Obviously, I’m a lot closer to Emily Jashinsky on this issue than Krystal Ball or Saagar Enjeti or Secular Talk. She is right that progressives are far more animated by polarizing culture war issues than economics – witness the discovery of systematic racism, political correctness or wokeness, branding their opposition “domestic extremism,” “trans,” censorship, reparations, open borders, “reimagining policing,” toppling monuments and now vegan totalitarianism. Who made that their political agenda?
The definition of “rightwing domestic extremism” is continuing to stubbornly believe in things which everyone believed in until yesterday. It is being old fashioned. If you believe in free speech or the right to bear arms or states’ rights or the biblical concept of two genders or race realism or base your sense of identity on religious faith or kinship instead of a modernist aesthetic, you are an “extremist.” There is a smart set of people who determine what “extremism” means and new -isms and -phobias that make you a terrible person are being created in obscure corners of academia as fast as brand new genders.
Portland celebrated Juneteenth last year by lynching and desecrating a statue of George Washington. There were so many cancellations going on at this time a year ago that it was dizzying to watch. There really are people out there who are on the “Left” who have a problem with Aunt Jemima or Mr. Potato Head’s genitals or who spiral into a rage at the sight of inanimate statues.
Note: There are a lot of people who identify as “Left” who do not share this particular vision and brand of cultural extremism, but who would prefer to focus on economic issues. Those people are being overshadowed by the Sadie Farrells of the world who lead the news cycle.