Saturday, February 18, 2012

The New McCarthyism

1. This is a minor point but there was a really great political
cartoon in Maariv this week, unusual because Israeli political cartoon
are usually not very good. It was after the attempted terror attack
by Irsanian agents against Israelis in Thailand. As you recall, the
agents' bomb blew up prematurely, blowing the leg off one of the
terrorists. In the cartoon you see a picture of Iran's president
Ahmadinejad walking along with one leg blown off, on crutches, blood
flowing out of the wound. Bibi comes up to him with a severed blood
leg. Ahmaminejad says "That's not mine!"

2. Recently the Israeli media and academic blab lists have been
inundated with accusations coming from the anti-democratic Left that
Israel is undergoing a plague of "McCarthyism." Of course, by the
word "McCarthyism," the radical Left just means any criticism of or
disagreement with the radical Left. SO these day, writing that you
think Israel has the right to exist and the right to defend its
population makes you a McCarthyist.

Well, I think the most interesting commentary on McCarthyism in
recent decades has come from P.J. O'Rourke - in my opinion and in the
opinion of many an American imperialist running-dog capitalist – the
funniest pundit in America. So I thought the time was ripe to post
P.J.'s comments on the New McCarthyism:

P. J. O'Rourke

Our era is supposed to be the 1950s
all over again. Indeed, we are experiencing
anew many of the pleasures
and benefits of that excellent decade:
a salubrious prudery, a sensible avariciousness,
a healthy dose of social conformity,
a much-needed narrowing of
minds, and a return to common-sense
American political troglodytism. But
there's one delightful and entertaining
feature of the Eisenhower years which
is wholly absent from the contemporary
scene—old-fashioned redbaiting.

Where's our McCarthyism? Who's our
Tailgunner Joe? Why don't we get to
look for Communists under our beds
or—considering the social changes of
the past thirty-five years—in them?
("Good night, Honey, and are you now
or have you ever been a member of the
Committee in Solidarity with the People
of El Salvador?")

God knows the problem is not a lack
of Commies. There are more fuzzyminded
one-worlders, pasty-faced peace
creeps, and bleeding-heart bed-wetters
in America now than there ever were
in 1954. The redskis have infiltrated the
all-important exercise video industry,
not to mention movies and TV. Academia,
too, is a veritable compost heap
of Bolshie brain-mulch. Beardo the
Weirdo may have been laughed out of
real life during the 1970s, but he found
a home in our nation's colleges where
he whiles away the wait for Woodstock
Nation II by pestering undergraduates
with collectivist twaddle when they
should be thinking about better car
stereos. And fellow travelers in the
State Department? Jeez, the situation
is so bad at Foggy Bottom that we'd
better hope it's caused by spies. If it's
stupidity, we're really in trouble.

… And come to think of it, there are other problems with an
up-to-date witch-hunt. For one thing, it's no use going after
real, card-carrying Communists anymore.
Hard-core party apparatchiks are
already being persecuted by organizations
more brutally efficient than anything
we've got in the U.S., organizations
such as the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics and the People's Republic
of China. Plus, accusing somebody
of being a "comsymp" just isn't
the same since Gorbachev began his
three-hankie perestroika performance.

… No, a modern McCarthyism is going
to have to concentrate on
other things besides the Big Lie and the
Red Menace. In fact, if we examine
even a brief selection of people who
should be tarred and feathered and run
out of town on a rail (or, to be more
contemporary, oat branned and goose
downed and jogged out of the condominium
complex on an exercise track),
we see that they are not necessarily
Marxist or even socialist in their thinking
because that would presuppose
thinking in the first place. Nobody is
ever going to accuse us of being thought
police for going after the likes of Kris
Kristofferson, Phil Donahue, Mario
Thomas, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Yoko
Ono, Dave Dellinger, Ben and Jerry's
Ice Cream, the World Council of
Churches, Ed Asner, Michelle Shocked,
Lenora Fulani, Robert Redford, and
people who think quartz crystals cure

The distinguishing feature of this
cluster of dunces is not subversion but
silliness. If we hope to wreck careers,
destroy reputations, and drive holistic
Ortega fans into exile in Sausalito and
Amherst, we're going to need tactics
very different from those used by Roy
Cohn, Bobby Kennedy, and the distinguished
senator from the great state
famous for its La Follette and cheese.

A "blacklist" will never work. Put
some Sandalista on your blacklist and
you probably guarantee him a MacArthur
Genius Grant and a seat on the
ACLU national board of directors. …

No, this isn't going to work either.
You can't shame or humiliate modern
celebrities. What used to be called
shame and humiliation is now called
publicity. And forget traditional character
assassination. If you say a modern
celebrity is an adulterer, a pervert,
and a drug addict, all it means is that
you've read his autobiography.

We have to come up with more clever
ways to ruin these people. Or perhaps we can direct the wrath of
the remarkably terrifying animal rights
activists against them. I'm going to
write a letter to People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals about how Susan
Sontag allows her ideas to be tried on
innocent laboratory rabbits before humans
are exposed to them. (As for the
animal rights activists, we can turn
some animals loose on them later.)
But the worst punishment for dupes,
pink-wieners, and dialectical immaterialists
might be a kind of reverse blacklist.

We don't prevent them from writing,
speaking, performing, and otherwise
being their usual nuisance selves.
Instead, we hang on their every word,
beg them to work, drag them onto all
available TV and radio chat shows, and
write hundreds of fawning newspaper
and magazine articles about their wonderful
swellness. In other words, we
subject them to the monstrous, gross,
and irreversible late twentieth-century
phenomenon of Media Over-Exposure
so that a surfeited public rebels in


American Spectator, July 1989

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