Aug 24, 2008

When will Tim Montgomerie stop beating his wife?

No srsly.

I mean, if we're gonna play that game it would be, lets at least do it properly. Going by the site, pretty much everyone who is not at least centre-right hates America.

And while it would be both amusing, and very easy, to make fun of Montgomerie's almost sycophantic website, instead I am putting on my "Internet Is SRS BUSINESS" had and I'm going to have some fun with his sources. Because his sources for some of the anti-Americanism briefings are some of the most disgusting and divisive Americans in recent history, whose absolute hatred at anyone with a worldview that differs from theirs is far more hateful of the Americans who hold those views than many of the descriptions of anti-Americanism on the site.

Firstly, I'm reading about Anti-Americanism and Hollywood, a delightful little playbook taken from the American right, about how Hollywood is undermining all that is good and true about America. And whose name should I see, but Michael Medved.

Medved is not what I would call a good source. In fact, he is a terrible source. This article here, I think, sums up everything that is wrong with his worldview. Historical inaccuracy and naievete are the hallmarks of his thinking. Taking it apart would be a lengthy work for a historian, there is so much wrong with it. Furthermore, his cultural conservativism shows in his contempt for liberal, homosexual and non Judeo-Christian Americans, which is the main point of pretty much every article he writes.

Medved will go to nearly any length to smear liberal, gay or non-Jewish or Christian Americans (in fact, he will smear them too, if they are too liberal for his liking). Why does Medved's contempt for his fellow citizens not disqualify him as a source? Because Montgomerie's site is not about anti-Americanism, its about using anti-Americanism, the concept, as a foil to attack left-wingers with.

This pattern repeats itself with some of his other non-political/NGO sources, who are invariably the worst examples of right-wing Americans, that conflate everything which isn't in line with their worldview as anti-American. As such, it becomes all too easy to claim that everything except one's own worldview is not filled with secret hatred and disgust for the USA. How convienient.

Next on the list is Michelle Malkin. Ah, the Malkin Monster. Where do we start with her? Ezra Klein probably says it best:

To visit Michelle Malkin’s cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they’ve spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game — he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home to inspect its worth, they insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud to receive government benefits, they make threatening phone calls to the family.

Lovely, right? There is plenty more to hold against Michelle Malkin as well. Hold on tight, because its a nasty and sordid little trip we will be taking.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon goes one further:

On a daily basis, Michelle Malkin's hate sites promote violence, rank bigotry, jihad against Muslim Americans, imprisonment of Democratic Party leaders. The comments are not deleted and are virtually never opposed. Her hate sites traffic in content which is the hallmark of white supremacism and violent groups targeting Muslims. And once she is done promoting that, she goes on Fox News and demands that corporate sponsors cut their ties with Daily Kos due to the comments left on that site.

And it gets better (or worse):

David Neiwert does a take down of her book, Liberals Unhinged, her pathetic whining about how American liberals are out of control radicals trying to destroy the country and intimidate conservatives. As David points out:

The only people who will find this book useful are blinkered ideologues who just want more grist for their liberal-hating mills, the facts be damned. Certainly, it will be of little to use for any serious-minded person who is concerned about the state of the national dialogue -- except, perhaps, as Exhibit A regarding the source of the problem.

There is also her book on internment, accurately described throughout much of the American media as historical revisionism and little more than a screed to justify racial profiling against American Arabs, and their possible internment without trial. A full takedown, by two historians with expertise in the case of Japanese internment, can be read here.

We could go into her tedious hatred of illegal immigrants. Or how she enables the harassment of people who she disagrees with. Or her conspiracy theorism. But I simply do not have the time to document all of Malkin's insanity.

On Will Anti-Americanism End if Barack Obama becomes President, I see Robert Kagan, of the infamous Kagan family, making an appearance. Robert, like many of his relatives who, inexplicably are listened to by the American media and foreign policy establishment, was one of those pushing most strongly for the Iraq war, and has continued to support it strongly. As Greenwald points out:

No rational person would believe a word Robert Kagan says about anything. He has been spewing out one falsehood after the next for the last four years in order to blind Americans about the real state of affairs concerning the invasion which he and his comrade and writing partner, Bill Kristol, did as much as anyone else to sell to the American public.

