Last month Charles Johnson gave his reasons for parting with the right wing, which I discussed here. The Los Angeles Times was a bit slower than I was in discussing this. They noted how his parting of ways was received by fellow conservative bloggers:
In Johnson’s mind, he has not really changed but merely shifted his focus. Where once he was preoccupied with national security, staking out a hawkish, pro-military position, he now spends more time focusing on his liberal social views, and gripes with conservatives who disagree. “I like to think,” he told me this week, “I am pretty independent of [the] political winds.”
But not totally immune. As I talked to Johnson in his office, an alert flashed on one of his two giant computer monitors. An angry screed targeting him on another website concluded: “I think a visit to Mr. Johnson’s home might be warranted. Anybody got his address?”
Such veiled threats are at least one reason why Johnson, 56, relocated not long ago. He remains in the Los Angeles area, but now is in a gated community.
The man who once decried vitriol spread on liberal websites now says: “The kinds of hate mail and the kinds of attacks I am getting from the right wing are way beyond anything I got when I was criticizing the left or even radical Islam.”
His reasons for parting with the right are discussed further down in the column:
He believes his disagreements with some conservatives should have become obvious in the spring of 2008 when he slammed Ben Stein for his anti-evolution movie, “Expelled.” In numerous posts since, Johnson has derided what he sees as the right’s anti-science bent. “When they teach their children that,” Johnson said, “they are raising a generation of kids who aren’t going to be ready to deal with the world in which science is increasingly important.”
In recent months, Johnson’s jabs at right-wing icons have been more frequent. He now regularly takes digs at Fox News, vitriolic blogger Michelle Malkin and, with particular glee, Glenn Beck.
He lambasted the Fox star recently for loony fear-mongering over the federal government’s move to take “control” of Americans’ computers when they signed up for the cash for clunkers car buyback program.
Johnson called Beck a “Raving Freakazoid Nut Sandwich,” and when Beck repeated the phrase on the air, the blogger gleefully posted the video on his site.
When anyone asked directly, Johnson said he would tell them he had voted Democratic most of his life — including ballots for Bill Clinton and, in 2000, for Al Gore. Raised a Catholic, he now calls himself an atheist.
His growing discontent with conservatives “had been brewing in my subconscious for a long time.” It was with little planning, he said, that his 10 reasons for a formal parting with the right poured onto the blog one Monday night.
“The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes and off the cliff,” Johnson wrote. “I won’t be going over the cliff with them.”
No one should assume, Johnson said, that pronouncement makes him a committed lefty.
“I am still going to criticize what I think needs to be criticized, whatever it might be.”
This is another example of where the differences between the opposition to the right wing is no longer about ideology but about reality. Other than for a handful on the far left, everyone supports a market economy, even if there is disagreement on the specifics. Pretty much everyone supports defending the country against terrorism–although there are differences of opinion as to how this should be done and to what degree this should dominate our thought. Where rational people really disagree with the right wing is over whether we evaluate issues based upon rational evidence or based upon twisting the facts to fit the biases of the extreme right.