June 13, 2009

Last night, Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg tried an exercise similar to Rush Limbaugh's, in which they tried to construct a plausible argument that James von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, was actually a "figure of the left."

They ran through the same list: He hated Bush, he hated "neocons," may have targeted the neocon Weekly Standard too, and most of all, he hated Jews.

Somehow omitted: He also hated black people, and he especially hated Obama because he believed he was controlled by Jews. (See the note he left behind.) He also hated the Federal Reserve, taxes, the United Nations, the federal government generically, admired Hitler, urged the reciminalization of miscegenation laws, and promoted The Protocols of the Seven Elders of Zion as fact. He worked at one time for Willis Carto's right-wing publishing house, Noontide Press, and used to sell copies of Carto's house organ The Spotlight.

As Mark Potok put it to Keith Olbermann:

You know, the idea, though, that somehow, you know, this shooting at the Holocaust Museum was in any remote way an artifact of the left or Obama's fault somehow, you know—I mean, it's vile beyond words and just has no basis at all in fact of any kind.

Yep. "Vile beyond words" just about covers it. Especially when it comes to Jonah Goldberg.

Here's how he put it at NRO:

Never mind that von Brunn isn’t a member of the far right.

That is, of course, flatly, demonstrably and outrageously false. Or is Goldberg now trying to cast Willis Carto as a "man of the Left"?

Is there anyone more congenitally dishonest than Jonah Goldberg working in the right-wing media? Deeply, appallingly dishonest?

I mean, I really think Glenn Beck believes the amazingly dumb stuff that comes pouring out of his mouth. Bill O'Reilly is no doubt deeply cynical, but I think his ego keeps him from admitting to himself that he is in fact a bullying and manipulative propagandist. The rest of them -- Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin -- at some level actually really believe the garbage they emit.

Goldberg, on the other hand, comes across as someone who at a basic level realizes he's just playing semantics games as a way to manipulate the debate. Deeply cynical, in other words. Because you can't help read his book, Liberal Fascism without recognizing the profound dishonesty of the entire enterprise -- which is, namely, to declare that "fascism is a phenomenon of the Left". It's not as morally appalling as Holocaust denial, but it's close.

Because anyone with any respect for history, and especially the importance of the its details, and who has studied in any serious sense the historical events surrounding the rise of fascism in the 1918-30 period knows just how profoundly wrong, how meaningfully false, Goldberg's claim is.

Goldberg recently published a length self-defense of his book, upon its paperback publication, in National Review. I wrote a long exegesis on it for Orcinus. You can go here to read it. It's titled: "Fascism is not liberal: The profound dishonesty of Jonah Goldberg".

And you can see the same gobsmackingly deep dishonesty on full display in this exchange.

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