In April, 2003, Kagan declared the war over and said we won. Since then, he has continuously claimed that things were getting better in Iraq. He is completely liberated from any obligation to tell the truth and is a highly destructive propagandist whose public record of commentary about Iraq ought to disqualify him from decent company, let alone some sort of pretense to expertise about this war.

And we should take his word on American foreign policy at face value? I think not.

David Frum gets a mention on the topic of Strategies to Combat Anti-Americanism. Frum is of course most well known as the man who helped coin the phrase Axis of Evil, but there is a lot more to him.

For example, we have his (obvious) implication that those who blame Feith and Michael Leeden for forging evidence to help the case for the Iraq war are anti-Semites. Gary Kayima also has an enlightening review of the book he co-wrote with Richard Perle:

Here are some of the authors' policy recommendations:
  • Preparing to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea, after moving our troops out of range of their artillery and missiles.
  • Taking direct action to topple the regime in Iran, by providing aid to Iranian dissidents.
  • Being prepared to invade Syria, of whom the authors write, "Really, there is only one question to ask about Syria: Why have we put up with it as long as we have?"
  • Being prepared to invade Libya. "The illusion that Muammar al-Qaddafi is 'moderating' should be treated as what it is: a symptom of the seemingly incurable wishful delusions that afflict the accommodationists in the foreign policy establishment." (Now that those accommodationists in State have been proven right, don't expect an apology from the authors: They'll claim Qaddafi got rid of his WMD programs only because Bush invaded Iraq. All other answers, no matter if they're true, don't fit with their Manichaean, evildoers-respond-only-to-force worldview. Besides, those who are always right must never apologize. It is a sign of weakness, which our evil Muslim terrorist enemies (TM) will exploit with evil terror.)
  • Taking a superconfrontational line with Saudi Arabia, including letting them know that if they don't reform we would look with favor upon a Shiite uprising in their oil-rich Eastern Province.
  • Abandoning the Israeli-Palestinian peace process altogether. In a radical departure from U.S. policy, they say the Palestinians should not be given a state. Creating a Palestinian state out of the West Bank and Gaza, they write, will not bring peace to the region, because the Palestinians and other Arabs are only interested in vengeance, not justice. Instead, the Palestinians should "let go of the past" and content themselves with becoming citizens of the Arab countries in which they now live. The authors do not say what should happen to the 3.9 million Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories: Presumably they should either agree to become second-class citizens like the other Israeli Arabs, or leave.

Their domestic policies are equally arresting:
  • Requiring all residents to carry a national identity card that includes "biometric data, like fingerprints or retinal scans or DNA," and empowering all law enforcement officers to enforce immigration laws. The authors admit that such a card "could be used in abusive ways," but reassure us by saying that victims of "executive branch abuse will be able to sue." Those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear!
  • Encouraging Americans to "report suspicious activity." Apparently alone among Americans, the authors lament the demise of the TIPS program.
  • Changing immigration policy so that the U.S. can bar all would-be visitors who have "terrorist sympathies." The authors define "terrorist sympathies" so broadly that this would rule out a high percentage of visitors from Muslim or Arab countries.
  • Reforming the CIA to make it more hard-line on the Middle East.

Fascinating stuff. But should we really be taking advice from frothing militarists on how to make people hate America less?

Here is another insight into Frum's worldview, this time in his own words, quoted handily by John Holbo:

The great, overwhelming fact of a capitalist economy is risk. Everyone is at constant risk of the loss of his job, or of the destruction of his business by a competitor, or of the crash of his investment portfolio. Risk makes people circumspect. It disciplines them and teaches them self-control. Without a safety net, people won’t try to vault across the big top.

In short, capitalism is good because it keeps people in their place. It makes them easily controlled, because they are in constant fear of losing everything. It creates social order, by threatening people with losing their jobs, investments and businesses, and thus making sure they do not try and make it too big. Well I'm certainly feeling the love in that argument.

I'll deal with some of the claims actually made another day. I just wanted to point out that anyone using the above people is probably not the sort of person who wants to make a serious effort, and instead is interesting in shutting down debate with accusations of being an irrational hater.

No comments: