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Shifting sands

Sometimes, it all depends on what your cause is. Kevin Drum took some heat recently for arguing that liberal extremism drives away the mainstream. He clarified later, exposing one of those unfortunate side-effects of a democratic winner-take-all system — you need to appeal to the middle of the road to get elected, so the fringes need to be carefully managed. This has the effect of muting certain extremes of discourse…

A tangent, here. By forcing extremists to mask their views in order to gain any kind of political power, we make them more effective. Interesting little paradox. If the Patriot movement could win some political success without sneaking into the Republican Party, they’d be a far clearer target for those who oppose their views, and I could say similar things about various leftist groups. It’s like the TB virus — by forcing it to evolve in order to get past antibiotics, we make it stronger. Anyhow, I was talking about something else.

Ah yes. So, Kevin makes an accurate point regarding the need to appear moderate. But then he bumps into Martha Burk, and says (again accurately) that “The reason Burk harps on Augusta National is because no one pays attention to her when she’s talking about substantive issues.” True enough. And nobody pays attention to gay rights activists when they’re talking about non-flashy issues, either.

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