I’ve noticed a few right-of-center blogs complaining of double standards on the left, in the denunciations of extremist rhetoric and imagery of the Tea Party marches. Ed Driscoll has a good point. The extremes of the anti-war left before Iraq were every bit as inflammatory and loopy as the Tea Partiers today. Now, they were opposing a war that turned out to be a catastrophe for all involved, while the Tea Partiers are just opposing the working poor having a chance to buy health insurance. But if Godwin’s Law is the point, many (but not all) on the left currently do not have a leg to stand on. I get a lot of criticism for changing my mind on Iraq in the face of the evidence that there were no WMDs, that the war was conducted in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and the occupation was insufficiently planned, under-resourced, etc. But my position on the anti-war marches then was the same as mine on the Tea Party excesses today. From the Dish in March 2003:
Notice also the constant harping on the tired old notion that Bush is an idiot – “Brains Not Bombs,” “Bush Is a Moron,” “Smart Bombs Don’t Justify Dumb Leaders.” Notice the personal attacks – “Draft the Bush Twins,” “Sorry, Dubya, Have a Pretzel Instead.” Notice the idiotic moral equivalence: “Who’s The Unelected Tyrant With The Bomb?” It’s hard not to feel demoralized by a culture that can throw up such things as genuine pieces of protest. It’s as if an entire generation or more has forgotten what an argument is.
I was appalled by the anti-Semitism buried within ANSWER – the left-wing equivalent of the Tea Party peeps – their paranoia and their ad Hitlerum daffiness. I railed against “the intolerant, extremist and reactionary forces behind an unhealthy amount of the anti-war movement.” I argued that they were not offering any serious proposals to address the actual problem – Saddam’s WMDs. In many ways, my critique of the far left then is identical to my critique of the far right today. And the critiques both come from a small-c conservative perspective.