The left’s smear tactics have come on full display during the surfeit of attacks on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Whether you support or oppose this SCOTUS nomination, the tactics being used are more extreme even than during the Clarence Thomas hearings.
But as we know, they are nothing new, and Democrats will continue to use them until the American people scream “Enough!” — because they are effective. The real goal is psychological terrorism—that is, engaging in a scorched-earth effort to destroy the target, and in so doing intimidating anyone willing to enter public service, or even just support a public figure that does not parrot the politically correct line.
The charges do not need to be true, or even credible. People do not recoil because of the charges themselves (although, as we see, the left spares no effort to dream up the worst accusations they can think of). People recoil out of fear.
This tactic relies on the human herding instinct. People naturally shy away from anyone so vilified, whether the charges are credible or not, simply out of fear of being smeared with the same brush. They don’t want to be ostracized by the group.
Such excommunication has real consequences on reputations, jobs, relationships, even survival. The real goal is to threaten the rest of us into silence. How many people, for example, never used Donald Trump yard signs or bumper stickers out of fear of ostracism, or even property destruction?
Psychological Terrorism Enables Actual Terrorism
The vilification tactic is a form of psychological terrorism. Furthermore, because the fury displayed by those leveling the charges is so relentless and uncompromising, it carries its own threat. Sometimes people act on it and it becomes actual terrorism.
In 2012, homosexual activist Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council’s office, intending to murder as many as he could. He admitted he was inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which had FRC on its “Hate Watch” list. FRC, a mainstream conservative Christian organization, is still on the list.
Corkins was convicted of terrorism, and only stopped by a security guard who was injured in the process. Similarly James Hodgkinson, who attacked GOP congressmen practicing for a baseball game in 2017, engaged in a real act of domestic terrorism, fueled by hatred for Republicans. Hodgkinson “liked” SPLC on his Facebook page.
Antifa, the new name for anarchist left street rioters, has made explicit threats of violence. After chasing Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife out of a local restaurant, an Antifa DC chapter threatened on Twitter, “You are not safe.” And more: “This is a message to Ted Cruz, Bret [sic] Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and the rest of the racist, sexist, transphobic, and homophobic right-wing scum: You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.”
Another Antifa member, a professor at the City University of New York, tweeted, “Reminder that if Trump does end up winning this stupid thing to assassinate Mike Pence *first*.”
GOP senators decry the tactics being used against Kavanaugh while virtue-signaling their insistence on hearing the accuser’s testimony. What they should be doing instead is taking every opportunity to highlight this unethical behavior.
Defamation Attacks Follow a Definite Pattern
In 2010, Laird Wilcox penned an article titled “The Practice of Ritual Defamation,” that describes the process. The most salient points are quoted here:
- In ritual defamation the victim must have violated a particular taboo in some way, usually by expressing or identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion or belief…
- The method of attack… is to assail the character of the victim… Character assassination is its primary tool…
- An important rule in ritual defamation is to avoid engaging in any kind of debate over the truthfulness or reasonableness of what has been expressed, only condemn it…
- The victim is often somebody in the public eye – someone who is vulnerable to public opinion…
- An attempt, often successful, is made to involve others in the defamation…
- In order for a ritual defamation to be effective, the victim must be dehumanized to the extent that he becomes identical with the offending attitude, opinion or belief, and in a matter… where it appears at its most extreme.
- Also to be successful, a ritual defamation must bring pressure and humiliation on the victim from every quarter, including family and friends. If the victim has school children, they may be taunted and ridiculed as a consequence of adverse publicity.
- Any explanation the victim may offer, including the claim of being misunderstood, is considered irrelevant. To claim truth as a defense for a politically incorrect value, opinion or belief is interpreted as defiance and only compounds the problem…
This defamation tactic has a long and ignoble history. It was first systematically developed by a regime whose primary governing method was terrorism. One hundred years ago, the first Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin, announced:
We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth… We can and must write in a language that inspires hate, revulsion and scorn toward those who disagree with us. (Emphasis mine.)
His goal, adopted and practiced by the world’s communist parties, was to vilify, isolate, and destroy anyone who opposed their political goals, for any reason. In subsequent years, the Soviets told the world’s Communist parties to magnify this criticism:
Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist or Nazi or anti-Semitic… constantly associate those who oppose us with those names that already have a bad smell. The association will, after enough repetition, become ‘fact’ in the public mind. (Emphasis mine.)
