Showing posts with label kevin d. williamson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kevin d. williamson. Show all posts

Monday, August 24, 2015

THAT'S NOT FUNNY, THAT'S SATAN!

There are a couple of quasi-Trumpers at National Review, but by and large they are embarrassed by him, which they naturally express with belligerent stupidity. (Here for example is Kevin D. Williamson, in a column called "National Fronts," tying the rightist-racist parties of Europe to Trump -- and Bernie Sanders, because National Socialist get it; plus, Sanders is racist against Mexicans because he complained the Koch Brothers want "all kinds of people" to "work for $2 and $3" -- which is the kind of stretch that, had it been employed by a black person as evidence of racism, would have spurred a National Review special double issue.)

Why embarrassed? Well, there's an election coming up, and when this whole Trump thing blows over they'll want the voters to remember that National Review supported sensible conservatism, such as that championed by their author David French. For example:


Not even kidding. (Actually, before they changed it the teaser read "Satanists Reveal the Abortion Movement's Rotten Core." See, they do too have editors!) Let's read a bit:
One story is interesting, two stories even more so. But six stories are a trend, in this case a particularly appropriate one: Satanists are become a leading public voice for abortion rights. In their mockery of Christianity they reveal the dark heart of abortion-on-demand: the radical worship of self.
You laugh, but I predict that "radical worship of self" thing gets a big cheer for some 5 pm speaker at the GOP Convention next year.

And what are these six Satanic stories? One, Wendy Davis supporters mocked some holy rollers with "Hail Satan." Satan and mockery -- that's SatanAlinsky! Then the Satanists cheekily filed suit against some anti-abortion laws... wait a minute -- are these all jokes French is complaining about?
And many on the Left gleefully passed around a Salon article declaring that a Satanic Temple spokesperson took Megyn Kelly “to law school” in an appearance over the Temple’s desire to place a statue of Baphomet at the Oklahoma state capitol.
Never mind Salon, that gag got coverage everywhere from Boing Boing to Bloomberg. The only thing worse than a joke about Satan is a popular joke about Satan, apparently. And oh wait, here comes a good one:
With the release of the Planned Parenthood videos, abortion sympathizers are upping their Satanic game. At a Chicago Planned Parenthood protest, speakers apparently located inside the clinic broadcast “horror music” at pro-life advocates in an effort to drown them out.
Horror music leads to Satan just like show tunes make you gay. Eventually French is reduced to sputtering:
[Satanists] also declare that man is “just another animal.” It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate set of doctrines for the rutting life of the sexual revolution, where restraint is evil, physical experience is king, and people are simply sentient mammals trying to get the best out of life. A baby is thus no more sacred — and often less — than any other animal. Just ask Cecil the Lion.
Cecil the Lion! Maybe I've been getting them all wrong, and National Review stories are all basically drinking games.

In some ways this is the best part:
While the vast, vast majority of abortion-rights supporters don’t identify with Satanists and would recoil from comparison with the Church of Satan, prominent Satanist involvement in the abortion debate does have a clarifying effect.
This is being said by the same guy who a few months ago was telling us why his love of the Confederate flag doesn't mean he's racist.

Maybe they should embrace Trump. It's their best hope of going mainstream.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE BARREL HAS NO BOTTOM.

Among the National Review new breed Kevin D. Williamson and Charles C.W. Cooke are pretty far out there, but don't sleep on David French, who despite lacking his colleagues' hipsterish affectations (peculiar hair balance, two middle initials) is more than a match for them twaddle-wise and seems to drift further from earth's orbit with each passing column. The title of his latest:
Are Encounters with the Police Really More Dangerous for Black Men?
If you guessed "Nah, son!" you've been paying attention. French starts with a story about how as a lad he himself was roughed up by the constabulary, but generously offers further evidence:
The results so far for 2015 show much higher numbers of police killings than previous FBI reports. They also, at first glance, seem to prove the #BlackLivesMatter thesis that police target black men. 
As of July 27, the Guardian claims, American police have killed 657 people in 2015. The large majority, 492, were armed. Some 316 victims were white, 172 black, and 96 Hispanic. (The rest were of other or unknown ethnicities.) Whites constitute a majority of the population, however, and police kill black Americans at a greater rate than whites — with 4.12 black victims per million versus 1.59 white victims per million. 
So case closed, right? Not so fast. Comparing police shootings by race with crime statistics by race tells an entirely different story: It may in fact be the case that white Americans are ever-so-slightly more likely than blacks to die in any given encounter with a police officer. After all, blacks commit homicide at eight times the combined white/Hispanic rate, and, despite their constituting roughly 13 percent of the population, represent a majority of homicide and robbery arrests. Indeed, the disproportionate share of arrests exists across all categories of violent crime — at a rate that often exceeds the racial difference in police shootings. Thus, blacks are seriously overrepresented in the most dangerous police encounters of all — encounters with violent suspects.
Go ahead, read it again. He really is saying it: That while in raw numbers blacks do get killed by cops more often than whites, you have to grade on the curve because blacks are so criminal.

The rest is also gibberish, though some of it is prime:
It’s just sheer fiction that white men enjoy some sort of shield of immunity, engaging in disrespect and defiance at will. After all, police kill white men almost twice per day.
This is where I'm supposed to lament how far National Review has fallen, but except for its arts and letters coverage it always sucked; all that's interesting about the new Review is that they've found people who are willing to say absolutely anything to keep their jobs.

