In his emailed, though otherwise sadly not online edition of his weekly G-File column, Jonah Goldberg writes, “A friend of mine likes to say that everything these days is a footnote to Liberal Fascism:
I don’t think that’s actually true, but I like to hear it nonetheless. Still, I must say, if I wanted to spend my days blogging I-told-you-so’s and “That’s in my book!” posts, I could quite easily. Our president, who ran as a secular redeemer and has governed as a classic Potemkin Pragmatist, continues to embrace, personify, manifest, and prove themes and arguments from my book.
I just wrote a column about the fraudulent and/or absurd hysteria over the mini-Kristallnacht Frank Rich and Jon Avlon see unfolding before our eyes. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that resistance — even stupid resistance — to a giant expansion of the federal government is not akin in any meaningful way to the horrific crime of the National Socialists crushing the Jews and paving the way to the Final Solution.
But, apparently, it is necessary.
If there is a similarity to the events in Nazi Germany in all of this, it is in the attempt to create an “internal enemy” in order to delegitimize and demonize internal opposition. While these hoaxes, distortions, and exaggerations do sometimes have a vaguely Reichstag Fire smokey flavor to them, I don’t think they’re comparable in any morally serious or historically straightforward way to what happened in Germany. Nobody is planning a Holocaust here.
But it is perfectly consistent with, never mind similar to, what liberals have been doing for more than half a century now. In 1944, FDR said that if we didn’t bring socialism (or, if you prefer, social democracy) to America — guaranteed jobs, homes, healthcare, etc. — we would be caving into the “spirit of fascism” here at home. Heck, if America merely went back to the “normalcy” of the 1920s, FDR insisted, we would become a fascist country. Note: The “return to normalcy” of the 1920s was intended as a break with the state-run propaganda, socialism, internal oppression, and war of the late Wilson administration (in which FDR worked). But according to FDR, returning to a time of democracy, economic growth, and limited government — that would be “yielding to the spirit of fascism.” I’m not saying the 1920s were perfect — I mean, Prohibition ain’t my bag — but come on.
Since then, liberalism has never stopped trying to delegitimize any conservatism that could compete for the hearts and minds of the American people. This is a crucial point. Lots of liberals love conservatives who acquiesce to the liberal program — the tinker-around-the-edges crowd — and lots of liberals love conservatives who have no chance of ever gaining power or influencing people. Is it any wonder that Pat Buchanan is so beloved at MSNBC or that Albert Jay Nock is a cult hero to liberals? In the late 1990s, “neoconservative” was code among liberals for the good, the nice, the harmless conservatives. Then, when Bush turned to a lot of neocons, they became those war-mongering bagel-snarfers we heard so much about.
Truman insisted that a vote for Dewey was a vote for “Hitlerism.” LBJ said that a vote for Goldwater was a vote for “hate.” The Contract with America was worse than Hitler’s program according to Charlie Rangel. In the 1990s and again last year, angry white men were going to tear the country down. And now opposition to socialized medicine is racist and scary.
What’s particularly amazing is what a transparent stunt this racist canard is. With the help of the press, the Democrats tried to turn the health-care vote into a replay of the Civil Rights struggle. A bunch of black congressmen deliberately walked through a legitimately angry crowd of protestors in the hope that it would seem brave and maybe even set off an incident. I mean, it’s not like they had to walk through the crowd. When they didn’t get the drama they wanted, they simply lied. About being called “N***er,” about being spit on, etc. The press instantaneously bought it, either because it confirmed what they already believed or because it helped change the health-care story to one they liked more: evil, racist Republicans!
Journalists love to say things like “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” to prove that they’re such hard-bitten skeptics. They claim that their mission is to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” (funny, I thought their mission was to tell the truth about what’s going on).
And yet, every time the Democratic party decides to play the race card, to shout racism, to launch another “brown scare,” they dutifully get in line.
I find that disgusting, but I’m used to it. What I find hard to get used to is the way so many conservatives believe this crap when they hear it.
This is a good moment to revisit this Gregalogue classic on the media’s effort to disseminate Democratic spin:
Much more from Bob Owens at Pajamas HQ: “Krugman, King, Blow, and Rich: Blinded by Hatred of Tea Partiers: Millions of law-abiding, peaceful, middle-aged female protesters, and they see firehoses and ‘good ol’ boys.'”