According to the New Republic, the threat to the Republic isn’t Islamofascism any more, it’s blogofascism. Lee Siegel explains:
THE ORIGINS OF BLOGOFASCISM
At the end of my post yesterday, I wrote, “The blogosphere’s fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.” … All these abusive attempts to autocratically or dictatorially control criticism came about because I said that the blogosphere had the quality of fascism, which my dictionary defines as “any tendency toward or actual exercise of severe autocratic or dictatorial control.” … insults, personal attacks, and even threats. This truly is the stuff of thuggery and fascism. … Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition. … In a 2004 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga told a reporter …“I believe in government. I was in El Salvador in the late ‘70s during the civil war and I saw government as a life-and-death situation,” he said. “There was no one to root for. The government was a corrupt plutocracy and the rebels were Maoists. The concept of government is important.” …He also remembers watching footage of the Solidarity movement in Poland. He was 9, and he asked his father what that was all about. His father, a furniture salesman, said, “It’s just politics.” The future blogger said, “Tell me all about it.”
So he loves government, but hates politics. There’s something chilling about that.
This was silly enough when it was just a back-and-forth of insults and recriminations. But Siegel actually seems, unless I’m misreading him completely, to be advancing a serious thesis about the linkages between leftwing bloggers and fascism. That the netroots crowd are the equivalent of the deracinated young men of the Weimar Republic (note, by the way, the rather unpleasant snobbery of the “knockabout origins” crack), and that Kos has “chilling” autocratic tendencies. I really don’t know what to say in response to this. It’s almost magnificent in its crackpottery. The New Republic used to be a very good magazine back in the day – one of the “little magazines” that really brought literature and politics together. It hasn’t been that for a very long time now, but I still feel a little sad every time I’m reminded of what it’s become.