Friday, September 19, 2003

Enough is enough. It's time to recognize what Democrats call political debate for what it is: vicious, unprincipled demagoguery that provides aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. I am by no means a kneejerk defender of the policies of the Bush administration. I believe there are many issues about which reasonable people can disagree, and I believe the country would benefit from a civil airing of competing ideas about how best to deal with the challenges we face. That is not what is occurring now.

If there was a straw that broke the camel's back, it was Andrew Greeley's column in today's issue of the Chicago Sun-Times. You can read the full text here:


He's a Catholic priest. He's also a disgrace.

He begins his polemic with a reference to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda who propounded the concept of the "Big Lie," the one which will be believed if it is repeated often enough. As a priest, he's far too diplomatic to put the words "Bush" and "Hitler" in the same sentence, but we'd have to be idiots to miss his intent. It's not as if this odious comparison originated with him. It's been repeated so often that it's become a motif of the left - the very same left which claims to own a monopoly on tolerance and which continually accuses itself of being "too nice" in its dealings with the Republican opposition.

Jonah Goldberg has written a brief and rather restrained analysis of the Bush-Hitler theme, which you can read here: CLICK HERE. His essay makes the obvious (though evidently still necessary) point that such rhetoric is not only insulting to the nation and the president but also serves to trivialize the monstrous horror of the holocaust. He seems to think that identifying this fact might deter so-called liberals from persisting in their dishonest comparisons. Unfortunately, Mr. Goldberg is giving his opponents more credit than they deserve.

The truth is, Greeley and his kind cannot let go of the Hitler motif. There are several reasons why, and they are all revealing. In fact, they are so revealing that it's worth digging into them in considerably more detail than Jonah Goldberg probably felt necessary.

The History of an Evolving Falsehood

One of the most longstanding fallacies in American political culture is the identification of Nazism as a right wing phenomenon. The term "Nazi" is essentially an acronym for National Socialism, which was a political movement that positioned itself in opposition to what it regarded as weak representative democracy. Hitler's notion of the ideal state was as far away as it could be from the principles of limited government, personal liberty, and individual rights which typify Republican/conservative views in this country. He believed in big government, secular government (else why oppress and silence the churches), intrusive, controlling government embodying all the moral ideals of the nation. Does this not evoke more comparisons with American left/liberal ideology than with American right/conservative ideology?

Historically, it has been a clever trick of American Democrats to sneak Nazism's position on the so-called right wing of the Weimar Republic into a left-right spectrum of American politics defined by entirely different factors. Hitler was right wing in a German context because he was opposed to the brand new 'liberal' experiment with democracy in a country which had been ruled by a monarchy throughout its history. He was reactionary in wanting a government that returned to the strong controls of the past. At the exact moment that he was engineering his rise to power, however, the reactionary thrust in America was in the opposite direction: to return to the weaker, less intrusive central government which had obtained in America prior to the 1932 quasi-revolutionary turn toward big government known as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

Lots of additional Democrat sleight of hand parlayed this initial misrepresentation into an accepted cliche. Hitler's opposition to Communism helped American liberals to reinforce his position as a rightwinger. But this was also a spurious inference. Hitler opposed the communists not because his totalitarian approach to government differed in any material way from that of Lenin and Stalin, but because communism was internationalist by definition, which was incompatible with the mission of German empire. Still, with this double layer of falsehoods in place, it became easy for Democrats -- long after the war -- to depict Republican antipathy to communists as fascism, i.e., Nazism, and subsequently to equate Republican resistance to sweeping federal Civil Rights legislation with Nazi racism and genocide.

All such associations were primarily rhetorical devices; Nazism/fascism was a convenient bucket of tar that could be used to smear any Republican or conservative who opposed Democrat positions on social and foreign policy matters. The continuing fringe existence of the Ku Klux Klan enabled canny Democratic politicians to characterize all Republican positions as veiled manifestations of Hitlerian supernationalism and racism. Lost to us now in these days of historical ignorance and amnesia are the original contexts for a variety of post-WWII Republican positions.

