Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The National Review bears false witness against itself*

During the 2004 presidential campaign, MoveOn.org ran a web contest inviting amateurs to create anti-George W. Bush ads. Of the many they received, two compared Bush to Hitler. The ads weren't produced by Move On and, as soon as they were pointed out, they were removed from the web site. To this day, however, conservatives continue to claim Move On compared Bush to Hitler.

To be honest, there were numerous lefties at anti-war rallies who compared Bush to Hitler. On the other hand, there were probably as many people dressed as psychedelic Uncle Sams wearing signs warning about Mayan eschatological prophecies as there were Bush=Hitler protesters, so I never took those people too seriously. It's the same reason I haven't made a big deal about all the Obama=Hitler folks at Tea Party rallies.



But, when Thomas Sowell writes an article in The National Review which compares Obama's deal with BP to set up an escrow account to Hitler's use of the Reichstag fire to suspend civil liberties, well, that's a whole different kettle of fish. And when a Republican congressman quotes that essay with admiration on the floor of the House, we're in full on crazy territory.

Remember what the writers of The National Review said about comparisons of Bush and Hitler? I do, and, if you don't, I've provided an incomplete list of their statements below. Once you've read those statements, drop a line to Review editor Rich Lowry (lowry@nationalreview.com) and ask him how he can justify Sowell's continued affiliation with the magazine after such an article. Because it's simple: Either the National Review writers were completely full of shit (which is possible) or Lowry will kick Sowell to the curb immediately.

And now a walk down Memory Lane:

Rich Lowry:
...the whole thing seemed, as far as I could tell, to be motivated by an incoherent and sputtering animus toward Bush.
Jonah Goldberg:
...in polite and supposedly sophisticated circles in America today it is acceptable to say George Bush is akin to a Nazi and that America is becoming Nazi-like. Indeed, in certain corners of the globe to disagree with this assertion is the more outlandish position than to agree with it.

[...]

I don't say this because I feel a passionate need to defend George Bush. I would make the exact same points if Al Gore were president. I would make the exact same points if anybody running for the Democratic nomination were president. This has nothing to do with partisanship. It has to do with the fact that such comparisons are slanderous to the United States and historical truth and amount to Holocaust denial. When you say that anything George Bush has done is akin to what Hitler did, you make the Holocaust into nothing more than an example of partisan excess.
Of course, the real irony here is that Goldberg wrote a book calling liberals fascists, complete with a cover illustration of a smiley face with a Hitler mustache. In other words, it's wrong to compare Bush to Hitler, but in Goldberg's mind, it's perfectly fine to say that people who support helmet laws are "informed by" "classical fascism." Nazism and liberalism, he said, are "related, they're in the same family, they share a lot of genetic traits, but they're not the same thing."

Also, the Tea Partiers have used Goldberg's own book as a sort of nutjob Rosetta Stone, believing they've deciphered the liberal plan. Despite his earlier statement, Goldberg has not stood up and made "the exact same points" against Nazi comparisons now that Obama is president.

Victor Davis Hanson:
So what gives with this crazy popular analogy—one that on a typical Internet Google search of “Bush” + “Hitler” yields about 1,350,000 matches?

One explanation is simply the ignorance of the icons of our popular culture.

[...]

The flood of the Hitler similes is also a sign of the extremism of the times. If there was an era when the extreme Right was more likely to slander a liberal as a communist than a leftist was to smear a conservative as a fascist, those days are long past. True, Bill Clinton brought the deductive haters out of the woodwork, but for all their cruel caricature, few compared him to a mass-murdering Mao or Stalin for his embrace of tax hikes and more government. “Slick Willie” was not quite “Adolf Hitler” or “Joseph Stalin.”

But something has gone terribly wrong with a mainstream Left that tolerates a climate where the next logical slur easily devolves into Hitlerian invective.
I just Googled "Obama" + "Hitler" and got 15,900,000 hits. Yes, it's a stupid and meaningless measurement, but it's the one V.D. used above. By his standard, that means rightwingers are 11.8 times as ignorant and extreme as lefties.

Daniel J. Flynn:
Rosenberg was hardly a lone nut in comparing George Bush to Hitler or by conjuring up visions of an administration welcoming the 9/11 attacks.

[...]

A truthful look at this weekend's protest confirms that the demonstrators should frighten people — even other opponents of a war in Iraq — here in America.
Byron York:
A staple of Bush-hating is the portrayal of the president as a Nazi. That has, of course, been a prominent part of other attacks against other presidents, but today it seems to be deployed with particular aggressiveness against Bush. There are thousands of references, across the vastness of the Internet, linking Bush to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
Deroy Murdock:
Few things divide more quickly than invoking the Nazis. Yet the Left repeatedly detonated this rhetorical A-bomb.
Stanley Kurtz:
Pervasive liberal vitriol against the president has convinced some Bush supporters that they are in danger. Anti-Bush signs and graffiti seem to be at least as common as pro-Kerry signs. The slogans range from "Bushit," to "Bush is a Stupid A** Moron," to bumper stickers that substitute Bush/Hitler or Bush/Satan for Bush/Cheney.
Bill Bennett:
portrayals of Bush as Adolf Hitler — as we saw and heard in the "human-rights" protests — betray an ignorance of liberty, an ignorance of right and wrong, an ignorance of commonsense.
Update: Radley Balko catches Sowell arguing with himself.

*The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core. -Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, 1963

2 Comments:

Anonymous Stuhlmann said...

I've never said that Bush was like Hitler. I've always thought that Bush was much more like Stalin.

3:29 AM  
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