Ed West Ed West

America’s Left is just as ‘eccentric’ as its Right

Rory Sutherland writes in this week’s magazine that the Mozilla/Brendan Eich affair has finally put him off his dream of moving to the United States, quoting Andrew Sullivan that ‘The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.’

The issue of gay marriage has changed politics in the English-speaking world in a way that perhaps people didn’t expect – breaking the liberal-Left’s final link with the ideal of John Locke that permitting something did not mean approving of it. This notion has been coming under pressure for some years, especially with discrimination laws, but SSM has snapped it. (Brendan O’Neill has written about this extensively for Spiked and Telegraph blogs.)

But this has been more pronounced in the United States, a country where Locke’s ideas were far more influential and were indeed the inspiration for the country’s Declaration of Independence.

It’s well known in Britain that elements of the American Right are pretty wacky, including large numbers who don’t believe in evolution and a substantial minority who hold onto the bizarre conspiracy theory that Barack Obama’s pregnant mother got onto a jet to have her son in Kenya. And we’ve all seen Alex Jones with his own interesting version of reality, battling those Giant Paedophile Armies.

Yet it’s very little observed just how extreme and wacky America’s Left is.

At the peak of the Obama changeling story polls suggested that up to half of Republican voters believed this bizarre story, something the British media had a good chortle at, yet exactly the same percentage of Democrats believed that the US government was responsible for 9/11.

While crimes committed by a small number of anti-abortion activists get enshrined in European memory banks, the violence and intimidation often committed against pro-life or anti-same-sex marriage campaigners is simply ignored.

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