Friday, February 18, 2005

 

The total lack of principle in paranoid political thought

There's a lot of buzz among liberal bloggers about the charge on the right-wing extremist blog PowerLine that former President Jimmy Carter is, among other things, a traitor to the United States (specifically, that he is on "the other side").

I gather that this is a current topic of great joy amongst the wingnuts (there's a book out calling Carter the worst ex-president ever; probably to counter the widespread notion many Americans feel that while Carter may have been a poor president, he has been an exemplary former president). A lot of wingnuts can't forgive Carter for having the audacity to win the Nobel Peace Prize (like it's his fault he has spent the past 24 years not getting rich but devoting himself to humanitarian concerns).

I spent many years involved in Russian Studies - Russian history, Russian language and literature, Soviet history and politics - and the idea that Carter is somehow (and I can't figure out how, but then I'm not a wingnut) actually a traitor reminds me alarmingly of what in the thankfully defunct Soviet Union used to be construed as an "objective crime." That is, intent was irrelevant if your actions were defined as harmful. The idea being that the dissidents calling for greater freedom and democracy in the Soviet Union were, regardless of their motives, objectively doing damage to the state and thus could be punished for it.

This is a dangerously paranoid delusional way of looking at the world, because it is based on nothing other than your own short-term, narrow interests. It is based on power (apposite for a blog calling itself PowerLine), pure and simple. We're in charge, so anything we don't like is by definition treason. It don't matter what you think you're doing - you're hurting us, so that's treachery.

The danger comes from the likelihood that this kind of "reasoning" will create its own opposition that feels it has no choice but and nothing to lose from doing exactly the same if and when it gets the power. Granted, the entire point of this kind of PowerLine arguing is to ensure that the opposition never gets into power by totally invalidating and discrediting the very notion of opposition and any and all opposition leaders. But history takes a long time and has a strong sense of irony; after Lyndon Johnson crushed Barry Goldwater in 1964, many Democrats and liberals assumed that the Republicans were done for a long time. It took just four years for us to be disabused of that notion.

And at some point in the future, the triumphalist hacks at PowerLine will be gnashing their teeth and tossing cold crusts of pizza at the TV sets in their parents' basements as President Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office for the second time (yes, I know that "Hindrocket" is actually a lawyer; my point about their lack of emotional maturity stands). They will wail in anguish as they are accused of obstructionism and worse by the all-powerful liberal bloggers who have learned the lesson only too well - what comes around goes around.

(Of course, I do not wish for this scenario at all - other than a liberal Democratic president being reelected. I don't want anyone accused of committing treason simply because I don't like them or their policies. And that does not happen under liberal establishments - except toward those liberal establishments.)

However, if your entire argument is based on the premise that what you disagree with is not merely wrong but actually treasonous, you have absolutely no grounds for objecting when your opponents turn your argument against you. If they are dangerous to you, then you are dangerous to them. Whether or not you think you are is irrelevant. The pattern has been set - sauce for the goose, etc.

There is no way that the people at PowerLine will understand this. They could not care less. As far as they are concerned, they are in the ascendance; to them, as to Homer Simpson, "everything lasts forever." But there is no reason to take them seriously. Nor is there any reason to demand that they apologize. Jimmy Carter's humanitarian good deeds will be remembered long after the smirking teenagers at PowerLine have been totally forgotten.

However, this should be seen as clear evidence of just how violently outside the mainstream PowerLine and similar extremist right-wing blogs are. As The Poorman puts it so eloquently,
So, in a nutshell, here's the evidence for the Powerline argument for Jimmy Carter's treachery, written by a fellow at the Scaife & friends-funded right wing propaganda mill Claremont Institute: the Rev. Moon's racist far-right Washington Times and Scaife's deeply sad press release regurgitation service NewsMax, and, if you want something more scholarly, a book published by the white supremicist-linked Regnery who earned his graduate degrees at the Scaife & friends-funded university attached to the Scaife PR mill that writes their checks. That's quite an impressive little circle jerk they've put together for themselves over there, all the kept men in Scaife's wingnut harem. That's the soggy biscuit you must eat if you want to be "on their side". This is your modern Republican machine, in all its shameless glory. And, no, they aren't sorry. No one is sorry at all.
That's not quite true. No one is sorrier than PowerLine. We couldn't possibly be any sorrier than them.
Comments:
Any comment on the lack of outrage regarding the appointment of John Negroponte as intelligence czar? Here's some posts on it:

http://bloogeyman.blogspot.com/2005/02/everything-is-ponteing-to-trouble.html

http://newest.warblogging.com/journal/1148

Guess everybody lost interest after Alberto Gonzales got confirmed...
 
Any comment on the lack of outrage regarding the appointment of John Negroponte as intelligence czar?Sure. Read my post of a couple of weeks ago, "US Senate proclaims to world: 'We love torture'" (http://averyspecialblog.blogspot.com/2005/02/us-senate-proclaims-to-world-we-love.html), particularly the line, "5 Democrats have not learned their lesson (4 did not vote; don't know why). They have failed to fully appreciate 'Beck’s Axiom': 'Anyone George W. Bush appoints for his second term (or who is appointed by someone appointed by Bush for his second term) will be worse than the person being replaced'."

This obviously applies to Negroponte.
 
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Comments: "
Any comment on the lack of outrage regarding the appointment of John Negroponte as intelligence czar? Here's some posts on it:

http://bloogeyman.blogspot.com/2005/02/everything-is-ponteing-to-trouble.html

http://newest.warblogging.com/journal/1148

Guess everybody lost interest after Alberto Gonzales got confirmed...
 
" "
Any comment on the lack of outrage regarding the appointment of John Negroponte as intelligence czar?Sure. Read my post of a couple of weeks ago, "US Senate proclaims to world: 'We love torture'" (http://averyspecialblog.blogspot.com/2005/02/us-senate-proclaims-to-world-we-love.html), particularly the line, "5 Democrats have not learned their lesson (4 did not vote; don't know why). They have failed to fully appreciate 'Beck’s Axiom': 'Anyone George W. Bush appoints for his second term (or who is appointed by someone appointed by Bush for his second term) will be worse than the person being replaced'."

This obviously applies to Negroponte.
 
" Post a Comment

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