The Dual Covenant Reaction (Ground Zero for Intolerance)

Observing my exasperation with some founding Zombie Contenders, and declining to accept my excuses for rudeness, a certain amphibious e-mailer asked me what, after all, I expected, considering that this blog was originally founded for refugees from “ground zero for intolerance.”

That phrase struck me as strange, since I had never thought of Contentions as a haven for intolerance.  The notion doesn’t, or shouldn’t, fit the profile:  The leftist origins of founding neoconservatives recall the historical Jewish affinity for social progressivism and the politics of solidarity.   Even without actively nurturing a guilty conscience toward an abandoned left-progressive project, even when reacting against conventional liberal and leftist politics, urban Jewish intellectuals in the rightwing coalition have referred by their mere presence to their pre-history, as one of its typical products.  There were and remain limitations on their influence, but a movement that made room for Norman Podhoretz and that strongly supported Israel would have little space left over for the “paleo-conservatism” of figures like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, who never completely separate from political anti-Semitism.

Distancing from “comprehensive immigration reform” politics, a hot button among nativists, seemed to confirm that the old Jewish progressive conscience was still at least somewhat operational.  More significantly regarding neo-conservatism’s central mission, tolerance/intolerance seemed secondary in relation to a foreign policy emphasis, while support for Israel and for American values could be viewed as progressive relative to the state of the world in general. A Rechtsstaat in Iraq is fundamentally more progressive than a Saddamstaat. Israel is fundamentally more progressive than any of the regional alternatives. Promotion of constitutional government based on universal human rights is more progressive in the broad sense of the term than support for authoritarian governments on the basis of Realpolitik.

But now there’s this – Jennifer Rubin reacting to the President’s public statement in support the Cordoba House/Park51 project:

Obama has shown his true sentiments now, after weeks of concealing them, on an issue of deep significance not only to the families and loved ones of 3,000 slaughtered Americans but also to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. He has once again revealed himself to be divorced from the values and concerns of his countrymen. He is entirely – and to many Americans, horridly — a creature of the left, with little ability to make moral distinctions. His sympathies for the Muslim World take precedence over those, such as they are, for his fellow citizens. This is nothing short of an abomination.

What I find abominable is indulgence in rhetoric so extreme that the writer must either be considered a coward for not forming a revolutionary cell (I’m assuming Rubin has not done so), or be considered a candidate for pharmacological intervention.

While tracking the conservative reaction on this issue, I’ve commented on Rubin’s language more than once in recent weeks. The excerpt above strikes me as not very far from this reaction from Pamela Geller to the same Obama statement (quoted at a blog linked by commenter miguel cervantes):

If you had any doubt who Obama stood with on 911, there can be no doubt in our minds now.

Gellar is an extreme case, but her paranoid, all-for-the-war-on-Islam style, is easy to find on sites all around the internet.  It’s often accompanied by ethnic/religious humor – creative exploration of ways to offend Muslims – eventually leading to the spectacle of supposedly sober-minded conservatives of Jewish background, like Jonah Goldberg, chortling about throwing pork in the faces of the Muslim k—s.  To my knowledge, no conservative opinion leader has yet sought to rebuke the extremists and fellow travelers:  Until further notice, all American conservatives still “own” such  rhetoric.  (I feel like putting up an updating “America’s Conservatives Held Hostage” graphic…)

Attacks on the patriotism and morality of the leftwing intelligentsia were always a stock in trade on the neo-conservative right, especially prior to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. 9/11 and War on Terror politics allowed for a re-escalation, but this response to Cordoba House/Park51, the uniform and unself-conscious opposition all across the American conservative spectrum from furthest right to centrist, suggests something qualitatively new.   Among conservative Christians, “dual covenant” doctrine, which affirms a special status for the Jews and urges Christians to support Israel, helped to solidify a political and religious-cultural coalition, under a worldview increasingly described in terms of “Judeo-Christianity.”  More than a generation after the political dual covenant coalition first formed under Ronald Reagan, Judeo-Christianity appears to be the foundation for a new culturally reactionary politics, defined in critical part by antagonism toward the third Abrahamic faith.

