In case you missed it

by John Quiggin on August 26, 2007

A website run by the neocon thinktank the Center for Security Policy (members include Frank Gaffney, Richard Perle and Doug Feith) has published (then removed) a piece calling for Bush to use his military powers to become “the first permanent president of America” and “ruler of the world”. Along the way he suggests that the population of Iraq should have been wiped out. The website Family Security Matters also runs pieces by Newt Gingrich, Judy Miller and other luminaries.

The full piece is preserved here at Watching the Watchers. I found it via Wikipedia.

As someone would say (though maybe not in this case) “read the whole thing”. It’s impossible to tell if this is satire by someone who has cleverly infiltrated FSM over a lengthy period (quite a few other pieces by the same author, Philip Atkinson were also removed), a sudden outbreak of insanity (unlikely since Atkinson previously published stuff almost as extreme as this, with the endorsement of FSM), or the actual views of CSP/CFM, accidentally revealed and clumsily concealed.

As things stand, there’s a presumption in favor of the last of these views. The piece was published by CSP/FSM and constitutes, at present, their last word on the subject. If they repudiate Atkinson’s views they should say so openly, and live with the embarrassment of having published him and praised his ideas until now.

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{ 84 comments }

1

Paul Sunstone 08.26.07 at 8:07 am

I happened across a reference to that piece on another site, and after taking a look at Family Security Matters, I mistakenly concluded it had to be a satire site. Geeze! To think that stuff is for real and backed by some big names on the conservative side.

2

bi 08.26.07 at 8:20 am

There’s a discussion over at Wonkette.

Now, let’s brace ourselves for a “Clinton did this too!” crapstorm.

3

bad Jim 08.26.07 at 8:25 am

If it’s the FSM, then all I can say is “Ramen”.

4

Joshua W. Burton 08.26.07 at 8:29 am

It would almost be worth it to see Ted Olson go back before the USSC to argue that Bush v. Palm Beach and Bush v. Gore were wrongly decided, and that therefore the 22nd Amendment leaves GWB eligible for another run in November 2008.

Almost.

5

abb1 08.26.07 at 8:46 am

Sounds like a hoax to me. Consider this, for example (http://ourcivilisation.com/diet/myth.htm)

The Common Delusion About Corpulence

People commonly believe (circa 2000) that corpulence is nearly always the result of eating too much, that is consuming too many calories. And fat people can reduce their weight by:

* Eating Less, or less nutritious foods, especially avoiding those that contain fat—and so reduce the number of calories in their diet.

* Regular Exercise to expend excess calories.

This is wrong — it is not the quantity, but the kind, of food eaten, that causes people to become fat. Eating carbohydrates, sometimes even in small quantities, fattens people. And fat is not a carbohydrate but an essential nutrient that not only gives food flavour but also helps to prevent the accumulation of body fat. (See “Eat Fat And Grow Slim”)

And it should be noted that vigorous exercise is a health hazard that has little impact upon weight loss.

Atkinson diet – get it?

6

Chris Bertram 08.26.07 at 9:15 am

Or this …

http://ourcivilisation.com/theend.htm

“Mexico is now (circa 2000) colonising America and imposing its language and culture. Though the Americans still have the strength of understanding to recognise that the Hispanic invasion should be stopped, they are unable to take the measures required to achieve this end. The very least that must be done to halt the Hispanic invasion is the mass enslavement, or execution, of the invaders, which must be followed by an American invasion of Mexico to enforce American language and values upon the Mexicans. But the citizens of the USA recoil from such ruthless violence (see ‘the communal attitude to violence’) and instead embrace delusion.”

Update:

Jesus, it turns out that the above words about enslaving and killing Mexicans also appeared on the FSM website. See

http://stewart-rhodes.blogspot.com/2007/08/neocon-think-tank-calls-for-enslaving.html

So they let him continue to write and post (until this latest thing) even after advocating mass murder.

7

Cian 08.26.07 at 9:32 am


Google cache about author
.
Sad and pathetic, yes, but its a little involved for a hoax.

