The Left has taken a particular interest of late in trying to convey any conservative (and libertarian) ideology as "extreme," "dangerous" or "anti-government." Liberals call any opposition to Anthropogenic Global Warming anti-science even though the myth of consensus on IPCC report has been debunked. While always attacking the science, the climate change movement always makes sure to also attack the skeptics personally. Militia and anti-tax movements are lumped together with neo-Nazi hate groups (see this Anti-Defamation League treatise on the subject). Being tough with Gitmo detainees is equated to Viet Cong, Nazi and Imperial Japanese-style torture.
In every area liberals, assisted by a complicit media, associate conservatives, federalists and libertarians with Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and James Earl Ray. The character assassination of anyone in opposition to liberal ideals is frequent and deafening. The new Administration's "accidental" release of its analysis of right-wing extremism last month is just one more indicator.
In an interview in 2005, Michael Mann (who was on the team that produced the first "Hockey Stick" global warming study) associated all detractors of his conclusions with studies funded by industry groups:
I'll leave it to you as a journalist to investigate some of the links, some of the funding sources, and come to your own conclusions. Ross Gelbspan—he's a former editor of Boston Globe—has written two books on the connections between industry funding, in particular funding by ExxonMobil, and these climate contrarians. The vast majority of them appear to receive funding from industry sources.
Several of the studies he references earlier in the interview (the ones which agree with his conclusions) are funded by politically-motivated environmental or political groups, but no one ever mentions that.
The point is, people on the Left take extra effort to assassinate the character or even personally attack those who are in disagreement with their views. They do this for one reason: The liberals are wrong.
It is possible that human beings are the cause of Global Warming. Many Neo-Nazi groups resemble militia groups and gun clubs. The interrogation techniques used at Gitmo are very coercive and uncomfortable. Using name-calling to argue against the detractors, however, simply shows that the liberals who use this tactic have no argument.
Rather than using facts and logic to back of their viewpoint, liberals attempt to attack the character of those who disagree with them. Global warming skeptics are all oil-industry shills. George Bush is an idiot. Wall Street bankers are greedy.
This is because the liberal viewpoint is not logical. The essential viewpoint of liberalism is that the collective knows what is better for us all, and that individuals cannot be trusted to make the best decisions for themselves. This means that the group (in the form of government) must make our health care decisions for us. The group should decide what is or is not "good" science. The group shall decide which businesses must survive and which ones can be allowed to fail. Anyone who disagrees is violating and harming the group.
While claiming to embrace individuality, the crux of liberalism is actually groupthink. If you disagree, you are a fool and in need of reeducation or deserving of ridicule. Opposition should not be embraced and discussed in an open forum, but silenced. In other words, liberalism is what it claims to dislike: Forced conformity.
This is why individuals who oppose liberal viewpoints are attacked. Keith Olberman is a respected journalist but Sean Hannity is a blowhard. Jeneane Garofalo is a dedicated activist, but Anne Coulter is a hate-monger. Ingraham, Limbaugh, Beck and Boortz and right-wing shock jocks but Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin are popular entertainers.
This kind of attack harms the political discourse and makes real progress on imporant issues difficult, if not impossible. Instead of discussing the finer points of economic policy, we are stuck discussing whether or not Michelle Malkin is just a corporate schill. Instead of discussing the aspects of ubran culture that prevent minorities from advancing, we're left discussing whether or not Bill Cosby is a self-loathing Uncle Tom. It obfuscates the objective and damages our Republic.
It is time to acknowledge the ad-hominem attacks as what they are and deal with them as such. They are distractions from the point, and we should dismiss them as such and continue speaking to the logic and factual basis of our viewpoint.