Maybe the “Ground Zero Mosque” frenzy is just a Summer fever that has already peaked, but, even if it fades away and is forgotten, it has exposed something, in Rubin’s phrase, “of deep significance,” something that was always present as potential – ready to break the surface after 9/11, allowed to do so in the form of military violence, but suppressed on a rhetorical level amidst the realities of political responsibility under the Bush Administration.

To me, “dual covenant” also implies “dual eschatology.”  The implications are something I intend to examine in future discussion.  They do not, for now, leave me in a mood to apologize for having hurt someone’s feelings a little bit in some thread exchange.

41 comments on “The Dual Covenant Reaction (Ground Zero for Intolerance)

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  1. CK/Among conservative Christians, “dual covenant” doctrine, which recognizes the status of the Jews’ and urges Christians to support Israel, helped to solidify a political and religious-cultural coalition, under a worldview increasingly described in terms of “Judeo-Christianity.”

    I’m aware of an older Conservative Christian “Doctrine” which predated the Paleo niche,I’m referring to the WFB Jr/NR constellation 1955-89. The major focus was Christian Values vs Communism,Nihilism,Atheism as expressed in the drama of the Cold War. The major figures of this era were besides Buckley,Malcom Muggeridge,Solzhenitsyn,Whittaker Chambers,James Burnham etc etc with its deeper tradition based on Augustine,Acquinas,moving forward through Newman,Burke,Smith,Locke,etc etc. WFB Firing Line was in its day,the most popular expression of this tradition,and it wasn’t at all propagandistic,Firing Line allowed the most brilliant opponents of the above tradition a full and respectful opportunity to present their opinions in excruciating detail. Firing Line was one of the most important parts of my education,it taught me to think,to debate,and to discern the tactics of conceptualization. It is exactly the virtues of the WFB,NR,Firing Line entity that is missing from NRO,Weekly Standard,Commentary,and other parts of the NEO-RIGHT today. I miss WFB,no one today,Left,Right,Center can match his ability to illuminate.

  2. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Can you imagine WFB lowering himself to, or countenancing, pork jokes? In my letters to (former) correspondents among his heirs, I’ve referred to this time as “The Summer that Conservatism Lost its Mind.” It’s been a slow motion mass auto-lobotomy, or maybe it’s the completion of a process that’s been under way for a long time.

    Buckley’s “dream walking” has turned into a nightmare on Main Street.

    I’m also thinking opposing Marxism, with its self-conscious scientism, its emphasis on intellectual coherence, enforced a kind of counter-discipline on the right. The collapse of Communism didn’t just deprive the Buckley right of an enemy, it deprived it of an intellectual organizing principle. What’s left over is the right at its worst, more and more what its enemies always said about it.

  3. “or maybe it’s the completion of a process that’s been under way for a long time.”

    I was attracted to the “process” after 9/11 when I was blogging with JPOD at the NYPost,and I observed some very rigid processing going on. I was familiar with NPOD’s “Conversion”,and I found his defense of the Vietnam War very informative,but hollow at the core. Paraphrasing his defense,The Vietnam War was a logical result of our Foreign Policy from Truman thru JFK,therfore,any argument against it was an argument against US Foreign Policy from 1945-1963 etc etc,a bit circular,but his Vietnam treatise was a work of Genius compared to his WW4 book. I followed JPOD to Contentions where the Depth of the “Process” was like a powerful magnet,and I had a great time there arguing with a range of Brilliant to demented contentionsistas,but the Contentions pundits themselves were awfully Insular,and then they recruited JRUB,as their HITMAN. They were smart in ending Comments on Contentions,we were eating them alive.