The symbolic rite of passage for 20th century American liberals was the period they have succeeded in labeling the "McCarthy Era." If Republicans had been half as rhetorically astute, we would in all likelihood know this time by a different name, as "The Era of Soviet Infiltration." The end of the Cold War has almost universally vindicated the charges by Republicans in the late 1940s and 1950s that Soviet espionage agents occupied critically compromising positions in multiple agencies of the U.S. government and the military. Despite the villainization of Richard Nixon, his target Alger Hiss was, we now know, guilty. The Rosenbergs were guilty. FDR's Chief of Staff Harry Hopkins was guilty. Staggeringly important secrets were passed by American citizens to the Soviets, including plans for both the atom and hydrogen bombs. There is simply no way to deny the truth that the communist conspiracy claimed by the Republicans did, in fact, exist and was consistently denied, dismissed, or provided cover for by the Democratic party.

Nevertheless, the liberal/left elite in this country has succeeded in perpetuating a dramatic myth that is flatly contradicted by the facts. The anti-communist crusade of Joseph McCarthy, by reason of its impoliteness and its incompetence, has become the secular Passion of liberalism, its sanctifying crucifixion, the basis of its arrogant, continuing, and utterly unjustified claims of moral superiority over the conservative opposition. (Lest you regard this as overstatement, please read "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's play about the McCarthyism of the 17th century Salem witchcraft trials -- as we all know, there were no witches/communists . . .) We are supposed to overlook the enormity of the fact that at the very dawn of the nuclear age, American citizens conspired to transfer the deadliest technology ever developed to the mortal enemies of their country. This terrifying event is supposed to pale beside the prospect of a Hollywood screenwriter whose career was damaged by his membership in the 'party' that led the conspiracy. It doesn't -- except in the minds of those who have never quite understood, and probably never will -- the sickening, murderous evil that was the Soviet communist state.

Yet the Democrats won the word war. The term 'McCarthyism' entered the language and has been kept vigorously and determinedly alive. It is, by usage, synonymous with fascism, because it has come to mean the ruthless persecution and demonization of an imaginary enemy for purely political purposes. And ever since the great Democrat Passion of the 1950s, this word has been hurled at every concerted Republican attempt to uncover any kind of wrongdoing in the left/liberal establishment.

Another shoe dropped during the Civil Rights movement. Almost no one now remembers that many Republicans opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act for reasons that had nothing whatever to do with racism. Partly this is occasioned by the fact that almost no one remembers where the core of virulently racist opposition to the Civil Rights Act reposed -- in the Dixiecrat (i.e., southern) wing of the Democratic Party. Republicans who entirely agreed with the ultimate aims of the Civil Rights movement as they were then described -- the G.O.P. was proudly the party of Lincoln, after all -- nonetheless opposed the scope of proposed federal legislation that would dramatically reduce the rights of individual states to write their own laws. Thirty years of virtually uninterrupted transfers of power to the federal government gave Republicans pause; they opposed subsequent Medicare legislation for much the same reason: fear of a central government growing too big, too powerful, too intrusive, too expensive. Of course, to the most enlightened social progressives of the time it was impossible to allow that anyone might hold such a contradictory view; all opponents of the legislation had to be regarded as racists and were branded as such.

Once again, the tarring worked. How many American citizens know today that a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats? From this point forward, the Republicans were racists by definition (and by repetition) and were forever to be associated with a KKK whose most prominent members had been Democratic politicians.

A further subtle transition was accomplished during the antiwar movement of the late 1960s. The baby boomer leftists who opposed the Vietnam War traded the term 'McCarthyism' for the more general purpose 'fascism.' This was the period when it was impossible to walk across an elite university campus in America without being handed a smudged mimeograph denouncing the "fascist imperialist U.S. pigs . . ." Vietnam had started as Lyndon Johnson's war, but it fell to Republican Richard Nixon to find the way to end it. The fascist label was accordingly transferred to him in the blink of an eye, and it was precisely during this phase of the war that the antiwar movement migrated from opposition to treason, meaning open alliance with the North Vietnamese enemy, hysterical accusations of war crimes against U.S. soldiers, and even some cheering of the death and suffering of American troops. This was also the timeframe within which the left/liberal wing of the American political spectrum began to employ the term 'genocide' and proclaim it an instrument of American foreign policy. Not coincidentally, the same people transformed 'patriotism' into a term of opprobrium.

