THE INTOLERANT LEFT

“They were almost all absolutist, whining liberal lefties, whose capacity for intolerance is unbounded.”

There was an outstanding piece in The Speccie [29 November] on divorce by British journalist Rod Liddle about the intolerance of the Left. This basically means intolerance towards whatever it is they disagree with.

Conservative in Australia knows that saying almost anything that is heartfelt, obvious or true at a dinner party leads to a chill in the atmosphere, followed by accusations of being ‘controversial’ or ‘provocative’ and then ostracism. This leads over time to a gradual loss of friends. Same process in Great Britain: it is in the nature of the bird.

A recent survey of attitudes towards Ukip found that people believe it to be a ‘toxic’ party, with nearly a quarter of those surveyed admitting that it would be “hard to remain friends with someone who felt warmth and fellowship towards Nigel Farage”. Liddle observes that it says more about this quarter of those surveyed than it does about Ukip: “They were almost all absolutist, whining liberal lefties, whose capacity for intolerance is unbounded.”  That description of certain people would of course be familiar to those of us who watch the ABC in Australia.

Liddle continues with a delightful description of this intolerance that is worth sharing:

Another survey, a year or two back, suggested you were also likely to be ‘defriended’ on Facebook by lefties if you disagree with something they say — far more likely than you are to be defriended by a right-winger for daring to suggest that, say, slavery perhaps had its downsides, all things considered. These people have the tolerance of the ADHD toddler, pre the administering of several thousand ccs of Ritalin. In essence, they are as flexible of mind and as democratic of spirit as the Islamists to whom they are habituated to offer sympathy and even solidarity. They may not actually chop your head off but — as the writer David Goodhart discovered when he wrote a book which was mildly challenging of the liberal mindset on immigration — they may prevent you from appearing at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. I suppose, on the grand scale of things, that’s less incommodious than being separated from your own head. But the principle is the same.

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