Progressives Accusing the Right of Being Authoritarian Need to Take Several Seats

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

It will be hard not to laugh at this one.

A progressive author wrote a piece for The Los Angeles Times in which he claimed Republicans have embraced a type of authoritarianism similar to what Russia’s government has adopted. Author Kurt Bardella published the piece, titled, “Op-Ed: When the Republican Party adopts Russia’s authoritarian playbook,” in which he contended that the GOP “has a clear vision for the future of the United States: one that’s white, Christian and fundamentally opposed to Western ideals of pluralism.”

He then argues that even though conservatives claim Democrats are pushing communism, the right actually more resembles Soviet Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. To start off, Bardella brings up the debate over grooming children in the classroom. He writes:

In both the USSR and modern Russia, homophobia is rampant and LGBTQ people are brutally punished for their existence. A common slur for gay men in Russian is the same word as that for “pedophile,” and Russian President Vladimir Putin has perpetuated the vile trope that gay people abuse children.

Sound familiar? The latest homophobic tactic taken by the American right threatens LGBTQ people, teachers and officials for merely talking about sexuality and gender identity and calls them “groomers.” The insinuation, just like Putin’s, is that gay people prey on children.

It is difficult to tell whether Bardella is lying or if he truly does not understand the arguments conservatives are making on this matter. Sure, there are some throwing the term “groomer” around willy-nilly. But the vast majority are referring to the practice of teaching small children about sexual orientation and gender identity while simultaneously trying to cut parents out of the process. They are talking about situations in which teachers or school counselors refuse to inform parents if a child expresses feelings of confusion about their sexuality or gender. It isn’t about pretending gay men are all predators.

It is difficult to believe Bardella doesn’t know this, but we know how progressives are with their echo chambers, right?

Next, the author refers to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s encouraging people to report parents who allow their children to take puberty blockers and other medical methods to help them transition to the other sex. He writes:

At the same time we’re seeing Russians being encouraged to turn in their neighbors for talking about the war in Ukraine with any sort of facts, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is encouraging Texans to report parents who seek gender-affirming care for their transgender children. It’s worth remembering that snitching on your neighbors was one of the tactics the Soviet regime used to discourage dissent and keep people living in fear.

Regardless of whether one believes Abbott’s rule is appropriate, the left certainly can’t take the high ground here. All throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Democratic politicians encouraged residents of their cities to rat out neighbors and businesses who were not complying with coronavirus restrictions. Last year, I wrote about how Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, created a hotline that allowed stool pigeons to report folks failing to comply with COVID restrictions. When one called the number, they were greeted with a recorded message from the governor:

“By working together and by being good neighbors, we are going to get through this. I want to thank you for calling the covid-19 reporting hotline. The purpose of this line is to report observations of noncompliance with restrictions on workplace and public gatherings that Kentucky has taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and keep your family safe.”

Predictably, the author moved on to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Parental Rights in Education law. He writes:

Moving down the list, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida recently signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, which punishes teachers for discussing sexual orientation with students. Likewise, Putin imposed a draconian “gay propaganda” law in 2013 that punishes the presentation of “nontraditional” sexual orientations to minors. That law has led to an increase in violence against the LBGTQ community in Russia. And it has significantly eroded progress made for more equal rights, which is exactly the outcome the GOP is seeking in states across the nation.

On this, I’m going to call Bardella out for lying. There is absolutely no way he doesn’t know better. The law forbids “instruction” of sexual orientation and gender identity with students younger than seven-years-old, not “discussion.” It means educators cannot teach these subjects to small children. Then, he moves on to the laughable subject of book banning:

If the similarities aren’t eerie enough, Republican-run school districts across the county are busy banning books that promote accurate history, gender equity and other “liberal” ideals. It’s no wonder that book bans were another favorite tool of Soviet authorities as they feared the power of literature to effect social change. The novel “Doctor Zhivago” was famously banned in the Soviet Union for its depiction of the individual struggle and brutality of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Again, Bardella fails to look in the mirror. Progressives have no room to complain about removing age-inappropriate material from school libraries when they have actively campaigned to ban books like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But in the case of conservatives, most of the books they seek to remove contain graphic depictions of sexual acts or dialogue that is not age-appropriate.

Lastly, the author makes a questionable comparison between Fox News and Russian state-run news media outlets, which is absolutely hilarious. He writes:

In Russia, there’s virtually no independent media left, leaving only state-run TV and print outlets for Russians to receive their “news.” In the U.S., Fox News has been a powerful propaganda arm for the Republican Party, going so far as to coordinate messaging with the Trump White House. Propaganda channels in both Russia and the U.S. frequently align in the values they promote. You can see almost identical derision of feminism in both Fox News and in Russian state-sponsored outlet Russia Beyond. Both entities promote “traditional values,” and worked relentlessly to smear Hillary Clinton while promoting Donald Trump to help him win the 2016 presidential election.

Bardella complaining about Fox News’ right-wing slant while completely ignoring the fact that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, are nothing more than left-wing propaganda outlets is adorable. The activist media functions as President Joe Biden’s Pravda, and everyone knows it. This is why CNN’s ratings are in the toilet. This is why leftist rags are struggling to keep their readership.

There are authoritarian strains on both sides of the political divide. But it can’t be denied that the left is far more willing to force people to do what they want. It is why they are in meltdown mode because Elon Musk is buying Twitter and will likely use it to promote the free expression of ideas without politically-biased censorship. The left’s reaction tells us what we already know: They are the true authoritarians.


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