The Strawman Chronicles are fun to write, but sometimes the point I'm trying to make gets a little opaque. That's the risk of being cute about this kind of thing.
So I'll clarify.
There are a lot of language tricks that go on in popular communication, in media and journalism. Most people aren't aware of them - they don't pay attention, and they pick up habits and ways of thinking practically by osmosis.
One of those little tricks is the whole left-wing/right-wing, conservative/"progressive" language game.
Stop me if you've seen this before: someone is stoned to death in a muslim country for some moral transgression. Adultery, owning a dog, converting to Christianity - take your pick. The news report makes sure to mention that this is due to the 'conservative' laws in the country, or the conservative mood of the state.
A nice, bright line is drawn between 'reprehensible action' and 'conservative'. It happens like clockwork, and this isn't news to anyone who's reading this blog.
A bit more subtle is, of course, how repressive left-wing governments get treated. When's the last time you read about an act engaged in by the communist, left-wing government of North Korea, and the news described their government (or their act) as left-wing, liberal, or progressive? When's the last time you've read about Hitler's socialist and left-wing policies, the death toll of Stalin and 20th century progressives?
As I said, that's a bit more subtle. But come on. What readers I have tend to be intelligent sorts. The above isn't news to you either.
So let's shift the focus. Instead of talking about the AP Wire, CNN, or God-forbid, MSNBC, let's talk about a different source of interpretation of world events.
Namely, you. The person reading this post.
Here's a direct question: would you call NAMBLA a left-wing organization? Progressive? More importantly, have you done this? When an organization like that has come up in conversation, when such sex acts have come up in conversation, did you yourself describe it as progressive, liberal, left-wing acts?
Here's my own reply. Until recently, I wouldn't have. I mean, NAMBLA... that's a group of child-fucking advocates. Left wing? It's odd to even think of them as political. It's... a bunch of freaks, right? Wingnuts. Limit cases on the fringes of society who are universally condemned. The same for child molesters. Not exactly on the short list of things even the most cranky of SJWs tend to speak up in defense of, normally.
Of course, I've never heard of even the most loudmouthed jackass specimen of right-wing Christian calling for gays to be stoned to death. I don't doubt such exist, on the fringes of society as I know it. But then, if we're going to those fringes, I imagine you would find some defenders of child molestation too. Hell, you wouldn't even have to go terribly far - just go to those "feminist fathers" who talk about how their daughters are in complete control of their bodies so presumably they're A-OK with their 13 year old being a party favor at a frat, if she tells herself that's what she wants.
And yet there we are. It's been programmed in that one extreme action, utterly fringe in this entire country and most of western civilization, is right-wing, conservative. It's placed on the political spectrum. But other acts, quite horrific and distasteful, which have a pretty straightforward placement on that same spectrum (It's trivial to couch NAMBLA, bestiality, incest, etc in 'sexual liberation' and 'progressive' language), don't get placed at all. They're political poltergeists, presumed not to exist.
A bit like how same-sex marriage just wasn't a 'left-wing thing' until it was, you know. Popular.
Perhaps you're different. Maybe you'll tell me, "Crude, of course I know those things are left wing, and I've called them as much." To which I salute you, and admire your mental acuity. Me, I've not noticed this particular trick until recently - and I usually work damn hard to notice as much.
But if you're like me, and you've been tricked on this front, a word of advice - henceforth, label things appropriately. NAMBLA is a left-wing, progressive organization. Call it 'far left' or 'extremist' if you like - whatever is truly fair. But don't deny the left-wing, progressive nature of it.
Don't deny the left-wing, progressive nature of tolerated incestuous relationships. Or of bestiality. Or of adultery, general infidelity, and a whole lot more. And in general, try to be alert to areas where left-wing extremist politics have gotten a free pass and denied their proper label, whether by reflex or deliberate shielding.