Henke Clarifies his Position on World Net Daily

Jon Hekne’s reveals his concerns about WND’s influence are largely the same as mine:

Almost everybody seems to have a misconception about what I’m doing here. I have not called for a reader boycott of WorldNetDaily.  I don’t think that would do much good, anyway.  Like Alex Jones, Joseph Farah and WND will have readers; there’s a market for the bunker mentality and criticism only rallies them. (shrug) It’s not my goal to persuade the true believers.  If they didn’t reason their way into it, they probably won’t reason their way out of it.

What I have argued is that credible organizations on the Right should not be supporting or encouraging the fevered swamps. If they do, the Right should not support them.  Most coverage seems to have misunderstood this.

That’s pretty much my position too.  Others have taken it to a slight toward grassroots.  There’s also this article by Conor Friedersdorf that Jon links to in his post:

The right’s fringe problem at this moment in time is one that elites have created as much as any crazy fringe righty. Outfits … deliberately play on the worst impulses of the conservative base, stoking their paranoia and misleading them about reality, all for the sake of bigger audiences and greater revenues.

This is a force I’ve spend a great deal of electrons speaking out against in the gun rights movement, so I am quite sympathetic to Henke’s sentiments on this issue.  The left has a specific advantage on this, because the media is more willing to bury the left’s lunatic fringe, whereas the cameras and microphones always seem to find ours.  As Mark Steyn pointed out at The Corner:

Er, okay. But the left is in power, and it’s got Van Jones the Truther in the White House. Which isn’t exactly the “fringe”. More of a lunatic mainstream, isn’t it? Which may be why The New York Times et al have decided there’s no story.

The MSM gives them a pass on their fringes, and their fringes do a better job of staying out of the limelight, whereas ours seem to seek it.  There’s always going to be a lunatic fringe, but it’s really a question of whether that’s a banner we should be walking under.  I don’t think we ought to be walking under a birther banner any more than a threeper banner.  Both will drive the movement away from the mainstream, and toward ruin.

6 thoughts on “Henke Clarifies his Position on World Net Daily”

  1. WND is not that bad. Allow people to read it and they will sift the false from the truth.

    Beck is clownish and melodramatic but he does research facts and makes a coherent argument.

    I don’t watch him but I get the gist.

    I suggest that we allow people make up their own minds rather than try to be gatekeepers.

    I do recall an old saying, just because you are paranoid, does not mean that someone is not out to get you.

  2. I don’t really think it’s gatekeeping, so much as speaking out against the liars and charlatans on our side, who are polluting the conservative movement with garbage and nonsense that’s emotionally appealing, but adds nothing in regards to moving the ball forward.

    It’s not really gatekeeping until you start advocating government use the force of law to do it. Guys like Farrah are going to exist. In a free society we ought to accept that they exist, but it doesn’t mean we have to welcome them into the movement.

  3. It seems to me some people view the mainstream as something immutable, a force not to be struggled against. In the mainstream, currently, silencers being legal is not on the table. Our job is not to ‘accept that’, a la John Q. antagonists, but to put it back on the table.

    I believe “extremists” have their use. They are more likely (per capita) to turn out, vote, and donate (q.v. money bomb). They’re more fierce volunteers and donors.

    I am myself an extremist.

  4. I find extremists to generally be politically disengaged because they find no satisfaction in building coalitions and making the compromises you need to make in order to build a government majority to move some of your ideas forward.

    The mainstream is not an immutable force. You can move the mainstream. But you can’t do it from the fringes. If that were true, we’d be living in a much more libertarian society right now, because as long as I can remember, the Libertarian Party has been trying to move the mainstream from the fringes and they’ve failed. Utterly failed. The mainstream means you need to get 51% to government. You can’t ignore it. You have to work with it, and try to move things in the direction you want to move.

    There are extremists who are engaged, who do get involved in a serious way. But I’ve not found them to be particularly numerous.

  5. Libertarianism started in the 1970’s. There were 300 people on the original FEE mailing list, I think.

    Now there are enough libertarians to get 5% of the GOP primary vote. That’s a far way to go in 30 years. The libertarians got a long way in 30 years – remember how long it took Communism to get from a movement of intellectuals and scholars to the Russian revolution?

    Additionally, libertarians succeeded in inserting issues such as flat taxation, school vouchers, etc. into the public discourse. It’s just not correct to gauge the success of libertarianism by the success of the libertarian party.

  6. Libertarianism, known under its previous name of liberalism, has existed longer than that. It has intellectual roots going back to Adam Smith, Locke, and Rousseau. Libertarian people working within the system have indeed been influential.

    But I’m not talking about people with radical ideas. A lot of us have radical ideas. But what to birthers have to offer the movement really other than a handful of votes against Obama?

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