One thing that really gets under my skin is how a lot of mainstream pundits, left and right, often use words like â€œwhacko,â€ â€œnutcase,â€ â€œinsane,â€ etc. to describe those with opinions that they view as outside the mainstream. This of course relieves them of the responsibility of actually having to argue for and support their point of view. Simply denounce dissenters as â€œnutjobsâ€ and move on.
This clearly serves to prop up and sustain the mainstream, status quo. Look at how, for example, Ron Paul and Mike Gravel have been dismissed by the â€œseriousâ€ Beltway crowd as mere nuisance â€œnut casesâ€ followed only by the â€œtin foil hat brigade.â€ Much to their chagrin, it is becoming harder to simply write off Ron Paul that way.
Happily, liberal blogger Glen Greenwald has picked up on this tendency as well. See this insightful post. (The first few paragraphs, not the Hagee stuff which requires a post all its own.)
One of the favorite tactics of super-sophisticated Beltway media insiders is to band together and point to anyone who expresses views outside of their narrow orthodoxies and laugh at what crazy and unserious “whackos” they are — in contrast to the very serious-minded, sane and insightful Beltway elite. The current roster of crazy losers includes Mike Gravel and Ron Paul — the ones opposed to the war in Iraq and to American military domination around the world. They are insane lunatics, total losers, not fit even to be heard in public discourse among the Serious.
Thus, we are treated to an endless stream of snide little insults from the likes of Eve Fairbanks and Joe Klein scoffing at these “lunatics.” And, as we all know, in 2004 Howard Dean was completely crazy — a total wacko — and Al Gore is vaguely insane, too.
By contrast, the pundits of The New Republic and Time who cheered on George Bush’s invasion of Iraq and who work for Marty Peretz and who defend George Bush’s lawbreaking and who spent years treating Dick Cheney like royalty and who carefully ponder with Great Angst whether we should start a new war with Iran are the deeply serious, very sane, mainstream thinkers who can banish the nerdy anti-war outcasts to the “lunatic fringes.”
Â I believe more and more people are recognizing that the Emperor has no clothes.