Sometimes a zealot can go ‘too far’ …. even for his/her own supporters.
I’ve seen it in political debate. I’ve seen it in business.
The ‘object’ of the exercise — the debate, the contest of ideas — becomes somehow personal, and the ‘campaign’ can start to lose focus.
It can be like a blood lust in combat or what Robert McNamara (Kennedy/Johnson Secretary of Defence) called “The Fog of War“.
I don’t know Liz Cheney but, judging from this, it looks like she may have wandered into this undergrowth … (it can happen to any of us if we feel strongly enough about something).
First, watch this propaganda:
As we discussed last time we talked about Joseph McCarthy, put yourself in the shoes of the ‘targets’ of this stuff. Are they being treated fairly? How ‘decent’ is the behaviour of the critic?*
Conservatives Turn Against Liz Cheney – As Bad As McCarthy
The backlash is growing against Liz Cheney after she demonized Department of Justice attorneys as terrorist sympathizers for their past legal work defending Gitmo detainees — and now it’s coming from within deeply conservative legal circles.
On Friday, the conservative blog Power Line put up a post titled, “An Attack That Goes Too Far.” Author Paul Mirengoff, called Cheney’s effort to brand DoJ officials the “Al Qaeda 7,” “vicious” and “unfounded” even if it was right to criticize defense lawyers for voluntarily doing work on behalf of Gitmo detainees.
Reached on the phone, Mirengoff offered an even sharper rebuke, contrasting what Cheney is doing to the anti-communist crusades launched by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and, in some respects, finding it worse.
“It could be worse than some of the assertions made by McCarthy, depending on some of the validity of those assertions,” Mirengoff said, explaining that at least McCarthy was correct in pinpointing individuals as communist sympathizers. “It is just baseless to suggest that [these DoJ officials] share al Qaeda values… they didn’t actually say it but I think it was a fair implication of what they were saying.”
from Huffington Post
Targeting individuals is always tricky. Motivations are near-impossible to divine. ‘Sympathies’ even more so. There’s usually a whole lot of hallucination going on.
I hope Ms Cheney and her cohorts take the opportunity to re-calibrate, and question their approach. What harm can that do?
* The other side of this is that sometimes one feels called to be the universe’s feedback mechanism to people who are acting wrongly (however you define that). As I said here:
I would hate for some of the things I’ve said about the activities and behaviour of others to be said about me — that’s why I don’t do what they do.
Personally, I’m not at all put off by the sanctimonious who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are? slur that’s sometimes thrown at outspoken critics (or anyone that dares to question whether people’s public statements align with their private behaviour or whether the fine print agrees with the bold headline).
Listen for the truth of what’s being said, and don’t quickly rush to judgement about who is saying it.