The Proud Duck
Monday, May 02, 2005
Saints preserve us; the theocrats are coming, according to more and more mainstream liberal voices.
The most legitimate criticism of Joe McCarthy's anti-Communist campaign (aside from its cynicism) was that he had a nasty habit of tarring garden-variety liberals and hard-core Stalinist subversives with the same brush. (Of course, in some of the more cloistered left-of-center quarters, there is a certain denial that there were any hard-core Stalinist subversives at work within the American left in the forties and fifties, which doesn't stand rigorous factual scrutiny.)
The present "Dominionist" red scare is of a piece with McCarthyism on its worst day. The tactic is transparent: (1) Dig up a genuine religious radical from under a rock, whence he's been advocating the death penalty for adulterers; (2) find an issue on which he and a mainstream religious conservative share an opinion, such as preserving the Pledge of Allegiance in its present form; and (3) offer this as evidence that the two people share the same ultimate goals.
One notices a small breakdown in logic between steps (2) and (3). Let's play that game again: Karl Marx advocated progressive taxation and free public education; Democrats also support progressive taxation and free public education; ergo, Democrats are Marxists. (I actually did run across a letter to the BYU newspaper opinion page where a student made that argument. He was an idiot, too.)