To borrow from the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. In the now-classic fairy tale film, the word in question was “inconceivable.” When it comes to Hillary Clinton – and a great many of today’s progressives – one could assume the word with the debatable definition is “extremism.” During an Oct. 5 CNN interview, Clinton suggested “formal deprogramming” to combat “MAGA extremists.” Apparently, forcing millions of Americans into re-education camps – which, if one breaks down the implications of Clinton’s comment, is exactly what she was suggesting – isn’t at all extreme. You keep using that word …
The cable news network’s Christiane Amanpour was asking the failed 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate whether there was hope, going forward, of Republicans working with Democrats in Congress. The Trump-obsessed Hillary Clinton went off the rails very quickly, bemoaning Republican “extremism” before proposing a solution that strongly suggests the former senator might not quite understand what does, and does not, count as extremist.
“We had very strong partisans in both parties in the past,” Clinton told her host, “and we had very bitter battles over all kinds of things … but there wasn’t this little tail of extremism wagging the dog of the Republican Party as it is today.”
Hillary Clinton Struggles with Extremism
Neither Clinton nor any other leftwing politician, journalist, or pundit has provided a rational and compelling explanation of why Republican or conservative ideas should be classified as extreme. They have chosen to redefine extremism as any idea, opinion, or policy agenda that cleaves to the right of their own radical socialist-progressive ideology. “Sadly,” Clinton continued, “so many of those extremists – those MAGA extremists – take their marching orders from Donald Trump …”
Still bitter about her 2016 defeat at the hands of people she said could be put into a “basket of deplorables” because they voted for Trump, the 45th president’s former opponent then jumped to her presumably preferred remedy for the problem as she sees it. “At some point, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.” Notably, Amanpour chuckled at this notion. It didn’t appear to be an embarrassed laugh. No, it came across as the type of snicker that said, yes, I’ve thought the same thing myself. Given Amanpour’s well-documented disdain of all things Trump, that interpretation could be called fair.
Think, for a moment, about what “formal deprogramming” would look like. One must assume it would be mandatory for Trump supporters, as suggested by the word “formal.” How would these Americans be tracked down and deprogrammed? Perhaps all Americans could be advised to report anyone who posts pro-Trump comments on social media. Then there’s the deprogramming itself. How would that work? Counselling? Instruction (indoctrination) sessions? Perhaps electric shock treatment or some other form of torture? That last suggestion may seem a bit over the top. We should never forget, however, that this is exactly what took place in Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Hitler’s Germany – three countries that were supposedly being transformed into socialist utopias.
What else could “formal deprogramming” possibly look like? Voluntary classes? Community service? It’s hard to imagine anything but a state-sponsored forceable coercion and indoctrination of millions of Americans. Presumably, there would have to be some serious consequences for those Trump supporters who resisted.
Adhering to the constitutional principles of limited government, states’ rights, freedom of speech, the right to self-defense, etc. is now classed by the progressive left as extreme. When they talk about rightwing extremists, progressives aren’t merely referring to some fringe element on the right; they are talking about conservatives and libertarians in general – and especially those who voted for Trump and probably will again.
It is safe to wager that, very soon, Clinton will respond to the heavy criticism she received for the remark by saying it was an offhand comment, a throwaway line. Perhaps she’ll say it was a joke, even. But one does not joke about such things if one has any knowledge of 20th Century history.
As far as the fringes of the extreme left are concerned, anyone who cherishes traditional American values is an extremist. That’s not to say all Democrat voters look at it this way – but a substantial number of dedicated progressives do. Hillary Clinton is nothing if not a dedicated progressive. Yet it is both ironic and chilling that she doesn’t consider it extreme to propose mandatory indoctrination for practically half the nation. Progressives like Clinton constantly claim to be defenders of democracy. If they also truly believe that their political opponents should be forced to agree with or submit to their agenda, then what would be the point of holding elections? Democracy itself would be nothing more than an illusion – which is what the extreme left has always believed.