Persuading the middle means acknowledging that the opposition is not composed of subhuman Moorlocks who hope that the branches of the United States military are placed under the permanent command of the United Nations General Assembly. People on the left may be wrong, but it's quite possible they don't actually want an Islamo-fascist state where terrorists are just misunderstood malcontents who only resort to bombs because no one else will listen to them in any other way. You could treat them like fellow human beings. But where's the fun in that?
Yup, that ball is sailing over the fences!
Only...well, that's not exactly what Lileks wrote. I edited it slightly. Here's the actual money quote:
Persuading the middle means acknowledging that the opposition is not composed of subhuman Moorlocks who hope global warming drowns coastal-dwelling gay stem-cell researchers. People on the right may be wrong, but it's quite possible they don't actually want a fascistic corporate state where the elite tour the country in giant hovercraft, vaporizing Wal-Mart labor organizers with microwave rays. You could treat them like fellow human beings. But where's the fun in that?
Well, I guess a home run is still a home run, but it's not that impressive when you're a grown man and you're taking the pitch downtown in a game of tee-ball.
A little bit above the money passage, Lileks had already said this:
Great swaths of the blogosphere are rich and smart and civil, yes. Other areas are infested with people whose hatred for George W. Bush is so intense they keep a squeegee by the TV to wipe the spittle off the screen.
One searches in vain for the other qualifier where Lileks mentions those areas which are infested with people who equate Hillary Clinton with Chairman Mao and who gleefully harbor bloody fantasies about their political enemies running into some of those subhuman Islamic folks -- all of the Islamic folks, not just the tiny number who happen to be terrorists -- so they can get their throats cut or whatever. No, Lileks doesn't bother to mention those parts of Blogistan. Did he run out of column inches?
People on the right can cry all they want about how mean and out-of-sorts the left may be, but frankly, I've stopped caring. If you're going to give a sanctimonious lecture about how it's all on the left or how the left is so much worse, I'm not even going to bother listening to you. The Right is no more civil than the Left, and has not been for some time. (Witness this page from Newt Gingrich's playbook, and peruse the list of words Gingrich advises his Republicans to use in characterizing Democrats. Note the presence of "Traitor" on the list -- and this from 1996, when we were enjoying "peacetime".)
These are the tactics, among others, that got the Right into power. Crying about it now would be like a football coach complaining to the refs because the other team is trying to mount a ball-control, running-game offense too.
(Oh, and James? If you're going to try to make a geeky SF reference, get the spelling right. It's "Morlocks", not "Moorlocks". Why Lileks is held to be such a fine writer is, as ever, completely beyond me. Aside from making fun of 1950s era food, which strikes me as a "shooting fish in a barrel" kind of thing anyway, I find nothing particularly compelling about his writing.)