In the last few weeks, the alarming rise of vitriolic anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric from the right wing has alarmed a large segment of the American people, but equally disturbing is how much support these noxious views are getting from the public. After the civil rights achievements of the 1960s, it was widely assumed that tolerance and diversity would win the day. Many studies show that growing familiarity with the "other" typically yields more tolerant attitudes. But this recent spasm of hatred is shocking in its intensity and in the apparent rejection of that decades-long progress toward social peace. Many even call it fascism. Why has this reversal suddenly appeared?
What Anonymous is engaged in is nothing short of intimidation. If you truly value free speech and an open, discourse, this kind of action should scare you. To see self-proclaimed liberals carrying torches and cheering as someone's website is defaced for the merely content of their speech, is profoundly disappointing, especially because there are so many legitimate ways to handle people like Trump or the Westboro Baptists.
Throughout his column, Douthat speaks of how libertarian values restrain fascism--they do. To equate them with conservative ideology, however, is a bit of stretch. Conservatives are not libertarians. Conservatism is not the ally of liberty. It is first and foremost the ally of the status quo and the past. Every attempt to expand human liberty was opposed by conservatives of the day.
Donald Trump now shouts about Mexican rapists coming across our Southern border, tweets absolutely false numbers about blacks murdering whites--numbers generated by a neo-Nazi website for crying out loud--and expresses approval when his white supporters assault a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his rallies. Sounds a hell of a lot like 1954 to me.
In ostensibly promoting tolerance, the essential core of liberalism, left wing extremists have taken on an ill-advised and misguided campaign to enforce an extreme version of political correctness, a form of intolerance that is ironically self-destructively anti-liberal. There is no constitutional right not to be offended.
To imply that Bernie Sanders' style of Democratic Socialism even stands on the same side of the political spectrum as the National Socialism of the Nazi Party shows not only a total misunderstanding of history and political theory, but more importantly, it underscores yet again the dog whistle politics of neo-conservatism.