Dershowitz on why the Hard Left is more dangerous than the Hard Right

Look, there’s no need for you to criticize Alan Dershowitz in the comments; I know his foibles. I’m just presenting a short comment that he made to conservative Dennis Prager about the relative dangers of the “Hard Left”—what I call the Authoritarian Left—versus the “Hard Right”. This comment is what you can address!

I do agree with Dershowitz that we should be very afraid of the increasing Authoritarian Leftism of today’s college students (and many of their professors), for they’ll be running America in the future. There are, after all, not so many conservative students. That said, of course I agree that the Trump Administration, which provides a daily dose of both sadness and amusement in its stupidity and incompetence, is far more injurious to America than any conceivable Democratic administration. And the GOP is far more odious than the Democrats. But the more the Dems embrace Authoritarian Leftism, the less likely they are to regain control of the executive and legislative branches.

In the meantime, I’ll keep calling out the excesses of the “Hard Left,” with the implicit idea that the right-wingers in power now are ruining our country. But there are plenty of people calling out Trump, and not so many on our side calling out the Left. That, of course, is because certain elements of the Left conspire to make you afraid to level such criticism, for those who do are personally attacked and deemed Suppressive Persons.


  1. glen1davidson
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Well that’s the problem, isn’t it? Who’s going to be in charge of ensuring “free speech”? All too likely it will be those with no regard for free speech.

    Like the NLRB deciding by fiat that Damore had no right to write what he thought.

    Glen Davidson

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink


    ‘Course, I wish _I_ had his creds.

  3. Craw
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The Regressive left at play

  4. Merilee
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


  5. Larry Smith
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    While I also abhor the regressive left’s attempts to smother free speech (Evergreen, etc.), a few things about this clip rub me the wrong way:

    1) I think Dershowitz underestimates the power of the wackos on the right. He says something like “I’m not worried about a few people carrying swastikas”. Haven’t we learned yet how harmful the far right’s view can be in contributing to the breakdown of the social order? Just because people living on the two coasts can see how dumb Trumpism is doesn’t mean it doesn’t resonate with a large group of Americans.

    2) I find Prager’s enthusiastic acceptance of Dershowitz’s comments highly annoying! He even blows him a kiss!

    3) Finally, there’s no quid pro quo here. By this I mean, Yes, it’s good that liberals (like PCCE) are willing to speak the truth and call out other liberals for their sins. But when and where do you see conservatives doing the same? Does Fox News do this? Has Prager issued videos saying how odious Trump is?

    I’m sure there are some examples out there, but it’s like when Al Franken resigned over actions that were far less reprehensible than others. He did the right thing, but when the other side doesn’t play by the same rules, it peeves me.

    So let’s see a similar video with roles reversed: Prager can rail against some right-wing transgressions, and Dershowitz can blow him a kiss saying “you finally get it!” And let’s see how that plays out…

    • carpevita
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      “Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”
      Ben Franklin

    • Max Blancke
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      It might bear looking at the Charlottesville videos and images again.
      There were some pretty unsavory characters there with their torches and flags, but it was, at most, a couple of hundred people. There was a guy with a Nazi flag. There was about a half dozen morons in Klan robes.
      But those people have no public support. Zero. Even among deep south redneck conservatives.
      Publishing images of that guy (or two, or three)with the Nazi flag from lots of different angles and perspectives does not make it the Nurnburg rally.
      It is in the interest of the hard left to inflate the perceived numbers and influence of violent right wing nutjobs. Otherwise, it might begin to look like they are just exercising their authoritarian tendencies against regular people.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        “Nurnburg” — is that anywhere near Nuremberg? 🙂

        What much more closely resembled the annual Nuremberg rallies than Charlottesville did, was the 2016 Republican National Convention — with the bat-shit crazy speeches by Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn, accompanied by the calls to “lock her up!” and the screams of “Lügenpresse!” directed at the media, not to mention Trump’s boast in his acceptance speech that “I alone can fix” all the nation’s ills. Propaganda Minister Goebbels no doubt would’ve approved of this kind of cult-of-personality stagecraft.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:34 am | Permalink

        But those people have no public support. Zero. Even among deep south redneck conservatives.

        The important word being, of course, “public”. The level of non-public (living room, tea-shack, voting booth) support is important to note.

        Publishing images of that guy (or two, or three)with the Nazi flag from lots of different angles and perspectives does not make it the Nurnburg rally.

        Leni Reifenstall would disagree with you. Filming one character from a number of different angles and then cutting the different shots together was one of her classic propaganda techniques in Triumph des Willens. You might notice it, but that just means that you are not in the target audience. That doesn’t mean that the propaganda was ineffective, just that it was aimed at some other person than you.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I would agree the far left is off the road and going into the ditch more and more. But to me, the real fear is separation from the main stream left to the point that the democrats cannot function and take control as they should next time around. The opportunity is on us now to remove this republican disease and begin to save this country but it will not happen if the left blows up as well. Dershowitz should not be brushing past the far right so easily because it is not dead yet.