8

bi 08.26.07 at 9:34 am

abb1: What’s so hoaxy about that? I thought it’s already quite well-known that wingnuts live in Bizarro World. I won’t put it beyond him to write such things in earnest.

9

Cian 08.26.07 at 9:42 am

Looking at a bit more of his site. The guy’s a loser whose life didn’t turn out the way he thought it would, and is looking for something to blame for his failings (drop out from public school is key here, I suspect).

I suspect this stuff is for the base, who seem to be lapping it up on the interwebs.

10

abb1 08.26.07 at 9:50 am

Bi, it’s just seems odd that the guy named Atkinson would have this caricature of a diet invented and hyped by another Atkinson. On the other hand, ‘Atkinson’ sure is a common enough name.

Cian, seems to me the current page http://www.ourcivilisation.com/author.htm is the same as the google cache image.

11

John Quiggin 08.26.07 at 9:57 am

Atkinson gets both criticism (mainly for letting the side down) and praise here at free Republic. Money quote

“What exactly is crazy about what Mr. Atkinson is suggesting? He’s actually framing a very common-sense principal: If democracy is destroying America then democracy needs to go.”

And, personally, there are very few of us here on FR who wouldn’t like to see the lands of Allah turned into a glass parking lot. In fact, I’m saving a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne for when it happens.”

PS: The diet guy was Atkins, not Atkinson, I think

12

abb1 08.26.07 at 10:18 am

Ah, dammit. You’re right, Dr. Atkins, of course. Sorry.

13

Anthony 08.26.07 at 10:27 am

Still, he isn’t the only one advocating non-democratic military action in the US to suit his politics.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-lewis/general-pace-you-can-sa_b_61785.html

14

ejh 08.26.07 at 10:44 am

He’s actually framing a very common-sense principal

Principle.

15

thag 08.26.07 at 11:22 am

The common-sense principal was framed by the geography teacher, who got away with murder.

On Atkinson–Sadly, No printed a fair bit of his back-story, and the guy is no hoax. Just the normal matrix of maladjustment and resentment that underlies most right-wing authoritarians.

As for FSM, I think there are some interesting questions here about web-site responsibility.

Certainly we all know by now that DKos as a site is not responsible for every bit of weirdness that crops up on it.

Right-wing sites tend to be a lot more tightly controlled, and accordingly one does tend to draw tighter links between the views of contributors and site-owners.

But, I don’t know, maybe FSM just wasn’t very well run.

I’ll grant you, though, that the honest thing for them to do is to leave up the nutty rant and post a disclaimer and apology.

16

abb1 08.26.07 at 12:00 pm

Well, if he is not a hoax, then he’s definitely a paranoid, sick guy.

This CSP/FSM group is a different matter.

17

bi 08.26.07 at 12:38 pm

Finally, Anthony brings out the “Clinton did it too!” trump card. Of course, that’s after he totally ignored the comments where Lewis makes it clear that the “arrest” is to be no more than a “symbolic” gesture, and there’s obviously no genocide or slavery involved.

Clinton did it too. And Michael Moore is fat.

18

Anthony 08.26.07 at 2:01 pm

And you obviously ignored the fact that Aktinson is obviously a demented fruitcake whose effect on US policy under any administration would be as close to negligible to be zero.

19

Delicious Pundit 08.26.07 at 2:09 pm

Demented fruitcake is one of the only things I can eat when I’m on Atkinson.

Considering one of the Republican candidates (Rudy) already attempted to suspend an election, I think this worldview is far from negligible.

20

Anthony 08.26.07 at 2:37 pm

One of my friends was convinced Blair would crown himself dictator for life in the increasingly totalitarian (as he saw it) UK.

I personally find it hard to fit a strip of greaseproof people between fruitcakes of either variety.

21

BetsyD 08.26.07 at 2:55 pm

thag, my understanding is that the site(s) published Atkinson’s work, not that he happened to leave his crazy rants as comments. If the front pagers at the Daily Kos (Hunter, mcjoan, et. al.) wrote similarly crazy stuff, then that would amount to a kos-ian endorsement of their lunacy, and your equivalence would be right on. But it’s not.

