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February 24, 2005

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» It's fun to go on Crusade! from The Gutless Pacifist
Slacktivist quotes Hilzoy on morality, crusades and our desire to be right when others are vile. It's fun to see other people being vile and to set yourself in opposition to them. It's inspiring to go on a crusade. Of... [Read More]

» It's fun to go on Crusade! from The Gutless Pacifist
Slacktivist quotes Hilzoy on morality, crusades and our desire to be right when others are vile. It's fun to see other people being vile and to set yourself in opposition to them. It's inspiring to go on a crusade. Of... [Read More]

Comments

Great post, yadda yadda, Hindrocket thinks evolution is transparently false, blah blah blah, Aristophanes on Cleon, doodle doodle doo - what does it all matter?

The right side of the blogosphere comes in two flavors: hard, and harder.

Is it too late to put the blogging genie back in the bottle?

I just love how the left is held to the Marquis of Queensbury rules while the right is busy working liberals over with brass knuckles and bags of oranges (no marks).

"...what does it all matter?"

Two of Neiwert's "mobilizing passions" in Part Two of "The Rise of Psuedo-Fascism":

"-- a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;"

"-- dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;"

Later, in Part Three, Neiwert quotes Umberto Eco"

"The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.

In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason."

hmmmmm....

Anyway, what's wrong with a little hatred?

There were times that Dad’s pranks bordered on cruelty. One of his oil-company workers, a one-legged man he nicknamed “Crip” Smith, complained about everything. Dad and Crip’s co-workers got tired of the old man’s bellyaching and decided to take revenge. One morning Crip called in sick and Dad volunteered to send by lunch to his grateful but suspicious employee. Dad and his chums caught Crip’s old black tomcat, killed it, skinned it, and cooked it in the kitchen of one of Dad’s little restaurants. They called it squirrel meat and delivered it to Crip on a linen-covered tray. When Crip returned to work the next morning, Dad and his co-conspirators asked him how he liked his meal. They knew he would complain even about a free home-cooked lunch, and when Crip called it “the toughest squirrel meat” he had ever eaten, they were glad to tell him why. —The Reverend Jerry Falwell, in “Strength for the Journey: An Autobiography.”

Hmm... I've been to the comments section of Kos and Atrios, and I think that the level of hatred there compares to anything you might find on LGF.

All of which is to say that we really, really need to finish with Iraq. This whole level of "The Other Guy is the very essence of Evil" discourse has really, really got to stop. The only way it's going to stop is if we don't have one group of people shouting that the war is the first step for a coming fascist dictatorship with the other side shouting that The Liberals are working with the enemy.

Maybe if we had a parliamentary system, the coalition making would take some of the venom out of the process.

That was a knee-slapper, rilkefan.

But Jerry Falwell represents only a very very tiny portion of the Republican Party or people who voted for Bush. Just as Ascher, Hindrocket, Wretchard, Reynolds, Coulter, Savage are marginal figures relegated to the fringes, disowned and disavowed by every conservative I know. Really.

Good post. It's been posited that the reason for the rising bile on the right is that rifts are opening over immigration, social security, etc., and there is a need to unify the party via its hatred of fellow Americans. Sounds plausible to me. I was just scratching my head lately (when not screaming silently at my monitor) trying to figure out why these people are so friggin' mad all the time if George Bush is so awesome and everyone loves teh freedom.

Speaking of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, did you ever hear the story about how Richard Perle consigned tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to more years behind the Iron Curtain? Kissinger had a deal quietly worked out with the Soviets, and Perle as a staffer for Scoop Jackson gave a splashy press conference, after which the Soviets got huffy and nixed the deal. Oh, and then there are the cornholed dissidents in Afghanistan ... but I digress.

There is no point in singling out the ringleaders. Were there not a huge constituency for their rantings, you would not know their names. The bigger question is why, now, do so many otherwise seemingly normal people possess such a fervent desire to be led down the path of hatred and demonization?

You won't have an answer today. We don't yet really have a complete answer for last century's train wrecks. It might be time to figure out a plan B, though. These things have a habit of ending badly for those who stick around to see the ending.


Following up on Pratike's comment.

Walter_Sobchak at the Poorman caught a comment at the Libertarian blog ("his" characterization) QandO that suggested that the big-tent Republican party is keeping tenuously together by demonizing The Left.

URL:
http://thepoorman.net/gl/users.php?mode=profile&uid=33

Walter's comment, basically, is that the wider the rift between the libertarians and the Christian-Fundamentalists, the nastier the public attacks on The Left will probably become.

I'm not quite sure where to see the silver lining--but make room for me on that higher ground! I'm trying to scramble up!

I dunno, Jackmormon; I thought you were already up there ;)

On our way to becoming C.S. Lewis central! Good post.

Sebastian: the reason I didn't comment on your earlier CS Lewis post was that I couldn't figure out where to start. He basically converted me to Christianity when I was 13 (I had heard that Chuck Colson, the most sordid of Nixon's people, who had once said that he would run over his own grandmother if it would help Nixon, had read Mere Christianity and converted; and I, not then having realized that people could become convinced of things for reasons other than good arguments, thought: gee, any book that could convert him must be amazing. And so it began. I owe him a lot.)

Just as Ascher, Hindrocket, Wretchard, Reynolds, Coulter, Savage are marginal figures relegated to the fringes, disowned and disavowed by every conservative I know. Really.

bob, you're being sarcastic, right? These people are high-profile commentators who get lots of exposure. Didn't Powerline get Time magazine's Blog of the Year award? Isn't Reynolds a go-to guy for pundits who want quotes by or about bloggers? Isn't Coulter a (gag) 'best selling author,' talk show darling, and popular lecturer?

Good post. It's been posited that the reason for the rising bile on the right is that rifts are opening over immigration, social security, etc., and there is a need to unify the party via its hatred of fellow Americans.

The Chinese government has been employing a roughly similar tactic over the past few years, although it's currently manifesting as nascent hypernationalism. [Wait until the Beijing Olympics to see it in its full glory.] It's not directly analogous in that I don't know of the CCP trying to get various subgroups within China to hate other such groups -- at least, not since 1989 -- but this externalized antipathy does appear to be a desperate attempt at cohesion since the loss of their moral authority at Tiananmen.

You have to realize that Bob operates at multiple levels. He's a complex guy, trying to make sense of a world gone mad.

"Hmm... I've been to the comments section of Kos and Atrios, and I think that the level of hatred there compares to anything you might find on LGF."

Maybe, Andrew, but random commenters on those sites don't have the audience that people like Limbaugh and Coulter have, or that Reynolds and Hindrocket have for that matter. A few nutcases aren't scary. Nutcases with huge followings are.

CaseyL, word to the wise - bob Interpretation is a burgeoning field of study among hermeneuticians. E.g., I came across this just the other day in _The Journal of the Gulf of Engulfment_: "Quand nous lisons bob, nous ne le lisons pas - le texte nous lit, literalement, avec litotes."

Ceci n'est pas un texte, rilkefan.

I will only add, I do not find Reynolds' claim that he was only talking about the European left at all credible, given:

1) that he only made this claim after his post was criticized.

He does this all the time--making a blanket accusation about the Democrats or the Left or Bush's opponents. If no one calls him on it, he does not retract or qualify his statement in any way. If and only if a prominent, reasonable lefty blog takes offense, he then says, "of course I wasn't talking about you, (Ted Barlow or Henry Farrell or Kevin Drum or whoever has called him on it this time)," and ask why they're oversensitive/misrepresenting him.

Reynolds does this sort of thing so often, and has been doing it so long, that liberal blogs coined two words for it back in October of 2002: glennuendo (the initial insinuation) and disinglenuousness (the denial of responsibility for what he just said or linked to).

2) The sentence in Ascher's post that reads,

"This newly ever-growing Western left, not only in Europe, but in Latin America and even in the US itself, has a clear goal: the deistruction of the country and society that vanquished its dreams fifteen years ago."

Reynolds did not quote this but he presumably read it, and he makes no effort at all to say that he does not believe this is a fair description of the American left.

