Missing the Target, Hitting the Foot

Paul Jacob
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Posted: Oct 22, 2017 12:01 AM
Missing the Target, Hitting the Foot

When taking aim, try not to hit your foot.

You may need that foot, if only to put it in your mouth.

Our bizarre age of ideological bickering continues as if we’ve not been sated yet. At least, the editors of The New York Times think its readers still demand a full barrage of invective and “argument” against “the right.” The Gray Lady has graced its pages with the writings of one Jane Coaston, who in mid-October took on conservatives in yet another farrago: “The Hollow Bravery of Ben Shapiro.”

Ms. Coaston accuses Shapiro — the brilliant intellectual pugilist widely known for his college appearances, and followed religiously by many fans at The Daily Wire — of “shadow boxing meant to pander to his conservative fans.” And while she admits the truth that “campuses tend to be hostile places to conservatives like Mr. Shapiro, Charles Murray and Heather Mac Donald,” she insists “the notion that they are the cultural underdogs is bogus.”

From this we learn that everyone feels beleaguered by their political enemies.

And Ms. Coaston and the Times are right in seeing the obvious, that most Americans do not agree with them.

But the idea that the Times and its writers are, instead, the underdogs, culture-wise, is too ludicrous even to suggest. The media and academic culture of America — the dominant culture — is heavily leftist today.

Not liberal. Leftist.

No wonder, then, that Coaston’s whole column can best be seen as an elaborate evasion.

She does not back up her “cultural underdog” thesis in any way. Instead, she heads off into criticism of a few bits of satire. What is she evading? The street and campus violence by leftist activists who, until recently, were given de facto license by mayors and college administrators to shout down, beat up and “de-platform” people they called “fascists.”

But who have been, in Shapiro’s case, merely libertarian-ish conservative.

By just glossing over all this, Ms. Coaston seems to be pandering to her audience — certainly not challenging it, which is precisely what she accuses Mr. Shapiro of doing.

Amusingly, earlier this year I noticed another piece authored by this journalist: “On the Punching of Nazis: I Support It.” Pretending to be historically savvy, and taking a dubious high ground to prevent the rise of the violent, racist “right,” she argued that “you should punch Nazis in the goddang face. You should do so repeatedly. If you see more Nazis, you should punch them, too.”

But Antifa and other “Nazi-punchers” aren’t in the habit of sending out questionnaires before planting fist to face or bike lock to noggin. Indeed, most of the people they attack support the freedoms in the Bill of Rights more reverently and earnestly than do Antifa, BAMN, and all of the leftist academy and commentariat combined. Hardly fascist. Or “Nazi.”

Which brings us to the young Times writer shooting herself in the foot. She minimizes the extent to which Ben Shapiro and others — including scholar Charles Murray, polemicist Ann Coulter, and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulis — have been personally threatened (and their fans violently attacked) by mobs shouting against “fascism” and “Nazis.”

And yet she has fueled this very practice. She provided not merely the intellectual ammunition; she provided the declaration of war.

This is not brave at all. It’s worse than cowardly.

Think: weasel.

Which is surely the stole most often worn, these days, by the Gray Lady.