22

engels 08.26.07 at 3:03 pm

Anthony – Ummm, what? The fact that a prominent rightwing think tank published a piece calling for Bush to declare himself dictator proves that liberals who think that totalitarianism is a real danger in the US/UK are nuts?

23

Jordan 08.26.07 at 3:17 pm

I’m just gonna post my own favorite piece of ourcivilisation.com:

Public contempt for the property of others is nowhere revealed more clearly than in the supermarkets. When grapes are placed on sale, customers can frequently be observed eating the fruit for which they make no attempt to pay. To some this is a taste test to decide whether to purchase the grapes, but many just take them as they pass, and frequently hand them to others in their group. I have observed customers nonchalantly eating the grapes while queuing to have their purchase weighed.

Beware, grape thieves! Philip Atkinson is observing you!

24

engels 08.26.07 at 3:22 pm

I wish I could find this sort of thing funny.

25

Aulus Gellius 08.26.07 at 3:38 pm

Wait, but Clinton DID do it first. Doesn’t anybody remember this?

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28066

26

Anthony 08.26.07 at 3:50 pm

It’s funny because it is of zero importance Engels.

Do you think Bush or ANY of his advisors would even vaguely consider Aktinson’s course of action tenable? If they were that unhinged they would have already buked Tehran.

It’s a like a 24 plot, which is about as seriously ass you should take it.

27

Anthony 08.26.07 at 3:52 pm

For the record, buked is not shorthand for rebuked, but a typo of nuked!

Sadly both Atkinson and Neill seem to be (ex)Brits, which is possibly why they both don’t value the US constitution as much as they should.

28

Colin Danby 08.26.07 at 3:56 pm

Anthony: The Huffington Post *is* demented in the very strict sense that many of its authors, like Martin Lewis, cannot think systematically and have a shaky grip on reality.

Atkinson is not demented. He’s thinking coherently from a set of underlying racist/culturalist principles.

Check out the Family Security Matters website (their banner featuring a very white woman and her very white boychild) with its rants about immigrants, terrorists, and Western Civilization. Atkinson is more open about his contempt for democracy and advocacy of violence, but the basic worldview is the same, which is presumably why he fit in so well there. Then go to the CSP site. The rhetoric is not much different.

Atkinson articulates the widely held view that the Constitution and rule of law are only incidental to something called “America” defined as a culture/civilization facing inimical cultures/civilizations. And Atkinson faces squarely the fact that current U.S. policy entails disregard for the lives of Iraqis.

So I’m happy to join you in repudiating these views, but we can’t dismiss them as dementia.

29

chris y 08.26.07 at 4:03 pm

It’s funny because it is of zero importance Engels.

George Steiner’s father moved the family out of Austria in the 1920s. Everybody told him he was overreacting.

30

John Emerson 08.26.07 at 4:07 pm

Anthony does not live in the real world. If he did, he would realize that our President thinks that there’s a lot of wisdom in end-times Armageddon Christianity. Atkinson is a smidgen nuttier than Bush, and Bush disagrees with him on immigration, but Atkinson-like loons are a key component of the Republican core constituency.

Anthony should be locked up until he returns to his senses. I’ve heard that if you hose the demented down with cold water for half an hour, they regain contact with reality.

31

John Emerson 08.26.07 at 4:08 pm

1945 joke: What do you call a German Jewish paranoid?

Alive.

32

Anthony 08.26.07 at 4:16 pm

I think that’s a fair point Colin, but neither should we worry that they are representative of even the more hawkish mainstream republican thought. It’s like discovering some mad old conservatives have BNP sympathies and then worrying that a David Cameron government will bring in apartheid in when elected.

Prediction: the next five US Presidents will be Republican or Democrat and unlikely to susceptable to Atkinson’s argument.

33

chris y 08.26.07 at 4:18 pm

Prediction: the next five US Presidents will be Republican or Democrat and unlikely to susceptable to Atkinson’s argument.

