Civil, extremist by mattsteinglass
March 3, 2009, 9:12 am
Filed under: Conservatism

Sullivan says that in contrast to Limbaugh, Reagan was civil. Personally, this seems to have been true: he was a very civil guy. And so is this Christian Zionist guy, who thinks all the Palestinians should be deported from the West Bank in order to hasten the End Times.

Reagan was an extremist. A respondent to Sullivan complains about this characterization, but I don’t know what else to say about someone whose political introduction was keyed around lines like “there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.” This was in a 1964 speech talking about Medicare. Reagan was apparently a friendly and likable man, but a lot of the people at CPAC are probably friendly and likable people too. They are friendly and likable people who genuinely believe that Democrats are Communists who are trying to destroy the United States. It is that extremist ideological cast of mind, not their personal social temperament, that is the problem, and unfortunately the extremism is not a new development; it runs right back to the founding moments of modern conservatism.


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