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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/2/11

Ideological Extremism on the Left as well as the Right

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If there is to be freedom, it needs to be for all, even for those we disagree with vehemently and detest.

Freedom can't be just for those who agree with us. There has to be room for all.

Otherwise let us not call it freedom.

There are those on the left (who shall remain nameless) who seem so ideologically "pure" and righteous in their convictions and beliefs that they are the mirror image of those on the extreme right.

It is why all ideology is dangerous. With ideology where is the room for dissent, for contrary views that do not conform?

Ideology, whether right or left, is by its nature extreme. It says there is no room for those who disagree. To dissent you are cast out, a pariah, unwanted and banished.

All ideology is a cult for true believers who must conform and be in lockstep.

And it is not just the extreme right with its cults and the likes of a Jim Jones in Guyana in the 1970's whose followers all drank the poisonous cool aid and laid down next to each other to die.

There is extreme ideology on the left as well. The ACLU, the pre-eminent organization that has been in the forefront of defending First Amendment rights can also be extreme. It sided with the Supreme Court in the "Citizens United v/s F.E.C." case, a ruling that was disastrous for unleashing the torrent of corporate and special interest largesse that is swamping the electoral process in their favor.

There was some dissent within the ranks of the ACLU over its decision to side with "Citizens" (and personally it is not known what outcome there was for the dissenters, whether they chose to remain or resigned in protest).

The same can be said for those who are basically anti-war but dissent from that position on occasion. From Viet Nam, the Iraq war, Afghanistan there has been almost a seamless unanimity in opposition to these wars that were trumped up affairs, corrupted in deceit and unnecessary. Let's include our clandestine activities, (coups and assassinations) that have brought down legitimate governments in Iran in 1953, subsequently in South Viet Nam in 1962, Chile in 1968 among others. Now in our not so secret missile attacks and drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and the madness of our endless war on terror that targets anyone, even American citizens.

But then there are the humanitarian crises where the situations are less clear cut, particularly where outside interference is justified if crimes against humanity are being committed. It is here where the left and the anti-war community are hardly in lock-step unanimity.

The reality is each case is separate and unique with no clear consensus as to what action (if any) to take or even whether outside action can take place even in the face of known crimes against humanity.

One can think of Rwanda in the 90's, Lon Nol and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the early 70's, even China under Mao with his disastrous "great leap forward" where millions died, certainly an unnecessary humanitarian crisis and a crime against humanity. Little if anything was done to avert these "crimes".

Of course today there is Syria, Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe et al where non-interference by the international community prevails.

Then there are the cases where crimes against humanity were occurring and the international community responded such as during the breakup of old Yugoslavia, in Bosnia with Serb inspired atrocities.

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