In the run-up to President Donald Trump's first formal address to a joint session of Congress - a State of the Union address in all but name - always-more-inflammatory charges are flying fiercer than ever before. In the mouths of the left and much of the media, if President Trump isn't personally the reincarnation of Hitler, he's at least a Nazi, a KKK Grand Wizard, or possibly Genghis Khan with a telephone.
Yet what should be hair-raising accusations seem tired and stale, and for good reason: Every Republican President or presidential candidate is Hitler, at least until they're no longer near the Oval Office.
We all remember the "Bushitler" meme. Sen. McCain was compared to Hitler. The anodyne, inoffensive, and ultimately ineffective Mitt Romney was Hitler. Though those newspaper articles have mostly been shoved down the memory hole, even Ronald Reagan was regularly compared with Hitler, in words as well as in editorial cartoons.
This was preposterous nonsense forty years ago and it's preposterous nonsense now. How many American citizens did President Reagan order murdered? How many has President Trump? How many did George W. Bush? Exactly none, so far as we know, and certainly no more than a handful. Let's not forget that Barack Obama did, in fact, order the murder of American citizens - admittedly active terrorists who probably deserved it, but he had our military target them without observing the Constitutional provisions for dealing with accused traitors.
Yet for the past forty years, Republicans great and small have been compared to Hitler, even when pursuing the exact same policies which had been promoted by Democrats with nary a peep from the media. Mr. Trump tried to forbid citizens of a handful of mostly-Muslim countries from coming to America (while doing nothing against the dozens of other countries where the vast majority of Muslims live) and the world nearly ended; both Mr. Obama and Jimmy Carter did likewise, to Iraq and Iran respectively, and nobody cared.
Donald Trump is deporting illegal immigrants? Well, he's only been president a few weeks, but thus far he hasn't expelled any more invaders than President Obama did over the same period of time.
None of these facts are new. None of these strategies are new; they same "Republicans are Nazis" meme has been around longer than many current officeholders have been alive. For all that time, the Right has indignantly complained and got absolutely nowhere with any defense, until Donald Trump hit upon the tactic of using bogus leftist lies as an attack on the bogus leftist "fake news" media.
Yet still the dishonesty and fake news continues, even though just about every American now sees through the smokescreen if they only squint a little, and fewer and fewer are having to even squint. Why do the media leftists keep lying?
The Left has for so long claimed the mantle of science and rationality that it's all too easy to grant them that connection without a second thought. As with most of their political arguments, though, that too is a lie.
Sure, the Left honors scientists when they say things the Left can use to steal power, even when it's a proven fraud - like the global warming hockey-stick, the dangers of secondhand smoke, or the imaginary hazards of perfectly safe pesticides.
They're not nearly as tolerant of equally well-qualified scientists who present actual evidence saying that promoting underage transsexualism is child abuse, adult transsexualism is a mental disorder, or pointing out the medical and public-health dangers of homosexual practices.
In other words, like all politicians and most human beings, leftists laud people who agree with them and pillory those who don't, regardless of the truth.
Most of the time, though, reality has an influence over time. No doubt there were a great many white Americans in, say, 1950 who truly believed that black people were inherently inferior and deserved their lowly status. Over the next half-century of black success in a wide array of pursuits, the number of individuals who still can maintain that every black man is less than every white man has shrunk markedly. The clear and obvious facts in front of them have changed minds over time.
Yet the clear and obvious facts opposing the many dictats of leftism - such as the devastating poverty and genocide that socialism led to in Communist Russia, the explosive and murderous barbarites committed throughout Europe by uncivilized Muslims, and so on down the line - seem to have no effect on lefty opinion whatsoever.
We would expect honest writers, particularly feminists, to say, "Gee, maybe President Trump has a point about not letting any more Muslims into America, considering how Sweden's massively growing Muslim population has led to such a spectacular increase in rape that there are documentaries being made about it."
