The nastiness is not confined to one side of politics: if anything, the Left used to pretty much have the market in asinine, ridiculously over-simplistic yet rudely and aggressively stated views to itself.
But why did the American Right decide to go that way too? Seems to me to be a major socio-cultural question that I really haven't seen properly explained, yet.
This was brought to mind by noting on the weekend the American Right blogosphere (and their Australian numbskull followers) high-fiving themselves over convicted criminal and Obama hyperventilator Dinesh D'Souza getting nasty with a college student in America (while simultaneously not listening to him.)
To paraphrase the exchange down to its key parts:
Privileged white college student: Don't you think you should acknowledge that black disadvantage is ongoing not only as a result of the slavery era, but even from the well documented modern financial discrimination such as how veterans after WW2 were treated?
D'Souza: well, why don't you give up your rich white-ass seat at this college to a black person?
PWCS: hey, I didn't say I supported Affirmative Action..
D'Souza: well if you're serious you would
PWCS: hey, if you're saying I'm a hypocrite - we're all a bit hypocritical in the way we don't all do the maximum thing that our concerns indicate we could, in theory, do; but you know, I've tried to help in some ways....
D'Souza: so you support Affirmative Action.
PWCS: I just told you I didn't. I'm talking about effective social security -
D'Souza: You massive hypocrite - you make me sick - yes, you personally. We can deal with the historical injustices either by ending discrimination (which we did in the civil rights movement) or you can be a Leftist thieving scumbag, like you, who wants to steal from others to give it to the underprivileged, but won't give up your own seat in this college.
I don't think I'm exaggerating much...
Now, I've left out the bits about D'Souza saying how if you want to look far enough back in history, lots of people confiscated lots of stuff from lots of other people, so rectifying all historical injustices could be a never ending exercise (true). But he ends up in such an over the top position of his own that is only defensible if he's a "all tax is theft" twit.
I see that The Atlantic took a look at his decline from relatively credible conservative commentator to over-the-top, irrationally Obama hating darling of the Tea Party. (The article notes that critics say he likes to attack straw men - a tactic used in abundance in the video above. Surely people can see that? Oh, that's right, these are the same people who can't believe thermometers, either.) For a more acerbic attack on D'Souza, you can't go past Bill Maher interviewing him in 2012.
I hadn't paid attention to him much til this weekend, but it seems he may well be emblematic of the decline of American Right.
Update: I meant to add that D'Souza's story seems similar to Niall Ferguson - formerly somewhat interesting conservative writer capable of making decent argument becomes mere hyperbolic shadow of his former self in playing up to the Tea Party wing of the Right. Both are divorced too, in what I think were unhappy ends to their first marriage. Niall Ferguson got much publicity a couple of years ago by arguing Keynes didn't really care about the future (and the effect of his economics on it) because he was gay. Perhaps conservative extremism in academics is exacerbated by adultery and divorce, hey Niall?