Dear Liberals: Stop The ‘Enemies’ Thing
One helpful thing about our liberal friends is that they always signal to us who their enemies are.
January 6 rioters? They are “armed insurrectionists.” Parents opposed to Critical Race Theory in schools? They are “domestic terrorists” and the FBI will know the reason why. Climate change skeptics? They are “climate deniers,” as in “Holocaust deniers.” Opponents of DEI? They are “white oppressors” and “systemic racists.”
But when Vladimir Putin threatens the sanctity of Ukraine, President Biden blathers on about a “minor incursion.” So, not really an enemy.
Now, all of a sudden, the usual suspects are accusing White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain of extremism.
For months, moderate Democrats in Congress have complained that Klain is overly deferential to their liberal colleagues, to the point where some members and Hill staff privately said he needed to be replaced.
They have? Well, bless my buttons. How come our fearless “comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable” media didn’t tell us “months” ago? Moderate Democrats have been complaining “for months?” Now, all of a sudden, the Chuck ‘n Nancy tactics of burn-it-down is old news? Now, all of a sudden, the enemy is Ron Klain?
You think now, dear moderate Democrats, that treating Americans that don’t agree with you as enemies is not the best of all possible worlds? Gosh. Forgive me if I’ve been sitting in a political bomb shelter for the last year, but this is the first I’ve heard that you moderates ain’t happy with your leadership and its take-no-prisoners tactics.
And forgive me for saying that the time to make your voices heard in the councils of state was a year ago. Because now the die is cast, and probably after November 8, 2022, there won’t be too many moderate Democrats left in Congress. For a generation.
Now, I have had something of a Road to Damascus experience this year on the enemies front. I read Nazi Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political where he says that the political is the friend/enemy distinction. Or, as Curtis Yarvin writes, “there is no politics without an enemy.”
But then, I thought, if I write about enemies this week, will I be repeating myself? So I checked. I wrote about “Everyone in Politics Needs an Enemy” at AT in January 2020. Said I:
Of course, our lefty friends, ever since Marx, have lived and died on the existential enemy: capitalists, bourgeois, robber barons, patriarchy, racists, all past, present and future “-phobes,” and now “white supremacists” and “toxic masculinity.” Oh, and Trump.
Back in June 2013, I wrote “The Enemy is Us.”
The only real job for a government is to make war on enemies, foreign and domestic, but liberals don't want to make war on foreign enemies, and they don't want to enforce the law on domestic enemies, the common criminals… So liberals look around them for something to fight, and the first thing they see is corporations, conservatives, gun owners, Chick Fil-A.
Because “there is no politics without an enemy.”
Frankly, I was shocked. Even without the help of Nazi Carl Schmitt and neo-monarchist Curtis Yarvin, I had the politics-equals-enemy thing pretty well sewn up.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when I talk about liberals and lefties I always say “our liberal friends” or “our lefty friends.” I went to my blog archives and the first time I used “liberal friends” was in 2005. The first time I used “lefty friends” was in 2006. Do you see what I am doing?
I am addressing liberal and lefty Americans not as enemies but as friends. I dare say that all the wokey girls at the New York Times would all agree that such talk is straight-up systemic hate-ism. Because what else would they say, the silly girls.
Hey, dear liberal and lefty friends and all the ships at sea. How about you stop calling your political opponents “armed insurrectionists,” “domestic terrorists,” not to mention “racist-sexist-homophobes” and “hard-right white supremacists?” How about instead you call us “conservative friends” and “Republican friends” and “righty friends?”
Because the problem with enemies, as the Nazi Carl Schmitt pointed out, is that when you talk of the enemy, then there is the possibility of conflict, and even “physical killing.”
Now I would say that the lesson of the Year of George in 2020, when killings went up, particularly black-on-black killings, is that when you amp up the political you amp up the “possibility of conflict, and even ‘physical killing.’”
Fortunately for you, dear liberal friends, there is no “experts agree” on this. They wouldn’t dare.
So how about it, dear liberal friends?
Imagine there’s no enemies
It isn’t hard to do.
Start writing about “our racist friends” and “our sexist friends” and “our homophobic friends.” Maybe it will change your life. And ours.
Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.
Image: Flood G.