Leftists in Europe have long used the phrase pas d’ennemis à gauche – “no enemies on the left” – as a rallying call to overcome the internal squabbles of the left and to unite themselves against those who would resist the statist agenda. And now evidence has emerged that this rallying cry of European leftists is also the ideological filter through which the Department of Justice seeks to understand violent extremism in the United States.
Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon reported on June 1 that the DOJ’s National Institute of Justice has awarded $585,719 to Michigan State University to study social media patterns of the “far right” and Islamic extremists. Glaringly absent from the report was any mention of “far left” groups. Apparently, at least in the worldview that pervades the Obama administration, there are no groups on the left who are sufficiently extreme or dangerous as to warrant concern.
Though alarming in its own right as an illustration of the ideological bias guiding the DOJ under the Obama administration, Harrington’s report can be seen as a case in point of the left’s growing intolerance for anyone who disagrees with them, and it points to their willingness to play political hardball in order to stifle dissent.
Granted, an optimist might take comfort that someone, somewhere in the Obama administration recognizes the fact that Islamic extremism is a threat to the safety and security of American citizens. But who exactly are these “far right” extremists who, in the minds of Obama’s DOJ, pose such a threat to our Constitutional republic that they warrant special study? The proposed study does not specify the “far right” groups but, given the Obama administration’s targeting of tea party and other citizen movements as if they represented extremist threats instead of healthy political involvement, anyone to the right of Bill Ayers might want to take note.
On the June 2 edition of Fox and Friends, Judge Andrew Napolitano analyzed the threat to the First Amendment’s protection of free speech that is implicit in this move by the DOJ. Individuals and groups critical of the direction of this administration and its supporters might think twice about expressing those opinions publicly when they find that their views are under scrutiny by those in power. And Napolitano rightly raised the chilling point that the study’s timing will coincide with the run-up to the 2016 election.
Napolitano’s concern is buttressed by a study released by the American Enterprise Institute in 2013. This study found that growth in the tea party movement slowed when the IRS began targeting these groups. And given that the growing tea party likely contributed to the GOP’s 2010 victory by turning out several million GOP voters, the study supports the idea that the slowdown in tea party growth contributed substantially to Obama’s 2012 re-election. From that perspective, this move by the DOJ appears to be part of a larger practice of using the power of government to suppress dissent and alter the political future of the country.
Mainstream Americans often marvel at the left’s apparent hypocrisy in preaching the virtues of tolerance and diversity in one moment while being so intolerant of diverse political views the next. But the left’s seeming inconsistency is solidly grounded in Marxist theory. As part of their strategy to remake Western culture along leftist lines, Marxist intellectuals such as Herbert Marcuse argued that leftists should demand tolerance for views on the left and promote intolerance for more conservative views. Over time, the culture would gradually begin to accept leftist views as normal and traditional, conservative views as extreme.
Once the underlying Marxist tactic is understood, the left’s apparent double standard disappears. Anything that promotes the left’s agenda is permitted, and anything that obstructs the left’s agenda is forbidden. Thus, liberals on campus cite the First Amendment to protect the speech of radical college professors while imposing speech codes to inhibit any speech that liberals do not want to hear.
Liberal rhetoric may praise tolerance and diversity, but the reality is intolerance and intimidation for those who dare to disagree with the left’s agenda. And so the DOJ studies the “far right” for clues to violent extremism while ignoring the far left.
Mainstream America still lives by the honorable position that “I may not agree with a thing you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The American left takes the position that “if I disagree with something you say, I will stop you from saying it.” In question today is which of these positions will be passed on to our children.
Obama’s DOJ may have no enemies on the left, but our Constitutional republic certainly does.