UPDATE. Comments are as ever prime, and include a link to a few good explanations, as if they were needed, as to why French is full of shit: montag2 offers Jacobin's "The Making of the American Police State"; Robert M. offers, in response to an industrious troll, the insight that French's "principal error is conflating 'encounters with police' with the incidence of crime, and the incidence of crime with arrest rates" -- assuming, perhaps over-generously, that this was not deliberate.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CONSERVATIVE OUTREACH TO CONSERVATIVES IS GOING GREAT.

Normally I don't talk about the comments sections associated with my subjects, on the proven theory that comments sections are generally awful (not alicublog's, though! Feel free to weigh in!). But I'll make an exception for this post by Andrew Klavan at PJ Media. Klavan, as regular readers of alicublog know, is a culture warrior of the worser sort who gets the brethren to laugh (or at least to go nnnnggh while filleting a Barbie doll named Lena with a Bowie knife) by comparing Democrats to rapists, etc. In this new thing, though, Klavan tells his readers that the hate-fest represented by (I never tire of saying this) Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a losing bet. He's taken the conciliator role before, telling the guys in 2014 they should go easy on gay marriage outrage lest liberals win the debate "by a flagrant and self-serving display of compassion." But now he sounds a little stressed about it. First he quotes Star Wars:
“Fear is the path to the dark side,” said Yoda. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Then he preaches sweet reason:
You want to win back your country? Here’s how. Fear nothing. Hate no one. Stick to principles. Unchecked borders are dangerous not because Mexicans are evil but because evil thrives when good men don’t stand guard...
These things are true. They’re true for white people and black people, male people and female people, straight people and gay people. We should support the smartest, most proven, most statesmanlike candidate who best represents those principles. And we should do it out of — dare I say the word? — love. Love for our neighbors, our fellow citizens, white and black, male and female, straight and gay.
Straight and gay? Forbid it almighty God! Commenters descend like locusts on Klavan -- and that RINO bastard Yoda:
Why would I want to take advice from some pipsqueak who didn't see that his Jedi Council was being manipulated by evil into doing evil things in the name of order, until it was much too late?... 
...Yoda's wrong. Frustration leads to anger. I'm not afraid of these lying SOB's at all...
Also:
Klavan must have downed a couple of his elitist pills before penning this attack on conservative Americans... 
Just like the writers at National Review and Republican politicians, PJ Media writers, like Andrew Klavan want to be loved by their liberal friends... 
We don't need to be lectured about things we already know, pal. Out here in what you seem to believe is the backwater idiocracy between Hollywood and DC, we know precisely what Trump is and what he is doing... You and your peers, on the other hand, seem to have let your girlish social ambitions swirl away at your brains. This sort of article isn't about us: it's about you. It's about your preening egos and need to be seen as a certain type of (frankly, faux) conservative who can be accepted in certain circles [nnnngh etc.]... 
I am tired of people like Klavan and others calling us idiots for disagreeing with them. I am done reading Klavan and Goldberg. If I wanted to be insulted I could go to some liberal site...
The more optimistic of you may be thinking, ha, their Frankenstein's Monster has turned on them! It's tempting to think so, as the Trump phenomenon has become such an obvious embarrassment to the GOP that conservatives are trying to portray Trump as a liberal and his candidacy as good news for Republicans.

But the monster hasn't turned on them, quite -- the brethren are just lumbering around with increasing agitation, as they tend to do in that aimless period between the beginning of a Presidential campaign and the nomination of some douche of whom it can at least be said that he's not a libtard. Other conservative pundits are finding ways to occupy their attention so they won't turn on them -- which perhaps explains the latest Planned Parenthood attack, as it gives their more excitable columnists like Kevin D. Williamson an opportunity to really lay the outrage on thick ("the people who run Planned Parenthood are crooks," "President Barack Obama... is neck-deep in blood," nnngh, etc.). After a few days of that, the punters are spent and ready for a lie-down until it's time to repeat the process with #Benghazi or whatever else turns up on the Wheel of Fortune.

So they haven't lost control yet. But I'll be interested to see how many of their followers will be left after a few more rounds like this one.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

SILENT UPON PEAK WINGNUT IN DERP-IEN.

Kevin D. Williamson says you lieberals are Ikea-racist:
The curious task of the American Left is to eliminate “white privilege” by forcing people to adopt Nordic social arrangements at gunpoint.
("At gunpoint" is apparently Williamson's term for something lawful he doesn't approve of -- e.g. "people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them" -- you know, kind of like when you were mad at your Mom and called her Hitler.)
Progressives have a longstanding love affair with the nations of northern Europe, which are, or in some cases were until the day before yesterday, ethnically homogeneous, overwhelmingly white, hostile to immigration, nationalistic, and frankly racist in much of their domestic policy. 
In this the so-called progressives are joined, as they traditionally have been, by brutish white supremacists and knuckle-dragging anti-Semites, who believe that they discern within the Nordic peoples the last remnant of white European purity and who frequently adopt Nordic icons and myths, incorporating them into an oddball cult of whiteness. American progressivism is a cult of whiteness, too: It imagines re-creating Danish society in Los Angeles, which is not full of Danish people, ascribing to Scandinavian social policies certain mystical tendencies that render them universal in their applicability.

