Thursday, April 16, 2009

The deranged case of Michael Savage

A while ago, about the same time I heard Michael Savage tell his audience that the bookburning agents of the dystopian government in Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 were "liberals," I heard Savage tell his listeners that "liberals" were traitors to the nation because their complaints had led the Pentagon to abandon a vital surveillance program, leaving the nation less secure and less able to defend itself from terrorist attack. "Liberals" did this because they are fellow travelers of Islamic terrorists.

I never got around to posting about it, but if I had, I would have pointed out that contrary to Savage's hysteria, the Pentagon was not going to be any less able to listen to terrorists, but was merely ending a program that had already expanded beyond its purpose by targeting domestic groups for political reasons which had nothing to do with terrorism. And, as you can see from this article, it appeared likely that the changes being proposed would hardly be more than superficial.

Allright. Fast foward to today. I flip on Savage's radio show and to be greeted by audio of a Nazi rally. After that gets done playing Savage begins a rant about how America is now facing the emergence of Obama's fascist dictatorship. Savage cited the DHS report on "right-wing extremists" that has sent the conservative movement into a furor of paranoia that they are being targeted by the Obama administration (even though the report was commissioned by the Bush administration and that a similar report on "left-wing extremists" was also done). To prove that the Obama administration is fascist Savage then cited yesterday's revelations in the New York Times that as a result of Democrats in Congress having legalized the warrantless surveillance that President Bush had illegally ordered, more spying abuses have occurred.

According to Savage, President Bush used such surveillance to monitor terrorists, but now that the Democrats had taken over massive spying on law abiding Americans (i.e. movement conservatives) had begun under the guise of fighting terrorism.

This is almost to surreal for words.

If you read the report or have followed the issue, or, more generally, aren't as insane as Savage you'll already be aware that what really happened is that abuses occurred as a result of the illegal Bush program (for example, the very NYT report cited by Savage mentions that prior to the Democrats legalizing the Bush spying and immunizing law-breakers that the NSA had attempted to spy without warrants on a member of Congress) and that abuses continued after the Democrats rolled over and gave Bush and Republicans virtually all the expansive surveillance powers they wanted, as predicted would happen by the very same "liberals" that Savage at the time demonized as being treasonous traitors for opposing such surveillance.

This is the sort of thing that I expected would happen. The moment a Democrat got the office of the presidency, Manichean authoritarians like Savage instantly and magically became convinced that they were living under totalitarian government, fearing the very powers they had invested the Executive branch with. This sort of reality-detached ranting burns the candle of democracy from both ends: when you substitute demonization and scapegoating for empirical consideration of reality, the only recourse one has to dealing with problems, even problems arising from your own policies put into practice, is more demonization and scapegoating. A vicious cycle.

Savage peppered his "anti-fascist" rant with statements such as the people at MSNBC are perverts with a homosexual sense of humor and that the Democrats are communists and vermin. Which suggests I should also probably note that in the real world, fascist regimes did not target the sort of groups profiled in the "right-wing extremist" DHS report (because those groups were the ones that fascists recruited from) but did target for persecution liberals, communists, and homosexuals.

I also see that Savage has been engaging in some Timothy McVeigh denialism, which strikes me as having a similar purpose for Savage as Holocaust denial has for rabid anti-Semites.


Steven Taylor said...

Dear goodness.

However, I am not surprised.

Hume's Ghost said...

It was actually worse than I described it. I forgot to mention that Savage is demanding Janet Napolitano be removed from the DHS because she is a "deviant communist" and not a "real American."