If the McCarthy Era was the left/liberals' crucifixion, Watergate was the resurrection. How serendipitously easy it was to caricature Nixon aides Haldeman and Ehrlichman as storm troopers . . . how remarkably convenient it was to conceal the repudiation of the left represented by the crushing defeat of George McGovern in the 1972 election underneath the mushrooming scandal . . . and how lucky it was that the consequences of the left's 'principled' stand against the war -- i.e., the massacre of 2 million or more Cambodians -- disappeared into the opera of Nixon's downfall. Yes, despite the Cambodian holocaust, American left/liberals now regarded themselves as wholly vindicated, and to this day they cling to the memory of Richard Nixon as if he were their own Shroud of Turin, the incontestable (if fraudulent) artifact of their self-anointing to political divinity. Nixon became the American Hitler they implicitly opposed in all Republican opponents, the one most evident incarnation of the demon they would always see and attack in every strong Republican leader -- corrupt, conspiratorial, racist, and perversely opposed to every ideal treasured by the morally initiated, including the rights of women, children, minorities of every stripe, and specifically including all foreign enemies.

The Contemporary and Obsessive Uses of Falsehood

This entire history collapses into a single article of faith which can be transmitted to young recruits without much explication of the formative events. The article of faith is that the Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, are fascists at heart, ever slyly in search of ways to rob less privileged people of rights, opportunities, freedoms, and money. Thus, the image of Hitler springs easily to mind for people of so-called liberal persuasion. It is a deeply satisfying image, one they have used to considerable advantage, and (the dirty secret) they have learned much from their long association with it.

What have they learned? Precisely what Andrew Greeley references in the first sentence of his column: the efficacy of the Big Lie. This is a recurring theme in Democrat rhetoric precisely because they have used it so routinely and effectively for their own purposes. A more familiar term for it is the "spin" perfected by the Clinton administration, which consists of "talking points" to be used verbatim by every conceivable spokesman for the party. The mechanism is not truth, but repetition. If Republicans oppose automatic budget increases, they are "seeking drastic cuts in services" for needy men, women, and children. An increase in the school lunch program that is not as large as desired can be compared to "genocide." Concern that affirmative action programs may promote more resentment than genuine opportunity can be branded as "racism." All that's necessary is to repeat the charge ad nauseam, see that it spills out of every mouth that has access to a microphone, and eventually a significant percentage of the population will believe it.

More recently, Democrats have employed the Big Lie to carry Clinton through the disgrace of impeachment. For months, every available mouth repeated the mantra that "lying about sex isn't a crime because everyone does it," "lying under oath isn't necessarily perjury," and "breaking the law isn't necessarily an impeachable offense."

After the 2000 election, the Big Lie that has been repeated often enough to be believed by too many idiots is that "George Bush stole the election." Never mind that Al Gore broke an incredibly important precedent which even Richard Nixon was too principled, too patriotic, to defy. Even when confronted with strong evidence of vote fraud in Cook County during the 1960 presidential election, Nixon decided not to contest Kennedy in the courts for the good of the country. It was the feckless ambition of Al Gore which resulted in the electoral ordeal which will now, undoubtedly, be repeated in every close election from here on out. Yet who has stepped forward to imagine for us the implications of protracted legal battles in every state decided by fewer than several thousand votes, in perpetuity? The very first decision to contest the outcome in a single state inevitably awakened the possibility that all future national elections will end precisely where they never should, in the hands of politically appointed judges. We have Al Gore to thank for that. But where is the Republican attempt to use the "Big Lie" to drive home this dire fact with the American electorate? It doesn't exist. This particular tool has been transformed into a nuclear weapon only by the Democratic party and its leftist minions.

The appalling ugliness of the current debate about world affairs can only be understood in these terms. The actual situation of the country and the Bush administration is simple to the point of near transparency. The United States was attacked in September 2001 by an enemy whom we -- i.e., Democrats, Republicans, and ordinary citizens -- had not taken seriously enough. We were compelled to go to war -- not metaphorical war, as Greeley vilely postulates, but real war -- for multiple unassailable reasons. The tradition of personal liberty in this country means that there will never be a surefire way to detect and thwart terrorist threats within our borders. The only alternative to creating a police state is to go where the terrorists originate and kill, imprison, or frighten enough of them to reduce the threat to manageable proportions. The enemy is an amorphous worldwide entity, incarnated as individuals, schools, charitable organizations, mosques, paramilitary units, political parties, and nations. Because of our long inattention, our intelligence about the enemy is alarmingly poor. Were it otherwise, we would not have been devastated so unexpectedly on 9/11. In a single moment, all foreign policy assumptions were turned on their heads. Before 9/11, it seemed reasonable to assume the best case until events proved otherwise. After 9/11 it became absolutely necessary to assume the worst until events proved otherwise. Make no mistake: it is not just the American economy but the world economy which cannot afford a mass destruction event in the United States, however shortsighted individual nations may be in their policy making.