Call it “Nordic Exceptionalism.” 
The Left occasionally indulges in bouts of romantic exoticism — its pin-ups have included Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Mao Zedong; we might even count Benito Mussolini, “that admirable Italian gentleman” who would not have been counted sufficiently white to join Franklin Roosevelt’s country club — but the welfare states that progressives dream about are the whitest ones: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc. The significance of this never quite seems to occur to progressives. When it is suggested that the central-planning, welfare-statist policies that they favor are bound to produce results familiar to the unhappy residents of, e.g., Cuba, Venezuela, or Bolivia — privation, chaos, repression, political violence — American progressives reliably reply: “No, no, we don’t want that kind of socialism. We want socialism like they have it in Finland.” 
Translation: “We want white socialism, not brown socialism!”...
You'll notice I haven't been inserting comments on this as I usually do. That's because I don't know what to say. I've just been sitting here slack-jawed, marveling at the insanity of the thing. To suggest that liberals champion social-welfare ideas from Scandinavia because they don't want to be associated with unpopular South and Central American dictatorships is just a more advanced version of their usual slurs -- but to add that this makes liberals white supremacists is so crazy that I'm convinced I was right about these guys and they've lost their collective minds.

And I haven't even got to the really hot parts:
When Barack Obama wants some solar-energy subsidies to pay off his crony-capitalist backers, he doesn’t rebuke the Canadians, but those damned dirty brown people in the Middle East. (Middle Eastern people seem destined to take the eternal brunt of American economic stupidity: It used to be the scheming Jewish bankers, now it’s the nefarious awful Arabs who want to sell us crude oil that we need at market prices.)
Who is this written for? Whom is it meant to convince? It's impossible to imagine anyone who isn't already infected reading it and saying, "He's right -- universal health care is racist!"

UPDATE. Comments are a joy. I appreciate the contributors who sought to characterize Williamson's very-fabric-of-space-and-time-rupturing stupid ("the HyperDerp" -- derelict; "a fragmentation grenade of stupid" -- Al Swearingen), but I must give a special No-Prize to LookWhosInTheFreezer for this:
Shorter Williamson: You liberals all wanna turn America into Denmark, we conservatives want to turn it into Somalia. Now who's the real racist?!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'LL TAKE IT.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the sudden consensus on the Confederate battle flag. For one thing, since the ball really got rolling there appears to be practically no one left on the sidelines to claim that the neo-Confederates are being oppressed. Usually these days, when someone points out outrageous beliefs -- or even just promotes non-outrageous beliefs of his own -- the counter-strategy is to claim oppression. Schoolbook writers wish to inform AP U.S. History students that antebellum slaveholders believed in white supremacy? "Orwellian," says Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal. Want to see more minority writers? Then you want to "crack down on the number of Fitzgeralds or Faulkners or Cormac McCarthys," says Ian Tuttle at National Review (because literature is a zero-sum game). Don't want public money used to pay for privatized schools? You're George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door, howls NR's Kevin D. Williamson! Conservatives have become the nation's biggest drama queens, yet scores of them are abandoning the Lost Cause and not even crying Boot Human Face Forever about it. That's impressive!

Well, not all of them. "Behold the Cultural Power of the Left," wails Rich Lowry at National Review:
On the Confederate battle flag, we are once again witnessing the sheer cultural power of the Left: take an irrelevancy (or at the very least a sideshow), make it the central, all-consuming issue, move the debate with astonishing speed, and then, after achieving the initial victory (in this case, removing the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol), demand yet more (now Wal-Mart and other retailers aren’t going to sell Confederate-flag paraphernalia and there will be a broader assault on anything associated with the Confederacy). This is the grinding wheel of the Left’s cultural war in action.
Sarah Palin gave him starbursts, but Nikki Haley has left Lowry limp. Now, I know Haley's just made a calculation here to sacrifice this many goobers for this much national cred. And I suspect, as the tide turned, Republicans both Southron and otherwise looked on the bright side and saw the big upside in severing the Party's connection to this symbol of Treason in Defense of Slavery. (Some of 'em are even trying to pin the flag to Hillary Clinton!) But that's politics, kids -- the scumbags who rule us won't get their asses off the stove unless someone turns on the heat. And now a significant number of citizens won't have to explain to their kids why their town tells them every day that they would put them in irons if they could, at least by that medium. Let us enjoy the moment.

UPDATE. Jonah Goldberg makes everything worse!
I agree with you, of course, about the moral horror that was slavery. I basically agree with you about the ultimate issues at the heart of the war. I may or may not agree with you about the extent to which southern soldiers saw the war for what it was, but that’s probably as much a matter of my ignorance as anything.
No comment.
...As a matter of reason alone, the United States flag stood for “white supremacy” too, at least when looked at through the eyes of African slaves and Native Americans. But I think everyone here would agree that while that may have once been one of many arguable interpretations of the Stars and Stripes, it no longer is (though I have no doubt there are plenty of professors out there who would like to argue the U.S. flag still stands for white supremacy).
I wonder if Goldberg knows what flag the Union soldiers carried into Richmond, and which flew when Lincoln came and the city's freed slaves gathered to celebrate their emancipation?

UPDATE 2. How's this for a Forced March through the Institutions? Rand Paul is agin' the battle flag now! The same Rand Paul who just five short years ago was explaining that the Civil Rights Act is anti-freedom. I've heard politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is practically Man on Dog.

UPDATE 3. Now Mollie Hemingway is comparing taking down Confederate flags and statues with the Taliban blowing up Buddahs, bless her insane little heart.

