Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Either For Us Or Against Us

Megyn Kelley is quickly turning into a cult hero of the right. She's nothing if not feisty. I like how the Obama spokesman apparently thinks that the best way to deal with concerns about Obama's desire to take from those who work and produce and give to those who don't is to blast FOX News. FOX must be out to do harm to the Democratic candidate, he apparently thinks, because they ask uncomfortable questions. For Team Obama you're either for them or against them. Nice.

This could be called the Joe-the-Plumber tactic: If people ask questions that tend to put the beloved candidate in a bad light, a recommended response is to obfuscate the matter by criticizing and/or talking over the person asking the questions.


A Plot to Kill Obama

Two moral and intellectual mutants have been arrested in what has been labeled by the press a plot to assassinate Barack Obama. Actually, reading the story, the threat to Obama does not seem to have been very serious. A more sickening element of their intent was to attack an all-black school and kill children. Their designs on Obama sound like an afterthought that they didn't have planned out and didn't expect to be able to pull off in any event.

Nevertheless, the attack on the school students would have been relatively easy and is as frightening as it is loathsome. These two deserve to be put away for many, many years.

Having said that there's something else about this story that bears mentioning because it's very likely to be misrepresented by the media. The two men involved, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., are identified by the police as neo-nazis. This fact will probably trigger howls of righteous indignation in certain precincts about the sickness and violence that reside on the political right in this country, but such accusations, if they materialize, would be a mistake.

Nazi fascism is widely, and incorrectly, believed to be a right-wing phenomenon resting at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from communism. Notwithstanding the pervasiveness of this belief it is false. As Jonah Goldberg instructs us in his excellent study of fascism titled Liberal Fascism, communism and fascism, so far from being polar opposites, are in fact fraternal twins. They're both forms of socialism. They're both ideologies of the left.

The main difference between them is that communism tends to be an international version of socialism whereas fascism is more nationalistic and militaristic. Fascists are also usually content to allow business to remain in private hands provided that owners and managers use their enterprises to promote the ends of the state.

Perhaps the best way to picture ideological relationships is to visualize a line or a spectrum. At the far right of the spectrum is libertarianism, the view that individuals should be as free of government interference as possible. Toward the center lies conservatism which shares the libertarian desire for individual freedom but which assigns a more significant role for government than libertarians do. As we cross the center of the spectrum and move leftward we find socialism or statism, the view that government should own or control all important elements of the economy and society. Statists believe that the rights of the individual should be subordinated to the welfare of the collective. The individual lives to serve the state.

Socialism comes in two forms, democratic and totalitarian. Many moderate liberals are democratic socialists, but it's among the totalitarian socialists that we find communists and fascists, and it's here that many of those in the modern left find their ideological home. They don't usually call themselves communists or fascists, of course, preferring instead to identify themselves as progressives or leftists, but their sympathies with the goals and methods of the totalitarians make the label they apply to themselves moot.

Some of those sympathies include a predilection for totalitarian government, economic socialism and egalitarianism, anti-Christian secularism, tribalism or identity politics, and subordination of the family and individual to the state. More can be found on this topic on a postfrom last spring which discussed Goldberg's book. RLC