Saturday, October 30, 2004

So I keep looking at the Geraghty column at NRO. It really is apalling stuff.

Geragthy writes,
Suppose the U.S. and another country were in a trade dispute. The other country would want different policies, and thus would want the incumbent party out of power. So they would seize on any criticism from the challenging party, and use it for rhetorical purposes to strengthen their case both with their own population and in other countries. “Even the American challenging party says the incumbent leader’s policies are unfair and a failure.” No party wants to be seen as putting foreign interests ahead of their own citizens’ interests, so they have to be on guard that their arguments aren’t providing fodder for foreign powers with different interests than America.

Over the last three years or so, we have seen that concept obliterated. We’ve seen a truly unparalleled deluge of criticism of the president that well beyond policy differences. He is tarred as a war criminal, a fool, an idiot, a warmonger, a man who trades blood for oil, a mass murderer of innocent civilians, a stooge of sinister corporate interests, a puppet of Cheney, a terrorist himself, the anti-Christ, the second coming of Hitler, a slave to Ariel Sharon, an anti-Muslim hatemonger… and I’m sure I’ve left out plenty.

This rhetoric has been picked up by ... anti-American interests around the globe.
In passing, let me mention the double standard here. Nobody in the mainstream left called Bush a war criminal, a mass murderer, a terrorist, the anti-Christ and so on. Many on the mainstream left, including myself, have called Bush a fool, an idiot, and a stooge for corporate interests, considerably milder than the incendiary list Geraghty sites. By contrast, many on the mainstream right have referred to Kerry as treasonous, as someone who aided the enemy and hurt U.S. troops.

More important, though, is that Geraghty makes a prototypical fascist statement. Its not the first coming from the right. But if we agree that the statement {criticism of the govermnent is wrong because it helps the enemy} is fascist, its difficult to see how this is not a fascist argument.


At 2:24 PM, Blogger Julia said...

Mind you, I haven't read the whole article, just what you've excerpted, but what is specifically fascist? Is there something I'm not getting?


At 3:14 PM, Blogger alex said...

Geraghty is saying that the left is hurting America by criticizing Bush, as its arguments have been echoed by anti-American forces abroad. Its a variation of Zell Miller's RNC line that our nation is "made weaker due to the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."

Arguing that criticism of the government is bad because it helps our enemies is a fascist argument.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger alex said...

You're right: it was not clear from my quote of the article that he is arguing criticism of the president is hurting America. I pasted one more sentence to the beginning that makes his line of reasoning clearer.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Julia said...

Perhaps I'm particularly obtuse, but I'm still not getting it: why is arguing that criticism of the president is hurting America a fascist argument? What is your working definition of fascism, and how does it apply to this statement in particular?

At 10:57 AM, Blogger alex said...

As I wrote in the post, if you think that the statement {criticism of the govermnent is wrong because it helps the enemy} is fascist, then Geragthy's statement is fascist as well. That is, my working definition is that the conflation of criticism with treason implicit in the above statement is fascist. By contrast, if you think that {criticism of the govermnent is wrong because it helps the enemy} (and makes you undeserving to be called American) is a perfectly legitimate argument to make, you are unlikely to find anything wrong with Geragthy's statement.


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