By Tolerance, They Mean You Must Be Silenced
In 1965, Frankfurt School Communist Herbert Marcuse, then a professor at Brandeis University, further developed the idea with an essay titled “Repressive Tolerance.” He dedicated the essay to his Brandeis students.
Marcuse argued that, even though America has the First Amendment, the left could never get its agenda adopted because we are an unrepentantly repressive, imperialist, capitalist country. So of course America would never voluntarily adopt the “liberating” tenets of communism. Marcuse argued for what he called “liberating tolerance,” i.e. silencing the left’s critics and allowing leftist ideas only:
Not ‘equal’ but more representation of the Left would be equalization of the prevailing inequality… Given this situation, I suggested in ‘Repressive Tolerance’ the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressors.
Marcuse further described the types of people who needed to have their freedom curtailed:
[It] would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.
In other words, pretty much anyone who disagrees with them. Can you visualize the Internal Revenue Service making up an “enemies list” of those who opposed Obamacare, for example? They did. Significantly, Marcuse referred to opponents as the “party of hate” in opposition to humanity.
This essay was very popular among the left, although most of the rest of us never heard of it. The tactic has come to be called “partisan tolerance.” Marcuse, by the way, was called the “Father of the New Left,” and was one of the prime progenitors of cultural Marxism, or political correctness. He was thrown out of Brandeis for being too radical, believe it or not, and resettled at the University of California, San Diego.
The Left Explicitly Uses These Tactics On Purpose
Marcuse worked closely with Julian Bond, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which adopted Marcuse’s partisan tolerance methods. That is why moderate Muslims, Christian groups, anti-terrorism groups and practically all prominent conservatives find themselves on SPLC’s “Hate Watch” list.
Nobody really “hates” them except the SPLC and its allies in the far left, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and even now the Anti-Defamation League. But do not be mistaken: Their goal is not merely to silence us, but ultimately to criminalize what we say for simply disagreeing with them.
Most people are now familiar with Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals.” President Obama and Hillary Clinton were both avid followers of Alinsky. But his contribution was merely taking Lenin and Marcuse, and turning their ideas into 13 concise rules.
Leftist leaders all learn these tactics. They are taught in training schools like the Midwest Academy, and in seminars throughout the country. Not only Antifa types, but media leaders, political leaders, teachers, and professors have become conversant in this tactic. Rank-and-file Democrats have caught on, and now you can face this same tactic sitting across the dinner table from a liberal relative, neighbor, or friend.
The Media Amplifies These Techniques
The media, particularly, is to blame. It is insufficient to describe the media as “in the tank” for Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Obama, or whoever. The left media is a leader of the opposition, and has been for decades. It sets the narrative for the day, which is often word-for-word across news outlets; it pushes Democrat talking points and cultural Marxist priorities; it suppresses news adverse to the left and misinforms on the news it does report; it weaponizes language and acts as a self-funded intelligence agency for the left, researching, outing, doxing, and vilifying its enemies.
Reporters have been scouring the nation to find anyone, anywhere, who can say anything against Kavanaugh. Would they do that against any Democrat? Rush Limbaugh today described one caller’s experience:
She told us on this program yesterday that reporters from the Huffing and Puffington Post and other Drive-By outlets were hounding her throughout the summer for data, for information, tell-all on Kavanaugh.
From the summer!
From THE SUMMER!
The media has been chasing down, tracking down anybody and everybody that might have gone to school with Kavanaugh! They’re calling them up and they’re interviewing them, in some cases browbeating them, and this caller yesterday said (summarized), ‘They’re clearly looking for certain angles, and I didn’t provide it to them, and they got irritated and pending ending the conversation.’
Democrat Hillary operative Brian Fallon even acknowledged the Democrat strategy against Trump in a New York Times interview: “First, block Kavanaugh, then fight like hell to win back the Senate.”
Bork Was Only One Casualty in This Long War
This tactic has a long and sordid history, solidly in evidence since its use against Robert Bork and well before that. The Joseph McCarthy hearings were another page out of the communist playbook. You may like or hate McCarthy. It is irrelevant. He could have been Mother Theresa and the left would have set out to destroy him.
Everything the Democrats have done is proof that they intended to use this tactic against Kavanaugh: from the screaming (paid) protesters they organized for the first hearings, to the accusations being leveled at him by ever-more outrageous “witnesses.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose tactics were nakedly designed to stall the hearings and destroy Kavanaugh, can and should be censured for her actions.
Enough is enough.