you thought the Trent Lott episode had nothing to do with
the war and foreign policy, especially all you politically
correct antiwar liberals out there, who just hooted and hollered
at the downfall of the "racist" Senator. But David
Frum begs to differ
ousted from his perch as the President's speechwriter
for his wife's unseemly boasting
about his role in articulating the "axis of evil"
phrase that decorated Bush 43's warmongering rhetoric Frum
has taken up literary residence at National Review,
where his daily "Diary" records the thoughts and
impressions of the Archetypal
as the events of the day pass by. The December 20 entry is
devoted to an internal neoconservative brouhaha over the exact
meaning of Lott's take-down: Neocon elder Charles
Krauthammer's column on how the controversy separated
the neoconservative wheat from the paleoconservative
chaff provoked a response from junior neocon Jonah Goldberg,
and Frum sides with Goldberg:
make mine the same as Jonah Goldberg's. His
column yesterday on which conservatives took the
Lott affair seriously and which did not seemed to me exactly
right. I have only one thought to add: I was sorry to see
somebody as wise and influential as Charles Krauthammer succumb
to the often-repeated but nonetheless inaccurate assertion
that there exists something called 'paleoconservatism' that
is more directly connected to the conservative tradition than
'neoconservatism.' This claim just won't bear scrutiny."
dubious distinction between the first and second generation
of neocons is specious, and not worth going into often the
case with much of Goldberg's writings but this sets up Frum
to make his point. Which is that the anti-war, anti-interventionist
paleos are as politically incorrect i.e. racist as Lott,
Strom Thurmond, and anyone who even suggests that the legal
and social impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960s
was, at best, a mixed blessing. While a discussion of the
opposition to "civil rights" laws is beyond
the scope of this column which is focused on foreign
affairs the ominous nature of this incident is underscored
by the way Frum uses it as a platform to smear the right-wing
of the antiwar movement.
is a short story by Shirley
Lottery," that perfectly anticipated what happened
to Lott, even down to its title. In the story, the typical
life of a small village is depicted, but with a sinister undertone
permeating the prose, until we learn that this particular
village has a culturally unique institution the Lottery. Each
year, the residents draw lots and the one who chooses the
black stone out of a pile of white pebbles is stoned to death.
The story, rightly famous for its
aura of dark foreboding super-imposed over a backdrop of seeming
normality, reflected the author's jaundiced view of humanity
as a pack of vicious curs, ready to turn on each other at
the slightest opportunity. L'affair Lott was a faithful reiteration
of Jackson's plot-theme: a victim was chosen, seemingly by
the Fates, as the focus of a deadly socio-political ritual
one intended to be performed rather more often than yearly.
John Podhoretz gleefully put it last week: "there
will be another one very soon."
didn't waste any time:
is actually the newest of all conservatisms. It reminds me
of one of those red-brick neo-Gothic churches you find in
the older suburbs of English industrial towns: discordant
elements hastily thrown together to create a false appearance
of tradition in a time of rapid change."
time of rapid change" is one way to describe the overthrow
of our old republic and the creation of a world-spanning Empire,
a new Byzantine
Empire of the West, as Frank
Chodorov described it. Chodorov
is a writer who used to be invoked by William Buckley as a
mentor, but no more: he belongs to that generation of rightists
that Frum and Buckley have thrown down the Memory
Hole, along with Senator
Robert A. Taft, John
T. Flynn, Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel
Robert R. McCormick, Garet
Garrett (a novelist and an editor of the Saturday Evening
Post), and the America
First Committee all of whom opposed the two great wars
of the 20th century, World War II and the Cold
War. A "conservative" who wants to export "democracy"
to the far corners of the earth is a new kind of creature
under the sun, or else FDR and Woodrow Wilson have been mis-classified
all these years. The Old Right had a trenchant critique of
imperialism and corporatism that Frum would just as soon disappear.
According to him, the antiwar anti-interventionist paleocons
were born only yesterday:
its leading ideologist acknowledges,
paleoism came together in the early 1990s as a reaction to
the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War. It began as
a hope that America could somehow remain aloof from the troubles
of the post-Cold War world and rapidly evolved into a mix
of blame-America-firstism and outright anti-patriotism."
is this "leading ideologist"? Frum links to an essay
Francis which is really a stretch. To begin with, the
idea that the paleos would have any such office as Leading
Ideologist is confusing the ex-leftism of the neocons with
the laissez-faire decentralism of the paleos. The whole idea
of paleoconservatism is to bring back the traditions of the
Old Right of the 1940s and 50s a time when libertarians
could co-exist peaceably with traditionalists on the basis
of a common opposition to social engineering "progressives,"
and both could agree with Randolph
Bourne, a classical liberal who made famous the phrase
is the health of the State." This is the sort of
"diversity" the neocons definitely do not subscribe
to: ideological diversity. In short, the paleos split off
from the neocon-dominated movement precisely because of the
neo-Leninist mindset exemplified by Frum's weird word-choice.