UPDATE 4. "I’ve been getting the feeling over the past few days that the Left is trying to troll us into defending the Confederate flag, simply by way of the trivial, obnoxious, and gratuitously partisan way they’re campaigning against it." I wonder if Mollie Hemingway is miffed that Robert Tracinski apparently doesn't read her stuff. In short, Tracinski wants some of the traitor relics to come down, but because of "love," not for the eee-vil reason the Left (whoever that is) is asking for it -- that is, as part of their endless "chipping away at America’s culture and seeking to expunge the parts of its history that don’t suit their ends." For example:
I have no problem striking the name of Jefferson Davis from our roadways, but I wouldn’t entirely expunge Robert E. Lee, and here’s where I think the campaign smacks of totalitarian-style overreach, attempting to send inconvenient history down the memory hole.
Orwell! Drink!
Lee’s reputation is not as a tyrant or fanatic but as a good and honest man fighting for a bad cause. I think it’s worth honoring him here and there, just so we are reminded that this combination can in fact occur.
You can read here the testimony of one of Lee's slaves on Lee's goodness and honesty ("Gen. Lee, in the meantime, stood by, and frequently enjoined Williams to 'lay it on well,' an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine..."). Well, we all make mistakes; Lee probably had his slaves whipped but seldom, being so busy arranging to keep them in bondage through treason.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A CHANGE OF SCENE.

Hey look, Rod Dreher took a moment off from his endless war against the gays to address the Baltimore riots! His first instinct is to tell us the rioters have "lawlessness in their hearts," but list ye, sinners, for "the rest of us are destroying the basis for self-governance and order in our polis too." What can this mean? Later Dreher amplifies: He knows a religious school where they have a sexual assault problem, and the obvious reason is that society at large no longer adheres to "the concepts and the language of the Bible," which Biblelessness has apparently been transmitted atmospherically (you know, like Ebola!) to the religious school or something:
...the school’s leadership refuses to use the language or morality, or moral absolutes. It couches everything it says in the language of liberalism, which is to say, in consent and procedure...
Whereas previously the Holy Ghost wrote the disciplinary policies. This is also, per Dreher, why we don't have another MLK; I thought it was because we tend to shoot them. Inevitably:
This is why what is happening in Baltimore is linked to what is happening on Capitol Hill at the Supreme Court today. America in 2015 is a culture that defines the good as whatever the individual says it is.
Son of a gun, he brought it back home! Eventually, Dreher revisits:
It’s society’s fault. It always is. In this view, poor black people are always acted upon, and are never moral agents.
Also, Freddie Gray "was a layabout who had a bail bondsman the way other people have an auto mechanic," thugs, black fatherlessness, etc. -- why, it's as if Dreher remembered there were other people besides homosexuals for him to hate! He ends thus:
...we will get absolutely nowhere toward harmonizing our badly fractured communities if all we do is blame Somebody Else, or some abstraction — White People, Black People, History, Social Injustice — for our own sins and failings, both individual and collective.
If self-awareness were a virus, scientists could build a vaccine off Dreher's immunity.

UPDATE. Many alicublog commenters note the howling irony of Dreher complaining that a sexual assault policy is based on "consent and procedure." ("The language of 'consent and procedure' officially became the basis of our legal system in 1215," says Gromet. "Leave it to Dreher to find the High Middle Ages too liberal.") The lack of clarity among conservatives on the concept of consent is well documented, but it will always be worse with Brother Rod, an every-head-shall-bow-and-every-knee-shall-bend type who probably left Catholicism because they wouldn't let him into Opus Dei.

Kudos to Megalon: "You better watch it, America! The Rod From God is THIS CLOSE to opening a serious can of smite ass!"

Oh, and Dreher has a new Baltimore post up, basically a new entry in the Longest Way To Say 'They're Animals' Competition. And he cites Kevin D. Williamson as a moral authority! Here's an example of Williamson's writing on the riots:


Translation: All liberals are white (blacks are Mau-Maus or something) and they're all as scared of black people as I am.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE VIOLENT BEAR IT AWAY.

Kevin D. Williamson at National Review:


Believe it or not, the article is about charter schools. Liberals don't like them, and some of them say it's because they're a racket but the real reason is liberals are communist tyrants:
The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives.
Also liberals are George Wallace:
But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats.
And you know what else is CommieWallace?
It’s a funny old world when being “pro-choice” means that people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them. But that’s progressivism: a purportedly secular movement with a whole lot of “Thou Shalt” and “Thou Shalt Not.”
In rightwing world, some of the brethren endeavor to advance arguments to which outsiders (or at least credulous editors who wish to be considered even-handed) might respond. But there seem to be fewer of these all the time. Maybe it's because that particular budget is all eaten up by high-end, big-ticket pundits like George F. Will and Peggy Noonan; maybe organizations like National Review no longer believe the arguments can travel very far outside their own circles. Whatever the reason, Williamson represents the future of the movement: Not evangelists, but jeerleaders.

UPDATE. Speaking of which:


Well, at least it's a nice break from them calling him Hitler.

