Chomsky the giant, and Michael Moore the gifted agitator

Instapundit, like a lot of righty bloggers, thinks that one significant reason the left is losing because there are too many creeps like Ward Churchill around representing the left. (If you haven't come across the case of the University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Professor and phony Native American activist who suggested that the 9/11 victims were legitimate military targets, there's more here, here and here).

Then economist blogger Max Sawicky gains some notoriety by attacking Instapundit.

Any clown could put together an identical screed, enjoying a harvest of the bumper crop of lunacy issuing from talk radio and the U.S. House of Representatives and arrive at an identical summary judgement of "The Right." The question is, who has a mind that could content itself with pursuing such an exercise? Nobody I know. Maybe that's why we're losing. We dislike being assholes.
Given your definition, Max, I can see plenty of assholes on the left from where I look. Are you really saying that the left doesn't engage in this sort of thing?

Max also thinks Reynolds is unfair on Kos:

when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is "screw 'em," well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it."
The blogger in question, for anyone who is new to blogs, used the phrase in reference to a particular incident involving mercenaries (taking exception, what I called military contractors), not to U.S. military casualties in general. Not quite the same thing, is it?

So it's okay for Kos to say "I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries... Screw them" because he's only talking about some military contractors? Why doesn't put my mind at rest about Kos? (For those who don't know, Kos is the biggest left-wing blogger in the world, and an influential member of the Democrat party to boot, not some obscure crank).

I've also seen other people who defend Kos on the grounds that he grew up in South America, and came across "for-profit mercenaries" there. Apparently these boys were very nasty. So, the reasoning goes, Kos is justified in thinking that these American contractors in Iraq, being little more than for-profit mercenaries, are probably nasty as well, hence: screw 'em. Throw them off bridges, cut them up and feed them to the dogs, who cares, they'd probably be overthrowing peaceful People's Republics in South America next week. Again, my mind is not put at rest over Kos.

Sawicky, I see, doesn't think leftists should respond to Reynolds' type of criticisms by saying "We're not with those guys. They don't represent us" (as Atrios said to Sullivan here). That's just giving in to the right's attempt to shut down debate:

They are trying to destroy political criticism. Not for nothing do you see the Right elevate the sock-puppet left -- purported "leftists" who claim to be ashamed of everything critics of the Administration say and do.
This is strange, because only a few days ago Sawicky admitted readily enough that there are certain leftists he doesn't like:
There is one species that exploits a nihilistic niche market of people who would rather stew in their self-righteous isolation than engage people with whom they disagree (which includes most everyone).
(He doesn't name names, but it looks like he means the likes of Ward Churchill here.)

So if Max is ready to say he doesn't like these sorts of leftists, and they don't represent him, why is he so keen to deny that leftists should be playing the disassociating game? Maybe he's worried that the sensible leftists will start disassociating themselves from some of his heroes?

[Michael] Moore is a gifted agitator of many talents. And I'm sorry, Chomsky is a great man; a giant. I agree with them most of the time.
P.S. Okay, I know this is old news, but here's how Kos attempted to justify himself over his "screw them" comments:
Unlike the vast majority of people in this country, I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midsts of hate the likes of which most of you will never understand (Clinton and Bush hatred is nothing compared to that generated when people kill each other for politics or race or nationality). There's no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.
This sort of thing just makes me worry more about Kos. I feel great sympathy for him, given what he went through, but those sorts of scarring childhood experiences can screw you up.

And it seems to me that this is, in effect, what he's saying - I'm more callous about human life than you soft Westerners, because I've been brutalized. But in that case, the extent to which these experiences excuse his comments is also the extent to which they mean he's someone who shouldn't be let near the political process.

Conversely, if it's insisted that really he's a nice, decent guy after all, then he shouldn't go hiding behind his childhood war experiences, and should just apologize like any other nice, decent guy.

Cross-posted at Blithering Bunny.

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