Am I a Left-wing Extremist?

| 1 Comment

Well, probably. Joe Klein, Time Magazine's premier blogger (and theoretical liberal, but mostly a mouthpiece of the political class, which see below) has made a cottage industry out of attacking liberals as too extreme. Apparently as a direct result of trashing Atrios, he's been goaded into actually defining left-wing extremism. It was probably a side effect of the Coulter flap that I wound up running across it a dozen times or so just this weekend.

Just for contrast, Digby illustrates (once again) what crazy extremism looks like. It mostly votes Republican. But, since everyone's talking about dear Joe Klein, let's treat his effort with exactly as much seriousness as it deserves.

Presenting: "Am I a Left-wing Extremist?" -- the blog poll!

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.
Not fundamentally; just at present, as run by the Bush-Cheney syndicate. Turns out, Klein really likes this word, "fundamentally", even though it renders most of the criteria too stupidly general to directly respond to.
--believes that American imperialism is the primary cause of Islamic radicalism.
No, it's one of three main causes, alongside Israeli imperialism and oppressive Middle Eastern governments.
--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.
Not America's imperialistic nature, but the neoconservatives' delusions of imperial grandeur. It was also monumentally stupid, of course.
--tends to blame America for the failures of others—i.e. the failure of our NATO allies to fulfill their responsibilities in Afghanistan.
Well, Afghanistan would be going better if we'd sent even a fifth as many soldiers there as we sent to Iraq. Relying on local warlords to capture Bin Ladin probably wasn't a great idea.
--doesn’t believe that capitalism, carefully regulated and progressively taxed, is the best liberal idea in human history.
Actually, I think liberalism's best idea is the principle that all people are created equal. (So it's not original to liberal thought -- neither is capitalism.) I'm a big fan of rational inquiry, too.
--believes American society is fundamentally unfair (as opposed to having unfair aspects that need improvement).
It may not be fundamentally unfair, but if you let me change it enough to render it perfectly fair I'm pretty sure Joe Klein wouldn't recognize the end product.
--believes that eternal problems like crime and poverty are the primarily the fault of society.
Given that some of our contemporary societies have achieved much lower crime and poverty rates, we might consider that we're doing something wrong here.
--believes that America isn’t really a democracy.
Technically it's a republic. And a not-very-representative one to boot, but that's fixable.
--believes that corporations are fundamentally evil.
They're just immortal, amoral beings whose actions are largely insulated from the rule of law. I want that kind of power! If I ever get it, though, people will probably assume I've gone evil.
--believes in a corporate conspiracy that controls the world.
See above. Narrow self-interest is about the only personality trait a corporation is capable of possessing. Why would they need, or bother, to conspire?
--is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources.
Show me a good idea that's come out of the current crop of conservatives, and we'll talk.
--dismissively mocks people of faith, especially those who are opposed to abortion and gay marriage.
I almost never mock people for their faith (I do make exceptions for egregious stupidity). I sometimes mock them for what they do about it. I generally mock opponents of women's and homosexuals' civil rights, but I never dismiss them since that crowd includes some dangerous and sick individuals.
--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives.
I am rarely vulgar. I have on occasion expressed the desire to round up prominent conservatives and have them declared enemy combatants, which some conservatives might find a bit harsh.

So how'd I do? Well, nationally recognized pundits hate criticism, so Joe Klein probably gives me 13 out of 13 -- 100% extremist. However, by my count, I get 3/13 extremist, 2/13 not extremist, and 8/13 Joe Klein is irretrievably dense.

1 Comment

Joe Kline is a wingnut. Didn't people not named Hillary Clinton stop listening to him long ago?
I'd define an extremist as anyone who is unwilling or unable to politely assume that their ideological opponent doesn't have nefarious intentions. The way that Joe Kline would treat "extreme" liberals makes him an extreamist.

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