UPDATE 2. If it isn't out of keeping to mention the ostensible topic of Williamson's column, it appears charter schools aren't doing so hot:
Underscoring the risk to bondholders such as Nuveen Asset Management, two New York schools are set to shut at the end of this school year after their charters were revoked this month for academic shortcomings. The closings represent a default under terms of the $15 million bond deal that financed the land acquisition and construction of Brighter Choice’s middle schools for boys and girls, which opened in 2010 under the same roof. 
While charter schools are gaining popularity across the U.S. as an alternative to local systems, their default rate reached an all-time high last year of 5 percent of outstanding issues, according to a biannual study by the New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp. That’s up from 3.8 percent in 2012.
Look on the bright side, citizens --  you're not losing your money to a Big Gummint grift, you're losing it to an honest, privatized grift! (h/t Atrios)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

SILVER LINING.

This National Review article by Kevin D. Williamson is just another Oooh Scary Hillary piece of shit for the regular crowd, and for anyone else not worth reading -- to give you some idea, he compares her with Nixon and the Marquis de Sade. But I'll show you this much, just because it's nice to know....
President Clinton had a diabolical knack for turning his self-inflicted problems into referenda on the moral standing of his opponents, or of anybody who happened to be convenient for the purpose; thus the Monica Lewinsky scandal became a question not of the president’s venality in the Oval Office and elsewhere or of his consequent crimes — perjury, etc. — but a public trial of Kenneth Starr for the crime of being a buzzkill. Everybody — everybody, friend and foe — knew that President Clinton and his minions were lying about the matter, but the Democrats place an extraordinary value on cleverness: They are the party of the student council, and Bill Clinton has spent 50-odd years proving to the world that he is the cleverest boy at Hot Springs High School, and his admirers loved him not in spite of his gross opportunism and dishonesty but because of those very things. Finally, the Democrats rejoiced, a man who can show those Republicans for the unsophisticated, unclever fools that they are!
...that the great GOP Clusterfuck of '98-'99 left such a stink, even wingnuts who were little children at the time are still pissed about it. Why, I bet Williamson is at this moment on a phone-throwing rampage!

UPDATE. Over at TownHall, Kurt Schlichter calls Mrs. Clinton, "a Lovecraftian monster, the Cthulhu of American politics," and Bill Clinton "an elderly leech" -- I think he was going for "lech," but was too engorged with Clinton rage to proof his own copy. Jesus, the election is 20 months away and these hate-wankers have already shot their loads. Really, where's there to go from here? Maybe Hitler, but in wingnut discourse Obama is Hitler, so that's out. Perhaps they can get some of their Culture Warriors in the Comics Division to create a horrible intergalactic tyrant who's like a thousand Hitlers, and then compare her with that. Or they can just fill pages and screens with BITCH and WHORE; really, it wouldn't harm their meaning and would save time.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART FOUR.

(Here's the fourth and last installment of a year-end bottom-ten of the lowlights of 2014, culled from my archives and elsewhere. See also Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. Read 'em and weep!)


2. Germ warfare. It seems like so long ago, doesn’t it, when a fatal case of Ebola in Dallas was portrayed as the harbinger of nationwide plague and doom. Yet it was only October when Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan succumbed, and besides him in the U.S. the virus has claimed… one life. This shouldn’t seem surprising, because this country has the illustrious Centers for Disease Control and thousands of dedicated scientists and epidemiologists with whom to fight Ebola. It also has wingnuts, alas, who did their best impersonation of a hayseed trying to keep a doctor from practicing his witchcraft on a young’un.

Listen here, they said, CDC’s just Big Gummint, and so-called “scientists” and epi-whatchamacallits are just a bunch of pointy-heads trying to get more o’ that Big Gummint money for their global-warming hoax, and fer t’ help out the coloreds in Africa! Besides, Obama’s in charge, so natchurly everything’s gotta be a disaster!

When CDC declined to seal America’s borders, citing the best science, conservatives declared this was part of Obama’s one-world agenda to unite the globe in disease and misery. (Heather Mac Donald of City Journal actually claimed the “public-health establishment” wouldn’t quarantine other countries because it was “awash in social-justice ideology” and “influenced as much by belief in America’s responsibility for the postcolonial oppression of Africa, and suspicion of American border enforcement, as it is by a commitment to public-health principles of containment and control.”) They ramped up their own custom science: Rand Paul told us you could get Ebola from being in the same room as an Ebola person. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, whose degree is not in medicine, wondered aloud “if this strain of Ebola is easier to catch than we think.”

At the Washington Free Beacon Matthew Continetti actually wrote a column called “The Case for Panic… Incompetent government + corrupt elite = disaster.” Everyone knows you can’t trust Big Gummint, said Continetti, so if they say don’t panic, you should panic! It’s just logic! Plus the only reason Obama wasn’t quarantining everybody was that “doing so would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate.”

Reliable everything-worsener Jonah Goldberg found a frame of reference for Ebola... in a disaster movie that showed millions of Americans dying. “We now have our own version of Contagion playing out in real time,” burbled Goldberg. Scientists couldn’t save us — “they keep telling us they know what can’t happen right up until the moment it happens,” shivered Goldberg. Time for pitchforks and witch-trials!

And of course there was the usual bullshit from Jim Hoft.

As fear started to subside, some of the brethren began whistling and trying to look innocent (“The Only Ebola Panic Is Being Caused by Doctors and Nurses” — Tim Cavanaugh, National Review). News cycles being what they are, people have probably already forgotten that a bunch of conservatives actually tried to promote a national panic during a medical crisis. But maybe by now they've done enough pants-wetting over Saddam Hussein, ISIS, and other alleged world-destroyers that their fellow citizens will at least begin to form an appropriate character judgment.


