Ever notice how liberals are always re-fighting old battles, resurrecting long-dead enemies? In order to hold itself together as an ideology, democratic-liberalism always looks to the past in order to identify its foes and threats and to have a symbol to rally the troops against. Otherwise, their ideology is empty, inert, and irrelevant—having no appeal and no way to justify its existence. Hence, liberals are always fighting “fascism,” although that particular foe has been gone for half a century. The neocons are similarly still sniffing around for a new Soviet Union to fight, and they seem to have found it in the “War on Terror” now that Bill Gertz’s Red Chinese bugaboo has been put on the back burner.
Elizabeth Hartmann, author of The Truth About Fire, a novel that demonizes the Right as terrorists, contributed an article titled “America’s climate of fear and loathing” to the Boston Globe April 19. She feels that “racial profiling” to find al-Qaeda agents here validates right-wing views on race. She writes, “This closing of our open society diminishes America’s freedoms. At the same time it aids the recruitment efforts of the far right that flourish in a climate of fear and loathing of the Other.” It is interesting that she suggests the “far right” thrives upon, and even needs, an “Other” to fight against. I am trying to make precisely the same point in this article about the Left and its obsession with fighting “fascism.” In fact, I have selected Hartmann’s article as a prime example of the Left’s need to demonize that fascist Other that seems to be found hiding under every bed.
Sadly, like fighting a non-existent fascism, the inability to specifically define, locate, and defeat “terrorists” means that the neocons have picked the right target to keep their pursuit going. The target always recedes, so they are able to keep chasing it over the horizon. They’ll never win the “War on Terror,” which means that they’ll always be able to rally their Energizer-bunny like troops to fight the permanent threat of “terrorism.”
They can’t just let their fifteen minutes of fame fade away. First, “fascism” under the aegis of Nazi Germany was supposedly coming to conquer us, after taking over Europe and the rest of the world. Then the Soviets were plotting to invade in pretty much the same manner—the “domino theory” said so, even though it now comes out that the Soviet threat was exaggerated, a figment of Washington, DC’s imagination, useful for expanding the power of the Military-Industrial-Foreign Policy Elite complex. They also claimed that Saddam Hussein was the New Hitler, and stories spread that Saddam had used chemical weapons against his own people and that Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait had taken babies out of incubators and left them to die on hospital floors. It turned out later that these claims against Iraq were not true, just as the claims that the Germans bayoneted Belgian babies in World War One were not true.
Now they say the Muslims seek to establish a global caliphate. From the thumbnail historical sketch given above, we can see that they say the same thing about every enemy we fight: they “plan to take over the world.” These “reactionary liberals” and neocons, looking to the past to find enemies to fight, have invented a name for these would-be Muslim Genghis Khans: “Islamofascists.”
“Islamofascism” is a revealing term—they get to fight their usual bugaboo of fascism by simply grafting the “fascist” label on to the Islamic faith. It’s not much of a reach, in their eyes, between terrorism and fascism—the liberals and neocons have spent a lot of time talking about how Muslims supported the Waffen SS in World War Two, for example. The claims of the liberals and neocons have become much bolder. The Nazis were said to have desired the destruction of all Jews in the world. Now it is said that the Muslims seek to wipe out all infidels (non-Muslims)—five billion certainly beats six million. It truly is a “perpetual war for perpetual peace,” as Harry Elmer Barnes, the dissident historian, said.
Would the Real Fifth Column Please Stand Up?
Hartmann never uses the term “Islamofascism” in her piece, but it is easy to tell that she’d likely find the term useful and even enjoyable to apply to her political enemies. She implies that the unreconstructed American Right is a “Fifth Column,” presumably for Middle Eastern terrorists. She states,
“The boundary between internal and external threats is porous, as illustrated by recent reports that American neo-Nazi groups are expanding links to Islamic fascists in a strategic anti-Semitic alliance…In strengthening the hand of the domestic far right, Bush’s war on terrorism may unwittingly strengthen the hand of foreign enemies. The real ‘axis of evil’ is fascism, whether it is dressed in native or foreign garb.”
This charge is not new; The American Prospect Online leveled the same accusation at one of my columns for Ether Zone, when I wrote that one of the negative consequences of deposing the Taliban is the return of pederasty to Kandahar in the absence of enforced religious codes. I proudly took my inclusion in TAPO’s “Hall of Shame” as a compliment and as an indicator that I must have done something right to merit censure from the Left.
