Ed Driscoll

Memory Almost Empty

Paul McCartney steps in it, comparing global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. As Rusty Weiss writes at Newsbusters:

Seems the only thing gushing more than the BP oil spill these days is the disaster brewing in Paul McCartney’s mouth.  In an exclusive interview with The Sun, McCartney takes a major swipe at global warming realists, er, deniers, by stating (emphasis mine):

“Sadly we need disasters like this to show people. Some people don’t believe in climate warming – like those who don’t believe there was a Holocaust.”

Well that’s putting things in perspective.  I’m not sure global warming has been proven to have caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.  Missed that report.  Regardless, it remains unclear how the theory of global warming is in any way similar to the reality of the Holocaust.

Does Paul really want to go there? In the short-term, if Paul’s really serious about such an analogy (and he’s not; it’s just something he read in the Grauniad and programmed into his environmentalist Mini-Me persona, either because of guilt over his fame and vast fortune, or to deflect attention from the excesses of the latter), then he really needs to dramatically alter his lifestyle.

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in 2006 after one of Al Gore’s frequent uses of the Holocaust comparison:

Al Gore and his confreres argue time and again that Americans must change their habits and culture to avoid the ecological holocaust. Chief among these changes is for Americans to give up their addiction to driving, or driving “unnecessarily.” Surely a film that teaches young children to love cars is a great moral crime given the supposed moral stakes. Similarly, why isn’t Gore — or anybody else in the Democratic party — denouncing NASCAR? If global warming is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust, aren’t NASCAR races the moral equivalent of corporate-sponsored, televised neo-Nazi rallies? NASCAR creates greenhouse gasses for pure entertainment. Millions of people drive to these races, poisoning the atmosphere, to watch grown men poison the atmosphere even more. Where is the condemnation?

I know I’ll hear from all sorts of angry readers for taking Gore’s position to the extreme. But this has it backwards. I’m merely taking Gore’s extreme position seriously. We have lots of debates over the factual soundness of environmental extremism but nearly none on the moral soundness of environmental extremism. Once you compare a problem to the Holocaust — even remotely — you’ve lost your moral wiggle room.

A rock musician and his band on the tour circuit requires constantly flying and/or driving tour buses, plus tractor-trailers to haul the band’s sound system, lights, stage riggings, and other ancillary equipment. Will Paul put an end to this practice, and retire from the road for the sake of stopping the environmental Holocaust?

Of course not.

Will he stop having V-8-equipped sports cars flown in from Japan to Britain for his leisure time enjoyment?

Nyet!

And also, McCartney’s use of the moral equivalent of war analogy also brings to mind his and his former band members’ thoughts on the real thing. In 1964, when the Beatles were awarded their Member of the British Empire “gongs”, John Lennon famously said:

“They usually only give this reward for killing people. We got it for entertaining them. I’d say we deserved it more.”

Given that this was in 1964, which war were most British soldiers being awarded their MBEs? And Lennon would famously double-down on his peace rhetoric in the late-1960s, devoting the first years of his all-too-brief solo career for opposing US involvement in the Vietnam War.

But once Lennon got his wish, and the Democrat Congress cut funding for aide to the South Vietnamese, the result beginning in 1975 was a slaughter. Or as David Horowitz wrote:

The result was that Cambodia was over-run by the Khmer Rouge—in other words, by the Communist forces that the Vietnamese Communists along with Chomsky and the entire American left had supported until then. Freed from American military interference, the Khmer Rouge proceeded to kill two million Cambodians who, in their view, stood in the way of the progressive “good example” they intended to create.

I’d say two million killed counts as a holocaust, one that John Lennon and other leftists turned their backs on in the effort to “give peace a chance,” to coin a phrase.

Of course, Hitler and Pol Pot were hardly the only far left totalitarians in the world. In 2003, the New York Times estimated that Saddam Hussein had killed a million of his own people:

Mr. Hussein’s has been a tale of terror that scholars have compared to that of Stalin, whom the Iraqi leader is said to revere, even if his own brutalities have played out on a small scale. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, historians have concluded. Even on a proportional basis, his crimes far surpass Mr. Hussein’s, but figures of a million dead Iraqis, in war and through terror, may not be far from the mark, in a country of 22 million people.

Doesn’t that count as a Holocaust?

In 2004, McCartney was quoted by the BBC as saying:

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has criticised the UK government for being too hasty in going to war in Iraq. “Maybe our government went in too fast with the Americans,” he told the weekly Portuguese magazine Visao on Thursday.

“It would have been better if the UN had been together,” the 61-year-old singer continued. “Now it’s become very bloody with Iraq, it’s very difficult.”

The singer, who is currently touring Europe, opens the Rock in Rio music festival in Lisbon on Friday.

Sir Paul said he understood the need to act after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

“If someone came to my house and blew it up, I wouldn’t just want to sit there and say thank you,” he said. “I’d be angry like I think anyone would be, so I could see America and Britain being angry.

“To look for Bin Laden seemed reasonable to go against terrorism, but the war has become very difficult.”

Flash-forward to 2010:

Paul McCartney regrets that his 2001 song “Freedom,” which was debuted in the wake of 9/11 at The Concert For New York City, went on to inspire the more hawkish members of his audience. The song, which McCartney went on to play at the 2002 Super Bowl pre-game show, as well as the world tour that followed it, was soon retired from his setlists as the Iraq War escalated.

McCartney regrets that the song’s ultimate meaning was lost in the rush to war, with the message resonating with an urge for revenge — rather than justice, telling The Telegraph, “I think it got hijacked a bit, and (turned into something) a bit militaristic. Mine was in the spirit of ‘We Shall Overcome’; you know, ‘fight for your rights,’ in the Civil Rights sense, (it) doesn’t mean ‘Go out and hit people.’ It was a pity: it kind of stopped me doing it, actually.”

I guess McCartney assumed that America should have collected acted like Gandhi in the wake of 9/11. Which is understandable — he turned a blind eye to the Holocaust himself, as Richard Grenier wrote in Commentary in 1983 as a mammoth rebuttal to the even-more-mammoth biopic then making the rounds:

Since the movie’s Madeleine Slade specifically invites us to revere the “way out of madness” that Gandhi offered the world at the time of World War II, I am under the embarrassing obligation of recording exactly what courses of action the Great Soul recommended to the various parties involved in that crisis. For Gandhi was never stinting in his advice. Indeed, the less he knew about a subject, the less he stinted.

I am aware that for many not privileged to have visited the former British Raj, the names Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Deccan are simply words. But other names, such as Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, somehow have a harder profile. The term “Jew,” also, has a reasonably hard profile, and I feel all Jews sitting emotionally at the movie ‘Gandhi’ should be apprised of the advice that the Mahatma offered their coreligionists when faced with the Nazi peril: they should commit collective suicide. If only the Jews of Germany had the good sense to offer their throats willingly to the Nazi butchers’ knives and throw themselves into the sea from cliffs they would arouse world public opinion, Gandhi was convinced, and their moral triumph would be remembered for “ages to come.” If they would only pray for Hitler (as their throats were cut, presumably), they would leave a “rich heritage to mankind.” Although Gandhi had known Jews from his earliest days in South Africa–where his three staunchest white supporters were Jews, every one–he disapproved of how rarely they loved their enemies. And he never repented of his recommendation of collective suicide. Even after the war, when the full extent of the Holocaust was revealed, Gandhi told Louis Fischer, one of his biographers, that the Jews died anyway, didn’t they? They might as well have died significantly.

But then, pacifism is objectively pro-fascist, as a much less muddled British thinker — particularly when compared to an aging pop star looking to demonize half his potential audience — once wrote.