1. Cons, cops, and the end of the “libertarian moment." After eight years of big-government projects such as unfunded foreign wars and Medicare Part D under George W. Bush, conservatives took advantage of the Obama era to play at being anti-government again. The Tea Party, with its molon-labe watering-the-tree-of-liberty lingo, was the most visible example (hey, whatever happened to them?); some public officials even played with nullification of federal laws. The more intellectual of the brethren were pleased to call this flavor of conservatism “libertarian” for, though it does not promise freedom for all (women who want to get an abortion are excluded, for example), it does promote hostility to government, which has served the conservative movement well since the days of Reagan.

This theme reached a sort of climax in April at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, where an old white rancher refused to pay his legally-owed user fees and, surrounded by armed supporters, defied federal authorities’ right to collect his property in restitution. Bundy was celebrated not just by survivalist nuts, but also by elected officials such as Rick Perry and Ted Cruz, and by mainstream pundits such as National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson, who wrote, in an essay called “The Case for a Little Sedition,” “Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition…” Lest his neckless readers accuse him of siding with a half-naked fakir, Williamson also compared Bundy to the Founding Fathers, not to mention the architects of the previous year’s government shutdown, in which “every one of the veterans and cheesed-off citizens who disregarded President Obama’s political theater and pushed aside his barricades was a law-breaker, too — and bless them for being that.” Moving barricades, pointing rifles at federal agents — same diff!

Power Line’s John Hinderaker cheered as “PHOTO OF THE YEAR” a picture of "Bundy supporters, on horseback and, I assume, armed,” telling “federal agents that they were surrounded and had better give back the cattle they had confiscated”; later, Hinderaker explained “WHY YOU SHOULD BE SYMPATHETIC TOWARD CLIVEN BUNDY” (basically because “you” share his typical rightwing resentments — “[The Bundys] don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps” — and disapprove any law, or enforcement thereof, that discomfits rich wingnuts).

Most of these rebellion joy-poppers sidled away from Bundy when he made some peculiar racial remarks — which is ironic, as conservatives next got to display their libertarian cred when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed in confrontations with police, and black people and their allies started complaining about the suspicious circumstances, the lack of arrests, and the regularity with which this sort of thing seemed to happen.

At first some of the brethren agreed that this, too, required a Bundy-style show of solidarity; National Review even ran a story called “It’s Time for Conservatives to Stop Defending Police.” At the Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney said that, though there had been "guffaws" from "many liberals and a few conservatives" when the New York Times Magazine earlier that month suggested a new "libertarian moment" was upon us, the Ferguson case had brought needed attention to the growing militarization of police in the United States, and he expected a consensus across ideological lines against this "insane armament." He added:
There's another problem in Ferguson that calls up some wisdom shared by libertarians and conservatives: When you consider the police shooting of Michael Brown, the riots that followed, the crackdown in response, and the heightened protests after that, the whole situation between the town and the police was one of Us vs. Them.
But the part these guys never got is that the protest over the killings had something to do with the troubled relationship between black Americans and the cops. Indeed, they probably can't get this, because for conservatives racism only exists in its reverse variety, engaged in by "race pimps."

Some of the brethren, reluctant to lose their libertarian props, looked for ways around this issue: many blamed the cigarette tax law Garner was allegedly evading (Big Gummint strikes again!) rather than racism or police overreaction.

The waves of protesters who rose in the wake of these deaths did not see it that way; when some nut killed two NYPD officers, even such expedients as this were abandoned. Most conservatives raged that the protesters, a small segment of whom had called for killing cops, were all “anti-police” and thus to blame for the murders — as was Mayor de Blasio, because he told his black son to be careful around police — and that America must now coalesce behind its Blue Knights and cease to complain about their tactics.

In this they agreed with the NYPD union leadership, with whose apparent encouragement City cops have affected a reverse ticket blitz, reducing their quality-of-life enforcement. National Review's Ian Tuttle applauded -- "when your mayor takes advice from Al Sharpton... it is hard to blame officers who might try to minimize the protecting and serving they have to do." Yes, a writer for a prominent conservative publication was cheering a municipal union work slowdown -- which should give you some idea of how important this was to the brethren. The meaning of "Us vs. Them" was becoming clear.

After a few feints at a personal-responsibility argument that the guy to blame for the murder was actually the murderer, not the protesters, Williamson, that friend of Bundy's "little sedition," got with the program — “The mobs in New York, Ferguson, and elsewhere are not calling for metaphorical murders of policemen, but literal ones,” he wrote, and proposed as a solution… more aggressive policing: “the reality is that what causes American murders is our national failure to adequately monitor, restrict, or rehabilitate violent offenders with sub-homicidal criminal careers…”

This particular libertarian moment, I think we can safely say, is over. especially with a Presidential election coming up.  But never fear: it wasn't the first such moment promoted, and won't be the last. Conservatives like to portray themselves as freedom-lovers when nothing’s on the line, but they know by instinct that their best shot when it's time to woo voters is straight, law-and-order authoritarianism. In fact, if the past fourteen years are any indication, it’s pretty much all they have to offer.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART ONE.

(Here's the first installment of a year-end bottom-ten of the lowlights of 2014, culled from my archives and elsewhere. Read 'em and weep!)