Hartmann’s accusation of the Authentic Right is classic Freudian projection. If there is a Fifth Column operating in America, Hartmann’s ideological compatriots in the media are more likely to compose its membership. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has issued talking points to “world Jewry”—to all Jews living in the Diaspora outside Israel—to guide their interaction with the media and ensure that they all remain on the same page regarding the conflict with the Palestinians. Sharon refers to Jews the world over as a “strategic asset” for Israel. Keep in mind that this is Sharon using these phrases, not me, and the web links provided here are based in Israel (note the “.il” URL endings) and connected to the Israeli government. If a Gentile were to use this same terminology, that person would be roasted as “anti-Semitic” and a “conspiracy theorist.” Even more amazing: these talking points were published on a sub-page of the Jewish Agency for Israel in an online newsletter called, get this, Global Jewish Agenda. Yes, folks, there really is a global Jewish agenda—you can click on the link to read it for yourself—but only Jews can talk about it, amongst themselves. My discussing it here is certainly going to be officially called a “canard.” This world is a comedy to those that think.
The Same Old Script
The same repackaged line is constantly pitched at the American people. The script doesn’t change much, except for the name of the enemy that is used to fill in the blank, yet the majority of Americans fall for it every time. Right now, lots of people actually believe that the Arabs want to conquer the United States and set up a Mohammedan theocracy. They never stop to ask just how this is going to occur. Do they imagine that Iraq or Afghanistan has an invasion force at the ready, with a secret navy to transport their troops to our shores? We all know that the Third World is the longtime master of logistics and administration. Maybe they’ll install Bill Clinton as a Mullah, Ayatollah, Imam, or whatever the current title is for the chief Spiritual Leader, now that Slick is twiddling his thumbs, or more, in his Harlem office.
Of course, the infinitely wise and infallible U.S. Government decides that the only way to resist the enemy’s insatiable drive toward total global hegemony is for the U.S. to become the global hegemon first. Since the enemy can’t be allowed to take over the world, the United States has to take the globe unto itself for “safekeeping.” This logic would be hilarious if it didn’t operate at such a saddening cost in American blood and treasure, not to mention the rights we have lost under the USA Patriot Act. To other countries that observe our outward behavior, the United States appears to be the only power actively pursuing a program of world domination. Those other countries are correct. The wars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been little more than government power-grabs, and business as usual.
The United States is supposedly “the world’s only superpower,” yet we are the most insecure nation on this planet, jumping at every tiny twitch in every little country, obsessively tending to every ripple and bump on the globe. Many thoughtful patriots, especially paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives, wonder how America’s superpower status benefits the American people. Americans are increasingly fearful of traveling abroad and rightfully wary of foreigners traveling to our shores. Our very success proves to be a curse. The fruits of empire apparently can’t even be eaten. The United States perceived dire threats from such amazing powerhouses on the world stage including Haiti, Somalia, and Serbia. What an “axis of evil” those three countries were! Just like Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—especially the North Koreans, now that they are saving 100% on their electricity bills and eating a hearty diet of grubs and tree stumps. We are so lucky that the Jorge Bush we “elected” is such a masterful foreign policy “strategerist;” under his leadership the United States will certainly whip that “axis of evil” once Mexico joins our Union and makes us stronger.
The War on Terror is sometimes justified as “preemptive self-defense of the Republic.” Anything and everything can appear to be a threat, though, if you look at it right. There is no logical endpoint to the concept. It is a “blank check” to micromanage the world, a cloak for Empire, something that strikes my conservative belief in decentralization and national sovereignty as undesirable. Recall Lord Acton’s maxim: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Indeed, it is always amazing how many conservatives are willing to sacrifice at the international level principles that they support at the domestic level. For example, conservatives generally reject centralized government power. Yet, someostensible conservatives will support the initiatives of the United States to garner global hegemony. Conservatives reject gun control, yet they advocate the U.S. Government dictating to foreign nations whether or not they can possess “weapons of mass destruction,” effectively turning America into a global gun-grabber, as if New York’s U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer had declared “l’etat c’est moi.”
Hegemony is impossible to achieve on this planet. All other powers that have attempted it have failed in the end, having died in the process of trying. The neocon cheerleaders of global hegemony say that America is different, and somehow exempt from the normal forces buffeting the nations of the world. Maybe it is, but as an American I am self-aware enough to know that the other powers that failed in history also held much the same optimism toward their own country’s chances. They were good patriots, but endorsed a policy that in the final analysis only traitors could have wished for.