  4. support for Israel wasn’t what I found in contentions. I found total denial of any room for reasonable disagreement with any of the excesses in Israel’s actions and an utter refusal to comprehend that Israel was being opposed by human beings, not slavering fiendish caricatures.
    I have a deep loathing for the Iranian regime and Hezbollah and Hamas, but attempting to portray the mass of Palestinians and Lebanese people as other than enthusiastic supporters for genocide and butchery was not the mission at contentions and not acceptable to the bulk of contentions commenters.

  5. Fuster/

    For me,one of the Achilles Heels at Contentions was their Opinion that our current form of “Capitalism” is actually Capitalistic/Free Marketish,rather than the Financial,Governmental,Military Complex that that has forged this new format. In other words,we now have full blown Debtialism* which contrasted with functional Capitalism,is like Contrasting Superman to Bizarro.
    I agree with you that any “Open” discussion of Israel rather than the Party Line,was very bad form.

    *Let me give you an example. We are all aware that corporations have Cash “Reserves” equal to $1.3 Trillion,yet aren’t expanding with hiring/capital purchases etc. That’s because most of the cash is debt that not only has to be paid back.short term-long term,but zeros out the cash assets on the Balance sheet. So,without demand,it is entirely understable why they aren’t using their Cash,they have no cash,just debt,BTW,which,much of it, could be called if the Creditors get jitterly.

  6. @ Rex Caruthers:
    I say this without much pleasure, but I’ve been becoming convinced that the economic hollowing-out that you’ve tirelessly sought to document is one inescapable dimension and symptom of the completion, the already-pastness of the uniquely American mission in the world.

    In the Hegelian philosophy of world history, retiring “missionaries” don’t get an awards banquet and a gold watch or any thanks at all. They just get replaced, and it’s not typically a happy event, though it can be a very extended one. And there’s nothing individuals or observers who become aware of the process can do about it except hold on for the ride and, if so inclined, seek to understand it. Even if there was something to be done about it, fully understanding it would be impossible before it was too late anyway: “The owl of Minerva flies at dusk.”

  7. CK/”the already-pastness of the uniquely American mission in the world.

    But,the fascination is,of course,the Rough Beast we shall Morph into,and,the discussion is, were we Unique to anyone besides ourselves? We had a big roll out 1800-2000. But did the Pride/Energy that generated the Rollout become the Hybris/Calcification of the UniPower.
    See Blakes’ longer Poems,Four Zoas,Milton,Jeruselam for profound insight on these Epic Events.

  8. economic hollowing-out

    Here’s the point,Economics has to make sense,if it doesn’t,it’s not economics,it’s an agenda. Alsi,I do know where some,not all,the bodies are buried.

  9. Right, that’s why you pretended we were a bystander to the murder of Neda Sultan, and the stealing of the election of last year’s election.Ahmadinejad started out with simple kidnapping and move on to contract murder (of Quassemlou) Chavez was the FARC’s catspaw foreight years, before he chose to overthrow the government of Venezuela, supported by the Iranian and Libyan governments

    The intellectual corruptions that even suggests that a psychotic band of butchers like Hamas have any legitimacy, is something I didn’t expect to encounter here. Hizbut Tahir, is a ‘respected’
    front group for this Salafi Wahhabi infrastructure, which this imam
    seems to be neck deep in,

  10. comment #9 says that

    anyone who thinks that this mosque should be in New York commits the murder of Iranian girls and the disenfranchisement of nations, supports terrorism as governance for South America, has bad breath and breast feeds goats and gardeners because of incorrect readings of the Koran.

    therefore a witch.

  11. Fuster/”has bad breath and breast feeds goats and gardeners because of incorrect readings of the Koran.
    therefore a witch.

    I got this part,but thanks for the other.