Iraq was an avowed enemy of the United States, a proven aggressor, a proven developer and user of chemical/biological weapons. Our frighteningly scarce intelligence about Iraq could not prove to anyone's satisfaction that Saddam was not an imminent threat, was not in possession of an immediately usable stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, was not directly in cahoots with the other major Arab entity which insisted on calling us 'The Great Satan.' Much of the rest of the world was far less concerned about this, because their tears about 9/11 were crocodile tears from the start.

It is vital to understand that the key to the current situation is the very lack of intelligence that is now being used to assault both Tony Blair of the U.K. and George Bush. This is not the same as saying there was no intelligence. It is that the intelligence which did exist was piecemeal, contradictory, not at all reassuring, and more out of date than any potential combatant in a war wants the enemy to know about. Did George Bush and Tony Blair lie? By the standards of global politics, they were as carefully, nitpickingly candid as they could afford to be without rendering themselves impotent to eliminate the threat. This is a situation that requires the judgment of grownups, not whining children.

Time out for a quick review. The enemy is fundamentalist Islam, whose relation to so-called mainstream Islam and Arab ethnocentrism features boundaries so tenuous and subtle as to be invisible. Thus, all decisions about how to proceed against the enemy are fraught with risk and destined, regardless of which alternatives are chosen, to result in at least some negative consequences. Yet the greatest risk in the face of an unknown threat is inaction, the willingness to wait until a determined enemy makes its own choice about the next arena of conflict.

Therefore, the "unilateral" American invasion of Iraq. Astoundingly, a swift and brilliant military campaign with essentially no U.S. casualties and a remarkably fortunate (meticulous?) dearth of civilian casualties and infrastructure damage. The result? Occupation of a nation whose experience of war was so brief as to have left almost no scar, precious little appreciation of the hammerstroke that had been so deliberately left undelivered. That undelivered hammerstroke in part consisted of the absence of military mopping up, which in most full scale wars results in vividly ugly incidents. The desire to be humane resulted in the decision to leave too much of Saddam's military and political apparatus in the field. This was, of course, a deliberate gamble, and it was a gamble whose consequences were aggravated by an unanticipated (lack of intelligence again) decrepitude in the infrastructure of Saddam's Iraq. All the care taken in not destroying waterworks and electrical plants was wasted; these vital components of nationhood had already been destroyed by neglect.

Now it is four months later, and what is the situation we face as a nation?

By all rational standards the occupation is proceeding extremely well. To view the results of an in-depth poll of Iraqi citizens which I have nowhere seen reported in the mass media: CLICK HERE

Yet polls in our own nation suggest that the people are growing increasingly concerned about whether or not their president has done a good job. Why are they concerned? Because of an unending series of "Big Lies" being propounded by left/liberal citizens of the United States of America.

BIG LIE 1: America's unilateral action in Iraq turned the will of the world against us. (Click here for an outstanding analysis of this falsehood)

BIG LIE 2: George Bush lied us into a war with Iraq for no reason, unless it was about oil or lucrative business contracts for Republican political donors. Right. From the moment they take office, American Presidents are living in the history books. It's absurd beyond responding to to suggest that a man who is already rich and well connected would plunge himself into the cesspool of history by betraying the national interest in favor of a few business contracts.

BIG LIE 3: There were never any weapons of mass destruction, and Bush and Blair almost certainly knew and covered it up. Recall if you are able, the incontestable fact that even our whiniest foes in the U.N. never claimed there weren't WMDs in Iraq; their opposition consisted of not wanting to do anything about them. Even the Clinton administration's eight years of pronouncements about WMDs were squarely in accord with what the Bush administration and the U.N. believed.

BIG LIE 4: The occupation of Iraq has been irretrievably botched and has become a Vietnam-like quagmire. This is an absolutely ridiculous assertion. 60,000 Americans died in Vietnam over a 10-year period. Throughout that time, American troops faced a fully armed and centrally organized military opposition in the field. No comparison is even possible. Remember, too, that it took years to establish the conditions for self rule in both Germany and Japan after World War II. The only way our current situation can be viewed negatively is to insist, childishly, on no ill consequences for any of the gambles we take in combating terrorism, in which case we will do nothing until the dirty bomb at the Sears Tower kills 10,000 in Chicago.

