Consider the following:
- Sandra Fluke saw fit to demand that the federal government– as conceived by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, drawing on the works of Locke, Montesquieu, and Voltaire– subsidize her sexual behavior.
- Wendy Davis passionately filibustered legislation that (A) banned abortions after 5 months and (B) required that abortion clinics be subject to the same hygienic standards as other healthcare facilities.
- Hank Johnson– Congressman, Georgia– asked the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet if an influx of marines could cause the island of Cuba to “tip over and capsize”.
- As Illinois State Senator, Obama voted to deny medical attention to babies that survived abortions. While in the U.S. Senate, Obama amassed a liberal voting record to the left of avowed socialist Bernie Sanders. (Note that one cannot even draw a comparative analogy here, because there is no avowed neo-Nazi in Congress for a hypothetical Republican to vote right of.)
All four are immeasurably more insane than the most parodic caricatures of Sharron Angle or Todd Akin.
Yet it is Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock, and other Tea Party candidates that are perceived as the extremists.
It’s not just media bias.
Progressives employ incrementalism and a form of normalcy bias to shift the political center. In the process, they legitimize their extremists, while marginalizing ours…
- Leftists demand transgendered students be given access to both male and female bathrooms. In comparison, gay marriage and gay adoption seem reasonable– while opposition to gay marriage seems extreme.
- Leftists claim free healthcare is a human right. In comparison, the individual mandate seems reasonable– while pure, free market solutions seem extreme.
- Leftists claim barbaric, late-term abortion is a women’s rights issue. In comparison, garden-variety abortions seem reasonable– while the pro-life position seems extreme.
This is a process without end. As soon as society at large accepts their position, progressives adopt a more extreme one. In doing so, the conservative position– once perfectly acceptable– becomes more and more marginalized.
Eventually, liberals will embrace post-birth abortions– normalizing late-term abortions.
Eventually, incest– normalizing polygamy.
Eventually, martial law– normalizing gun confiscation.
In such an environment, the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Second Amendment positions will be so far outside the mainstream that they will be comparable to hate speech.
An Elusive Center
The political center is not static.
When mainstream Republicans distance themselves from the far-right, while mainstream Democrats openly embrace the far-left– Republicans are unwittingly shifting the political ground in Democrats’ favor.
Republican moderation legitimizes liberal extremism, while marginalizing traditional conservatism.
In the current political environment, which the GOP helped shape by disavowing their radicals– Sharron Angle and Todd Akin are extremists. But so too would be Ronald Reagan– a staunchly pro-life Christian who unapologetically opposed gay adoption, gay marriage, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
By definition, moderates are too even-tempered and/or uninterested to pull society in one direction or another. For better or worse, history is shaped by the extremist.
- 1/3 of the colonists dragged the rest into revolt against the crown.
- What began as a small group of abolitionists succeeded in banning what was a regular practice for 99.9% of human history.
- Gay rights “radicals” have all but won the gay marriage issue.
Republicans will embrace their extremists, or be ruled by the tyranny of the radical Left.