Good, then I’ll be dead by the time we get to the sixth one who is susceptible to it.

34

Bruce Webb 08.26.07 at 4:18 pm

“And you obviously ignored the fact that [Ledeen] is obviously a demented fruitcake whose effect on US policy under any administration would be as close to negligible to be zero.”

Anthony, Ledeen has edged right up to the edge of Atkinson-like thinking, is clearly a demented fruitcake, but one whose effect on US policy under this administration is far from zero.

Maybe Atkinson is an outlier, but views close enough to his as to be nearly indistinguishable are coming out of the VPs office. At this point conventional war on Iran is as a practical matter impossible, the cost in planes and aircrew using conventional weaponry would be astronomical (Iran’s planes may be largely obsolete by US standards but their air-defense generally probably is not) yet Cheney is openly calling for war anyway. You don’t have to go far from A to Z to figure out what that means, in fact you can stop with A.

35

Anthony 08.26.07 at 4:21 pm

lol, John. Very funny. That’s a great spoof of Huffington Post type stuff and the suggestion that America is like 1930s Germany is just the sort twaddle that gets thrown about – even as polls show that America is becoming more secular than it was.

36

bi 08.26.07 at 4:24 pm

Anthony:

“And you obviously ignored the fact that Aktinson is obviously a demented fruitcake whose effect on US policy under any administration would be as close to negligible to be zero.”

Which has _what_ to do with your earlier claim that Atkinson “isn’t the only one advocating non-democratic military action in the US to suit his politics”, because Lewis did the same… except he didn’t. Quick, shift the goalposts before anyone notices!

= = =

Didn’t I say that there’ll be a “Clinton did it too!” crapstorm coming. And sure enough it did.

(Though I didn’t see the “I’m wrong, but I’m still right!” one coming, but maybe I should have.)

37

John Emerson 08.26.07 at 4:31 pm

Anthony, you’re really full of shit. Cheney expresses himself more circumspectly than Atkinson, and Cheney is a man of the world who knows how things really work, but he’s no more benign, no more committed to democracy, and no less militarily aggressive. He’s just scarier because he’s the most powerful or second most powerful man in the world.

How old are, you? Where do you live? Do you read the newspapers or watch TV?

38

chris y 08.26.07 at 4:32 pm

even as polls show that America is becoming more secular than it was

Which signifies what exactly? In 1932 37% of Germans voted for either the SPD or the KPD, both a lot more secular than any mainstream political party in the USA in the last 100 years. Much good it did.

39

Anthony 08.26.07 at 4:33 pm

bi,

You are obviously stupid enough to think that suggesting a US General arrest a serving President of the US is anything other than a military coup. If anyone is shifting their goalposts, it’s Atkinson trying too monce he was found to be a complete moron.

40

bi 08.26.07 at 4:33 pm

Clinton did it too, I’m wrong but I’m still right, and Michael Moore is fat.

41

Uncle Kvetch 08.26.07 at 4:35 pm

Didn’t I say that there’ll be a “Clinton did it too!” crapstorm coming. And sure enough it did.

WARD CHURCHILL! WARD CHURCHILL!

42

Anthony 08.26.07 at 4:36 pm

re: 28

What do you _seriously_ think is going to happen at the end of the Bush Presidency?

43

Anthony 08.26.07 at 4:37 pm

Whoops 38

44

John Emerson 08.26.07 at 4:38 pm

42: Nobody knows. I expect Bush and his crew to stir things up as much as possible during the next 16 months, and I fear that the Democrats won’t respond effectively. He still has his Commander in Chief powers.

45

bi 08.26.07 at 4:40 pm

Anthony:

Again, you ignore the fact that Lewis states in his comments that the arrest is to be a “symbolic” arrest, not a real arrest.

Clinton did it too! I’m wrong but I’m still right! Michael Moore is fat!

= = =

Uncle Kvetch: In the great game of predict-the-next-wingnut-trope, my bet is on “Civility! Civility!”

46

abb1 08.26.07 at 4:43 pm

28: Atkinson is not demented. He’s thinking coherently from a set of underlying racist/culturalist principles.