BIG LIE 5: It's proof of American imperialist ambitions that the Bush administration has gotten along so poorly with the U.N. and still persists in hindering the U.N.'s right to oversee the rebuilding of Iraq. Again, an utter absurdity. The only consistent features of U.N. policy are its tacit support for Palestinian terrorists and its determination to poke a stick in America's eye at every opportunity. There is no seat of wisdom or benevolence that anyone can point to in this corrupt organization. Libya and Cuba occupy seats on the U.N.'s human rights commission. Who could ever trust this organization to administer any situation competently, fairly, or honestly? Every single reference by an anti-Bush politician to "the U.N." is a proof that there is no one at the U.N. worthy of the deference so fraudulently accorded that organization.

BIG LIE 6: The war on terror is now more dangerous than ever because terrorists are flocking to Iraq; the war, on balance, has made the situation worse. This "Big Lie" can be true only if the terror threat against America consists purely of al Qaida remnants in Afghanistan. To postulate this means assuming that Syria is not a terror threat, Iran is not a terror threat, and that Saddam's Iraq was never a harbor, training ground, organization site, weapons supplier, or financier for terrorists. All of these are demonstrably ridiculous and dangerous assumptions. It bears repeating that prudent foreign policy now consists of assuming the worst until it can be entirely disproved.

BIG LIE 7: The best evidence for believing all the darkest implications of numbers 1 through 6 lies in the extreme right wing policies pursued by the Bush administration in every area (because we all know what that means). Now, all of the lies are absurd, but this one is downright comical. By every standard but national security, George Bush is the most liberal Republican president in living memory. Indeed, he has supported and passed so many watered down versions of Democratic legislative programs that without the overriding national security concerns, he would in all likelihood be facing a conservative challenger for the 2004 nomination. Any Republican you speak to outside of New York, California, and New England is guaranteed to be hopping mad about multiple ways this President has steered to the left of his party's historical positions on limited government, education policy, entitlements policy, immigration policy, and perhaps most importantly, on the need for fighting back against liberal slanders and the liberals' low strategems in matters of legislation and judicial nominations.

What can be proved is that all of these purported lies are, in fact, lies. The proof consists of the utter absence of rational proposals from Democrat politicians or liberal media pundits about what might be done next, given the current set of circumstances, as opposed to what has already been done wrong in the reinvented past. The purposes the lies serve are: 1) to undermine the president's popular support at home, his credibility abroad, and his effectiveness in convincing our enemies -- Iraqi resistance and Islamic terrorists both -- that it is futile to hope for Americans to quit. (All of these outcomes are directly contrary to the interests of the American people, our troops in the field, and our ability to act in concert with even our allies); and 2) to conceal the fact that the left/liberal character assassins in the Democratic party have no ideas of any kind about how to prosecute the war on terror -- unless you count it an idea to transform the dismembered victims of the twin towers and the murdered marines in Tikrit into casualties of a purely "metaphorical" war.

If Hitler is anywhere on the scene in today's world, he resides in the persona of Saddam Hussein, who, in the eyes of all the rabid, lying Bush haters, can't hold a candle to George Bush for tyranny, duplicity, inhumanity, and selfish ambition. And what, may we ask, is this if it is not simply a monstrous joke? It is, we suggest, "the ruthless persecution and demonization of an imaginary enemy for purely political purposes." That's right; it's classic McCarthyism. The Democrat obsession with fascism is a triumph of narcissism, an unconscious self-indictment projected onto every adversary who obstructs their sense of entitlement to rule.

The lies I have enumerated here are stated or implied in every diatribe of the sort promulgated by Andrew Greeley and his despicable accomplices. The indignity and damage such lies wreak on the nation at this critical time in our history are so huge, so indefensible, and so far beneath contempt that it staggers the mind to try seeing them whole. Every one of the Democratic candidates for president has given at least lip service to multiple of these lies, and all of them should be treated to the scorn of the American public and a one-way ticket back to whatever hate-filled lair they call home. We should all demand that the remainder of the Democratic party field a list of replacement candidates capable of debating policy alternatives at home and abroad without impugning the motives of a president who has had to make innumerable difficult decisions in a time of unprecedented national crisis, with an unprecedented lack of support from the "loyal opposition." Any American who can sneer at the man who has had to bear this burden of transition into a brand new kind of world war is, to put it bluntly, stupid and undeserving of respect.

Mr. Greeley, if you have an ounce of personal integrity in you, you should remove that collar and mail it back to the pope. You're no Christian in any sense of the term. And I do mean that as an insult.

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