10. Dunhamania! Culture war, as we call the unpleasant ruckus that ensues when political obsessives blunder among the muses, had another big year, with conservatives shaking their fists at everything from opera to comic books. Rather than survey all these cases, let’s focus on the instructive example of the one cultural artifact that seems most reliably to excite them: That marketing phenomenon known as Lena Dunham.

Conservatives first developed a hard-on for the Girls auteur during the 2012 Presidential campaign, when she made a pro-Obama ad, and they have yet to detumesce. The brethren hate other entertainment professionals, of course, but Dunham pulls so many of their triggers — she’s liberal, she’s a tattooed hipster, she has the nerve to act sexy despite not having a nice build like Ann Coulter — that she has remained their #1 groovy hate fuck, the Jane Fonda of the Obama age, at whom they rage for her sexuality as well as her politics.

This reached critical mass late in the year when Dunham released a celebrity memoir containing (as tell-all tradition demands) salacious details, including the news that, when Dunham was seven, she looked inside her one-year-old sister Grace’s vagina and found she had stuffed pebbles in there. Truth Revolt reported that Dunham was seventeen years old at the time (later correcting this “typo”) under the headline “Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister.”

National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson dug in -- “Grace’s satisfaction with her prank suggest that Grace was expecting her older sister to go poking around in her genitals and inserted the pebbles in expectation of it… There is no non-horrific interpretation of this episode” -- even though he found the story “especially suspicious” — which just made it worse; imagine, lying in a celebrity memoir! When Dunham complained of this rough treatment — ensuring more press — the investigators of her celebrity memoir high-fived each other. “Lena Dunham is learning the power of the right,” gurgled Don Surber while strangling a pillow.

Then Breitbart.com investigated another Dunham story about a college Republican named Barry who took advantage of her, and found that -- get this! -- some details were not verifiable (“A longtime employee at the Oberlin library could not recall working with any student with a flamboyant mustache”). A guy from Dunham’s college claimed the memoir defamed him because his name is Barry, too. “Sue the bastards,” cried professional scold Rod Dreher. “That’s the only way they will learn. Make the publisher withdraw the whole damn book…” The publisher instead agreed to add “a disclaimer that explains that the Barry described by Dunham was not really named Barry” and pay court costs, per Fox News.

There followed much popping of rightwing corks. "LENA DUNHAM WALKS BACK FABRICATED RAPE CLAIM" unh-unh-unhed John Hinderaker at Power Line. RedState called Dunham part of a “Rape Accusation-Industrial Complex” of women who habitually lie about sexual assault in order to advance a “victimization narrative.” The American Spectator’s Ross Kaminsky went further, tying the case to what he called the “lie” that Michael Brown didn’t deserve to be gunned down, and declaring that the “true motivation” of “too many” feminists is “hatred of men.” Ann Coulter added that Dunham, like all women who disclosed sexual assault after an interval, was just “trying to get attention.”

Despite their best efforts, or perhaps partly due to them, Dunham remains on the best seller list — without resorting to bulk sales to think tanks, imagine that! — and in the celebrity pantheon. Conservatives, for their part, maintain their place at the wrong side of a peephole, banging on the fence with one hand and doing God knows what with the other. Between the sexual rage, the rolling-out of big guns to prosecute a flimsy piece of pop-art crap, and the ultimate, flaccid ineffectuality of their efforts, could there be a more perfect example of culture war?



9. The right comes out for income inequality. The term is relatively new to common discourse, and in years past was mainly engaged by wingnut think-tankers to explain why such a thing didn’t exist. But Piketty’s big book and Obama’s mention of income inequality in his 2014 State of the Union led lumpen conservatives to modify their argument to: income inequality doesn’t exist, and so what if it does.

When rich guys complained the poor were giving them stink-eye, conservatives rushed to comfort them the best way they knew how: By associating their opponents with Nazis. At the Wall Street Journal, venture capitalist Tom Peters compared resentment of the rich to Kristallnacht; in the same venue, Ruth R. Wisse asked, “Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them?” and answered yes, because anti-Semites often complain about wealthy Jews, which makes any complaint against American oligarchs, despite the impressive number of goyim among them, a veritable Blood Libel.

Daniel Henninger (also at WSJ — these guys know their audience!) suggested that Putin was getting belligerent because he “surely noticed” that “the nations of the civilized world have decided their most pressing concern is income inequality,” and were too busy coddling paupers to trouble with the Ukraine. Ace of Spades protested the real problem was “social inequality” — that is, the alleged contempt of Democrats for rich people who are rightwing and folksy, such as the Palins or the Duck Dynasty guys.

And forget about trying to level the field with a higher minimum wage — that’s socialism. If you asked why the current minimum wage isn't already socialism, the brighter bulbs would tell you, you’re right, it is — let’s get rid of it altogether! Libertarian Virginia Postrel wept over all the folks out there with multiple jobs — not because they had the work multiple jobs, but because “employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours. The minimum wage sets a legal floor.” The injustice of it! In fact, if you complained about getting your tiny wages ripped off by your boss, that too was socialism, or at least rather petty of you.

The simplest pro-inequality argument was advanced by Ben Domenech, who attributed any concerns over the ginormous 99%-1% gap to “jealousy… in real life, the money doesn’t stay in Scrooge McDuck’s vault, it goes into investments which pay more people to do more things.” Scrooge McDuck may someday build a condo, and you may get to clean its hallways, which along with your others job(s) may permit you to rent a hovel. Now stop complaining, anti-Richite!