I don’t think in this day and age this kind of racist/culturalist ideas can be considered rational.

I suppose one can build a whole perfectly logical theory of the universe based on the assumption that the earth is flat, but he’ll still be crazy.

47

JP Stormcrow 08.26.07 at 5:03 pm

After I first saw this on Digby, I mucked around about on the guy’s website and elsewhere and do agree that he is by most measures “demented”. (Among the evidence is this exchange between Stephen Webster of Gonzo Muckraker and Mr. Atkinson – in it you can feel the pain of his rejection by his former buddies –The article published, then dropped, along with its author, by Family Security Matters.)

That said, the episode does shine a bit of light on the directions that the positions of the FSM and Center for Security Policy lead to. I am sure all of the rants were not read in detail, but whoever brought Atkinson in to the site understood and approved of the general gist of his positions.

And I do think that it is a commentary on our (I include most of us – not excepting myself) deeply held Anglo-American exceptionalism, that we are surprised that there are folks who do not embrace the project of democracy. Observing her public actions, should one be surprised that Barbara Comstock might privately embrace a less “broadly participatory” form of government?

48

Sebastian Holsclaw 08.26.07 at 5:48 pm

“Atkinson articulates the widely held view that the Constitution and rule of law are only incidental to something called “America” defined as a culture/civilization facing inimical cultures/civilizations. “

Widely held? Name say ten people I’d recognize please.

49

tom bach 08.26.07 at 7:08 pm

Sebastian Holsclaw:

I think the phrase The constitution is not a suicide pact encapsulates the view that it, the constitution, is less important than the continuation of America, understood as somthing that stands apart from the Constitution and will continue to exist should important the constitution be suspended in times of “national emergency.” Judge R. Posner would be one well known proponent of this particularly vile notion.

Mort Kondrake as well:
“During the All Star Panel on the subject of the NSA disclosure, regular guest Mort Kondrake took the time to claim that Qwest (who declined to divulge customer information without a legal warrant) was aiding the terrorists, and that the Constitution should be ignored during the War on Terror, because it’s not a “suicide pact”.”

Undoubtedly there are others, although who you know or do not know is a mystery to me.

50

tom bach 08.26.07 at 7:14 pm

According to David Corn:
“Jonathan Alter attributed the expression to “Chief Justice” Robert Jackson in a Newsweek piece that advocated the use of torture—”psychological torture” to “jump-start” the 9/11 investigation. At a Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., tagged Justice Arthur Goldberg as the author when he used the formulation to support Attorney General John Ashcroft.

In an op-ed article, Rep. Jim Talent, R-Mo., used the suicide-pact rejoinder to defend President Bush’s proposed use of military tribunals, . . .”

He mentions some others but does not make clear what they advocated based on the old saw.

51

tom bach 08.26.07 at 7:35 pm

John Yoo in the NYT
“The White House has declared that the Constitution allows the president to sidestep laws that invade his executive authority.”
As a good thing.

52

tom bach 08.26.07 at 7:46 pm

Richard Posner on the limitations of the rule of law
“the currently most controversial antiterrorist measure operative in the United States—the National Security Agency’s program of electronic surveillance outside the scope of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—seems to me, as to a majority of Americans, to be a reasonable measure, whether or not it violates FISA.”

53

Tim Worstall 08.26.07 at 8:29 pm

“This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar,”

And like that worked so well.

Reading the Atkinson I was hoping for the completely outrageous step to “A Modest Proposal” (in so far as what he’s already urging is not, which isn’t a lot).

Please, tell me this is indeed satire, not serious.

54

Aulus Gellius 08.26.07 at 8:55 pm

Tim Worstall:

Yeah, the Caesar comparison is one of my favorite parts. I particularly like the implication (if I read it right) that Caesar’s main reason for taking over Roman government was to stabilize Gaul.

55

P O'Neill 08.26.07 at 9:43 pm

Poor Frank Gaffney was probably too busy working with Partido Popular loons on finding some ETA/PS angle to the 11-M bombings to notice what company he was keeping.