3) this section of Ascher's post which Reynolds does quote:

"the (in many cases state-sponsored) mushrooming of NGOs, Kyoto, the creation of the ICC, the salami tactics applied against America’s main strategic ally in the Middle-East, Israel, through the Trojan Horse of the Oslo agreements, the subversion of the sanctions against Iraq etc."

I and many, many American liberals have supported human rights organizations (I presume those are the NGO's he's talking about), Kyoto, the ICC, and the Oslo accords. (Classy to implicitly compare Yitzhak Rabin with the Matyas Rakosi by the way). If by "subvert" the sanctions against Iraq he means "criticize"--I personally didn't know enough to take a real position on this, but many American liberals had expressed concern about the humanitarian effects of the Iraq sanctions. Every single one of these things applies to many American liberals nearly as well as to European liberals.

4) This recent Reynolds post, which I'm not linking to but you're free to google:

"ANOTHER UPDATE: Various lefty readers email to say that Ward Churchill is not the authentic face of the Left.

I wish I agreed with that. But, sadly, he is its very image today.

When Ted Kennedy can make an absurd and borderline-traitorous speech on the war, when Michael Moore shares a VIP box with the last Democratic President but one, when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is "screw 'em," well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it.

There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn't a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone.

On our way to becoming C.S. Lewis central! Good post.

I agree, Sebastian - would you care to clarify your comment, February 23, 2005 05:26 PM, in the third Eason Jordan thread, on this basis?


Considering that my comment was directed specifically to you Jesurgislac, as opposed to 'leftists' and considering that it was based on my understanding of your position on the Afghanistan invasion--that it should not have occurred, no.

If my premise--that you opposed the Afghanistan invasion, is incorrect, you may correct me on that and I will revise. Otherwise, no.

"Third, I read PowerLine and its ilk to see what they are up to."

Thanks, sincerely. That's yeowoman's work. I couldn't possibly.

I suspect as you do that the 3 Minute Hates have and will increase proportionally to how unswimmingly things go for the Republican Party. If Social Security privatization fails, there will be a noticable ratcheting up of eliminationist rhetoric. Because it is difficult for them, for anyone, to comprehend that a majority of your countrymen disagree with you in good faith, so their minds must be twisted by the evil ideological opponents.

Based on my understanding of history, a movement such as that can go one of two ways. Either it has a critical mass of population such that it can pull moderate people into the bile and unfortunate things will happen, or it will not and moderate people will be driven out. Given the education, communication, and most importantly the general prosperity in this country I think the critical mass for that would be quite large, so I'm pretty sure they're just marginilizing themselves.

I was in the US Air Force at the end of the 80s. One of the shops I worked at in Germany (Ramstein) played Air America all the time. So I listened to Rush Limbaugh at least a couple of hours a day. I disagreed with what he was saying a lot, but he sounded fairly reasonable at the time.
When I got out of the Air Force I went back to College. A friend there was a big Rush fan and told me about the TV show. So I set up my VCR to tape it. (it was on in the middle of the night.) After watching perhaps 5 shows I realized what was bothering me. Rush Limbaugh's show was all about getting people angry. Really he was just mobilizing peoples rage and hate.
He's is really brilliant at what he does. Now he has many disciples.

Thats really about the best I can do to explain why. I'm sure there is some deeper reason, having to do with backlash and the diminishing of the middle classes, but I think Rush has accomplished a lot in terms of getting the people to align behind the Republican program.

Sebastian: Considering that my comment was directed specifically to you Jesurgislac, as opposed to 'leftists' and considering that it was based on my understanding of your position on the Afghanistan invasion--that it should not have occurred, no.

Considering that it was a response to a comment where I tried to outline what we agreed on, and a complete diversion from the topic of the thread, I just wondered.

All of which is to say that we really, really need to finish with Iraq. This whole level of "The Other Guy is the very essence of Evil" discourse has really, really got to stop. The only way it's going to stop is if we don't have one group of people shouting that the war is the first step for a coming fascist dictatorship with the other side shouting that The Liberals are working with the enemy.

It's not going to stop, it has worked for the republicans and has therefor become Standard Operating Procedure.

Have you seen the new ads "America Next" has created against the AARP?

Ascher, Hindrocket, Wretchard, Reynolds, Coulter, Savage are marginal figures relegated to the fringes, disowned and disavowed by every conservative I know.

That's nice for you, but I don't think it's generally true. Sure, most conservatives disown and disavow these loonies at the moments of their greatest insanity...and then quote them again a day later. I've seen that pattern a thousand times on the forum where I used to moderate. After a while it becomes quite clear that the disavowal is insincere, just a "plausible deniability" kind of thing. Many conservatives online actually seem to agree with practically everything the pundits put out, but they're just too lily-livered to admit it when the flames get turned up. They absent themselves for a moment, then return when the storm has subsided without any sign of actually having registered the knock to their idols' credibility.

Three of the top ten blogs are liberal (Kos, Atrios, and Kevin Drum), and none of them, as far as I've seen, accuses their opponents of treason, or flings around very serious charges without very serious evidence.

I don't know about treason, but the hate runs strong and thick in those places, and it is indeed poisonous. Drum doesn't strike me as a hater, but a hefty chunk of his commenters are. Quite frankly, I don't how some of them are able to hold on to that emotion over a sustained period of time.

do the posting rules cover quotes in which obscenity is essential to one's reasons for quoting?

I don't think there should be any exceptions to the rule of "no profanity". Josh chided me at Tacitus for doing the same thing, and he's right.

I agree with the thrust of Hilzoy's post. I'm also a big C.S. Lewis fan--he helped (re)convert me to Christianity. I'm thrilled to see him getting so much attention around here. He wasn't just a great apologist, but also a great political moralist. Most of his comments on political issues come in little side comments, but they've stuck in my mind, particularly the one Hilzoy quotes here. I think it's fair to say that Lewis was more of a political conservative than a liberal, but he was an honorable conservative, not to be confused with most of the leading conservatives you find in America today. Lewis was the Christian Orwell.

Okay, all that said (I wish I could write better, because Lewis deserves more eloquent praise than what I just gave), I don't think it's quite right to quote Lewis on this hatred issue and confine the applications all to rightwingers. As a lefty I agree that this part of the spectrum deserves most of the criticism, but as I was re-reading the Lewis quote I started applying it to the person he had in mind--the person reading it. I think that for me and for many lefties, there is some degree of evil pleasure in thinking the worst about Bush and his supporters. Much of the time I think those thoughts are fully justified, but nonetheless, the poison exists in me and I know in many others. It just hasn't gone nearly as far in us.

And of course, the right is in political control, so Hilzoy's emphasis is mostly correct. But I think that in fairness we lefties (or those of us who are guilty) need to pluck a few beams out of our own eyes. Lewis , I think, would want that from anyone citing his words.

Sadly, hate and anger have frequently been at the core of what motivates people politically. The anger part is mostly OK as long as we check ourselves with some reason -- Hilzoy is right that its the hatred part that causes all of the trouble. Its anger blinded by a lack of reason.

These posts are the perfect example -- there is plenty of anger here at times about issues, but very little hate-mongering. The posting rules are a crude form of drawing the line, so we all know the difference.

Righties who think lefties are just as full of bile as the Limbaugh/Coulter school of political thought are blinding themselves to this distinction.

Forget the posters at Eschaton or Washington Monthly --its a false comparison to offset leading right-wing commentators with posters at lefty sites. Lets talk about the words used by Atrios or Drum. Anger and barbed humor at times, but nothing like the hatred that pours from their equivalents on the right. (Or the constant lying that infects most of the points made by Limbaugh/Coulter when the facts unfortunately do not fit into their hatefest mold.)

Both left and right use anger in their speech, which leads to the false notion that each is equally guilty of hate-mongering. But if you cannot see the distinction between the two, then you are part of the problem.

Hate is working great politically for the right, so I expect it to continue for the simple reason the success reinforces even the worst behavior.