Playing The Nazi (or Osama) Card
Hartmann admits she deliberately released her column in time for the anniversary of Hitler’s April 20 birthday, as she leads with that fact and frames her arguments around countering “Nazis,” which one gets the sense she defines as anyone to the right of Al Gore. However, let’s take her tactic head on rather than shrink from it. Hitler is irrelevant. If Hitler had announced, “the sky is blue,” would you deny it merely because he was the person who said it? If he may have said it, does it mean that others long before had not made the same factual statement about the sky? On the other end of the timeline, does it affect the truth of that statement after Hitler’s death? Can skies never be blue again?
Nor does this charged situation only exist around the issue of Hitler, although he is the archetype. Osama bin Laden is one of the more popular Hitler-substitutes of late, having displaced Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qadhafi, and the Ayatollah Khomenei from that role. Bin Laden also has made statements that reflect sound truths that are dismissed simply because he said them. For example, bin Laden stated in a 1998 ABC interview,
“I say that the American people gave leadership to a traitorous leadership. This became very clear and especially in Clinton’s government. The American government, we think, is an agent that represents the Israel inside America…So, we tell the American as a people, and we tell the mothers of soldiers, and American mothers in general, if they value their lives and those of their children, find a nationalistic government that will look after their interests…This is my message to the American people to look for a serious government that looks out for their interest and does not attack others, their lands or their honor.”
Bin Laden is right, but some who had advocated a foreign policy that puts “America first, last, and only”—a policy based on non-intervention and “armed neutrality”—which is what bin Laden describes and recommends above, became instant war hawks on 9/11, because they felt that “if bin Laden wants us to do it, we should do exactly the opposite and really show him!” The trouble with that kind of knee-jerk thinking is that it can get you into trouble when objective reality is involved. If bin Laden told me that it’s a bad idea to jump off a bridge, that doesn’t mean I’m going to jump off a bridge and commit suicide just to spite him. Bin Laden himself says that the U.S. will not have peace until it has what the liberals and neocons would call an “isolationist” government. Terrorists are political creatures, so he wouldn’t lie about his goals, since by definition he can’t achieve them if he doesn’t state those goals that stop the pressure (terror).
Let’s pay attention to objective facts, or at least theoretical arguments, on their own merits. All too often in political debates, too many people inevitably mention the Nazis as an example of whatever point they are trying to prove (whether it’s relevant to World War Two or not). I’ve never understood the obsession with Nazis, and I find it harder to take a person’s argument seriously when they start relying on that old stand-by.
Actively Recovering the Freedom to Think
This is not about defending Hitler (or Osama bin Laden), but defusing and disarming the Left, which likes to use their vision of Hitler as a political weapon in the way Hartmann does in her article. Trivializing the Left’s “anti-pantheon” of “illiberal” bogeymen denies them an important part of their arsenal. By going “on the offensive” when they whip out Hitler’s name in an attempt to intimidate their opponents, I hope to make that particular weapon useless to them by pointing out by example the way for others to take all the fear out of the weapon. If people are no longer afraid to be called “Hitleresque” or “Taliban,” and instead laugh at the charge for the foolishness that it is, the liberals are left powerless. It’s actually an entertaining process to watch, as it catches the Left off-guard—it horrifies them that you could be so “insensitive.”
Some people on the squishy Right, though, distrust this confrontational stance. They have limits to how far they are willing to let their world be turned upside down. Most people today have been immersed in an environment, day and night, that is very liberal, and that affects people in ways they can’t even consciously recognize. To have someone come along and challenge that worldview that the “agents of socialization” in this country—media, schools, family, and peers—have ingrained is too difficult for some to bear. It’s hard to be told that everything you ever learned in the mainstream is wrong, that the “good guys” are really the “bad guys” and vice versa. Lots of people accept it only to certain degrees, which is why I think we have seen so many, like the famed Freepers, who “only go so far.”
To truly break free of the conditioning that this despicable System has subjected us to, it is necessary to take our critique all the way, right to the heart of the scariest taboos that no one is ever supposed to face. There’s a very good reason why taboos are made by “the powers that be.” It is within those areas that the heart of their power lay, as well as their greatest weakness, that their “Achilles Heel” is located. That’s why the System is so unforgiving when it comes to those who tread upon those forbidden and untouchable topics; they don’t want us to come too close for their comfort.
As long as you accept the media’s or the Establishment’s premises and phraseology as true, then you are a lost cause, forever trapped in the playpen that the elite has constructed for conservatives. It’s time to start thinking outside the box. Hopefully, one day, columns like Hartmann’s will be laughed off.