Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Republican Lies, Part 12,397

Just three for today...

Claim: "The left compared Bush to Hitler too!"
Rebuttal: Some did, sure but not to anything like the same extent or with the same visibility. Yes, a few bloggers and some people at protests made the comparison but no-one with national exposure did. Keith Olbermann didn't, nor did Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz and that's pretty much it for openly liberal TV hosts because that's about all of the openly liberal TV hosts. Also, the accusation just plain doesn't make sense. Fascism is on the extreme right of the political spectrum so while comparisons with Bush were vastly overblown (and vastly overrepresented in right-wing recollections), at least they were on the same side of politics (and the comparison with the Joker was even sillier, the Joker was an anarchist). Now, you could claim that those protesters carrying Bush=Hitler signs prove the equivelence but if that were true, then we could indict the whole Tea Party movement of racism on the grounds of the racist signs carried at rallies. Speaking of which...

Claim: "The Tea Party is so not racist!"
Rebuttal: I'm actually kinder than many liberals, I tend to assume that most of the Teabaggers (they chose the name, they don't get to unchoose it just because it's embarrassing) aren't racist. I think the vast majority of them are extreme-right nutjobs but that doesn't necessarily make them racist. However, the Teabaggers have to deal with the fact that there is a racist element to their coalition. The witch doctor posters, "Lyin' African", the fact that so many are also Birthers (and that really is just racism), these point to a vocal racist element among the Teabaggers. Contrary to Teabagger claims, these didn't come from liberal provoceteurs, most of them came from before stuff like crashtheteaparty existed (and that pretty much fizzled out anyway). Blaming this on liberals is just blame shifting. Do these people represent the whole of the Teabaggers? Probably not but the failure to disavow them speaks volumes about their willingness to trade principles for power (and yes, the same criticism can be levelled at many lefties). A lot of this is based upon the Republican canard that more Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act than Republicans. Which is true but wildly misleading. The fact is that prior to integration, the Republicans were the more liberal party and the champions of civil rights. As Republicans often point out, Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican during this period. However, what they leave out is that after Johnson forced integration, the majority of the racists left the Democratic party and moved first into George Wallace's segregationist American Independent party and, when that collapsed, into the Republican party.

Claim: "Fascism is on the left!"
Rebuttal: No, wrong, lie. This is a fantasy invented by Jonah Goldberg in his excremental book Liberal Fascism (which might as well be titled Everyone I Dislike Is Exactly The Same). That Goldberg had to rely on The Pink Swastika, a book no less revisionist than David Duke for his claim that Nazis had no problem with homosexuals says just about everything one needs to know about his scholarship. It's not difficult to confirm that the Nazis massacred gay people, they kept records. Sure, there were a few closeted gay people in the Nazi heirarchy but that's nothing unusual, there are plenty of closeted gays in the Republican heirarchy too. More to the point, Goldberg has to re-write the entire political spectrum to make his "argument" and confuse the aims of Communism with it's results. To start with, he pulls the assumption (seemingly straight from his ass) that moving to the left means more state control and moving to the right means less state control. This is flipping the entire political spectrum on it's head. The traditional spectrum assumes that the further you move to the left, the more you assume that people should be equal and the further you move to the right, the more you're ok with accepting inequalities. Now, we could have a reasonable discussion about how much state control should be involved in that but that's categorically not the same as "left=state power". In fact, that definition is unique to the USA. Further, Goldberg confuses the aims of Communism with it's results. Granted, the result of Communism in the USSR was state control of pretty much everything but the eventual aim of Communism was collectivist anarchy, the complete absence of a government. Again, this is not difficult to confirm, The Communist Manifesto outright says so. And while we're on the subject, Communism and socialism are not the same thing. Socialism is an economic theory about the distribution and ownership of the means of production. One can agree or disagree with that theory but it has bugger all to say about politics. Communism takes the economics of socialism and combines it with an anarchist political ideaology. No, the USSR didn't end up as a collectivist anarchy, nor did any other Communist state because Communism doesn't work. That doesn't change what they were aiming for. All Communists are also socialists but not all socialists are also Communists. Finally, on this subject, Goldberg makes a great fuss over praise for Mussolini and/or Hitler from a few (presumed) liberals such as Cole Porter. This is one of those cases where context is everything. Firstly, the reference to Mussolini in "You're The Tops" is actually from PG Wodehouse's revision, not from Porter's original. Secondly, and more importantly, in the early 1930s, there was a great fear that Communism would overtake Europe (much as the same was feared of Asia in the sixties). As the Fascists were explicitely and violently anti-Communist, some liberals looked upon them as a bulwark against Communism, a kind of "enemy of my enemy". While most didn't agree with the precepts of fascism, they viewed it as preferable to Communism and so, fascism became briefly fashionable among the educated class. Like virtually everyone else, they dropped any allegiance the second World War II broke out.

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