CS Lewis never managed to convert me to Christianity, but I do occassionally try to enter other worlds through my wardrobe, and talk at the odd goat now and again.

Warning! Threadjack about to ensue!

I don't think there should be any exceptions to the rule of "no profanity".

I've always felt, from my position of absolute power(lessness), that the rule should always be "no directed profanity", i.e. profanity aimed at an individual or group of people. Merely using it as a general exhortation, interjection or part of a now-standard phrase (e.g. "I don't give a sh**") has never struck me as the kind of behavior that the rule ostensibly protects against.

1. I think it is both unfair and incorrect:

"I've been to the comments section of Kos and Atrios, and I think that the level of hatred there compares to anything you might find on LGF."

These comments are from one thread on the Abu Ali case:

"Hang Abu Ali. Deport his family."
"Fall's Church needs to be fumigated. Nothing but poisoned minds come from that area. Every VA area mosque needs to be monitored now."
"Why in the world are we allowing these morons to roam free in our country? "
"The liberal Democrats and the various Muslim organizations in the United States (most infamously CAIR) have fired up the boiler, turned it on high and sealed the pressure release valve. If there is another 9/11-style attack against the U.S. or an assassination of a high-profile American politician (i.e. Bush), that boiler is going to EXPLODE and take the moonbats and the muslims along with it. The Japanese internment during World War II will seem like an extended Club Med vacation in comparison."
"Hey....I got an idea for the Canadian...."Clockwork Orange" the family in one of your Windsor strip joints. Keep 'em locked in there till he appreciates the finer things about Canada....like Molson and canadian women."
"Islam....scares the hell outta me. I see it as somewhat of a spreading plague. Like bad cream cheese."
"Or that bad tuna or Captains Secret canned cat food you get for your cat (but my dog eats).
Spreads like that. Gooey and kinda chunky like. That's Islam."
"Turn your nose away...you know the cat will eat most of it....but by the time it's done....still remnants on the plate....those are the fundamentalists. That's Islam.
Cat food remnants."
"And if any of the cops have half a brain, they probably got a real good set of photos of all those who showed up at the courthouse to cheer. And wrote down all the car license plates. And - who knows? - maybe even picked up a few fingerprints off of the railing or door handles, or some DNA off of discarded cigarette butts."
"This shit will never end until we show them the door. Expect another hit. it inevitable. All of them out now. Screw the ACLU."
"Abu-Ali (Pigshit Be Upon Him)
Invite him down for a snipe hunt.
It's feeding time down on the farm."

These are from a second thread on the same topic:

"Deport all non-citizen Moslems ASAP."
"Moslems are non-citizens by definition."
"We have less than 20yrs before this Jihadist 5th column becomes a major problem, and far less time before they start blowing things up within the CONUS.
FedGov needs to pull its PC thumb out of its PC ass and get REAL about shutting down this invasion / slow death from within."
"take the bypass around the beltway and you can see the huge mosque that several of the 9/11 hijackers attended sitting on a nice Virginia hill.....
be a shame if the darlings ever got to sip from the well of reciprocity wouldn't it?"
"To anybody who has taken the time to peruse the Koran, and allowed the plain meaning of many of it's passages to sink in, and who has been otherwise at least marginally alert, it's pretty obvious that Islam is a cult, like the Moonies and the Rajneeshies, and others of that ilk. The only difference is that Islam is alot older, having been left to grow slowly in the desert for 1400 years, until it exploded. It needs to be stomped out like all the other cults. The sooner the better."
"Moslems are only one visit to a mosque from becoming an human explosive device, besides perhaps those 'decent moslems' (I doubt their existence, they vaguely resemble Big Foot to me, there is rumor of their existence but one has yet to be spotted) if they are pressured enough will finally speak up and put an end to the moslems that have given them such a bad name..."
"But I think they are first growing their numbers in here, to be able to launch multiple attacks...
I am starting to consider interment
as a viable, necessary option after yesterday."
"[in direct response to comment above about internment]There isn't the political will (a.k.a. "cojones") to do that.
And it's a pity, because the muslims will call a storm on their own heads and ugly things will happen here if they(and I mean when they) will attack again."

Now, I picked some of the worst comments on those threads. But there was actually an online petition on the Ali case that LGF began signing that was considerably, considerably worse than either of those two threadds. (It has since been removed from the web & I can't find a google cache of the signatures.)

Those two threads might be worse than the average LGF thread but not all that much worse. I've never ever seen stuff like that on Atrios' comments--which admittedly I don't read very often--and those are totally unmoderated, whereas Charles Johnson deletes posts and bans very frequently.

Kos commenters' are notably better than Atrios'.

2. As far as profanity, I've not been such a fan of that rule for anything but perhaps easy administratability. But newspapers routinely use asterisks when directly quoting people who use profanity so I think it's perfectly fine for a blog post to do so. If you want to make it clear that the alteration is yours you could put in brackets:

"Go crawl back into your hole, you stupid left-wing [s***head]. And don't bother us anymore. You have to have an IQ over 50 to correspond with us. You don't qualify, you stupid [s**t]."

I'm also fond of [expletive deleted] for some reason.

3. Thanks for the kind words on the best series thing. Fafblog didn't win either, I'm in excellent company.

I think Neiwert is a good journalist and useful to read for understanding why honest people who know their history are genuinely fearful. But I also think his experience reporting on the militia movement has (somewhat understandably) distorted his conclusions.

I may get in trouble for saying this but what the hell: IMO, Neiwert is correct that you can find echoes of fascist rhetoric on talk radio and (much more disturbingly from my point of view) in Zell Miller's convention speech.

Where he goes astray is with paragraphs like this:

Without these facets, the current phenomenon cannot properly be labeled "fascism." But what is so deeply disturbing about the current state of the conservative movement is that it has otherwise plainly adopted not only many of the cosmetic traits of fascism, its larger architecture -- derived from its core impulses -- now almost exactly replicates that by which fascists came to power in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s....As I warned then, the danger was one of a kind of political gravitational pull: The more extremist ideology crept into the mainstream, the more it would transform the nature of the mainstream.

He focuses far too much on Italy and Germany and far too little on the history of other countries, and above all of American history. Growing militarism, restrictions on civil liberties, human rights violations of suspects, mistreatment of immigrants, demonization of one's political opponents and of ethnic or religious minorities....there are some historical examples where these things grew into fascism. But there are many, many, many more historical examples where they did not.

Neiwert needs to focus less on parallels with the history of Germany and Italy and more on the history of the United States.

As far as wartime restrictions on the rights of minorities, Bush has nothing on FDR. As far as restrictions on civil liberties, he has nothing on Woodrow Wilson or John Adams or (yes Timmy) Abraham Lincoln. Zell Miller has nothing on Huey Long or George Wallace. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have nothing on Father Charles Coughlin, either in the level of hatred in their rhetoric (Coughlin printed and quoted from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) or in the level of his audience (according to Wiki, Coughlin's "listening audience was estimated to be as much as one-third of the nation.") The militia movement has nothing on the KKK.

(to be continued)

blockquotes off

Dm,

Since the conversation is about blogs, I think comparing left- and right-wing blogs works. And in such a context, the comments of Kos and Atrios, especially in their rather hate-filled language regarding Christians and conservatives ("brownshirts" and "Christers") are almost as bad as an LGF commentator calling for violence against Muslims. Both attempt to dehumanize the enemy and strip them of any good. When you start equating your opponents with Nazis, at that point you have basically said that your opponent has no redeeming quality and is an evil-doer with whom there can be no compromise.

Katherine, I think that you are exactly right about Neiwert.

So, Andrew, is calling someone a brownshirt really the moral equivalent of acting like one? That's how I read your comparison. Calling someone a name is in no way equivalent to calling for violence against them in my book or, I think, that of any civilized observer.

Platypus,

The problem is, when you say that your opponents are Nazis, there is an implicit statement that, being Nazis, they have to be resisted by any means necessary. After all, if you really, genuinely believe that the country is being run by Nazis, then it rather naturally follows that the Nazis Must Be Stopped. If, for example, I called you a terrorist, there would also be implicit a call for you to be stopped by whatever means were necessary even if I didn't out and out say, "My enemy is a terrorist and must therefore be arrested, tried, and shot."