  12. The debate from last fall, when we caught up with it, made more real by the opening of the Bushehr reactor, think of it as the first seal, of a whole series of catastrophies

  13. “Obama’s actions last summer and fall, were much like JFK in the twin crisis of the Freedom Riders”

    Ending Discrimination on Buses
    In 1960, a Supreme Court Decision ruled that segregation was illegal in bus stations that were open to interstate travel. Civil rights activists started taking Freedom Rides. This meant that black and white people, Freedom Riders, would travel around the South in buses to test if the new law worked. In some places, like Alabama, people would attack the Freedom Riders because they didn’t want to change. President Kennedy supported the Freedom Riders. By the fall of 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission further helped civil rights by saying all seating in interstate buses would be “without reference to race, color, or creed” and that all terminals would be integrated. This means that everyone can sit wherever they want on a bus even if they look different or believe in something other than what most people do

  14. “Hallowed Ground”/Muslims Stay Away, Should we Eminent Domain the Mosque that sits even closer and tear it down? Why Not?

  15. miguel cervantes wrote:
    Because we don’t do time travel, RC

    Why would it matter if a Mosque predated 9/11,hallowed ground is always hallowed ground,and Islam doesn’t qualify.? Besides,that Mosque could be a hotbed of terrorist activity.

  16. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    See Blakes’ longer Poems,Four Zoas,Milton,Jeruselam for profound insight on these Epic Events.

    Been a long time since I looked into those, but, as I think you know, I’m a Blake fan. Maybe you could save me some time if you have particular passages or chapters in mind, or could provide a summary, or some more specific direction.

    As for why not this “mosque,” but the other’s OK, why not here, but over there might be OK: “We’re victims and in a state of emotional distress – it’s up to rational people to make the decisions, and otherwise stand out of the way as we lash out in what ever direction.”

    When, as this afternoon, I see my father, an elderly man – and a constitutionally friendly, light-hearted, gentle, live-and-let live Christian man who married a Jewish woman and “knew all kinds” and traveled the world during his singing career (and also in the Army) – turning red in the face, in a fury reciting the familiar propaganda fed to him via e-mail, rightwing blogs, and Fox News programs, my disgust with the demagogues makes me want to vomit.

  17. You are the one who is being irrational Colin, relying on the Imam’s press releases and those who regurgitate them like the Times’ Bernard
    without question. Who disregards his words in Cairo, Kuala Lampur, London, and NY. Maybe like many of the Cordoba personages like
    Armstrong he is merely foolish, but certainly unwise to shepherd this
    project, it is characteristic of that other foolish enterprise, the International Freedom Center, thankfully derailed, and the notion
    of civil trials for KSM and company

  18. Been a long time since I looked into those, but, as I think you know, I’m a Blake fan.

    Blake is the all time master of polarities/oppositions,except that he creates Epic/Mythic characters each positioned against the next,and as his characters disintegate into sub-characters,like atoms into quarks,those subcharacters line up against the opposite subcharacter,in a dynamic process.
    At my age,what I do is go to the Blake Dictionary by Samuel Foster Damon,he did all the hard work,and I just get to enjoy in peace and quiet. I made the reference to Blake above,because his understanding of disintegration,as well as Force & Counter Force,is a roapmap to our disintegration in the face of our extreme political,social,legal,philosophical,international,and economic challanges. Blakes charactor,Urizen,is of particular relevance.

  19. @ miguel cervantes:

    you can’t seem to avoid taking stuff and making muckshakes in that Whirling Blender in your head.
    Where the heck did you come up with tossing

    the notion
    of civil trials for KSM and company

    into the mess?

    It’s not even a civil trial that you’re talking about, it’s a criminal trial, you whirligiggler.

    and it’s the best and most effective way of dealing with KSM.

  20. @ miguel cervantes:
    You’ve been caught reading your own prejudices into innocuous, praiseworthy, and irrelevant statements far too many times, when not just completely making stuff up, for me to trust or even be very interested in your summary judgments.

