Left Repeating the Right’s Error

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Tom’s post argues that Moore’s film focusses so much energy on exposing Bush and the Republicans, to the exclusion of the regime in the broadest sense, that one receives a distorted view: the problem isn’t the state as such but rather the bad guys and interest groups that control the state.

Tom’s point is exactly right. However: this is precisely the same mistake that the Clinton haters made in the 1990s. I recall hoping that all this Clinton bashing, including the attempted impeachment, would impart the bare-bones point that the government cannot be trusted. Surely, the rank-and-file would be less likely to favor government power in the future, after witnessing all of Clinton’s abuses.

But no: the Clinton haters managed to somehow miss the broader point. I still hear GOPers going on about the big-government presidency of Clinton, as if they had been asleep for years. The adoration afforded Bush–the biggest big-government, arbitrary-power, shred-the-constitution, imperial president ever–is proof enough that these people never learn.

The two wings of American politics both favor some form of presidential dictatorship and only cry “Tyrant!” when the other guys are in power. Right now, the Left seems less threatening than the Right but only to the same extent to which the Right seemed less threatening than the Left during the 1990s. Libertarians have a nice solution to this problem: despise them all.

3:04 pm on June 29, 2004