So, the other night I’m browsing around and notice that some people seem to think Sarah Palin compared Obama to Hitler – er, advocated a Hitler/Obama comparison – well, twittered a link to an article by Thomas Sowell that mentions Nazis, Commies, and Obamis within the same virtual breath.
Since the accusers were the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Jewish Council, a bit of partisan overstatement isn’t surprising. Having read the article in question, I think any embarrassment on Palin’s part might be more in having linked to such a trite bit of op-ediana, not in any particular violation of a polemical taboo that these days is honored only in the breach.
Sowell starts off referring to Hitler in the same way that a teenager writing a first diary at DailyKos might: Indicting the sheeple for not paying enough attention to politics, just like all those German fools. He then strains so hard to bring in Lenin that you can almost hear a muscle tear – misapplying the term “useful idiots,” presumably because he thought the terminology might be useful in communicating with idiots. He proceeds to place Obama’s tactics to establish the BP $20 Billion escrow account on that famous formerly slippery slope to fascist Hell, while equating all those who disagree with his premise with the masses of idiots who, in his view, chiefly enabled Nazism and Communism.
I say “formerly slippery” because it’s my view that so many people have been trucking the slope out so much and for so long in contexts just like these on right and left that it’s completely dried out in the sun.
Sowell finally informs us that, “If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in constitutional government.” Some may feel that reaching this rhetorical end justifies whatever polemical means – defeating end-justifies-the-means being so worthy a goal. That kind of reasoning clearly animates Palin’s supporters at the NewsRealBlog and then at Conservatives4Palin. In the former piece (also published at the HotAir GreenRoom), Michael van der Galien completes the circle:
[C]onservatives are engaged in a political war with progressives. Too often conservative pundits and politicians think we should be ‘civilized’. We should not, because our enemies certainly are not either. When you are engaged in a war all that matters is that you win. If this means you have to fight dirty every now and then, so be it. The Left understands this, too many on the Right do not. Let Palin’s treatment at Stanislaus serve as a wake up call for those who still believe that manners matter.
Apparently, the Left’s end-justified means – progressive students going through the trash looking for dirt on Palin – justifies similar (or worse?) means in response. Apparently, van der Galien, and Conservatives4Palin’s Doug Brady “don’t believe in constitutional government” – though I suspect they believe they believe in Thomas Sowell, a favorite at C4P and, or course, a favorite of Gov. Mrs. Palin.
Needless to say, there’s no shortage of people on the Left, very probably many of those very students, who are operating on a parallel pretext. Here’s a comment on the recent Dave Weigel/WaPo kerfuffle that I happened to run across the other day – the immediate context being suspicions that it was Tucker Carlson at the Daily Caller who blew the whistle on Weigel’s anti-conservative trash talk:
Maybe we should try to work with these people, who are just out to destroy!
Republicans and their supporting interests have too much money on the line to play fair, I wish dems would learn that.
It’s a few comments down beneath the top post. But you can easily find the sentiment expressed sooner or later on busy comment threads all over the right and left and frequently at the pseudo-center even at places like Zombie Contentions… and everywhere else, too.
Now, if I were that teenager putting up my first-ever DailyKos diary, I’d crib the first couple of paragraphs from Sowell’s op-ed referring to people “who were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.” I would then go to that Conservative4Palin post, and point to the last two paragraphs, possibly beginning with the following sentences:
The Left is well aware of the fact that Governor Palin is the one individual with the platform, gravitas[!], and determination to effectively criticize Obama’s policies. While the other so-called leaders of the opposition cower in the shadows, terrified of criticizing The One for fear of alienating the mainstream media, Sarah Palin is working tenaciously on a daily basis to lead the fight against Obama’s determination to take us down the same fiscal path as Greece or, perhaps even more dire, California.
It ends here:
[I]t certainly would be helpful if other Republicans would man up and join the fight. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. They are far more concerned with their future prospects in the 2012 primary than something as trivial as the future of the country.
In the C4P blogger’s mind, apparently,the moderate leadership has sold out the country, but only the leader like no other can rescue us, leading the “war” that’s been forced on us by those evil ends-justified-meanies on the other side. If I had time and space, I might even point out that, in my young lefty progressive opinion, anyone who sees “gravitas” in St. Sarah is clearly dangerously out of his mind… That puts us right on the brutally dry slope to Naziland, doesn’t it? Insane idiots calling for war on the basis of made-up grievances and dark betrayals, gathering around their revered leader, normal human judgment left behind at some point long ago…
What means to avoid that dire fate couldn’t be justified, fellow young progressives? If it’s war they want…
Seems we’re all anti-fascist fascists these days.