Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cartoon conservatism revisited

"I have always made one prayer for God, a very short one. Here it is: 'My God, make our enemies very ridiculous!' God has granted it to me." - Voltaire

The other day I was listening to a rebroadcast of a Neal Boortz radio show. Boortz was again engaging in conspiracy theory regarding the death of Vince Foster who killed himself in Fort Macy Park in Virginia. Boortz does not believe that Foster died in the park, but all the same, he said that if he was Barack Obama he wouldn't take a walk through Fort Macy anytime soon. Yes, you heard me correctly: Neal Boortz believes that Hillary Clinton might attempt to kill Obama.

There are few things that upset me more than noise machine conspiracists alleging that the Clintons were involved in the death of Vince Foster. Vince Foster, a man who was suffering from clinical depression, was driven to suicide, at the least in part, by the endless bullshit character attacks that people like Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity - all Foster death conspiracists - traffic in. Foster's suicide note read "The Wall Street Journal editors lie without consequence." Yet these same cretins, lacking any shame at helping to drive a man to suicide, turn around and blame his death on the Clintons.

In a perfect world these sorts of views would be considered the deranged rantings of individuals having serious deficiencies in their ability to reason critically and ethically. But that's not the case. These are figures who enjoy a great deal of popularity with audiences of millions. Neal Boortz is on the air 33+ hours a week here and his books fly off the shelves.

Jonah Goldberg releases a book which - as far as I can tell - makes the case that anyone who advocates for any level of goverment action other than that which Goldberg approves is a fascist or is suffering from "totalitarian temptation." Here's another review pointing out how intellectually bankrupt Goldberg's book is.

And yet Goldberg is a columnist for the LA Times. Why? Because his opinions and views are granted legitimacy by the media by virtue of his conviction, not because of any necessary connection to reality.

It's the same story with so many pundits and figures within the noise machine. CNN hires the cartoon that is Glenn Beck. The New York Times hires serially wrong opinionist William Kristol and in one of his first columns he plugs Michelle Malkin erroneously. That's the same Michelle Malkin who previously fabricated a confession of treason from Times editor Bill Keller.

When are the folks in the media going to wake up and realize that no matter how many of these hacks they hire, nor how often they repeat their nonsense character attacks, the conservative movement is still going to hate the "liberal media." It has to, it must. Someone must be blamed for reality failing to conform itself to the will of the movement.

Witness Michael Reagan, who despite previously advocating for the execution of Howard Dean for expressing the thought that we are not going to win in Iraq with current policy still is someone featured at prominent conservative webiste. Take a look at this lunatic article from Reagan.

Where the Times editorialized that Republican presidential candidates have committed themselves to krank economic theory Reagan translated that to mean "non socialist." Look, that's not a point up for debate, not a difference of opinion or perspective. It's crazy. Crazy to say that anyone who doesn't support the Underpants Gnomes Economic Theory of this administration:

Step 1 - Cut taxes for the megawealthy/reduce government revenue + increase government spending

Step 2 - ???????

Step 3 - Profit

That anyone - such as Alan Greenspan or Paul O'Neal - who are opposed to that are socialists.

Reagan soldiers on, in a conspiratorial ecstasy that would impress Richard Hofstadter, that "the Marxist New York Times" endorsed McCain over Romney because it wanted to throw the election to the Democrats. Is it possible to respond to Reagan here? My response to anyone who believes the paper to be Marxist would be to hand that person a copy of the paper, much like I'd simply present an apple to anyone who accused an apple of being a grenade. This is so ridiculous that it doesn't merit any attention, except that Reagan has 5 million daily listeners.

Political scientists could start responding to this sort of gibberish the way biologists respond to creationists, but I'm not certain that would do much good. These folks would just do what they always do to anything or anyone who challenges their ideological beliefs - call them "liberally biased."

It's hard to believe that the article isn't actually a spoof. Bill Keller worships Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro .... are you kidding? Who can write passages like this with a straight face?

... this virulently anti-American house organ for every enemy of the United States, a newspaper that routinely betrays vital national security secrets by publishing them on its front pages, and makes no secret of their undying hatred for Republicans and patriots ...
and this

Time after time, The New York Times has shown itself to be the Typhoid Mary of American journalism, and as such should be quarantined to prevent its viruses from further infecting our body politic and endangering both our national security and the safety of the American people.
And Jonah Goldberg wonders why so many people mistake this sort of rhetoric for fascism?

In the world of the conservative movement, Hillary Clinton is a fascist and a socialist and a communist. Callers to talk radio shows compare her to Lenin or Hitler. Obama is secretly a Muslim. And since he is an engaging public speaker he's a fascist like Hitler. And he's probably a communist. And since he doesn't wear a flag pin he hates America.

Unlike Voltaire, I don't pray that God will grant me ridiculous enemies - he's done that.* I pray that he'll grant us a media that is willing to call bullshit on all this bullshit.

*Voltaire's quip I quoted was actually directed at Jean Jaques Rousseau. Replying to Rousseau in regards to his belief that civilization had spoiled man and that feeling should have supremacy over reason Voltaire wrote to Rousseau, "I have received, monsieur, your new book against the human race. No one has ever employed so much intellect to persuade men to be beasts."

1 comment:

Spocko said...

HG: This is a great post. It reflexes much of my thinking about this.

As you know, I worked to push back on this nonsense.

One thing that I think about is what role the response of liberals play in this world. Ignore? Engage? approve? Attack?

When I was telling some people about what I was doing instantly their defenses went up. After I explained my entire process and how I focused on the advertisers and how I wasn't trying to censor them, they relaxed. There are some people whose response to this kind of dreck is, "Well they have their free speech, I don't like it but I'll defend to the death their right to say it." that is a platitude that allows them to ignore the issue under the belief that there are only two choices and only two ways to deal with the inaccurate information and violent rhetoric that comes from these people.

One of the premises of "free speech" is that good speech will over come bad speech. But what if the bad speech has a virtual monopoly?

I had to figure out what arguments would work with my liberal friends that they could get behind. And even then it wasn't until the radio corporation silenced my blog showed just how much they really hated a different point of view did people get behind me.

The speech from these people is toxic for all of America. These people are the ones who drive the division. They USE the liberals love of "free speech" (and I use that in quotes on purpose) to let them spew their message. For us to push back on them we need to see that this is NOT an issue of free speech but commercially sponsored speech. And that as such it is market driven. And it is management supported. Both the management and the market support this.
But I've found that many people who pay for this speech don't really agree with its values. And if they do, then they should have to wear them around their neck like a rotting albatross. "Hi, we are Lexus and we support this morally repugnant person and their views!" The reason they don't is that they only look at the numbers and not the content.

Of course some will be fine with the content but then again there will always be a disrespectable market for snuff film and child porn.

Again, excellent post.