The other day, Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor at the Washington Post, one of the largest and most prestigious newspapers in the world, reasoned that “if America were another country, we would be talking about how post-Civil War America is still in desperate need of a U.N.-sponsored Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program for white supremacists and segregationists.”
Well, perhaps “reasoned” is an overstatement. The idea, of course, is as preposterous as it is juvenile, but more seriously, it betrays a corrosive illiberalism and warped understanding of American life that’s infected so much of the Left these days.
It’s alarming, to say the least, to see left-wing punditry obsessed with limiting free expression — sometimes the speech of those with genuinely reprehensible views, but often the speech of their political foes, rationalized through collective guilt. Progressives have convinced themselves, or pretend they have, that far-right extremism is rampant among ordinary Americans. So much so, that if we weren’t weighed down by pesky constitutional protections, we could use some international intervention to straighten things out.
Of course, the chances of Slovakian or Peruvian special forces — the U.N. has no standing army, after all — landing in Wyoming and separating citizens accused of thought crimes from their AR-15s . . . let’s just say, I’d put my money on Wyoming. Though perhaps Attiah envisions the United Nations turning to more powerful nations such as China or Russia to finish the job Abraham Lincoln started?
It should be noted that this brand of America-hating make-believe sounds exactly like the conspiracies that anti-government New World Order types believe people who run places like the Washington Post editorial page are engaged in. Basically, every far-right extremist conspiracy theory revolves around an international organization such as the United Nations scheming to strip Americans of their freedoms and sovereignty. So good work.
We’ve gone from a country that papered over its past sins to one where newspaper editors fantasize about putting the United Nations, an organization teeming with tyrants, anti-Semites, racists, and terror states, in charge of weeding out wrongthink. How can you take seriously someone who believes the most pluralistic society yet invented, not to mention the most stable republic in history, is no better than theocratic, tyrannical pseudo-states such as the Central African Republic, the “Democratic” Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, all of which, to one extent or another, are now under a U.N.-sponsored Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program?
“It says a lot about America that when I talk about disarming violent white supremacists, white males in my mentions feel personally attacked,” Attiah noted on Twitter. I think it says more about the identitarianism of the contemporary Left. “White males” — a massive group of human beings with a vast array of experiences and ideas — feel attacked when spoken about as a kind of monolithic group born in racial sin. Moreover, when the writer Chad Felix Greene pointed out that Attiah doesn’t “see a difference between white males and white supremacists,” she responded, “If you’re not a white supremacist, the tweet doesn’t apply to you.”
Well, first of all, it doesn’t apply to anyone. White supremacists and segregationists, even the real ones, have the same constitutional protections as illiberal editors of global opinion sections at major newspapers. If they act in a violent manner, or in any way illegally, they should be prosecuted.
Second of all, who would decide such things? Is Ted Cruz a white supremacist? Is Mitch McConnell? What about the 70 million or so Donald Trump voters that Attiah claims “abet racism and white supremacy?” Attiah believes that Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew with conventional right-center views, empowers “white supremacy” merely by guest-writing a newsletter at Politico, so you can imagine how expansive the definition of such a term would be when the blue helmets roll in.
Attiah’s tweets regarding the U.N. accompanied an op-ed piece headlined, “Guns are white supremacy’s deadliest weapon. We must disarm hate.” Progressives are going to milk the Capitol riot for years, acting as if it were a near democracy-destroying coup or junta rather than a rabble of violent and seditious nuts. And they will treat every Republican as complicit in this act. “Cleanse thyself!” they demand, so they can assign ownership to you, even if you don’t share any of the ideas or goals of those who participated in the madness that day.
Attiah and seemingly many other progressives believe that we can simply divest citizens of their rights for holding unsightly views. But such things would be possible only “if America were another country,” of course.