    If you say Rauf said something he shouldn’t have said in Kuala Lampur, my first guesstimate is that he may not have said anything at all there, and my second is that, if he did, I would very likely understand it differently than you do. If you make an accusation against him – further as the basis of a criticism of me and my supposed “irrationality” – you need to produce the actual statements, explain why they should matter, and be prepared to defend your interpretations. Otherwise, you’re just filling up space on a comment thread making little impression on me, and I doubt on anyone else.

  21. We have sadly been down this road before, Aulaqi was proclaimed as a moderate, El Shukrijumah was wrongly investigated, Hassan was just
    misunderstood. Al Shehri was ‘mostly harmless, so was al Al Ajmi that’s what his attorney vouched for, although not so much after the bomb in Mosul, Abdulmutallab, Shahzad were just lone wolves,

  22. @ miguel cervantes:
    Non-responsive – and utterly irrelevant and unjust, in a way that you are very likely perfectly aware of, but which your ideological commitments prevent you from acknowledging.

    I’ll just assume that you have no idea what Rauf did or didn’t say in Kuala Lampur.

  23. The Malaysia matters podcast is curious ‘unavailable now, probably even from the link you dismissed three threads ago

  24. I’m wondering if the KL “comments” were anything at all other than creative building on the apparently false report publicized in Pajamas Media regarding Rauf’s supposed attendance at the Hizb-Ut-Tahrir Conference. See 1st item currently under RecBrow for an expose of what appears to be an all-too-typical hatchet job.

    If I catch a source doing this king of thing once, I’ll never trust it again, and never trust anyone who trusts it. Pajamas does it over and over again.

    Now I’m going to go all narc and say that a few e-mails about a few fudged results lead him to declare the entire worldwide Climate Change movement a conspiracy and a fraud, but no amount of clear, public evidence seems sufficient for him to concede that even a tiny scintilla of a fragment of a speck of dubiety ought to be applied before staking one’s credibility on anything at Pajamas Media or other committed “anti-Jihadist” sites on this subject or any related one (or really on anything at all).

  25. You mean like anyone on the Journolist, those who relied on the Levick Group to exonerate Gitmo detainees and pressure their release, Anybody from Time Magazine who slandered our soldiers in Haditha,
    who made up events that never happened at Gitmo (Newsweek)
    who falsified evidence at the Justice Department in at least one case, who presented phony documents as true (CBS) All those serve the greater good, right

  26. miguel cervantes wrote:

    You mean like anyone on the Journolist

    can’t understand what you could possibly mean here, miggy.
    what you sayin’?
    do you know anybody on journolist? everybody on journolist?
    do you know the names of the people from journolist?

  27. @ miguel cervantes:
    The “Journolist” is not a source. There has been no opportunity to catch the Journolist doing anything.

    Of course, I am dubious about anything I read in TIME Magazine, NEWSWEEK, or anywhere else in the mainstream media. After a lifetime reading them, I think I can read between the lines and make judgments of credibility where necessary, but I hardly ever go to them first and in isolation for controversial facts and judgments about facts, and I certainly don’t use them as a basis for gilding my fantasy-defamation lilies. If I felt some strange need to do such a thing – to state something I heard about as fact in order to assassinate someone’s character – I’d probably feel more confident about the future of my credibility if I stood on the MSM rather than the PM, but I’d recognize that it was a crap shoot.

  28. Well if the Daily Caller’s revelations of how they covered up for Obama,
    and simultaneously slammed Palin, the last with memes repeated to this day, by Halperin and Klein, crowding out any contrary information, theastroturfing by Axelrod that still clogs up Youtube and Google searches, the sham of the Al Durah tragedy, only covered by Karsenty, then I reallycan’t convince you, but let’s take this additional example in here:

  29. there’s another brilliant move, if you look at the guest list were representatives from the Afghan Government, and the Azeri regime
    of Aliev the Younger. one is beset by the forces of Deobandism and
    Wahhabism, the other by those elements, and their Iranian neighbor to the South, heck of a job there

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