"Leading ideologist?" Give me a break!
Sam is a talented writer, but his views on race are most definitely
not shared by Pat Buchanan, Chronicles magazine, or,
indeed, any of the paleos I know. He and Buchanan came
to a parting of the ways when Pat nominated a black woman,
Foster, as his vice-presidential candidate on the Reform
ticket in the 2000 election. (To say nothing of having an
openly gay guy me
give the first of three nominating speeches on his behalf
at the infamous Long Beach convention.) The white racialists
grouped around the "American
Renaissance" organization denounced Buchanan as a
traitor and his "betrayal" was the
occasion for an article by a former American Renaissance
editor, James Lubinskas, proclaiming the "Death of Paleoconservatism"
David Horowitz's Frontpage, the home page for neocons
of monosyllabic inclinations.
Frum is depending on the ignorance of his readers and that
is a safe bet where National Review's remaining readers
are concerned. All the most intelligent and informed right-wingers
I know have long since let their NR subscriptions lapse, and
instead taken up The American Conservative and Chronicles,
precisely on account of the uniformly boring party-lining
rhetoric that infuses the typical NR article and the constant
smears of their enemies on the Right. The addition of Frum
to the NR staff will only add to the general exodus, as the
following makes clear::
for example is something that Pat Buchanan said when I debated
him on Chris Matthews' show 'Hardball' on September 30 :
'9/11 was a direct consequence of the United States meddling
in an area of the world where we do not belong and where we
are not wanted. We were attacked because we were on Saudi
sacred soil and we are so called repressing the Iraqis and
we're supporting Israel and all the rest of it.' That's a
sentiment you can well imagine coming from the lips of a George
McGovern. It's novel to hear it from someone who claims to
be on the right."
a sentiment one could imagine coming from old Bob Taft
except he's now an un-person, according to the neocons (say,
wasn't he a "segregationist"?) but never
out of the mouth of some blow-dried draft-dodging Republican
politician of the neocon dispensation. Pat also said on "Hardball"
that "they are over here because we are over there,"
and one wonders how Frum & Co. could possibly dispute
this self-evident truth. But he's too busy smearing Buchanan
and the rest of us to confront our actual arguments:
the magazines and websites of the paleos, and you will wonder
whether you are on the far left or the far right. Here is
a gushing interview with Norman Mailer; there is a link to
the latest nutso piece by Robert Fisk or John Pilger; here
is a long encomium to Gore Vidal or Noam Chomsky."
a magazine, such as The American Conservative, might
want to interview one of the most celebrated American writers
of our times is, to Frum, evidence of treason: there is nothing
"gushing" about the TAC interview, unless
one considers letting one's subject talk evidence of
doesn't provide any links to illustrate his contention that
paleos are linking to pieces by Robert
Fisk and John Pilger,
but Antiwar.com happily pleads guilty. Our catholic editorial
policy, and a basic agreement with the tendency if not the
particulars of their critique of American power, is the reason.
And that's only one reason why Antiwar.com is so much more
interesting than National Review Online, even for those
who don't agree with our position.
Gore Vidal is, as
Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter have made all-to-plain,
a heresy second only to praising Senator Thurmond, although
where these allged "economiums" to Noam Chomsky
appear remains a mystery. (He can't mean this.)
befuddled Frum: he cannot really tell the truth, which is
that we are anti-imperialists of the Right, the scions of
a rich legacy that can be traced all the way back to the origins
of modern American conservative thought an intellectual
tendency that dominated the thoughts and writings of the Founders.
So, instead, he resorts to character assassination, hoping
that we'll be the next victims of The Lottery:
is all new. New too is the weird anti-capitalism of the paleos.
New finally is the inescapable racialism and the obsessive
that one finds among the paleos."
link Frum provides to "prove" his charge of "anti-semitism"
is a column by Charlie Reese, "The Price of Israel,"
that discusses a
recent article in that well-known racialist and anti-Semitic
periodical, the Christian Science Monitor, which calculates
the cost of U.S. aid to Israel as "$1.6 trillion, or
twice the cost of the Vietnam War." The word "Jew"
does not appear once in Reese's piece an odd omission for
a supposed example of "anti-semitic" sentiment.
The word "Israel" does appear, however, and that
is quite enough for Frum, who wants us to believe that all
criticism of Israel, however trenchant and divorced from ethnic
enmity, is evidence of bigotry. On second thought, Reese does
commit what might be thought of as a hate-crime, at least
in certain circles, in that he praises France:
we are going to be forced to subsidize a foreign country,
I would rather it be France. We can at least get a decent
meal in France and enjoy the art treasures collected there.
