The Worst Person in the World

A fellow New Mexican blogger at The Donegal Express asks rhetorically, “Did you ever notice how the Left always goes on about how “the Right” wants to install Big Brother and bring about the totalitarian dystopia of 1984, yet it took Keith Olbermann and the unhinged Left to bring us the Two Minute Hate.” Remarking upon the seeming impossibility of someone being the worst person in the world for only 24 hours at a time, he asks rhetorically, “weren’t they always the worst person in the world? That is, of course, until they go down the memory hole.”

But of course the whole segment is tongue-in-cheek, or “snarky” (I hate that word) as the cyber-hip like to say. On the MSNBC website promoting the book named for the segment, Olbermann himself dismissed any such literalist quibbling: “They aren’t really the worst persons in the world, of course. Somewhere somebody’s ending freedom, or sticking a shiv into a witness, or defrauding an orphan, or bombing a home. And there’s almost nobody in this book who—in any kind of empirical analysis of the worst person in the world at a given moment—could truly hold a candle to any of them. But my guys and gals have all, in their own ways, tried.”

Robert Novak, Cindy McCain and all the rest have tried to measure up to the real-deal evil of tyrants and murderers? Please don’t misunderstand me. I realize Olbermann is just trying to be hip, sarcastic and “snarky” and that if a different person is The Worst Person in the World every day, then none of them really are, and the whole thing is just political humor, so take it as such, and get over it, folks. So why doesn’t Olbermann just say that? Why not just say, “It’s satire, people, catch a clue”?

Perhaps because on some level he really does think the conservatives he skewers are evil. This is a key difference between the left and the right. While some on the right do appear to believe that leftists are inherently evil, many other thoughtful conservatives acknowledge that those on the left mean well, but start from such a radically different set of premises than conservatives that they end up with diametrically opposed policy choices. My impression over the years has been that passionate and committed liberals are less willing to concede the same good intentions to their political opposite numbers. Right-wingers are hatemongers, homophobes and the like, and give every appearance to leftists of actually trying to be The Worst Person in the World.

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