56

David 08.26.07 at 9:49 pm

The group rather obviously endorsed this. It was posted front and center on their website, not buried as the un-solicited ravings of a madman in the comments section.

57

wood turtle 08.26.07 at 11:16 pm

I wonder if this has anything to do with “The Weekly World News” going out of publication soon.

58

Dave Maier 08.27.07 at 12:57 am

Thanks, JPS (#48) for that link (to the exchange with Atkinson). Here’s another one he had with my friend Justin (a philosopher), which is even more entertaining.

55: I particularly like the implication (if I read it right) that Caesar’s main reason for taking over Roman government was to stabilize Gaul.

Wait, isn’t Iraq divided in three parts? Uncanny.

59

Harald Korneliussen 08.27.07 at 8:43 am

anthony: “And you obviously ignored the fact that Aktinson is obviously a demented fruitcake whose effect on US policy under any administration would be as close to negligible to be zero.”

Are you so sure? There is a moving window for what constitutes acceptable policy propositions, and while he’s more of a symptom than a cause, I think this guy moved it slightly more in the direction of la-la land (He was active for some time, after all).

60

ejh 08.27.07 at 9:07 am

55: I particularly like the implication (if I read it right) that Caesar’s main reason for taking over Roman government was to stabilize Gaul.

Wait, isn’t Iraq divided in three parts? Uncanny.

1. Does anybody else find that whenever anybody mentions Gaul, they immediately think of Asterix?

2. Does anybody else find that whenever anybody mentions Asterix, they immediately think of Oliver Kamm?

61

rea 08.27.07 at 1:56 pm

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

I suppose it’s unnecessary to respond to this guy on the merits, but anyone notice something missing from this account? Like 20 years of bloody warfare, from the Rubicon to Actium?

62

Bruce Webb 08.27.07 at 2:52 pm

Yes rea. Somehow this guy has collapsed the whole complicated historical series from the Gracchi in 133BC to the accession of Vespasian in 71AD into a single event by by a single man in a single year (49 BC) and then managed to mangle each and every fact. That is not a fair description of either Caesar’s tactics in Gaul or after he crossed the Rubicon, not to mention the fact that he was assassinated by those crushed political opponents. Kind of an odd result of ‘ended the personal threat’.

This bears about as much resemblence to real Roman history as ‘300’ does to the Battle of Thermopylae. And for some of the same reasons.

“Timmy do you like gladiator movies?”

63

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 08.27.07 at 3:16 pm

“Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter;”

Others have commented on Atkinson’s mangling of history, but he also missed that Caesar used mostly soft-power, co-opting of the Gaulish aristocracy, to control Gaul. This included, according to Suetonius, having an affair with the Prince of Bithynia. [Caesar was nicknamed Queen of Bithynia by his troops.]

So, do you think we should ask Atkinson who Bush should get it on with to pacify Iraq? Al-Sadr, or Ahmadine-Nejad? (We can have a CT campaign to donate the lube.)

64

davidt 08.27.07 at 3:31 pm

A conservative Sokal?

65

ejh 08.27.07 at 3:37 pm

Suetonious is not the most reliable of ancient historians, though he is the most entertaining (and vastly preferable to Livy).

66

Tim Worstall 08.27.07 at 4:12 pm

“whenever anybody mentions Asterix, they immediately think of Oliver Kamm?”

Noooo…Obelix maybe?

67

engels 08.27.07 at 4:37 pm

I think this has already been discussed somewhere. “Prolix” and “Soporifix” were suggested, iirc.

68

chris y 08.27.07 at 5:03 pm

…co-opting of the Gaulish aristocracy, to control Gaul. This included, according to Suetonius, having an affair with the Prince of Bithynia.

Bythinia? in Anatolia? This would suggest that what Bush needs to do at this stage is to screw the King of Nepal. That’d pacify Iraq all right – everyone would be too gobsmacked to carry on fighting.

69

ejh 08.27.07 at 5:03 pm

I wrote a skit once: it is 1922 and all Ireland is united….except one small province which still holds out against the Romish invaders. And so on.

