Declaring those with views and priorities different from your own scary — or extreme or whatever other moralistic adjective is in vogue at the moment — isn’t a way to advance that debate, but a way to avoid having the debate at all, and to prevent its being had by others.
On that note, I happened to see a tweet from Bari Weiss today, enthusing over her discovery of Christopher Lasch:
So far, so anodyne, you might think. Lasch is indeed a writer worth reading. However, this is Twitter, so:
“Mild-mannered conservatism”! Bring me the smelling salts; I feel faint!
Someone makes the obvious response, to which our Twitter Torquemada retorts:
A lyric from the late, great Lemmy Kilmister, who died five years ago yesterday, comes to mind: “You are the spooks you’re chasing; you know not what you do.” There’s a certain “chef’s kiss” perfection to this little vignette that just delights me — “His observations were accurate, but his conclusions were unacceptable to me, so he’s not just mistaken, he’s evil.” I see we’ve learned absolutely nothing from the last four years of squandered intellectual integrity. When your entire political identity is based upon opposition to “conservatism,” however reasonable and mild-mannered, this is the sort of logical dead-end you end up in. Well, if you’re going to demonize someone as inoffensive as Lasch, don’t be surprised when forbidden fruit like Joseph de Maistre or Carl Schmitt start to seem tempting to people who are tired of your neverending hysterics.