The Danger of Making Ruthlessness Seem Reasonable

I use a lot of dangerous drugs. Well, not me personally, but on my patients. Of course, I use dangerous drugs only when the disease I’m treating is more dangerous than the drug.

In diseases that are not life-threatening, naturally I avoid dangerous drugs and try to stick with safer therapies. Chemotherapy drugs can save your life, but they can also have significant side effects. Side effects that you would not tolerate if you were treating a sinus infection. But if you have cancer, and you’re trying to avoid dying, it may make sense to take a chance on side effects – even very serious side effects. In truly desperate circumstances, there are few actions one would not consider, no matter how drastic.

That’s what always bothered me about the great leftist / progressive / socialist leaders of the 20th century: Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Stalin, and so on. They saw a problem and took drastic measures to fix it.

When I consider the horrifyingly drastic measures they took, I wonder, “What possible problem did they see that warranted such drastic actions? Who on earth could have possibly thought that was a good idea?” Even for those who lack sympathy for others, killing millions of people is no small thing. They claimed that they were trying to save or improve their countries for their citizens. Which some considered to be an adequate reason. Think about that. And then, think about Greta Thunberg.

There are many facets of the global warming fraud that I find concerning, but what bothers me the most about it is that its adherents claim to on a mission to save the world. Ok, so what would you not do to save the world? At that point, any action could be considered, right? Even horrible side effects are worthwhile in this case because the patient is dying and we’re desperate. So no action, no matter how drastic, is off the table.

It’s easy to chuckle when a self-important 16-year-old girl explains that the world is ending. It’s ridiculous.

Well, it may be ridiculous, but it’s not funny.

These people are dangerous. Their polarizing extremism encourages ruthless actions that would otherwise be unthinkable. Just ask a dead German Jew from 1943.

A few days ago, at a town hall on CNN, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi explained her concern about President Trump with the following statement: “Civilization as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly, our planet. The damage that this administration has done to America, America’s a great country. We can sustain. Two terms, I don’t know.”

Not that long ago, Mrs. Pelosi would have said no such thing. She might have said, “I have serious disagreements with Mr. Trump’s policy proposals, and I don’t like where he is taking this country. I hope my fellow American citizens will choose to vote Democrat in the next election. Let me explain why I think that would be a good decision.” And she would then outline her specific disagreements with Mr. Trump, and how she would propose to do better for the American people than he would.

This is how the Republicans won the House in 1994. The “Contract with America” explained what they saw as problems, and how they intended to fix those problems. It worked – they won.

I’m not sure that approach would work now. As I often say, I hope I’m wrong about this. But American politics has changed. And more importantly, American society seems to have changed.

There are those who think that the Democrats’ repeated impeachment attempts against Mr. Trump and other extremist tactics are due to their particular dislike for Mr. Trump. I disagree. If Mitt Romney or Scott Walker were president, I suspect the Democrats would be using similarly ruthless tactics. This shift in tactics occurred before, and independent of, the inauguration of Mr. Trump.

President Trump may be a response to this new approach to American politics, but he is not the cause of it.

It seems strange that such extremism and such vicious approaches to politics occur now, in a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity, here in modern America. American politics were vicious and nasty in the mid-1800s, but slavery and other issues were on the verge of tearing our country apart. One can understand how such serious disagreements about such serious issues would lead to divisive politics.

But we’re not arguing about slavery and basic human rights anymore. We’re not even arguing about foreign wars or Prohibition. We’re arguing about transsexual bathrooms. It’s hard to understand such vicious political tactics in times of peaceful prosperity like these.

I’m not sure of the cause, but I suspect it started with the extremist environmental movement. Silent Spring was published in 1962. The Population Bomb was published in 1968. The cold winters of the 1970s led many to believe that we were all about to die in the next ice age.

All of those predictions turned out to be wrong, but the potential power of such messages was hard for some politicians to ignore. Particularly politicians who had no other compelling reasons for anyone to vote for them. Al Gore is an extreme example of this phenomenon, but many others on the left are using this technique now. And when one considers the success rate of leftist policies, one can understand why they use this approach.

A leftist politician no longer has to explain why socialism has never worked anywhere else, and how exactly it will work here. That’s a tough sell. All he/she has to do is convince voters that Republicans are evil capitalists who want to get rich by destroying the world, like a James Bond villain. And then convince those voters that global catastrophe is certain unless they vote for the leftist, who cares for the environment. Skip the details, just paint the picture.

At that point, no actions, no matter how drastic or ruthless, are off the table. Confronting and shaming people in public. Scaring the families of prominent conservatives. Arresting elderly nobodies like Roger Stone in SWAT raids in the middle of the night, with CNN along to broadcast it worldwide. It seems vicious, but hey, we’re trying to save the world here, so it’s ok. Really. Are you with us, or against us? Are you evil, or nice?

These people are dangerous.

So when I hear Nancy Pelosi say, “Civilization as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly, our planet,” I don’t laugh. When I hear Greta Thunberg say, “For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis, but we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer,” I don’t just roll my eyes. When I hear AOC say, “There’s no debate as to whether we should continue producing fossil fuels. There’s no debate,” I don’t wonder what she’s been smoking.

These people are dangerous. They make ruthlessness seem reasonable.

In the past, people have agreed to drastic actions simply to save their country, as they saw it. People actually voted for Adolf Hitler for little more reason than that. What if they thought they were saving the whole world? What would they not do?

Saul Alinsky.
The impeachment charade is not a joke. Neither are climate protests, or boycotting businesses suspected of being insufficiently leftist, or economic sanctions against businesses in states that don’t enact your preferred policies regarding transsexual bathrooms. It may seem ridiculous, but it’s not funny.
This is scary stuff. And I don’t see a solution. This is just the way the left does politics now. It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton who learned a lot from Saul Alinsky. The Democrat party has decided that such ruthless tactics are reasonable. I suspect that things will get much worse before they get better.

I really hope I’m wrong about all this…