When you say that your opponents are pure evil with whom there can be no compromise, you are most definitely sewing the seeds for violent action (cf. the guy who got beat down by the protestors in NYC and the occasional attacks on GOP HQ's during the election).

And in such a context, the comments of Kos and Atrios, especially in their rather hate-filled language regarding Christians and conservatives ("brownshirts" and "Christers")

Please don't conflate evangelical fundamentalists with Christians. As a general rule of thumb -- though there are of course exceptions -- the term "Christer" refers to the former, not the latter.

Thank you, Andrew; that was an enlightening response. I think there are still salient differences between the two scenarios, though. When you call someone a brownshirt, it doesn't necessarily mean that you consider them equivalent to implementors of the Final Solution. It could be a comparison to early brownshirts, before Kristallnacht, who were certainly an unpleasant group but not necessarily one that must be stopped by any means. The supposed call to violence is implicit and indirect, if it exists at all. The conclusion you jump to can also be avoided, but not so with the cited comments from LGF. Those are very explicit calls for violence, and violence not just in reaction to someone's actions but in response to their statements or merely the color of their skins.

I think the parallel you're trying to make is a stretch, and quite a long one at that. I stand by my claim that the two sets of statements are not as directly comparable as you make them out to be.

Thanks for reminding me why I don't read LGF, K.

I read nothing on the left that compares to that degree of mindless hatred. The effort they put into being vile could solve world hunger if redirected. Surely their souls are worm-infested globs of burnt jackal innards.

As far as wartime restrictions on the rights of minorities, Bush has nothing on FDR

This is not meant as a snark on Bush, but Bush has nothing on FDR because the possiblity that existed for FDR doesn't exist for Bush. Japanese-Americans primarily lived in 'ghettos' (the old meaning of the term as a ethnic enclave), intermarriage had not occured at levels that would undermine public support of such policies because immigration had a specific starting point that was late enough to separate JAs out, and an absence of true facts about the level of the threat. Note that in Hawaii, where there was even more reason to intern Japanese Americans, careful debunking of rumors (such as the idea that Japanese immigrant snipers were active during the Pearl Harbor attack link) in a large part prevented mass hysteria. This is not to suggest that Bush would lock up all Muslim-Americans, but structurally, he can't. American society is too intertwined to be able to do this to any ethnic or religious minority. Bush shouldn't get credit for not doing it (which is _seriously_ lowering the bar), just as I shouldn't get credit for refraining from purchasing the world's supply of smallpox and witholding it to increase the price.

To defend Neiwert, the last portion of his series addresses how the US situation relates. In fact, he specifically labels is 'pseudo-fascism' in that it mirrors fascism, but strictly speaking, is not fascist. Also, I disagree when Katherine says

Neiwert needs to focus less on parallels with the history of Germany and Italy and more on the history of the United States.

Industrial countries dealing with modernity provide the best parallel. Trying to derive parallels with various incidents in US history, without regard to the zeitgeist of the times obscures more than it illuminates. One could argue that because Europe has only had to deal with fascism for 2 or 3 decades of a 1000 or 2000 year history, it is a mere blip. Yet fascism is a problem of the relationship of the state to its citizens, and the state only was able to assume the kind of power necessary for fascism in this past century.

I also think that there is a stream in historical analysis that suggests that the pre WWII US had some of the features of fascism, when it is defined the control by a centralized authority that nonetheless protects private property, though googling turns up all these Lyndon Larouche type sites. (an interesting question: how would all of you define fascism? The Google define feature gives a number of interesting and contradictory definitions)

I'd also echo Ed's comments of thanks for wading in so we don't have to.

Charles Bird: I don't know about treason, but the hate runs strong and thick in those [Kos, Atrios, and Kevin Drum] places, and it is indeed poisonous. Drum doesn't strike me as a hater, but a hefty chunk of his commenters are.

I can speak with some authority to the comments on Political Animal, as I have spent quite a bit of time there. I have nothing to say about the commenters at Kos or Atrios.

I would say there are some haters on PA, but more on the right than the left. Accusations of "treason" come mostly from the right, "brownshirt" from the left.

Of course, any number of the commenters may be caricatures merely posing (this is the 'net, after all), but having read many comments over nearly a year I judge that some of the advocates of, for example, "nuke the Arabs," are sincere, though usually that's exaggerated rhetoric not meant literally (at least, not at the moment).

The topic of civil discourse has arisen many times in the comments on PA. My answer always is, I am for it but sometimes I despair of achieving it. My advice is, ignore the chaff.

It is a pleasure to participate here instead.

This reminds me of something I noticed a few days ago. Power Line had a couple of Gannon-related posts that were particularly hostile to "the left" (1, 2), and they were getting a lot more references from other blogs than their other posts. Most of the references were from blogs that agreed with them, and a minority registered disagreement.

I think if someone were to look, there'd be a similar phenomenon on the left, but it might take a different form than links to entries. On dKos, "popular" entries might get lots of comments, for instance, rather than links.

I've always felt, from my position of absolute power(lessness), that the rule should always be "no directed profanity", i.e. profanity aimed at an individual or group of people. Merely using it as a general exhortation, interjection or part of a now-standard phrase (e.g. "I don't give a sh**") has never struck me as the kind of behavior that the rule ostensibly protects against.

Personally, I think the rule against profanity is silly; it attempts to deal with an underlying problem by treating only the symptom, and it's entirely too easy to get around the letter of the rule while still violating the spirit.

Besides, the main reason profanity was outlawed here originally was because Moe wanted to be able to read the site from work. That would seem to be not an issue anymore.

I would say there are some haters on PA, but more on the right than the left. Accusations of "treason" come mostly from the right, "brownshirt" from the left.

The main problem with the Calpundit/PA comments is that there are a number of excitable people there who are far too easy to troll. Coupled with the troika of permatrolls there, this means that otherwise interesting threads tend to derail very, very quickly. I wish that Kevin had the time and inclination to moderate his comments as I think that would solve the bulk of the problem but, alas, 'tis not to be.

BTW, having re-read the original post for a third time, I have to say that I'm experiencing a strange new variation on "outrage fatigue": "excellence fatigue". There's only so much of it I can take. Therefore, hilzoy it is incumbent upon you to write a bunch of crappy posts, thus refreshing our palates and allowing us to enjoy your work anew.

Go write crap! Go write crap noooooooooooooooooooooooooow!

"Besides, the main reason profanity was outlawed here originally was because Moe wanted to be able to read the site from work. That would seem to be not an issue anymore."

I comment with the idea that somewhere, somehow, Moe's still reading this blog. Helps keep me civil, mostly.

Andrew, you're right that the comment sections of Kos and Atrios can be cesspools of anger and self-righteousness, but you're drawing an inappropriate (and convenient) equivalence. The comparison hilzoy made was between the bloggers, not the commentors. The barrier to entry for a commentor is 0. You just have to have access to a computer and at least 1 finger or equivalent. It's too easy to find ugly people saying ugly things in comments, and I always tune out when people do that trying to prove how bad the other side is (sorry, Katherine).

The barrier to entry for a blogger is much higher. . enough people have to like what you say to make you relevant. The barrier to entry for the top 10 of the blogosphere is stratospheric. You have to be able to speak coherently for a large movement of people.

And in the comparison between bloggers, there is no comparison. Kos is worst on the left, but he's just resentful and angry, not hateful. He doesn't make sweeping eliminationist comments about the 'right'. Atrios is snarky and righteous, but not hateful. Glenn reposts hate like it's always breaking news. Charles and the Powerline posters are very disturbing, very hateful people. The most reasonable wilfully righty place I know of is RedState, and a front-page post there yesterday used the term 'blackshirts'. There is no equivalence. The American right as it stands now has a serious problem with burgeoning hate.

