Having spent half-a-lifetime confronting, facing down and baiting my left-wing compatriots, I have the benefit of knowing exactly what words, names and phrases to use in order to elicit a dramatic response.
For example, the very name of George Bush has become the etymological equivalent of a nerve agent. One only has to drop it into a conversation and then watch the lefties convulsing themselves in spasms of bug-eyed hatred-cum-delirium. At the moment there is no antidote.
Robust political partisanship of this kind is nothing new nor is it confined to the left; the name of Tony Blair will turn the face of most Conservatives into a rictus of horror. For most of the time, this kind of mutual baiting is fun and, in many ways, indicative of a healthy society.
However, I have found evidence of something a little darker in this quite awful cartoon in the Guardian.
The two figures are supposed to be those of Messrs Bush and Blair but it is the image of George Bush, portrayed as a sort of cross between a pointy-eared alien and an ape, which I find just a little disturbing. Presumably the cartoonist is trying to convince his audience that George Bush is less than human.
The art of caricature is a time-honoured British tradition which I particularly enjoy and it is right that all political figures should be regarded as fair game. But this is not just caricature, it is deliberate dehumanisation; a process with a very unfortunate provenance.
Nor can this be simply dismissed as the work of an ‘unrepresentative fringe’ as the Guardian is undoubtedly the most important organ of the British left. Given their alleged commitment to ‘humanitarian’ policies, depictions of human beings as apes is the kind of thing I though they would go to any lengths to avoid. As it is, they have provided us with a window into the kind of psychosis which lies at the heart of at least some portions of the ideological left.
When George Orwell wanted to warn us all of the horrors of communism he did so by portraying animals as human beings. My feeling is that those who portray human beings as animals have a far less worthy agenda.