Saturday, October 14, 2006

If Being a Liberal is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right

James Wolcott has posted a great piece discussing how conservatives never take responsibility for their actions; they simply blame the bad results on liberals. You'll love Dinesh D'Souza's assertions that the low-level redneck participants (Lynndie England, et. al.) in Abu Ghraib, although "red state" through and through, were really just acting out their interpretation of blue state values. That's right; when 'conservative' white trash do bad things it's because they're trying to emulate liberals. Conservatives squawk incessantly about liberals being the "Blame America First" crowd. So can we start calling them the "Blame Liberal America First" crowd? Take the Mark Foley scandal. Now it's no longer an issue of GOP leadership covering up illegal behavior to hold onto a congressional seat in Florida. According to some in the party, it's a subversive gay/secretly liberal cabal among Congressional staff who have hoodwinked poor Denny Hastert and all the other well-meaning and completely innoncently unknowing nice Congressmen who wouldn't know "gay" if it came up and introduced itself as Harvey Fierstein. Yeah, right.

Whatever happened to "restoring honor to the White House" and to Congress? I guess that old intention (if it was ever a genuine intention) is as elusive as Iraqi WMD. If conservatives really are about American values, honor, God, country, you'd think they could muster up a simple "we were wrong and it's nobody's fault but ours." But that's not going to happen as long as they can find a way to pin all of society's evils (and their own) on that nameless, faceless, amorphous evil organ known to them only as "Liberals."

Ratfink Raunchfest
Posted by James Wolcott

Josh Marshall cites this latest outburst from a politically besieged Chris Shays as a troubling sign of yet another reasonable moderate cracking under the strain and going nutsy crazy.

Perhaps. But I would note that Shays is not a solitary warbler when it comes to cranking Abu Ghraib through a peepshow viewer. The notion that what transpired at Abu Ghraib was not torture but a road company version of Oh! Calcutta! is one that Dinesh D'Souza entertains at some length in this month's book club selection, The Enemy at Home.

Pages 150-51:

"Although I do not believe that Abu Ghraib reflects America's predatory intentions toward the Muslim world, I can see why Muslims would see it this way. In one crucial respect, however, the Muslim critics of Abu Ghraib were wrong. Contrary to their assertions, Abu Ghraib did not reflect the shared values of America, it reflected the sexual immodesty of liberal America [my italics]. Lynndie England and Charles Graner were two wretched individuals from red America who were trying to acto out the fantasies of Blue America... This was bohemianism, West Virginia-style."

Then D'Souza decides to try his hand at irony, having seen the older kids do it in the playground.

"Of course if Graner and England were professors at an elite liberal arts college, their videotaped orgies might easily have become the envy of academia. If they were artists staging these pictures in a loft in Soho* they could have been hailed as pioneers and encouraged by leftist admirers to apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. But being low-life Appalachians, Graner and England inspired none of these elevated thoughts."

Yes, under different circs, Graner and England could have been the backwoods Julian Beck and Judith Malina, the Lunts of lower slobovia. Perhaps when D'Souza stops being clever, he and Chris Shays could enlighten us as to how beating a prisoner with a metal wand, jumping on his wounded leg, and forcing prisoners to eat food out of a toilet bowl fits in with the erotic-circus fun and games.

No matter. The theme of The Enemy at Home, as in so many conservative tracts, is that whatever goes wrong, liberals and liberalism are always the ones at fault. Conservatives may make mistakes, but their mistakes (such as Bush's on WMDs and the welcome we would get in Iraq) are well-intentioned and rooted in idealism, not in the moral rot where liberalism pitches its tent. Indeed, when conservatives--heroes in error, to use Ahmed Chalabi's memorable phrase--go astray, it's often because they're following liberals' lousy example. "In trying to defend the indefensible [at Abu Ghraib], conservatives became cheap apologists for liberal debauchery." To my knowledge, liberals haven't been blamed yet for the recent slaughter-execution of Amish schoolgirls, but I suppose it's only a matter of time before they hang that one on us too.

*I would peg this reference as being about twenty years out of date.

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