I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jonah Goldberg speaks out against demonization tactics

I really didn't think it was possible for Jonah Goldberg to exceed the level of unintended irony he achieved the other day when, with his best Steve McQueen voice, he lamented the fact that we are becoming "A Nation of Wimps" because American parents do too much to help their children in life (the kind of "wimps," presumably, who think the U.S. need not wage war on Syria and Iran). With regard to my belief that Jonah had reached the outer limits of unintended irony with that condemnation of parental assistance, I was dreadfully wrong.

Today, Jonah tells us in his new National Review column that one of the hallmarks of a terrorist is the demonization of one's opponents with insults and name-calling, worst of all with comparisons to Hitler:

Another tactic in this “asymmetric” war is to make the Israelis the bad guys for resisting terrorism. Jews have a well-cultivated sense of guilt (take my word for it). And, for obvious reasons, no insult could hurt more than depicting Jews as Nazis. Hence, the nigh-upon global campaign to depict Israelis as the heirs to Hitler. Of course, ad hitlerum argumentation is just the tip of the propaganda spear. “Aggression,” “apartheid,” “racist”: No insult is barred from the anti-Israel script. Terrorize your enemy and make them feel like villains in the process — that’s a powerful strategy.

Jonah's forthcoming book is Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton. Here is a summary of it provided by Jonah's publisher:

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.

Shouldn't basic self-awareness prevent one from criticizing comparisons to Hitler and demonization campaigns against one's enemies when your book is entitled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton and you purport to demonstrate that mainstream Democratic politicians in the U.S. are the new Hitlers?

Further showing his disdain for the name-calling insult techniques of Hezbollah, Jonah identifies who the real culprits are who aid and abet the Islamic terrorists:

This strategy depends on the willing support of what Lenin called "useful idiots." These are the accommodating Westerners — many of them intellectuals — all too willing to take the word of totalitarians and even more eager to believe that the champions of democracy are in the wrong. Some social scientists call these people “French,” but that is too limiting. For there are plenty of them in America, too.

Jonah thinks Hezbollah is really bad and evil because they call the Israelis names and even compare them to Nazis. Jonah then says that the liberal-fascist pointy-headed "French" American leftist Hitlerian intellectuals are useful idiots who help and support Hezbollah. And all of that leaves to the side the fact that Jonah is at the center of a political movement which has as its principal tactic the branding of its domestic political opponents (and even journalists) as subversive lunatics, friends of the terrorists, and traitors.

As an added bonus, Jonah uses his column to promote the bizarre conspiracy theory discussed here yesterday regarding the international media's evil cover-up of what really happened in Qana:

Aspects of the Qana story don’t jibe, starting with the timeline. The building collapsed seven hours after the bombing (which remains the likely explanation now). Some of the bodies don’t look like they were killed in a building collapse, and refrigerated trucks were reportedly brought in before the media could visit the site, perhaps delivering corpses. An elaborate 30-foot-long banner condemning a bloody lipped Rice for the attack was improbably at the ready for a protest that morning. Bloggers around the globe are steadily picking apart other details, to the dismay of many who like their anti-Israel storylines tidy (see for a summary).

To recap: Hezbollah's evil is illustrated by the fact that they try to demonize the Israelis and even compare them to Hitler. Jonah's next book "offers a startling new perspective" which shows that contemporary Democratic politicians are the offspring of the German Nazi Party and that Hitlerian fascism is alive and well in the form of American liberalism. And the real story of Qana is not that innocent Lebanese civilians are dying in this war but that a cabal of international photographers and reporters for Reuters and Associated Press -- aided by their French-sympathizing, Hezbollah-loving intellectual terrorist-sympathizing allies in the U.S. -- are faking news events in order to help Islamofascists in their quest to end Western freedom.

Facts which are unpleasant are denied (or simply ignored, as in the forgotten war). Journalists who report those facts are liars and criminals. And anyone not on board with endless war and unrestrained slaughter is allied with and sympathetic to Islamic extremism and terrorism. That's become the essence of the ideology of the so-called "conservative" movement. No wonder that that movement's "Father" is so eager to repudiate it as something grossly alien to what he will be remembered for creating.

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