Furthermore, France would not involve us in its quarrels."
of France is de rigueur in neocon circles; the stubborn
independence of the French is a burr under their saddle as
the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-neocon cabal goes riding off on their
twin hobbyhorses of "benevolent
world hegemony" and unconditional
U.S. support to Israel. But if mock Francophilia is Reese's
real sin, the evidence of it is not in Frum's smear piece:
indeed, there is no evidence of any kind. Did the victim in
Ms. Jackson's "The Lottery" stand convicted on the
basis of any evidence? Was there any evidence, other
than a mis-statement, that Lott is really a closet segregationist
other than representing the state of Mississippi in the
U.S. Senate? Not as far as the National Review crowd
was concerned. The magazine, which took the lead against Lott,
declared in an online editorial
that "Lott must go," even though they believed the
accusations of "racism" directed at Lott were basically
"unfair" and untrue.
the truth doesn't matter, and this sentiment was openly
expressed by Jonah
Goldberg ("Sure, Lott's resignation as Majority Leader
might seem or actually be unfair but that's how politics
works"), David Horowitz
("getting rid of Lott is not caving in") and a raft
of conservative apologists for the Purge. Only Krauthammer
seemed to suggest that Lott, in his remarks praising Thurmond's
1948 candidacy, really meant to endorse racial segregation
rather than a more generalized Southern pride: "Better
to lose the Senate than to lose your soul," Krauthammer
inveighed. But to Frum, Goldberg, Horowitz, and their crypto-quasi-"libertarian"
amen corner, truth is irrelevant. A lie spread far and wide
is better than an unknown truth, and far more useful for their
brings us back to Frum, who excoriates Lott's heresy as a
living nightmare, "rotten but undead," a ghost of
the horrible past that today's conservatives know better than
to remember with anything but hate. Ah, but those paleos are
a conservative horse of a different color altogether:
over in the paleo corner, the prejudices of the past have
not only survived they have taken on an importance they
have not previously published; they have become organizing
principles, the glue that holds an otherwise not very coherent
set of attitudes and beliefs together. This too is novel.
told the paleos prefer the term 'Judaeo-critical' to 'anti-semitic'
when talking among themselves. In public, they use either
transparent euphemisms like "the Israel lobby" or
rather more opaque ones like 'neoconservative.' Whatever the
terminology, their dislike and fear of what they perceive
as Jewish influence and Jewish conspiracies
is the foundation of their politics and in some cases the
whole of it."
is telling Frum these stories had better put down the crack
pipe. Or is this an indirect way of telling us that John
Pointdexter's infamous "Total Information Awareness"
is already springing leaks? I've been hanging around paleo
circles since the beginning, and I have heard no such reference
to "Judeo-critical" or any other ridiculous euphemism
for ordinary bigotry. This is an out-and-out lie, and Frum
had better name his sources
-- or else retract it.
is not surprising that Frum considers any criticism of Israel
or its very active lobby in the U.S. to be evidence of alleged
"anti-semitism," but is any and all discussion of
neoconservatism the subject of countless scholarly
now considered a "hate crime"?
solves the mystery of why National Review, pushed by
the neocons, was the first to go after Lott's scalp, rather
than, say, The Nation, or the New York Times.
Ethnic victimology has its uses, and the defense of Israel
certainly counts as one of the most important. It is fascinating
to see that, in the above cited quote, Frum accuses paleos
of positing "Jewish conspiracies" with the word
"conspiracies" linked to a special section of Antiwar.com
that features news items about the Israeli "art students"
detained by American authorities in the days leading up to
problem for Frum, however, is that his readers might actually
follow the link, and find that this evidence of our "anti-semitism"
is in reality a collection of articles culled from such sources
as Salon, ABC News, Fox News, Le Monde, the Washington
Post, and The Forward, along with my collected
columns on the subject.
all these news organizations were reporting on, however, was
not a "Jewish conspiracy" but a spy operation carried
out by the government of Israel against the United States.
Is Frum saying that these sources are "anti-semitic"?
