Sunday, July 02, 2006

The "Netroots" And The Birchers

Via Betsy's Page via Jim Geraghty at TKS, an essay that articulates a thought I've toyed with for a while now, that the "nutroots" movement in today's Left resembles the John Birchers that once were part of the Right. The essay is by Josh Trevino and can be found at Enchiridion Militis.

The Birchers were forced out of the Right by the forceful and far-sighted presence of William F. Buckley and the National Review. It is questionable that such a figure exists today among leftists. Trevino's essay draws the parallels quite effectively:

The netroots is a movement born of desperation and a sense of embattlement at being on the losing side of historical forces. It sees itself as the inheritor and the guarantor of true American tradition and identity, and it seeks to restore those things to their rightful primacy in national life. Critically, it choose to not merely fight its foes, but emulate them. It sees the prime virtue of its enemies as their ability to win, and if they can just crack the code — if it can grasp the very methodology of victory — then they will turn the tables, and victory will be theirs.

Sound familiar? It is -- to us. To the left, it’s all very exciting, and all very new. And so we see the self-proclaimed netroots go through a trajectory very much like what the Birchers went through, albeit in highly compressed time. The elements are all there: the resentment, the conspiracy-mindedness, and especially the leaders with stupefyingly poor judgment married to Napoleon complexes. I’ve noted before that they are "frank proponents of outright mimicry of the mechanisms of GOP ascendacy." Add to this the horrifying, alienating statements ranging from the mockery of dead Americans at war to the derision of political opponents’ personal sorrows. Add to this the demonization of the very people who should, in a sane world, be their friends -- The New Republic chief among them -- and the formula is complete. Messianism and paranoia marry to make this.

It is a remarkable essay that deserves a full read.

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