Sarah Palin got in some hot water this week for suggesting the left’s rseponse to the Loughner shooting was a “blood libel.” Way back in the day, when Jews and Christians lived apart from one another in Europe, this was a popular myth of Jewish mendacity: that they engaged in ritual murder of Christians for their religious ceremonies. It was fueled by confusion, prejudice, and the theological view of Jews as the murderers of Jesus. More recently, it’s become a secular term to denote murdeous intent by one’s political and cultural enemies. It’s undoubtedly what was leveled at the conservative half of the country by the left in the wake of Arizona’s shooting. The self-righteous rage at Palin reflects the various ways she is hated as a symbol of this half of the country. It also reflects another important phenomenon: the self-righteous view by the mostly leftist Jewish minority that no one can ever make an analogy to Jewish suffering without also agreeing with broader, mostly left-of-center Jewish views, and that to make such analogies is an act of hateful anti-semitism.
Paul Krugman, however, has upped the ante. After his earlier, divorced-from-facts attacks on the right, he has now suggested that those critical of the federal government’s various unconstitutional welfare programs are engaged in “eliminationist” rhetoric. That’s an interesting term. It finds its origins in the propagandistic book Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen. Goldhagen is an historian who penned a controversial and largely discredited thesis that the Germans of the Holocaust mass murdered Jews after embracing an “eliminiationist” paradigm, and that this view was widely embraced by Germans at every level of society. While short on facts and analysis–after all, why did the Germans hide the Holocaust if it was a logical outgrowth of majority views–the book was popular and reached a mass audience. Krugman’s defamatory slur is doubly troublesome, as it conflates the rhetoric that would eliminate welfare or national health care with the kind that would eliminate millions of people. Details, details.
The left and right undoubtedly do not like one another in this country and have different values. However, it is the left that appears more unhinged, at least in its mainstream. While we have our share of fringe elements concerned about the Trilateral Commission and Obama’s birth certificate, it is the mainstream Democratic Party that invited Michael Moore to their annual convention in 2004. It is they who responded to this attack with venomous rage before a single fact connected this mentally ill shooter to any political faction at all. And now it is Krugman–not Sarah Palin–who has tried to connect his opponents with murderous, Nazi antisemitism.
I’m not sure if anyone else has picked up on this inflammatory usage of his. In any case, he is a fool, and the left, in their hate, are projecting their own hostile and homicidal feelings on the right, whose Tea Party rhetoric and appeals to the Constitution are almost completely nonviolent.
Indeed, the left’s habitual violence, far from being condemned, is embraced at the highest levels. While his campaign and Tuscon speech were largely conciliatory, Barack Obama began his political career in the living room of a former Weather Underground terrorist, Bill Ayers. The Weathermen, as they were also called, were notorious bombers, cop-killers, and all around bad people. Angela Davis, a California professor, was involved in a communist murder plot in the mid 1970s; today, she’s honored as an esteemed academic. By contrast, no one in the mainstream right rallied around Tim McVeigh (undoubtedly a right-wing, if extreme terrorist), nor Eric Rudolph, nor other violent extremists of the right. Such extremism, incidentally, is a feature of any political movement. The question is how such extremists are dealt with and treated by the mainstream leadership. Here the left has failed, where the right has largely behaved responsibly. But the left appears to be engaging on a wide scale in what psychologists call “projecting”: that is, imagining their opponents to have their own worst traits.
Let’s not forget, it’s the left that romanticizes Che Guevara and makes excuses for the dictatorship he served; is it any wonder they assume all their political opponents want to kill and destroy as much as they do.
Read Full Post »