If, by Frum's draconian standards, Charlie Reese is practically
a Nazi for pointing out that Israel costs us a pretty penny,
then so is anyone who so much as mentions Jonathan Pollard or
who reminds us that the U.S. and Israel are, after all, separate
countries, with different and often conflicting interests.
won't bother with Frum's ignorant attack on Robert Novak
long a target of the neocon crowd for daring to speak out
against the crazed war plans of this administration, and refusing
to kowtow to foreign lobbyists. Any analysis of conservatism
that mistakes Novak for a "newcomer" is just not
referring to reality. Suffice to say it's an outrage that
midgets of Frum's stature feel free to sling mud at such old
conservative warhorses as Novak and Reese. Particularly in
regard to the latter, who has not been well lately, Frum should
be made to eat his words and apologize. The irony is that
the kind of behavior these alleged "conservatives"
deplore in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who use their
ethnicity to deflect criticism of their crackbrained politics
is routinely practiced by them.
brings us back to the Trent Lott connection. The oddness of
seeing these neocons turn left, and not only join but lead
the mob of Jacobins demanding the Senator's head, is explained
by Frum's smears directed at Buchanan, Antiwar.com, Reese,
Novak, and the loosely-defined group of paleo-conservatives,
i.e. anyone who won't dance to the neocons' tune. The same
methods are now being used against a different target.
interesting to watch is that the neocons, first catapulted
into the center of the political debate by coming out against
"political correctness" and ethnic hyper-sensitivity,
have now gone full-circle and become the enforcers of a new
political correctness. One that is not all that much different
from the old, left-wing sort, as many on the Right are discovering
to their surprise and dismay.
War Party has been smearing the antiwar movement since Day
One of our endless "war on terrorism." Now that
a precedent has been set, and a Shirley Jackson-ish media
ritual of demonization a kind of Orwellian "Hate
Week" has been established, it's on to the next
target of neocon hatred. Frum leaves little doubt as to whom
or what he has in mind as a likely candidate.
idea that this war is a "Jewish conspiracy" is nothing
but a canard, a view Frum gives credence to by falsely attributing
it to paleoconservatives. Even a cursory examination of such
a charge is enough to dismiss it as a crankish excrescence
based on enmity and not fact. Numerically and politically
speaking, Jews have almost no influence inside the Republican
party, which is now the War Party, although voting patterns
may be slowly changing, they have traditionally been a reliably
Democratic constituency. It is the Christian fundamentalists,
those of the dispensationalist persuasion, who have been
the most powerful voice raised on behalf of the Likud government
in Israel. This is the real "Israel lobby"
that counts with Bush 43 and his administration, as Frum well
those conservatives who are wondering what the heck got into
their "leaders" who started the anti-Lott feeding
frenzy, consider that these same methods of smear, innuendo,
and demonization are being used in the service of this war.
It is a war for Empire, and against the Constitution, a war
against American interests and traditions, a war being conducted
by ruthless radicals Jacobins in the foreign policy realm,
and elsewhere who oppose everything conservatism ever
stood for. Please note that the same people demonizing Lott
are the same liars who demonize the antiwar movement as a
"fifth column." To Southern conservatives a group
not known for its antiwar proclivities I say this: the "conservatives"
who took down Lott and hail Sherman's march through Georgia
as a glorious victory for "civil rights" are the
same people who want to "liberate" the people of
Iraq by slaughtering them.
is no good argument for this war. The
Pentagon is against it. The people
are increasingly against it. Common sense militates against
it. Therefore, its proponents must resort to lies and libel,
and we've only just seen the beginning of it. My new book,
The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection,
which I just turned in to the publisher, Verso Books, is sure
to inspire a similar campaign to demonize me, personally,
since the evidence for Israeli foreknowledge of 9/11 presented
in my book is irrefutable. Ronald
Radosh was the first to try out the theme floated in Frum's
anti-paleo screed: Antiwar.com and the paleos represents the
"brown" segment of a "red-brown
current" that opposes the war and intervention generally
a truly astigmatic view that somehow manages to confuse
the avowed libertarianism of this site and this author with
won't wash. The animating spirit of the paleocon rebellion
on the Right is bitter opposition to centralized authority
in the name of an assertive regionalism, not to mention the
radical decentralism of its paleo-libertarian contingent.
Fascism, on the other hand, makes a fetish out of super-centralism,
and elevates the holy Nation above all regional loyalties:
indeed, it positively forbids all other allegiances, except
to the centralized Party-State.
any tendency on the Right approaches the fascist model, it
is the neocons themselves, who are in love with the idea of
greatness" and who see wars of conquest as the
foremost way to express this "greatness." Their
fulsome support of the U.S. "Patriot" Act, and all
the more radical incursions on the Constitution launched by
this administration as part of the "war on terrorism,"
have them firmly in the super-centralist camp. All they need
are some snappy uniforms and a few marching songs, and they'll
be in business.
spite of their clearly fascist proclivities, the neoconservative
wing of the War Party is trying to stick us with the
label, so far unsuccessfully. But that doesn't mean they're
going to stop trying. The Lott fiasco gave them the chance
to wield political correctness as a weapon, and they drew
some blood: now, they hunger for more victims, and are eager
to play another round of The Lottery.
answer is clear: bring it on, guys, bring it on.
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