But no. The left loves homosexuals, but a Muslim jihadi murdering dozens of homosexuals in a Florida nightclub triggers absolutely no re-evaluation of pro-Muslim positions. Sexual harassment of the slightest sort is a hanging offense on any American university campus, except if the perpetrator is a Muslim mob in Europe, then it's fine.
And on down the line. Which leads us to the conclusion: Leftism is not really a political philosophy, or a body of belief, or an organized way of understanding the world based on a fundamentally flawed premise - at least it's not just those things.
Leftism is a religion - a religion that requires its adherents to believe without question in things contrary to observable fact, even at the expense of their own lives or the lives of their friends.
This is hardly a new development in human affairs - religions have preached nutty stuff and demanded irrational actions from adherents for all of history. What's a little unusual is how ferociously the Religion of Leftism claims to hate the very idea of religion despite being one.
The concept, common to most religions, that there is an absolute truth of Received Wisdom that is not subject to question or inquiry has been declared by the Left not only to be false, but to be unworthy of discussion.
Yet that's precisely how the Left treats its beliefs of the day - they are not merely received truth, they may not be questioned in the smallest degree under pain of being declared not only wrong but evil. That's not liberty; it's not science; it's not progressive; it's not even modern. It's a specter from the barbaric and superstitious past we thought the West had escaped centuries ago.
In that light, though, the current leftist opposition to President Trump is even more frightening than it might otherwise be.
The whole point of America is that the people decide who rules, and if you don't like the guy in office, you suck it up and try harder to win next time. All of America was hopeful that Barack Obama might turn out to be a positive force, at least with our historically fraught race relations if nothing else. When that turned out not to be the case, the Tea Party movement went about turning things around in the best American fashion with truly peaceful marches and effective political action, leading to today's Washington where the White House and both houses of Congress have Republican majorities.
How many limousines were torched, Starbuckses destroyed, opponents beaten, campuses vandalized, or shops looted by Tea Party rioters? None.
It's true that many Tea Party types fought vehemently against Mr. Obama's dictats, most notoriously the requirements of Obamacare. These battles, though, were mostly carried on through the courts and polling places. Conservatives refused to be governed by Mr. Obama's whims, but they never made the country ungovernable.
Making American ungovernable - that is, destroying public order through mass strikes, mass protests, and general chaos - is, however, the explicit, vehemently-stated goal of today's Left. By definition, this is "insurrection" which traditionally has entitled the ruling government to use military force, not just police, to restore order.
Now, it's possible that today's looting leftists believe that conservatives are too wimpy to meet force with force, and goodness knows we've given them enough cause to think that. Mr. Trump may be a different beast, though, in which case we may very well have an expanding and nationwide civil disorder and military response on our hands, at least in the cities.
Why would the Left be willing to bring this about? The last time we had a civil war, it was because the North decided that their moral beliefs could no longer tolerate being involved in the evils of Southern slavery, and the South was not willing to sacrifice that "peculiar institution" for the sake of national unity. At root, the Civil War was a religious war: the North saw slavery as the sin it was, and the South refused to bow to the Northern abolitionist religion.
We are in the same situation today, but it's worse, actually, because both sides consider the other to be committing grave moral evils.
In the main, conservatives consider abortion to be murder, homosexuality unions to be abominations, transsexualism to be a mental illness fetish, and the welfare-induced destruction of families to be misguided at best and likely evil too. They can grudgingly tolerate the existence of these practices in their country; they cannot abide being forced to pay more and more for them, and are apoplectic at the idea of these ideas being rammed in their children's faces at taxpayer-funded schools.
On the other side, the left considers nationalism to be evil, open borders and free healthcare to be human rights, and "Saving the Planet" to be a cause that outranks human rights of any kind. They are significantly less willing to compromise their views than conservatives; indeed, many of them don't believe conservative views have a right to be spoken much less heard.
The most intractable sort of conflict is one based, not on geopolitical reality, but on fundamental unshakable beliefs, and that's exactly what we are looking at here in America. If my morals are your mortal sins and vice versa, there's no possible way we can coexist side by side. The proof of this is playing out on the news every night, intensifying all the time.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.