On July 17, my colleague Liam Warner analyzed Congresswoman-in-waiting and Great Democratic Hope Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s performance on the rebooted Firing Line and found that she was not only wrong on every issue she mentioned but also that she didn’t know much of anything about the issues mentioned. He found the same “syllabus of errors” to be very much present in her July 26 appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show as well.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s knowledge of the issues, or lack thereof, offered both similarities with and differences from another young activist’s appearance on television last week. Earlier this month, a British left-wing blogger, Ash Sarkar, received her 15 minutes of fame when she screamed at Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. Morgan had insisted on deeming Ms. Sarkar a supporter of Barack Obama, to which she responded by yelling, “He’s not my hero . . . I’m literally a Communist!” — a response for which she was praised by left-wing, mostly Internet-based writers all over the world, including in Teen Vogue and Elle, which offered her as a role model for young women.
Both Daniel Hannan (in The Telegraph) and Douglas Murray (in The Spectator) have written of their dismay at the lionization and praise Ms. Sarkar received, and I can’t really better their arguments. Hannan reminded readers of what we should all already know of Communism’s unspeakable history, and Murray provided two possibilities — ignorance or mitigation and palliation — for modern Communists’ adoption of their creed. Both also touch on the double standard about far-leftists and far-rightists, and it’s this issue that I would like to broach.
“At this stage in the article,” Hannan writes, “the columnist traditionally says, ‘Just imagine if she had declared that she was “literally a fascist.”’ But you can’t imagine it, can you?” No, we can’t, and that’s because we have completely demonized Fascism and, socially, taken it out of public discourse — thank God. Yet Fascism’s kissing cousin, the equally evil and equally bloody Communism, remains not only celebrated but also recommended as worthy-of-emulation in Teen Vogue and Elle. And, unlike Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Sarkar actually knows something about something, even if it isn’t much: In her Teen Vogue interview, she surprises the interviewer by quoting Marx at length. Often, but not incontrovertibly, Fascism is said to be a right-wing ideology; arguendo, how is it that the evil far-right ideology is thrown out to the everlasting darkness yet the evil far-left ideology exalted? Or, even less drastically, how is it that conservatives are (rightfully) called upon to decry far-right madmen, yet liberals are given the opportunity to laud far-left crazies?
This is not mere “whataboutism.” It is a very good thing that we on the right are supposed to exclude Fascists, racists, and other people with inexcusable views. It would be a very good thing if leftists were supposed to do the same for their side — but still the Ash Sarkars of this world are praised.