old homestead...But this brown-eyed highlander is certainly a breath of fresh air, eh?

It's an invigorating experience to find out that the MSM considers anyone who doesn't kneel at the altar the American Scheme an "extremist." I think it's also probably a bit of wishful thinking on their part. Even if most of the public hasn't had a rabbit hole experience per se, every cabbie and every waffle waitress knows that money is power...which means that just about all of Mr. Klein's assertions are pure bullshit. That he couches his astonishment at regular folks doubting the revealed Truth of his organization's steady flow of fertilizer is beyond naive. "What, us lie?!"

I wonder what Klein's reporting looked like in the run up to war, assuming he was the good little foot soldier in the War On The Facts that he presents himself as here. Maybe no one told him that governments lie. Maybe he honestly believes he's entitled to all those creature comforts while most of the world subsists on $2 a day--he is a white guy in the greatest country in the history of the world, after all.

It could be that Klein is just another good German, following orders; if Colin Powell tells us "we're not in the business of counting enemy casualties," why should he assume that those dead terrorist-coddlers are actually, you know, human. (At least in the same sense that he is, anyway.) And isn't it their fault that their country got invaded? We didn't put a brutal dictator in charge did we? Oh, crap--I just remembered. We did! Quick! Nobody tell Boyscout Klein that we do things like that. (And fer chrissakes, don't say anything about DU being sort of harmful.) He'll be so disappointed. And then we'll have to face his mother and she's obviously done such a fine job raising a clear-headed, patriotic boy for the Empire...God, I said it again!

Sorry, Joe! No, really--we don't do things like that. We spread democracy & freedom to an ungrateful world of lazy heathens who just don't have enough gumption to get a regular job (like yours). Carry on, spread the good word; fight evil wherever it festers in the hearts of doubters. You know, Barney told Goober he could make citizen's arrests in an emergency--maybe you could turn over those extremists you ferret out to the boys down at the Reichssicherheitamt (damn!) I mean Homeland Security (It's just a coincidence, Joe. What's in a name?)

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

IC and Shrub,

Wow. Both of you, in one of my li'l comment threads? I am a shining star in the internet firmament. It says so. Right HERE.

More seriously, certainly my stuff isn't much of a much compared to some others we all know. But I do like to scream into the fiber optic cable sometimes. Thanks.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Shrubageddon said...


Nonsense.....you are as talented a writer as Mr. Wells....and Mr. IC. Jeff may be popular, but that doesn't mean he's a better writer. People frequent his blog for a variety of reasons, not all of which are just his writing ability. It is interesting why some blogs attract a crowd whilst others go completely unnoticed. I don't buy into the Darwinian Social Theory of Survival of The Fittest in that regard....there's much more to it than that, IMHO.

IC, I've been absent because Jeff blocked Anonymous posting. I don't want to create an account on Google's Blogger for a variety of reasons...so I'm locked out, partly of my own choosing. I have been listening to the conversations...and enjoying the intellectual parlays, for the most part. I knew Sam Hill and Waffle Waitress were Mojo from the get go. Ericswan figured it out, eventually. You can imagine me chomping at the bit to say my piece, but realizing each time that I couldn't.

In regards to Joe Klein, I think he knows everything Highlander retorted. I think he's an opportunistic phoney exploiting the false dichotomy at the behest of his masters and for his own personal agrandizement and economic gain. In otherwords, I will not grant him the poor excuse of ignorance. Instead, I consider him a treasonous piece of shit...and when I say treasonous, I mean treasonous to the human race, not just Amerisheepicans.

On another note, I was listening to NPR the other day and they had the father of an injured soldier on talking about the conditions at Walter Reed. He said he didn't care about building hospitals and schools for Iraqi children...instead, that money should be used to support wounded brave and noble warriors such as his son. It got me to talking to the radio in the middle of rush hour traffic as I'm prone to do on numerous occasions. The nerve of this son of a bitch. He doesn't care about the Innocent Iraqi children, women and men his noble and brave warriors are slaughtering and abusing on a daily basis, both directly, and indirectly by the strife they cause by their mere presence. Well guess what, pal. Why don't you make yourself useful and prevent dopes from signing up to go into the military to be used as mercenaries in Haliburtons's, Lockheed Martin's and Exxon/Mobile's Wars, instead of further dissing the Iraqis after murdering them in cold blood.

The Walter Reed media storm is a bunch of bullshit...just as any media storm is. They will apply a superficial band-aid to it and in several months all will be forgotten....and the system will remain broken...and the disease will continue to consume its host.

The message that should be derived from this story...but never will be...because it never is, is don't fight their fucking dirty wars. They can't have wars if you don't fight them. It is that simple....and yet something that simple is so unattainable. Of course, you and I know the reasons why.....I just wish everyone would learn the reasons why, because if the they did, the world would surely be a much better place than it is now.

I have no place in my heart for the appeazers of tyranny and imperialism...and that includes the soldiers no matter how deluded and ignorant they may be. It's unforgivable as far as I'm concerned.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

...is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources.

More to the point, on the few (oh so few) occasions when a good idea has come out of a conservative's mouth, it's almost never matched by accompanying action.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Highlander said...


Jeff, IC, and I are probably about on the same level as writers, I grant you. But Jeff's work is much better researched than mine is, for the most part. He lives full time through the looking glass; I just visit, usually by reading his site.

I don't know Joe Klein, but from his general textual tone, I suspect he's a sincere idiot -- so deeply immersed in the myth of American exceptionalism (the U.S.bermensch, if you will) that he simply can't see anything that doesn't come pre-filtered through that amniotic fluid. What America does is always right because what America does is always right, and that's all there is to that. I understand the mindset; I've spent a great deal of my adulthood trying hard to hang onto it. Once you know some actual history though -- not the shit we're taught in school and absorb from our media, but the real stuff -- you just can't hang onto that any more. But I doubt Klein knows ANY real history; he no doubt still thinks the Kaiser was evil and we saved civilization in World War I.

I'm not quite yet as cynical about the media, and media publicized political scandals, as you are. I may get there, eventually.


I have no idea what the rest of your name means, but thanks for the comment. It's not that conservatives can't come up with good ideas, it's that 'conservatives' -- i.e., the contemporary power junkies who have usurped the brand -- have none, if you define 'good' as, tolerant, compassionate, or, you know, remotely sane.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Always Esteemed Scott said...

--believes that the decision to go to war in Iraq was not an individual case of monumental stupidity, but a consequence of America’s fundamental imperialistic nature.

Wait...I believe that the decision to go to war in Iraq was BOTH monumentally stupid AND a consequence of America's fundamental imperialistic nature.
Does that make me an extreme moderate? A moderate extremist?
--is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources.

Um, this is a bit too hypothetical for me. I'm having a hard time remembering the last good idea I heard from a conservative source.
Is this a trick question?

dismissively mocks people of faith, especially those who are opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

Guilty as charged. I'm willing to (mostly)give folks who are opposed to abortion the benefit of the doubt, but as far as I can tell, the primary reason for opposing gay marriage is, and always has been, simple bigotry, and I'm sorry, but I have no time for bigots.

--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives.

Ah, this is such bullshit.
Oops. Guilty again.

I had no idea I was this extreme.

Me either. I feel *much* better now.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger AaA said...

You know, in retrospect, I am deeply disturbed by how many of these touchstones for 'left-wing extremism' fit so nicely in the palm of my hand.

Egad!! Am I a left-wing extremist? The shame!! The shame!!






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