"He focuses far too much on Italy and Germany and far too little on the history of other countries"

Absolutely,and I prefer Stirling Newberry's analysis, which is based on the Fourth Republic in France after WWII. :}

Rove's Republic

Despite what I wrote about Neiwert above, I do know where he's coming from. I don't really worry that we're going to turn into Mussolini's Italy let alone Hitler's Germany, but as Jim Henley has noted in another context, "we can be much better than those countries and yet a disgrace to ourselves."

I listed a bunch of Bush administration policies where other administrations, including some I really admire, have done worse. But there are three things about the current situation I find especially worrisome:

1) I don't know of any administration that has taken as lax an attitude toward torture as this one. I can very easily believe that the U.S. was responsible for more acts of torture in previous wars than it has been in the war on terror. But I know of no previous examples where the White House condoned or tried to legally justify it.

2) I don't know if any administration has made claims of executive power quite as sweeping as this one. They have claimed the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without any hearing or trial. They have claimed that enemy combatants are completely unprotected by both U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions; the only law whose application they seem to acknowledge are the Convention Against Torture, whcih they have tried to narrow out of existence, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which they can get around through the use of contractors and C.I.A. agents. They have also claimed that if the UCMJ and the Torture Convention and any other law conflict with what the President deems military necessarily in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, then they are unconstitutional and he can disobey them at will. This unlimited Commander-in-Chief power seems to apply in every single country in the world, including the United States, for the entire duration of a war that will have no clear-cut end.

There may be a legal precedent for all this, but I don't know of it.

(Worth noting: they have not actually openly defied a court order the way that, e.g., Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln did. But they don't quite comply either, and if it's anyone but the Supreme Court they just appeal it upward and then the Supreme Court punts it downward and it starts all over again. Also, none of this helps you if you are held incommunicado and in secret, and your family doesn't know where you are or doesn't have access to the U.S. courts.)

3) They have done all this with comparatively little provocation.

September 11 was one of the worst days of my life. But it does not in any way denigrate the evil of the murderers or the innocence of the victims or the horror of the day to note that our country has been in much greater danger.

The British burned the White House in 1812. There were times during the Civil War when it looked like Maryland might secede, cutting off the union states from their capital; when the North really looked like it was losing. 620,000 people died, at a time when our country had a much smaller population. More people died in one day at Antietam than on 9/11, and tens of thousands more were wounded. There was a comparable number of Americans killed at Pearl Harbor, and four times as many at Okinawa, and over three hundred thousand killed in the course of World War II. If the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had held, we would have lost World War II. During the Cold War, over 30,000 Americans died in Korea and over 50,000 died in Vietnam--and at several moments, most notably during the Cuban missile crisis, we came closer to a nuclear war than it's really possible to comprehend.

Now, I remember telling myself this at the time--that this country had survived greater dangers--and it wasn't much comfort at all. I was born in Manhattan and most of my family and closest friends still live in New York. I still remember what one of my old teachers told me: "the whole city has witnessed a mass murder." I worked in a refugee & trauma psychiatry program at the time, so work was not much of a distraction; I didn't know how to deal with those things coming to my more-or-less hometown. I went to work, I studied for and took the LSATs--but it often felt like the world had cracked and we were all trying to hold it together with duct tape. I was not only worried that there would be more attacks; I was certain of it. If you told me that we would go for three and a half years and counting without one, I would never have believed you.

Normally I have as good a temper as anyone but in a real crisis, I have a harder time controlling fear than anger. I know that it's at least as common to react with anger, to want revenge, to kill ten of them for every one of us they killed. Many of my friends reacted that way. But over time their anger abated, just as my fear did. We didn't forget, I don't think we ever will, but we were able to think more rationally about how the U.S. should react. And yes, that is necessary. It's not an easy thing to do, fighting terrorism--it's hard to separate the murderers from the innocent civilians they hide behind; hard to preserve both our own lives and our country's basic decency. Kill too few terrorists or give in to their demands and the terrorists grow stronger. Kill too many civilians, needlessly brutalize too many people, destabilize too many governments and the terrorists grow stronger. You can't sail between Scylla and Charybdis if you're ruled by fear or anger.

But since 9/11, during a period of relative calm* that I never expected we'd have, during a period when they control all of the elected branches of the government and their political power grows and grows, a lot of people on the right only seem to get angrier and angrier, against more and more people. First they are angry at Muslims and Arabs in the Middle East, then at those living in the U.S., then all immigrants, then most Europeans, then most Democrats and liberals. They are willing to support or tolerate or pretend not to see greater and greater restrictions on freedom: first the PATRIOT act, then Guantanamo, then military tribunals for U.S. citizens, then serious discussion of mass deportations or internment. First they defend torture if there is a nuclear bomb ticking down in Manhattan, then if there's a roadside bombs ticking in Ramadi, then the torture of any guilty terrorist for intelligence, then the torture of innocents.

I don't believe we're going to go forever without another attack on U.S. soil. There is a pretty good chance that we will not go four years. If they only get angrier and angrier during a time of relative safety in the U.S., how will they react when it ends? How would they react to a serious chemical or radiological or biological attack? How would they react to something like Beslan on U.S. soil, where children are purposefully targeted? How would they react to a nuclear attack? Those things are unlikely, in some cases very unlikely. But they are also not impossible or even implausible.

If this is how they talk and act now, what will they do then? It would certainly get worse. I don't know how much worse; it might still not be as bad as some of darker chapters in our country's past. But even if that is true--I had hoped and thought those were chapters we had closed forever. I am not willing to see them re-opened. This is especially true because this war, unlike the Civil War, World War I, World War II or Vietnam, is not going to have a clear-cut end. It will certainly last longer than three of those wars and probably will go on longer than all four.

*only relative. I don't wish to minimize the deaths of soldiers in Iraq, the brutality at the Fallujah bridge or in the beheading of Nick Berg or Margaret Hassan or too many others, the horror of the Bali and Madrid bombings or the Beslan massacre. But we react differently to these atrocities when they are committed against American citizens rather than citizens of other countries, when they are committed on U.S. soil rather than abroad, and when they are committed against civilians rather than soldiers.

Hm, "excellence fatigue." I feel it too. Thank you Katherine, I have nothing else to add.

"Worth noting: they have not actually openly defied a court order the way that, e.g., Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln did."

Also worth noting, a Congressman's press release last week about asking the President not to comply with a court order.

http://www.house.gov/hostettler/News/Hostettler-news-2005-02-17-gibson-ten-commandments.htm

P.S. Sorry, maybe someday I'll learn how to do links.

(I always tune out when people do that trying to prove how bad the other side is (sorry, Katherine)).

Just to clarify, I don't think the LGF commenters are typical of the right. But I also don't think they're comparable to any left-of-center site--I think that's a false equivalence here:

"The problem is, when you say that your opponents are Nazis, there is an implicit statement that, being Nazis, they have to be resisted by any means necessary."

Do you think that when Andrew Sullivan refers to "academic Stalinists baying for Summers' blood", he is making an implicit statement that Summers would be justified in violently resisting or suppressing any attempt to fire him?

I really don't think so. In both cases, it's hysterical, stupid, and destructive, but no reasonable person could interpret it as advocating violence.

It's stupid and wrong to call people "brownshirts", but something that arguably implies that violence is justified is not the same thing as a direct call for violence, imprisonment, torture, deportation or execution. To characterize abortion as murder and abortionists as murderers arguably implies that they should be killed--but it's one thing to maybe-imply that and quite another to state it directly. To characterize Ted Kennedy or Jimmy Carter or Kevin Sites or the whole Democratic party as traitors arguably implies that they/we should be imprisoned or executed--but it's one thing to maybe-imply that and quite another to state it directly. To say that non-believers will go to hell and believers go to heaven arguably implies that it's justified to physically threaten or harm them to get them to convert--but it's one thing to maybe-imply that and quite another to state it directly.

LGF states it directly.

"I also don't think they're comparable to any left-of-center site"

sorry, I should have said: "the commenters on Atrios or Kos or any left-of-center site that I've read." I don't read DU or Counterpunch and obviously there are plenty of left-of-center weblogs I've never even heard of.