  7. michael a clouser
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Why do some always put Nazis off on the “right”?. Wouldn’t being socialists make them leftists?
    The communists I am told killed millions in there own countries last century. Russia,China.
    What is the worst example of the right wingers bringing about hell on earth if you don’t credit them with Nazis?

    • Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      That’s a softball question. Trump, of course!

    • Historian
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      The Nazis weren’t socialists despite the word being in their name. They were fascists. They killed the real socialists in Germany.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:38 am | Permalink

        They killed the real socialists in Germany.

        That’s what the Brown Shirts were for. Killing political opponents. With guns or, if they wanted the personal touch (or didn’t want to pay for the ammunition), clubs.

      • Posted March 11, 2018 at 5:01 am | Permalink

        Our communists also killed the real socialists.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Calling the Nazis “socialists” is the fallacy of equivocation. The only precincts in Berlin to vote against Hitler in 1933 were the ones where the Jews and the Communists and the homosexuals lived.

      Don’t feel too bad about that equivocation fallacy, though; Jonah Goldberg got a whole goddamn book out of it.

      • Craw
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Non sequitur. All gays are socialists? Plus of course in 1933 there was a very strong homosexual wing of the party, centered on Ernst Röhm. It’s all a lot messier than people seem to think. There were a lot of socialists in the Nazi party, such as Gregor Strasser, especially before 1934. Fascism and socialism are not opposites.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          I was responding to Mr. clouser’s claim that Nazis calling themselves “national socialists” perforce made them leftists — hardly a non sequitur on my part. My point was that it was the Communists (mainly remnants of Rosa Luxemburg’s old leftist Spartacus League) who, along with Jews and homosexuals, opposed the rise of Hitler.

          What is a non sequitur is your assertion that not all German homosexuals were leftists, and that some Nazis were closeted homosexuals.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:43 am | Permalink

        Calling the Nazis “socialists” is the fallacy of equivocation.

        It was a flat-out deliberate lie by Hitler and his early colleagues. They figured – probably correctly – that by calling themselves WOMBAT Socialists that they could avoid challenge from the various communist and other socialist parties until they had the means (people, weapons, support) to start murdering their opponents.

    • Posted March 3, 2018 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      Why do some always say the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a terrible place? Wouldn’t being a democratic republic that’s for the people make it the best place to live in?

  8. Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Dershowitz’ point about professors being cowardly is true but says nothing about how the Hard Left came about and what continues to sustain it. Prager is only expressing happiness with Dershowitz’ point of view and adds nothing to the conversation.

  9. Historian
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Dershowitz seems to think that the “hard right” consists solely of the types that marched at Charlottesville. No! The hard right is the Republican Party that controls the entire federal government (at least for now). With their obsequiousness to Trump, they are complicit in driving this country to a nadir it may take decades, if ever, to recover from. Trump’s madcap scheme to start a trade war is the latest example. Dershowitz’s fear of a hard left takeover of the country somewhere down the road may come to pass, although, I doubt it. But this fear is like a person ignoring a serious heart condition while worrying about contracting cancer in 30 years. The immediate necessity is to save the country from Trump, Ryan, and McConnell. It’s perfectly fine to criticize the hard left, but don’t take your eyes off where the real danger is.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Regressives kneecapping liberal pushback is part of how conservatives win, though.

      A left unified under economic populism could not be beaten. A left divided by identity politics cannot win.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of running the No True Leftist Scotsman fallacy here, I question how leftist the what you call the “hard left” actually is. I don’t see ’em picking up a placard and marching for economic justice, or for environmentalism, or for any form of social justice, really, other than a misbegotten form of radical egalitarianism.

    As for The Dersh, he was something of an inspiration to me in my law school days, back when he was a firebrand leftist law professor. But over the years his methods have grown … unsound. Matter of fact, as Capt. Willard said to Col. Kurtz when the two finally met up the river past the Du Long Bridge in Cambodia, I don’t see any method here at all.

    • Historian
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      It is not unheard of that some individuals when they reconsider their ideological leanings make a 180 degree turn, although my impression is that more go from left to right than the other way. David Horowitz edited the radical Ramparts magazine only to became a hard righter. So did Ronald Reagan. Dershowitz may be sprinting down that path.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        only to became a hard righter. So did Ronald Reagan.

        Wasn’t Ronny Ray-Gun’s first political activity as a trade-union organiser?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          He was for a time the president of the Screen Actors Guild. It’s how he hooked-up with Nancy, when she had a problem regarding her name appearing on a Hollywood blacklist.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Let’s hope we’re never at the mercy of the Hard Right to protect our free-speech rights — the rightwing that just legislatively punished Delta Airlines for speaking out against the NRA; the rightwing that booed arch-conservative National Review pundit Mona Charen off the stage at CPAC for having the temerity to speak out against Donald Trump and Roy Moore, for questioning the wisdom of extending a prize speaking slot to French neo-fascist Marion Marechal-Le Pen.

    The difference here is, the Hard Right is in political power; aside from some college campuses and third-rate blogs, the Hard Left’s got bupkis.

