Through A Looking Glass, Darkly

09/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Karl "World's Greatest Democracy" Rove famously developed into its fullest flowering the concept of using your opponents strongest quality to attack them. In earlier times, Max Cleland and John Kerry, both Vietnam War heroes, were attacked on precisely that point. Kerry, with Purple Hearts, for injuries, was mocked with purple bandaids at the RNC suggesting that his wounds were so minor as not to count, just a joke really. Max Cleland, with three missing limbs, needed sterner treatment, and his massive wounds were said to be the result of an accident, not battle, and so didn't count at all. Both of course, lost.

More recently, post-Rove, in flesh but not spirit, we have had Sonia Sotomayor, well qualified legally, a wonderfully admirable achievement for a Latina and woman in overcoming what must have been difficulties along the way, being accused of being a racist for daring to suggest that her life story and identity might give her some useful qualities distinct from the middle aged wealthy white men so dominant on all benches. Then President Obama, with his own extraordinary life story and achievement is similarly called a racist for daring to suggest that a white policeman had behaved "stupidly" in an incident, which whatever else it involved, clearly involved racist elements, and stupidity. Accusing members of minority groups of being racist for daring to comment, even very subtly and obliquely, on the presence of racism in society, is an astonishingly cynical act.

It is the same cynicism that causes any criticism, by the poor, of the rich and super rich -- of lavish life styles, expensive cars, mansions, private school education, tropical hideaways, huge cash bonuses -- of being "class warfare". What next, sick people criticizing the health care system? Health warfare.

And then we come to another egregious use of this tactic. Suddenly, in blog after blog, for the last year or so, in any thread dealing with the environment in any way, comes the accusation that greenies are anti-human. That is anyone who is concerned about, say, wolves being slaughtered from helicopters, or mountain tops being blown apart, or rivers being polluted, or forests being felled, or fishing stocks being depleted, or too much CO2 being poured into the atmosphere, hates people. Anyone who is concerned about conserving the environment which supports human beings is anti-human, while anyone who happily destroys it, for short-term profit, is pro-human.

So if you are concerned about an action you must not criticize it or you will become the action itself. Or as a very wise man said, "That's the best catch of all", or more simply, the only people permitted to criticize an action are those who approve of it.

The rest is silence.