Kevin Williamson argues that the real issue in the battle between left and right in America is about intellectual and political coercion.
The Leftâ€™s last big idea was Communism. When Lenin turned out to be the god who failed, the Left undertook wide exploration for another grand unifying idea: environmentalism, multiculturalism, economic inequality, atheism, feminism, etc. What it ended up with was an enemiesâ€™ list.
That and a taste for brute force.
The enthusiasm for coercion and the substitution of enemies for ideas â€” Christians, white men, Israel, â€œthe 1 percent,â€ the Koch brothers, take your pick â€” together form the basis for understanding the Leftâ€™s current convulsions. The call to imprison people with unapproved ideas about global warming, the Senate Democratsâ€™ vote to repeal the First Amendment, the Ferguson-inspired riots, the picayune political correctness and thought-policing that annoys Jonathan Chait, the IRSâ€™s persecution of conservative political groups, Barack Obamaâ€™s White House enemiesâ€™ list, the casual violence against conservatives on college campuses and the Leftâ€™s instinctive defense of that violence â€” these are not separate phenomena but part of a single phenomenon.
The difference between Elizabeth Warrenâ€™s partisans and the Tontons Macoutes is very little more than testosterone and time.