  12. Jake Sevins
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I think he’s wrong. The hard-right (as I view what that means) isn’t just a few lunies in Charlottesville. It’s the huge number of racist conservatives who gave us Trump, and that hasn’t been a good thing.

    The hard-left is a coming danger (and in many ways is already here). But I disagree that college professors are weakly standing by while the students run the show: we’ve seen a lot of examples where professors (invariably humanities professors) are the instigators in fact. Evergreen is a good example.

  13. naveen1941
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Some time back in relation to another report on the Authoritarian left I expressed similar sentiments. I was writing about the control the left has in Universities and particularly writing history, historiography and Indology. That was few years ago. They interpret all Dharma texts in what they call three dimensional philology and postmodernism. It was so annoying because they are wrong in translating from Sanskrit to English, as they have no knowledge of Sanskrit. They think it is their birth right to misinterpret books on Dharma without knowing Sanskrit.But recently two years ago Sanskrit scholars got together and conducted Swadeshi Indology (Home grown Indology)and published scholarly papers with peer evaluation. Since then they conducted about six such conferences on different aspects of Indology-including literature, philosophy, psychology, science, mathematics, architecture, economics etc.. from Hindu point of view. The left is conspicuous by absence. I think now we are regaining our heritage- but long ways to do yet.

  14. naveen1941
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Just to add some more info. The professors do instigate the students. Especially in Jawaharlal Nehru University. One professor Harbans Mukhia wrote, “Soon people of the world should decide and make a choice one of the three: Christianity, Islam and Socialism”. That means he was predicting annihilation of Hinduism. That was scary. As I said this trend has peeked, I hope.

  15. naveen1941
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Peaked not peeked

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 3, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    His statement about Harvard reminds me of William F. Buckley’s statement that he would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the BOston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

  17. gormenghastly
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    I’m really not interested in hearing criticisms of the so-called hard left from someone who is hard right but has deluded themselves into thinking they’re a moderate.

    Just in case it’s not obvious, that comment is referring to Dershowitz and Prager, not the host of this blog.

    • Posted March 4, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      I’m really not interested in whether Dershowitz and Prager are correctly labelled hard right or moderate. I’m interested in whether their criticisms of the hard left are well-founded. I think we should pay attention to arguments, regardless of who makes them. I know that this is not always easy to do.

  18. Posted March 4, 2018 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    To me, this is part of the circuses. I’m wondering where the bread is. Clearly, we don’t want the extreme right or left. Until we can fix the election system, I’m afraid it won’t get any better.

  19. jay
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    What is disturbing, is that the Democratic party has become beholden to the ideology of radical left. People like Sarsour and Ellison are not fringes to the Democrats, they are now mainstream. The crazy ideologies of some of the feminist, gender and racial pressure groups are being treated as established fact, not to be questioned.

    There is not so much a good guy and bad guy choice here, but at this moment, the right has become a necessary counter force (hence the term red pill liberal).

    Recently, Annafi Wahed, a staffer on Hillary’s campaign, decided to go to CPAC just to see what conservatives were like. Her Democrat friends were frightened telling her not to get killed, and to check in every hour. She admitted that she was shocked to find out these were normal, friendly people who were quite willing to discuss politics with her. There have been a number of accounts like this where people, originally believing the propaganda were astonished at the reality.

    [Side points:
    While the KKK type of racism is portrayed as a Republican thing, through the mid 20th century, the majority of KKK members including government supporters were Democrats.

    There was a great deal of political violence (bombings, killings etc) in US and Europe in the 70s, driven predominantly by the left. In the early 70s there was a span of a couple years with over 2000 bombings.


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Some “normal, friendly people”! Arch-conservative National Review writer Mona Charen had to be escorted out of the venue at by an armed security detail after being booed off the CPAC stage for having criticized Donald Trump and Roy Moore, and for having questioned the wisdom of CPAC’s extending a prime speaking slot to French neo-fascist Marion Marechal-Le Pen.

      CPAC has become a fever-swamp of pro-Trump alt-right madness. (Trump received a 90% approval rating in CPAC’s annual strawpoll).

      The Republican Party has been cleaving these crazies to its bosom beginning with its embrace of the disaffected racist southern Democrats who tergiversated to GOP after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

      • Merilee
        Posted March 4, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Tergiversated?? You have the best words, Ken, even better than Cheeto’s👐

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 4, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Hell, Merilee, once in a blue moon I even stumble into somehow using one of ’em correctly. 🙂

    • Posted March 4, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Virtual all people are nice and personable when in a one-on-one social situation where the craziness has little opportunity to emerge. Many left-leaning people, for example, who have met Trump have said that he’s very friendly and disarming. I also recall those movies of Hitler having fun at his Austrian mansion, looking like a totally fun guy.

      Whoever thought a CPAC meeting would be dangerous, doesn’t understand human nature very well. On the other hand, I wouldn’t jump on a chair and announce that I was a Dem infiltrator.

  20. chrism
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    And here in the frozen north (well, not very frozen as we have had no permanent snow this winter as seems to be the new norm) another university has decided to follow WLU in making itself look silly:

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