The Corner

Something Wicked this Way Comes

Ann Althouse writes :

Kos is taking a poll. “Do you agree with outing Gay Republicans?” 70% say “yes. But don’t you think this percentage would change if the strategy backfires? I think aggressive characters like our “lefty blogger” think that uncovering gay Republicans will disgust social conservatives and change their voting behavior. They might also believe that they are demonstrating hypocrisy and that doing so will motivate Republicans to abandon social conservatism. I would like to see Republicans abandon social conservatism, and I’m not cheering on these slimy outings. But, honestly, I think these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs.

Me: This is a point I’ve been trying to make for a while (see here for example). Liberals are geniuses at unleashing social panics because A) it never occurs to them that their motives are anything but pure and B) because they are almost exclusively focused on short term tactics. And yet they are invariably shocked when these moral frenzies come back to bite them. McCarthyism was a direct consequence of both the Red Scare and the Brown Scare. And when the tactics they mastered were turned on them, they acted as if they came from nowhere. The sort of scorched earth attack liberals have mounted in the wake of Foley is creating precedents I guarantee will haunt them in unexpected ways in years to come.

Update: Stickler;s object to my use of “unexpected.” I think it’s fine. But how about “unintended”? 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

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