Friday, October 06, 2006

Wingnuttery

By Heraclitus

First, rather than burying the hat tip for this post at the bottom, I'm going to acknowledge it up front. Both of the books discussed below were brought to my attention by this post from
Michael Bérubé, who has done yeoman's work exposing and ridiculing people like Dinesh D'Souza and David Horowitz. With that said...

You probably heard about Jerry Falwell's joke a week or so ago at a fundraiser, something to the effect that if Hillary Clinton runs for president, it will energize his base more than if "Lucifer" were to run (incidentally, it would be really interesting to have a psychoanalyst follow someone like Falwell around and take note of the contexts in which he uses the various names for Satan). Hillary Clinton, basically a right-wing Democrat = The Prince of Darkness (the comparison prompted Echidne to wonder if Falwell's preference for the Devil could be put down to his possession of a schlong, albeit a Satanic schlong). A little over the top, right? Why even bother to mention it? Isn't this the same nutjob who said September 11th was the fault of "pagans" and "abortionists" and other such miscreants? No one's listening to this fool, are they?

Well, funny you should ask. Dinesh D'Souza, who wrote in the late 80's, "listening to Falwell speak, one gets a sense that something is right about America, after all" (the "after all" is the best part), has a new book coming out. It's title? The Enemy at Home. Here's the blurb.

In THE ENEMY AT HOME, bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza makes the startling claim that the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist acts around the world can be directly traced to the ideas and attitudes perpetrated by America’s cultural left.

D’Souza shows that liberals—people like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Bill Moyers, and Michael Moore—are responsible for fostering a culture that angers and repulses not just Muslim countries but also traditional and religious societies around the world. Their outspoken opposition to American foreign policy—including the way the Bush administration is conducting the war on terror—contributes to the growing hostility, encouraging people both at home and abroad to blame America for the problems of the world. He argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedom—from the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce, to the aggressive exportation of our vulgar, licentious popular culture.

The cultural wars at home and the global war on terror are usually viewed as separate problems. In this groundbreaking book, D’Souza shows that they are one and the same. It is only by curtailing the left’s attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries.

That's right, folks. September 11th wasn't the fault of the pagans and abortionists. It was the fault of Bill Moyers.

But who's publishing this? Some wingnut press that brought us The Turner Diaries? Um, well, see, that's the funny thing. The publisher is Random House. Apparently, a market for wingnut screeds there be, and Random House isn't going to let any old-fashioned concerns about the quality of our public discourse stop them from exploiting it.

Speaking of which...

Since the rise and fall of the Nazis in the midtwentieth century, fascism has been seen as an extreme right-wing phenomenon. Liberals have kept that assumption alive, hurling accusations of fascism at their conservative opponents. LIBERAL FASCISM offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg shows that the original fascists were really on the Left and that liberals, from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton, have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism.

Goldberg draws striking parallels between historic fascism and contemporary liberal doctrines. He argues that “political correctness” on campuses and calls for campaign finance reform echo the Nazis' suppression of free speech; and that liberals, like their fascist forebears, dismiss the democratic process when it yields results they dislike, insist on the centralization of economic decision-making, and seek to insert the authority of the state in our private lives–from bans on smoking to gun control. Covering such hot issues as morality, anti-Semitism, science versus religion, health care, and cultural values, he boldly illustrates the resemblances between the opinions advanced by Hitler and Mussolini and the current views of the Left.

Impeccably researched and persuasively argued, LIBERAL FASCISM will elicit howls of indignation from the liberal establishment–and rousing cheers from the Right.

Yes, howls of indignation -- you know, like they're being tortured by the state -- which isn't fascist at all.

There are obviously so many things to say about this, and this post is obviously already too long. But what is amazing about this is Goldberg's apparent silence (the book hasn't been published yet) about the concentration of power in the hands of the executive under Bush, the attempt to dissolve the separation of powers, the suspension of habeas corpus and the legalization of torture. Somehow, campaign finance reform and gun control are more fascist than these things. I hate to sound paranoid, but honestly, if you were consciously trying to create a smoke-screen while the government makes a genuine move towards towards fascism, I don't think you could do any better than this.

I used to think Jonah Goldberg was too much of a lightweight to be a fanatic. Apparently I thought wrong.

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