Then there’s the inability and/or refusal to recognize that a political discussion might exist independent of the Red v. Blue Cage Match. Thus, any critique of the President’s exercise of vast power (an adversarial check on which our political system depends) immediately prompts bafflement (I don’t understand the point: would Rick Perry be any better?) or grievance (you’re helping Mitt Romney by talking about this!!). The premise takes hold for a full 18 months — increasing each day in intensity until Election Day — that every discussion of the President’s actions must be driven solely by one’s preference for election outcomes (if you support the President’s re-election, then why criticize him?).
Worse still is the embrace of George W. Bush’s with-us-or-against-us mentality as the prism through which all political discussions are filtered. It’s literally impossible to discuss any of the candidates’ positions without having the simple-minded — who see all political issues exclusively as a Manichean struggle between the Big Bad Democrats and Good Kind Republicans or vice-versa — misapprehend “I agree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I support Candidate X for President” or “I disagree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I oppose Candidate X for President.” Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.
So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite.
For generations left-wing politics has suffered from what we now call purity trolls. Even in the days before Al Gore created the internet, the Ideology Police would cause schisms and conflict within left-wing movements and demanding absolute political correctness. These are the people who would object to holding a car wash to raise money for the starving kids in Darfur because cars pollute the environment and a car wash would send the wrong message.
Purity trolls disagree with Neil Sedaka – they think breaking up is easy. If they are in control they will kick you out. If you are in control they will leave, but then go around talking shit about you behind your back.
The thing they fear most is a free and open debate. They want opposing ideas suppressed and silenced. Despite their apparent belief in their own moral and intellectual superiority, they act as if exposure to opposing ideas will taint their pure essence.
That essence is, of course, made of 100% pure, unadulterated bullshit.