Right-wing pundits see bullies everywhere they look. But always on the Left, never on the Right. Right-wing pundits see lynch mobs everywhere they look. But always on the Left, never on the Right.
A great example is Yale computer scientist David Gelernter. As I’ve pointed out before, when philosopher Thomas Nagel published a book about materialism, he got a lot of public criticism for his silly and uninformed views. But, according to Gelernter, all this criticism was downright unfair: he called Nagel’s critics “punks, bullies, and hangers-on of the philosophical underworld” and a “lynch mob” and a “mass attack of killer hyenas”.
But nobody picketed Nagel, or demanded he be fired from his academic job, or threatened to boycott journals where he published. They just criticized him.
Has Gelernter ever stood up for leftist professors who have been threatened with bodily harm or loss of their jobs for their opinions? Not that I’ve seen.
The latest right-wing pundit to get into hysterics is Brendan O’Neill. He calls transgenderism “intolerant”. Novelist Ian McEwan was “subjected to a Twitch hunt”, which is a “bloodsport”. Critics of McEwan “went berserk” and engaged in “virtual tomato-throwing”. It was “reminiscent” of “the Inquisition”. The criticism was “attempted silencing”. It was “straight out of Nineteen Eight-Four“.
Yup, bullies and lynch mobs everywhere. Except that there aren’t any lynch mobs. Nobody attacked McEwan physically. Nobody got in his face, or blocked his path, or threatened him. All critics did was take issue with what he said.
If you want to be a good little right-wing pundit, you have to learn this game. All criticism from the Left is “bullying”. All criticism from the Right is “free speech”. All criticism from the Left is just like the Inquisition. All criticism from the Right is brave disagreement with the status quo. All criticism from the Left is Orwellian. All criticism from the Right is the true spirit of democracy.
Good little right-wing pundit. Have a puppy treat.