Today, Helen Thomas’s racist comments forced her retirement. This is not a victory. It is a harbinger.
Within five years at most, those very same comments will be accepted wisdom by the leftmost 1/3 of the American political spectrum and they will routinely voice such views in the public discourse without shame or remorse. No one will lose their job because they advocate the destruction of Israel.
The evolution has already begun. Scan the comments on the story at Huffington Post. Clearly many on the left already don’t find those sentiments shocking or beyond the pale.
We have seen this process before. In 1966, if had you told someone, say Robert Kennedy, that by 1971: (1) a Harvard educated, US Naval Reserve Officer would be lying under oath before Congress by claiming that American soldiers had become little better than the Waffen SS and (2) his accusations would be treated as gospel and applauded by one good third of the American polity, well, they would have laughed in your face and called you hysterical. If you had told that person in 1966 that by 1971, the majority of America’s public intellectuals would be producing long-winded justifications for why the people of Indochina would be better off under communist rule than otherwise, they would have committed you.
Yet, that evolution from merely viewing the war as poorly fought and of dubious practical value to evidence that America was little better than Nazi Germany took just a few brief years. Even today, the people who made such delusional statements are well regarded members of the American left.
Back in the ’60s, the left staked its reputation on the idea that America was to blame for all of the bloodshed in Indochina. They completely and utterly ignored anything the communists did no matter how vile. Today, they’ve staked their reputation on the assertion that Israel’s evil actions are the controlling factor in the conflict in the region. They ignore anything that the enemies of Israel do, no matter how vile.
By publicly proclaiming such a delusional outlook, they are forced to adopt ever increasingly radical assertions in order to justify their de facto alliance with evil. The only way they could justify carrying water for the communists in Indochina was to paint America as being even worse. Today, the only way they can justify carrying water for the racist, sexist, homophobic, brutal autocrats of the Middle East is to claim that Israel is even worse and/or that the actions of the autocrats are just reactions to whatever bad thing Israel has done.
Leftism is ultimately driven by the collective narcissism and hubris of individual leftists. They choose positions because those positions make them feel superior to everyone else. Leftists back autocrats because any idiot can back the liberal democracy but it takes a great genius to understand that it’s really the vicious thugs who are the good guys.
Their ego-driven analysis causes them to adopt the same basic arguments, in widely different circumstances, over and over again as deterministically as the orbits of planets. In any conflict between a liberal democracy and a non-democratic entity, they will inevitably side with the non-democratic entity because everyone else in society will back the liberal democracy. Even in conflicts between different levels of authoritarianism, they will select the most authoritarian.
As the regional enemies of Israel have grown more and more brutal to everyone, even their own people, the western left has grown more and more hostile to Israel. They have to justify their support of the autocrats by increasingly smearing Israel. They can’t help themselves, because they act from self-centered emotion instead of dispassionate reason.
The left has created a trajectory for themselves that will quickly but inevitably lead all of them to voice the same views that forced Helen Thomas from public life. Indeed, we can assume that Thomas felt comfortable making those comments on tape because such beliefs are already widely accepted by her political circle. She didn’t consider them beyond the pale because she hears them all the time.
Thomas, then, is but the tip of the iceberg or, more aptly, the tip of the shark’s dorsal fin just breaking the surface of the water. Whatever metaphor we choose, she is a harbinger of how ugly things are going to get. She is the dark edge of the gathering storm.
It’s 1938, not 1945.