8. Conservatives fall in love with Vladimir Putin. When Putin muscled Ukraine in March, very few conservatives called for the U.S. to intervene militarily. Nonetheless they blamed the Commander in Chief because, in the words of Rand Paul, he “hasn't projected enough strength and hasn't shown a priority to the national defense” — that is, he hadn’t rattled a saber that no one expected or wanted him to unsheathe.

But never mind those details -- the real issue for conservatives was less geopolitical than psychographic — rightwing pundits, however pencil-necked, worship butchness and reflexively attribute it to their heroes, such as former cheerleader George “he’s got two of ‘em” W. Bush, while portraying their opponents as sissies.

Judging from conservatives’ previous investigations of Obama’s wearing of mom jeans while pretend-shooting and bike-riding, not mention his unwillingness to punch down on the poor, clearly the President fits their definition of a sissy. But it’s hard to identify a domestic conservative with whose roughness they can creditably contrast Obama’s affect. Mike Huckabee? Newt Gingrich? Chris Christie, being a bully, might do, but he betrayed the brethren by accepting Federal help on Hurricane Sandy.

With such a weak bench, it was perhaps inevitable that conservatives would find a foreign dictator to embrace. Putin is ruthless, rugged, and hates homosexuals — really, their dream candidate if they could get the citizenship thing sorted. They’d been contrasting bare-chested manly man Putin with metrosexual Obama on flimsy pretexts for years (“IT LOOKS LIKE OBAMA IS PUTIN'S BITCH,” etc), but Ukraine really brought it out of them. They were especially fond of funny pictures, but employed wordcraft, too, e.g. “Putin Treating Obama Like Half a Fag.”

Putin received perhaps his most eminent conservative blessing from Sarah Palin, who sneered at Obama as “as one who wears Mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates” and sighed over Putin as “one who wrestles bears and drills for oil.” But the most grandiloquent paean may have been that of National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson, who found “value for us” — meaning for the American People, I guess — in “Putin’s confidence in his unabashedly thuggish means, the brutal fashion in which a modern state so unapologetically embraces the premodern mind to go after its critics… Putin speaks power to truth — an unpredictable, unapologetic brute force of nature.” Hanson did put in some mild admissions that Putin was not really a role model, in much the same way that the Shangri-Las told us their guy was good-bad, but he's not evil.

Months later, with the ruble crashing, Putin’s cowboy diplomacy doesn’t look like such a winner, and Obama’s restraint looks rather better. Since Kim Jong Un doesn’t look so hot with his shirt off, conservatives may have to wait for a coup to rekindle their dictator-love.

(More later.)


Monday, September 29, 2014

CONSERVATIVE (AND LIBERTARIAN) OUTREACH TO WOMEN IS GOING GREAT, CONT.

Last week I mentioned the  spate of  conservative complaints about Emma Watson's very measured feminist speech at the U.N., which apparently spoiled their bedtime Hermione fantasies. Since then, in Time magazine -- a major outlet of what was once called the Liberal Media, for reasons lost to history -- Cathy Young of Reason has delivered the libertarian response. Guess how that goes?
Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men
Until feminism recognizes discrimination against men, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.
Lots of weeping about "anti-male biases in the court system," and how if a woman beats up a man (as they frequently do) no one sympathizes, whereas if a guy beats up a chick everyone gets bent out of shape, etc. This pretty much comports with what libertarians usually say about women's rights. I wouldn't be surprised if folks started catching on at last that social issues don't mean as much to libertarians as the transfer of wealth from paupers to the deserving rich.

While his colleagues were raging at Watson, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review kicked it old school with a rant about Lena Dunham. the Brooklyn actress who started driving culture warriors crazy during the 2012 campaign, and whom, despite their protestations of disgust with her tattooed ass, they just cain't quit.

Dunham wrote a pamphlet for Planned Parenthood (or, in Williamson’s view, “a gang of abortion profiteers”) called “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too),” spurring his column-length sputter. Mostly it was about  how voting is stupid (“the most shallow gesture of citizenship there is”) because people with whom he disagrees get to do it (and are only doing so “as an act of self-gratification,” not to get candidates elected) and seem at present to outnumber him and his lunatic fringe. But Williamson managed to stuff unchivalrous comments about Dunham in there, too, and plenty of abortion ravings, including an assertion that women have abortions out of a “desire to fit nicely into a prom dress."  "FWIW, I've been dumping of democracy/voting fetishization for almost two decades," cheered Jonah Goldberg in response.

Later Williamson went on Twitter to tell people that women who had abortions should be hanged as murderers. The boy will go far.

Our favorite stray ladyragebit, though, is a line from Bryan Preston at PJ Media. Angered to learn that Alicia Keys was appearing naked for some social justice thing, Preston seethed, “She and the [New York] Times see this as ‘empowering.’ Is it empowering that an insanely successful woman and mother believes that getting naked before the entire world is the best way to draw attention to her cause? Or is it just plain old attention-whoring from her, and sucking up to leftwing celebrities from the New York Times?” Fucking bitches, with their whoring and sucking! 

“Yet here she is,” sneered Preston, “being all empowered. Naked, to push for gun control.” And now, his piece de resistance:
Try confronting an Islamist madman like this.
Message discipline is message discipline -- squads of headchoppers roam America's streets! Even in the midst of ladyrage, there's always time to pick on Muslims.