Hi -- I just reread my original post, and one thing needs correcting. I said "If we move to the 'respectable' blogs, on the right we have Andrew Sullivan, who has just continued a long tradition of hateful charges and comparisons by comparing the Harvard faculty to Stalinists, and on the left we have Josh Marshall, who does no such thing." When I said this I was thinking of the blogs on the right. On the right, it does seem to me that the three most popular blogs are not, as one might say, the cream of the crop, or the ones you'd think of if you were trying to come up with candidates for "really thoughtful conservative blog above a certain (high) level of popularity". I don't think this is true on the left, and did not mean to imply that, say, Kevin Drum doesn't count among the 'respectable' bloggers.

I do agree that pure hatred is counterproductinve in political discussion. In particular I would agree that Asher goes too far.

Alas, much of the left has made an alliance with radical Islam and other anti-American groups. See for instance this article by Norman Geras, a well-respected progressive, who critizes this tendency.

http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/wi05/geras.htm

"a well-respected progressive"

Umm, well-respected by the right?

Also note that "much of" isn't even supported by the silly post you reference.

I understand that Kevin Drum and Atrios are among the big names on the left of center blogosphere, but both are actually just a little left of center politically. If you want to compare how high levels of anger manifest themselves on left and right, you need to look at the further left types, people like me whose first thought on seeing an American President (any American President, in my lifetime anyway) is
"war criminal" or "war crimes enabler". We Chomskyites see US foreign policy as one long series of crimes. (Okay, honestly, I don't think it's all criminal. But in every Presidential term you can usually find some truly monstrous policy or policies being implemented.)

I actually like Jimmy Carter, for instance, but I think he should be summoned before some high tribunal and asked just what the heck he thought he was doing when his Administration continued the Ford/Kissinger policy of arming Indonesia while they were slaughtering Timorese. Carter isn't a traitor, but he's someone who gave weapons to a country engaged in genocide. (If Darfur qualifies, then so did East Timor in the late 70's.)

So compare bloggers on the far left with my views to the folks on the far right who see Democrats as traitors. Are we haters? Ward Churchill came close in his original 9/11 remarks, and his later remarks (clarifying that only some of the victims had it coming) are still disgusting. But most of Churchill's defenders on the far left that I've read distance themselves from the ugly things he said about the victims, while agreeing with his point about American foreign policy. I say "most of", because there have been a few exceptions.

As for the rightwing talk, I don't know what to make of it. I tend to think it's mostly a bunch of blowhards (just as I'd say about Churchill). Of course, it only takes a few Timothy McVeighs among the loudmouths to kill a bunch of people, so that's reason enough to be concerned.

I read the Geras article, but all I found was someone citing the responses "the left" has to things, without providing evidence, unless you count his citation of someone else doing the same thing. I also note that much of what he says is explicitly about "the socialist left", which is a pretty tiny fraction. And I would really have to wonder, in any case, about anyone who was a Marxist in 2001, unless that person had a really distinctive reading of Marx. I would expect most people in the US who self-identify as Marxists these days to be, as Geras says, intellectual fossils, but I'd also expect them to be very few in number. Whereas Hindrocket is talking about almost all of the Democratic party.

And Anarch: thanks.

I've always felt, from my position of absolute power(lessness), that the rule should always be "no directed profanity", i.e. profanity aimed at an individual or group of people. Merely using it as a general exhortation, interjection or part of a now-standard phrase (e.g. "I don't give a sh**") has never struck me as the kind of behavior that the rule ostensibly protects against.

I agree with this 100%--and would have written it if Anarch hadn't. We should distinguish between expletives used as a weapon, and those used simply for rhetorical effect or in context.

Quite frankly, I don't how some of them are able to hold on to that emotion over a sustained period of time.

It's real easy, anytime you feel the level of hatred coming down, all you need to do is read LGF, Free Republic, tacitus or Red State. Walking in those sewers will get your blood boiling & will topoff your hatred level.

I was raised in an extremely secular home. My atheist ex-Catholic dad was a physics professor an my atheist ex-Catholic mom was a political activist. The religion I was raised on was science. So I see things that way.
I think the elements of fascism lie in the human heart. it is part of our heredity, our anncestry as pack-hunting territorial omnivors. People are liberal and generous and tolerant according to proximaty and their own comfort level. We are good to our nearest and dearest, we give when it doesn't threaten us to give, we care about others when our own needs are met. When frighhtened or threatened we get mean. We have a tendency to fear and hate The Other. This is how people are, unless carrefully taught to be otherwise.
Our culture's tendency to slip toward fascism is both an instinct inherent in all humans and related to our view of ourselves as the City on the Hill.
The political right and the conservative blogs are more prone to fascist traits than the left because they appeal to fear and nationist self-aggrandizement (the City on the Hill syndrome), which are the roots of fascism and the modern person's way of expressing caveman territoriality. their basic message is "We are the best people! Our tribe can do whatever it wants! yeah for our team! We have to feel like winners!" Of course they are going to hate anyone inside their tribe that expresses any reasonable doubts or has any questions. Of course they will seek to expell anyone who doesn't join in the cheerleading.
The liberal blogs are more about ideas, more about retaining membership in this society, and more about dealing constructively with problems. Fearmongering
isn't a big part of the message and the liberal take on the City on the Hill isn't that we ARE the best, it's that we should try to BE the best. So we are constructively critical of our tribe. That's why liberal blogs and liberals in general don't go as far down the slipery slope towards fascism as the conservatives do.

Goto www.cartercenter.org and try to find some indication that President Carter gives any support to expanding democracy in Ukraine, Iraq, Lebanon or REAL elections in Iran.

He may not be against those things, but he certainly not an enthusiastic supporter.

The real problem is that he is a busybody who pushes his own agenda 25 years after he left office.

Recycling some older comments from CT:

I have seen it pointed out, that it has been a general principle that ex-presidents do not criticize the foreign policy of the sitting president, especially when in other countries. Criticism certainly does not mean the ex-president is playing for the other side, but negotiating with other countries’ leaders in a way that is at odds with US govt policy can reasonably be construed as such.

Here is some discussion on the MCLAUGHLIN GROUP about President Carter’s criticism of US foreign policy in his Nobel Peace Prize Speech:

***

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: (From videotape.) For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventative war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jimmy Carter took aim at the heart of Bush’s national security strategy, the preemptive strike, this week in Oslo, where he was belatedly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel nearly a quarter of a century ago. The former president described President Bush’s new strategic preemptive strike doctrine, quoting approvingly the words of Ralph Bunche, the revered U.S. government official and U.N. diplomat, the first Black to be a division head in the Department of State and a Nobel Peace Prize winner himself.

FORMER PRESIDENT CARTER: (From videotape.) “To suggest that war can prevent war is a base play on words and a despicable form of war mongering. The world has had ample evidence that war begets only conditions that beget further war,” unquote. We must remember that today there are at least eight nuclear nations on earth, and three of these are threatening to their own neighbors in areas of great international tension.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have thoughts on this?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I do. I mean, I must say to you I find his sermonizing on foreign policy to be slightly repellant to me. This is man who sent letters to every country in the Security Council in 1990 opposing the United States going to war against Saddam Hussein, back in 1990, 1991. He actually sent those letters, and sent a copy of the letter, he maintains, to the White House. That, to my mind, is not the role of an ex-president of the United States. Now, he is being a good ex-president, and a much better ex-president than he was a president. But his attitudes towards the defense of this country and the defense of our interests, in my judgment, is wrong-headed. It was —

***

Because President Carter lobbied Security Council members against US policy, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft accused Carter of violating the Logan Act, the law that prohibits American citizens from conducting unofficial foreign policy.

***

President Carter did not only interfere with President George H W Bush foreign policy. He interfered with President Clinton’s North Korea policy by personally visiting with Kim Il Sung and praising North Korea. Carter wrote speeches for Yassir Arafat during the time Clinton was negotiating between Israel and the PA. Carter visited Castro in Cuba during the current Bush administration, and attempted unofficial diplomacy there without consulting the White House.

