Rude lefties

As he reports on his blog, Andrew Leigh went to Sydney recently to appear on a pilot of a possible new ABC political chat show, Difference of Opinion. But it seems the studio audience didn’t want as much different opinion as he was offering:

For me, the most interesting moment was to see the negative reaction of the audience when I suggested that we should trial merit pay to see whether it can work (several audience members hissed)…

Now obviously not all lefties are so rude in the face of contrary views. Many are civility personified. Andrew himself, a man of the centre-left I think it is fair to say, is so nice that when I had a go at his Dialogue article he thanked me for my ‘most thoughtful post’. But I think there is a nasty edge to leftist culture. It is hard to imagine a Liberal coming up with the rhetoric of hate that came from Mark Latham:

“I’m a hater,” he told The Bulletin in 2002. “Part of the tribalness of politics is to really dislike the other side with intensity. And the more I see of them the more I hate them. I hate their negativity. I hate their narrowness.”

He also said, on radio 2GB: “Everyone’s got hate in their lives … it’s just part of life. I hope my little boy hates a Liberal prime minister who sells out our national interests. I grew up in a family that used to hate Bob Menzies.”

It is hard to imagine right-wingers organising protests that everyone knows will turn violent, despite the ritual claims by organisers that they want to protest peacefully.
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