70

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 08.27.07 at 5:59 pm

“Bythinia? in Anatolia? “

Ah. My Bad.

71

Martin Bento 08.27.07 at 9:14 pm

So a leading conservative think tank publishes a piece calling for the President to become a permanent dictator, justified by the intrinsic weakness of democracy. In this role, he is supposed to commit a vast genocide against the Semites and others of the Middle East so as to generate Lebensraum for Americans. *Now* is it OK to call these guys Nazis, or are we still playing by those silly Godwin rules?

72

emmanuel goldstein 08.27.07 at 10:23 pm

Bythinia? in Anatolia? This would suggest that what Bush needs to do at this stage is to screw the King of Nepal. That’d pacify Iraq all right – everyone would be too gobsmacked to carry on fighting.

Awesome; I daren’t shut my eyes now.

73

Mrs Tilton 08.28.07 at 8:42 am

ejh @71,

it is 1922 and all Ireland is united….except one small province which still holds out against the Romish invaders

That is really rather good.

74

Katherine 08.28.07 at 1:40 pm

“to enforce American language “

As someone who is actually English, I always roll around laughing when I see this.

75

Mrs Tilton 08.28.07 at 7:06 pm

Katherine @76,

what makes this even loopier is that the guy who wrote it is English, too (though he did move to Australia to take up a post as Resident Whingeing Pom).

76

Badtux 08.29.07 at 12:17 am

Yet more dragging of the goalposts rightward. Ten years ago, if anybody had said that America would torture people, everybody would have looked at you as if you were a bugeyed Martian gibbering nonsense. Everybody knew that Americans don’t torture. That’s those icky third world dictators and such. They’re’ the ones who torture.

Now folks who advocate torture are in positions of power in our government, and nobody ever seems to notice that the goalposts have moved — that what was unacceptable ten years ago now is not only horribly acceptable, but almost unremarked-upon.

If the tighty righties can do for dictatorship what they did for torture, i.e., make it socially acceptable to talk about it (albeit a bit icky but, y’know, the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact blah blah), then we’re Germany 1934. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

– Badtux the Goalposts Penguin

77

ejh 08.29.07 at 8:14 am

Er no. There’s a sizeable difference between people talking about dictatorships and people actually living under one.

78

Katherine 08.29.07 at 8:26 am

Mrs Tilton – gibber. My brain literally cannot process that level of idiocy. If there are more than 5 other idiots listening to him then I’m worried. But I guess I shall just have to cing on to the naive hope that he is so wingnut he can’t possibly become mainstream. Fingers crossed, la la la I can’t hear you.

79

Martin Bento 08.29.07 at 6:01 pm

ejh, but we’re talking about the mentality of the people involved, not the state of the world. Were the Nazis not Nazis until they actually took power?

80

ejh 08.30.07 at 8:17 am

So why did you invoke 1934?

81

Martin Bento 08.30.07 at 9:50 am

I didn’t, that was badtux. And, yes, his point was crudely stated. But the important matter is that we are dealing with a conservative movement that is fascistic in many respects, and the liberal response has been crippled by a refusal to see it in these terms for fear of sensationalism. If we cannot yell “Nazi” unless there are actually railroad cars being filled, we will be forced into silence until the very day they start filling, by which time it will likely be too late for the accusation to have any effect. Given that Nazi comparisons are frequently made unfairly, it is important to define clearly the nature of the comparison, but the knee-jerk prohibition represented by Godwin has served us very poorly when it mattered. And although Godwin is much more often right than wrong, the cost when it is wrong is much higher than the benefit when it is right.

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bi 08.30.07 at 12:14 pm

Martin Bento:

Weren’t the original Nazi comparisons part of why the American public is so far to the right in the first place?

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Martin Bento 08.30.07 at 3:35 pm

I’m not sure what you mean by that. You mean the comparisons of Stalinism to Nazism?

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bi 08.31.07 at 4:54 am

The comparisons of everything non-libertarian and non-conservative to Nazism.

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