***

To this day the Carter Center website has no comments about the Iraq elections.

***

In 1980, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) of President Carter: “Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has essentially adopted our enemies’ view of the world.”

DaveC: "The real problem is that he is a busybody who pushes his own agenda 25 years after he left office."

(a) Gosh, I push my own agenda, and I have never held office at all. Is this wrong?

(b) My criticism of Hindrocket wasn't: you don't like Carter, I do. There are things I don't like about Carter. My criticism of Hindrocket was: whether or not Carter is a busybody, he is not a traitor; and no one should make such a serious charge without very good evidence.

President Carter has done wonderful things in Africa and Habitat for Humanity, but in those cases he wasn't throwing monkeywrenches into offical US diplomacy.

By the way, I think we've had 4 above average and better presidents in a row: Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush.

We've gotten a little spoiled and don't remember having 4 below average presidents: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter - all of whom did some very good things in office.

DaveC:

There are certainly things one could criticize about the Carter Center, but the fact that they don't pronounce upon every single election around the world is not one of them. The Carter Center is, after all, a private, nongovernmental organization, with finite resources. It is not the State Department, with embassies flung across the globe. So, like every other nongovernmental organization, they tend to pick their battles (and they usually only go into electoral situations where they are invited, to some degree), so it's in those situations that we will find them making statements.

Well come on folks, what do you expect from political ideologies that despise pluralism and other liberal ideals?

Many on the left, by their very nature, can't commit to total demonization because they are part of the pluralism we endorse.

The left, on the other hand, is not part of the society they ideolize.

Well come on folks, what do you expect from political ideologies that despise pluralism and other liberal ideals?

Many on the left, by their very nature, can't commit to total demonization of the right, because the right is part of the pluralism we endorse.

The left, on the other hand, is not part of the society the right ideolizes.

DaveC: By the way, I think we've had 4 above average and better presidents in a row: Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush.

You could probably make an argument for the first three, but the fourth? In what universe is George W. Bush an "above average and better" President?

Many on the left, by their very nature, can't commit to total demonization of the right, because the right is part of the pluralism we endorse.

The left, on the other hand, is not part of the society the right ideolizes.

Hit it on the head, Neodude. Hit it on the head.

DaveC, I guessing you think Reagan is great because he hacked back at all those government regs that were choking American initiative and faced down the Soviet threat. Yet both of those points, especially the first, Carter was the one who got the ball rolling. I'd be interested to know precisely what points you feel that Carter fell down on.

LJ,

I believe that the right's problem with Carter stems from the fact that he did not go to war over the Iranian Hostage Taking. The fact that such a war would have probably caused the death of most of the hostages is irrelevant in their view, he just did not act tough!

How many more Americans were killed during Carter's term?

How many more Americans were killed during Reagan's term?

How many more Americans were killed during Clinton's term?

How many more Americans were killed during Bush's term?

This would seem to show us who is better at kkeping Americans and other human beings...safe.

I'd be interested to know precisely what points you feel that Carter fell down on.

East Timor, Cambodia (Pol Pot), and Iran are a few cases where the cause of freedom and civil society took some hard hits.

When Israel and Egypt made peace, that was a great sign of hope. But the assassiantion of Sadat, and Khomeini murdering his mainly secular political rivals marked the beginning of "this new kind of war" that no president sufficiently addressed until George W Bush. And that was only because he was forced to take action because of 9-11.

His response was not just to seek out people to punish, but to address the "root cause" by seeking to bring freedom and democracy to the region.

The neo-isolationism of the liberals is an astonishing role reversal, with the insistance of maintaining a status quo with brutal regimes in the name of stability.

But there are many liberals, Michael Totten, Roger L Simon, Gerard VanderLeun, Norm Geras, Marc Danziger, etc., etc. who understand the importance of this new struggle. And when the left kicks them out of the tent and is bleeding voters by accusing Glenn Reynolds, etc of supporting fascism, that is self defeating. And well yes, hatred IS a poison.

The neo-isolationism of the liberals is an astonishing role reversal, with the insistance of maintaining a status quo with brutal regimes in the name of stability.

Many of us do not trust the new faith of the party of isolationism and anti-pluralism. I still believe this a is a rich-man's war, a land grab...done in the name of Christ...er, I mean democracy...or what ever new reason they got to steal stuff!

And we have good reason:

"Nope, no Bin Ladden over there," said Mr. Bush, as another picture showed the leader of the free world looking under a couch. "Maybe under here," he continued to more laughter.

From:
"How to Appease Bin Ladden and Keep His Backers Happy? (Washington Time)
"How Do You Lose the Man Who Killed 3000 Americans on American Soil?" (National Review)
"What Excuse Can You Use to Kill 500,000 Iraqis?" (Weekly Standard)
"How to Avoid Saudi Arabian and Pakistani Rage For Capturing the Man Who Killed Thousands of Americans?" (Commentary)
"How Can Bush and Patriotic Right-Wing Americans Assist Terrorist Who Desire To Kill More Americans? (Talon)
"How Can Bush and Patriotic Right-Wing Americans Assist the Spread of Iranian Influence In the Region? (NewsMax)

Look, it's pointless to get into a pissing contest to see who can find the nastiest quotes from the [right/left]. Spend some time reading blogs, and you'll see plenty of nastiness on both sides.

Back to the C.S. Lewis quote at the beginning, which isn't being discussed here very much:

"The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?
Why are right-wingers the only examples of THIS attitude (which doesn't, by the way, have anything necessarily to do with hateful rhetoric)?? Look, if in 5 years it turns out that Iraq is a model democracy, that the rest of the Middle East is falling into line with Iraq, and that Bush's bold plan to remake the Middle East was the best thing that ever happened to that region, are we to suppose that all the anti-war bloggers would say, "Gee, aren't we glad that our dire predictions of woe turned out to be wrong! What a wonderful visionary Bush turned out to be. Three cheers for Bush!" Come on. You know and we all know that wouldn't happen. Some lefties would remain in denial, seizing on every piece of bad news as an excuse to whine that things aren't yet perfect in the Middle East. Others would claim to have been on the right side all along (a la what happened with various people who conveniently forget how strenuously they opposed Reagan during the Cold War).

The attitude that Lewis spoke of, in other words, is not tied to the right-wing whatsoever. It's an attitude that all humans are prone to feel.

Functional: you're right, it's not. Nor is hatred, which settles in different places at different times. (The Weathermen were not models of tolerance and fellow-feeling.)

That said, in the interests of accuracy, the idea that liberals are isolationists is nuts, as is the list of the "liberals" who get it. In the last election, we had Clark, Graham, Lieberman, and Kerry, and I omit Dean just because I don't know enough about his foreign policy views, outside Iraq, to know one way or the other. And Edwards' foreign policy views aren't fully formed enough for me to have a clear sense. But the non-isolationists included out candidate, plus Clark, who was one of the three others who had a shot (with Edwards and Dean.) The isolationist wing was represented by Kucinich, Sharpton, and Moseley-Braun, who were, needless to say, trounced.

East Timor...

The East Timorese annexation and genocide began under Ford, FYI; it's true that Carter could have possibly done something, but then so could Ford, Reagan and Bush, so I don't really see Carter taking the rap for this. [I seem to recall reading that the preparations began during Nixon's presidency but I can't locate that source atm.] The conventional wisdom, such as it is, was that Kissinger was responsible for selling them down the river in return for sweetheart mineral and oil deals with Suharto; at least, that's part of why the East Timorese want to see Kissinger on trial for war crimes.

...Cambodia (Pol Pot)...

Again, both Nixon and Reagan bear some responsibility for this too. As the old saying goes, "The secret bombing of Cambodia wasn't a secret to the Cambodians."

...Iran

Any news on the supposedly new research confirming Reagan's participation in the October Surprise? I haven't seen hide nor hair of it since last year -- which is funny, since one would expect either exultant declamations or virulent denunciations given the circumstances.

