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Now even knitting has to be political in Trump age

The blogger Glenn Reynolds, in his new book, predicts that the digital age will prove as significant to the human race as its adoption of agriculture. He’s probably correct, but with at least one major exception.

Proto-farmers worked long, brutal hours for their daily slice of non-GMO bread. Today’s digital dilettantes lay about, resent life and still get plenty to eat — the lucky ducks.

Yet the resentments never fade.

The latest dollop of nonsense-in-a-notions-bag comes from the online knitting group Ravelry, which over the weekend defenestrated its Donald J. Trump-supporting members.

Those who present the faintest hint of support for the president will be cast off into the darkness — where they should be careful nobody stops by to break their knitting needles.

Metaphorically speaking.

This is permitted, of course. Ravelry is free to use its bandwidth as it pleases; that’s how America rolls (at least for the time being). And, as is well known, Trump is remarkably adept at digital self-defense — should he choose to punch so far down.

It is a shame, though, that knitting has been dragged into America’s nervous breakdown. The pastime is enjoyed by tens of millions — 8 million are on Ravelry alone — and by and large it doesn’t deserve the eye-rolling derision that the group’s burst of off-the-wall virtue-signaling has generated.

Certainly there’s nothing original about what Ravelry has done.

“We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration,” the group declared Sunday. “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy.”

Parse that.

“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all . . .” — not including whomever the group hates. Nor can it “allow support for open white supremacy” — of which it cites not a single example.

How banal. How boring. How 2016.

Alas, this is not to be dismissed. Not at all.

Literature’s most famous knitter, Madame Defarge, was a type — murder with her needles and more so with the guillotine, but her seething hatreds were not irrational. The Bourbons largely had brought their doom upon themselves.

The Ravelites — what? Their anger is palpable, too. But why? Their candidate lost a marginally unconventional but entirely constitutional election — so naturally it’s time to storm the Bastille? Talk about defining “just cause” down.

It goes far beyond that, though. Tote up the American institutions that have not been politicized, or are not now in the process of being politicized, and you’ll have a pretty short list.

We live in an era where everybody has a beef — but very few have doubts. And progressives, in particular, are almost biblically pugnacious about it.

God’s chosen archangel, St. Mueller, is their guy; Lucifer’s real last name rhymes with “chump,” the campaign proceeds with an intensity that defies reason — and dissent blocks the road to Utopia.

Of course, the clerisy has been burning heretics for millennia, so the order of battle here is familiar. And happily the conflict, though disruptive, has been remarkably non-physical. (Yes, Antifa is in the streets — but, while potentially dangerous, lately looking a little effete in their fiercely comic costumes.)

But it remains a hugely consequential conflict — perhaps more so because it is largely conducted by keyboard, off in a corner — where the exclusion of disagreement can easily be presented as the absence of disagreement, and where the virtual auto-da-fé can be almost as effective as the real thing.

This is a unique form of political disputation — a truly perverse justification of Reynolds’ observation. The practice stands to produce a one-sided, peculiarly un-American, form of policy debate — meant to exclude subtlety, nuance, common sense and, especially, non-progressives.

In that sense, it becomes necessary to politicize everybody, even knitters. Especially knitters!

So knit one, purge two, folks. It’s a thing.

Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. Twitter: @rlmac2

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