A couple of days ago economist/left-wing paranoiac Paul Krugman freaked out in the New York Times for the 13,953rd time–the occasion this time being the fact that many religious people opposed Terri Schiavo’s slow starvation and dehydration. Wrote Krugman:

“America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.”

Yesterday, Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix nimbly reached for the meme-baton of assassination that Krugman had passed on. He wrote a screed blaming a doctor who had examined Terri and pronounced her not so bad off for the fact that a couple of nut-cases are currently calling for the murder of Terri’s husband, Michael.

Yup, you read that right. If some psycho bumps off Michael Schiavo, or George Greer, the Florida judge who ordered Terri’s death, it will all be the fault of neurologist William Hammesfahr, who told radio talk-host Sean Hannity that Terri, when he examined her, seemed to be able to communicate despite her severe brain impairment. Here’s what Kennedy wrote in the Phoenix:

“Because of Hammesfahr, Hannity, and others like them, Michael Schiavo has reportedly received numerous death threats. Florida state judge George Greer, who has presided over this fiasco for many years now, is under armed guard. Last Friday a North Carolina man named Richard Alan Meywes was arrested and charged with sending out an e-mail promising a $250,000 reward for the murder of Michael Schiavo, and another $50,000 for bumping off Judge Greer. According to reports, FBI affidavits revealed that the e-mail, supposedly written on behalf of an unidentified multimillionaire, said in part: ‘It is my understanding that whoever eliminates Michael Schiavo from the planet while inflicting as much pain and suffering that he can bear stands to be paid this reward in cash.’

“Now, William Hammesfahr may or may not be sincere, but he is almost certainly wrong in his assessment of Terri Schiavo. Yet by spouting his views before every television camera and microphone that popped up, he helped contribute to an atmosphere of hysteria that placed the lives of Michael Schiavo and George Greer in danger.”

Wow–that’s taking the concept of medical malpractice a bit far, n’est-ce pas? And I love “Dr.” Dan’s overriding the assessment of a trained neurologist who had actually examined Terri.

For about a decade the left-of-center bunch, which believes in free speech for me but not for thee, has been trying to curb the First Amendment rights of anti-abortion groups, claiming that condemning abortion inspires people to bomb abortion clinics–so the anti-abortion people should shut up or face criminal penalties. But this is the first time I’ve read that a physician shouldn’t be allowed to give out a politically incorrect medical diagnosis.

Time was when the watchword of liberals was: “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Now it’s: “I don’t agree with what you say, and I’ll do everything I can not to allow you to say it.” Witness the latest left-activist college fad: throwing food at campus speakers with whom you disagree. A couple of days ago William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and former adviser to Vice President Dan Quayle, got bashed with a chocolate cream pie while delivering a speech at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. (Columnist Ann Coulter managed to dodge a pie thrown at her last year during a campus speech.) Pat Buchanan got doused with salad dressing this week as he was speaking at Western Michigan University.

I must congratulate both Kristol and Buchanan for handling their assaults with grace and aplomb. When the pie hit Kristol, he cracked,  “Just let me finish this point,” and then went on with his speech. Buchanan, who was in the middle of a question-and-answer session with his audience when he got doused, quipped: “Thank you all for coming, but I’m going to have to get my hair washed.”

So I ask you: Which end of the political spectrum do you think harbors the “domestic extremists,” right or left?

(Thanks, Capt. Ed Morrissey of fab-blog Captain’s Quarters for your posts and links on this subject here and here.)