Look, if in 5 years it turns out that Iraq is a model democracy, that the rest of the Middle East is falling into line with Iraq, and that Bush's bold plan to remake the Middle East was the best thing that ever happened to that region, are we to suppose that all the anti-war bloggers would say, "Gee, aren't we glad that our dire predictions of woe turned out to be wrong! What a wonderful visionary Bush turned out to be. Three cheers for Bush!" Come on.

So this is the argument now...please if you can only imagine that it will be a success, it will become one?Our problem is we are not dreamy enough?

"Can you just imagine that I will eventualy become a millionaire and lend me the money today?"

Thanks Anarch. I'd also note that the whole Iran thing got started because Carter permitted the Shah to enter the country for treatment, in large part because a stink was made about treating an old friend of the US so poorly. (I don't want to label these people conservatives, because they don't neatly map onto the current liberal/conservative divide)

One has to assume that the hatred of Carter is based not on a true analysis of his policies and ideas, but because the desire to demonize.

lj:

One has to assume that the hatred of Carter is based not on a true analysis of his policies and ideas, but because the desire to demonize.

I don't neatly map onto the current liberal/conservative divide:
I voted for Carter 1976 & 1980 and Mondale in 1984!
although I wasn't as interested in politics as in reading "Mother Earth News> and Creative Computing>

@$#! Cant get the darn links right!!

There are others too, like Michele Catalano (I think hilzoy oughta blogroll her, but she's a little naughty) and Brian Tiemann that dont fit into neat categories

www.motherearthnews.com/

www.atariarchives.org/bcc1/

I shore don't write links so good.

Michele is at asmallvictory.net
Sample:

5. Name two things you can’t live without.
If I could make a wish
I think I’d pass
Can’t think of anything I need
No cigarettes, no sleep, no light, no sound
Nothing to eat, no books to read

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you

Uh...where was I? Oh, yea. My Hello Kitty vibrator and rechargeable batteries.

===

Brian is at grotto11.com/blog

===

I am at, like, nowhere.

DaveC
I don't want this to come off snarky here, but when asked for problems with Carter, you give a laundry list that is refuted, or at least answered. I've seen this evil Carter meme emerging over the past 3-4 years or so, but the voice given to it by Hindrocket and Heyward (via Regnery, a real seal of approval for wingnuttery) should give anyone pause and at least try to weigh the evidence. From that standpoint, links to the frontpage of Motherearthnews and and atariarchives don't really cut it.

Ok, President Carter's biggest screwup was what should have been his strong point: Energy Policy and the "Moral Equivalent of War" (MEOW).

He claimed to be a Nuclear Engineer, but did not do anything positive for nuclear energy:

"After 1974, many planned units were canceled, and since 1977, no orders have been placed for new nuclear units, and none are currently planned. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident greatly increased concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States. The regulatory reaction to those concerns contributed to the decline in the number of planned nuclear units, with Watts Bar I (1996) the last plant completed."

Now I would agree that the Clinch River Fast Breeder Reactor was fraught with peril (I know that I dont want plutonium anywhere near my river), but now well what ARE we doing with plutonium now anyway? And why are there smokestacks for energy production using coal instead of safe, well thought out, well regulated, sources of nuclear energy? And all that money spent on coal gasification programs yielded us - zilch, nada, nothin'.

President Carter fumbled the very issue that, had he handled it well, could have been his claim to fame.

And the DOE, at least at Oak Ridge, wasted a lot of time and money on "Mother Earth News" types of approaches to energy policy. Can you imagine a city where everybody uses a wood burning stove for heat?

There were serious, serious problems at Oak Ridge when Carter was president. He made an energy crisis where there was none, and messed up research and development for cleaner energy sources.

I know all this from personal sources, I didn't work at Oak Ridge at the time but knew a lot of people who did.

As for the Mother Earth News, Creative Computing, etc. stuff, I was just trying to lighten things up a little.

The isolationist wing was represented by Kucinich, Sharpton, and Moseley-Braun, who were, needless to say, trounced.

The Democrat's equivalents of Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanon, so far out there that they didn't have a chance.
Yet they were nominally in the race to the very end, while Lieberman, who I think would have won the election if he had been nominated, exits early. I think there might be a problem with the primary system on both sides

DaveC
No worries, and sorry if I sounded like I was angry. I appreciate the lightening of the mood.

As for Carter and nuclear power, that is certainly not one of the issues that people like Hindrocket are bringing up when they call Carter a traitor.

Also, I believe that Carter's time (with 3 Mile Island and the movie the China Syndrome coming at the end of Carter's presidency) was the unravelling of the consensus that nuclear power was workable. I also feel that Carter's push for deregulation (which is often credited to Reagan, who merely presided over what Carter had started) did not fit comfortably with nuclear power and Carter, as a former nuclear engineer, was more aware than most at the time exactly what that meant. Given the problems we have had in Japan with nuclear accidents, it is clear that a deregulated business environment is not an appropriate place for nuclear power. I don't know what the consensus view is in the US, so I'd welcome your insights.

As for the other attempts at energy independence (and I should note that I voted for Anderson *cha(grin)*) were undercut quite severely as doom mongering, whereas now, they look rather prescient.

LJ -- you did? Me too! I not only travelled from college in NJ to New Hampshire several times for him, I actually registered as a Republican (and stayed that way, through neglect, for several years, leading to my having to vote for my sister for President in the 84 GOP primary, but I digress...)

JFTR, I grew up next door to Oak Ridge. They had a nice science museum where there were annual paper airplane contests in which I competed once or twice. And the streets were all winding and confusingly named - my dad had a friend who lived in a neighborhood where every street name began with "A". This was intended to flummox Russian spies, or so I was told.

Wondering about the world in which hilzoy's sister became president in '84...

p.s. I originally wrote "windy" above, but I couldn't find the word (with a long "i" derived from "to wind") in the dictionary...

hilzoy, have you read this post from the estimable Philosoraptor?

lj

You are a pleasure to discuss things with. (And hilzoy and edward_). I expect people to strongly disagree with me. And I like to have some distractions as well. Thanks again to Obwi for making a place I can do this. See you next weekend.

DaveC, glad to hear you find this a welcoming place.

Re linking, try
<a href="mylink.html">my blue underlined text</a>.
Watch out (e.g., via preview) for the quotes.

hilzoy
Yes, tis true, which is why I both have a bit of sympathy and a lot of anger at Nader voters. Yes I know how you feel, but boy I'm angry because I was that stupid too. I remember vehement arguments about the 50 cents a gallon gasoline tax. Those were the days

Rilkefan
How about snakey ?(also spelled snaky apparently)

DaveC
Thanks, and if I get too out of hand, please call me on it.

lj, unf. "snakey road" brings to mind "road covered with snakes". Also, it's only "snaky". But "serpentine" would do, if it wasn't too long and the name of a mineral (something like lizardite, ha ha) and also I think the name of some sort of early artillery piece (except a quick google doesn't agree - ok, now I find "serpentine powder" and a kind of trigger).

How about "twisty," as in "maze of twisty little passages, all alike."

"Serpentine, Sheldon, Serpentine!" (The In-Laws)

Puts me too much in the mind of "TheGarden of Forking Paths".

Philosoraptor's brilliant as always. Ta, rilkefan.

rilkefan: well, now I have read it ;) -- Actually, I think it's true only of parts of philosophy, but mercifully not of all. There are people in philosophy who work that way, and you more or less have to be able to deal with them if need be (e.g., by defending your view, if it's defensible, against vehement attack), but there are also a lot of people who would agree with philosoraptor about the story being sad.

I'm late to the conversation. But I did want to say to hilzoy, thanks so much for the original post. Very good stuff, and very true.

The key issue, to my mind, is not to say (or to deny) that "the right has more haters than the left." I happen to think that the statement is true, but that doesn't matter as much. What matters is that we all take the advice to heart, and no matter how ugly the divide becomes, we don't, *ourselves*, start thinking of those on the other side (or anybody at all, for that matter) as traitors, subhuman scum, etc., etc.

Thanks again, hilzoy.

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