Sunday, February 07, 2010

Scheming, grasping liberals

Linked to at DovBear's Blog

It isn't news when Rush Limbaugh says something offensive, but it is intriguing when he shows an ironic lack of self-reflection.

He wondered, in the wake of Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts, if Jews were having second thoughts about their support for Obama. "To some people, 'banker' is a code word for Jewish," Limbaugh said, "and guess who Obama is assaulting? He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse there."

In other words, Limbaugh thinks Jews are automatically inclined to perceive an ethnic insult in criticisms of an institution or profession that anti-Semites identify as "Jewish."

Curious, then, that he doesn't apply the same logic to conservative assaults on Hollywood, which often sound quite similar to attacks by neo-Nazis and their ilk. To test the parallels, I collected a series of quotes from Limbaugh and from Stormfront, the Internet's leading white-supremacist website. Any occurrences of the word "Jew" in the latter, I either removed or replaced with the word "liberal." I then shuffled up the five quotes. Try to see if you can determine which are the Limbaugh ones and which the Stormfront ones. I myself would have been unable to do so.

1. "White people, too, are debasing their own culture with some of the rotgut that shows up on TV, some of the rotgut that shows up in Hollywood movies and so forth. Who's running all this? It's liberals! Liberals run Hollywood."

2. "McCarthyism is actually correctly accusing someone of communism, identifying a communist, right? That's what it was. People that hated McCarthy were the commies that were identified."

3. "Ted Turner marries Hanoi Jane Fonda, tries to go Hollywood, push Hollywood-type liberal politics and it just doesn't work."

4. "You recall, and there have been countless movies about this and books, all the liberals in Hollywood spent decades trying to convince the American public and countless congressional hearings, committees, that they weren't in bed with the communists.... now they're embracing communists as a badge of honor."

5. "Imus made the comment about a group, not an individual, just like NRA members are called gun nuts, paranoid whack jobs and other highly insulting terms by the liberal-controlled media."

(Here are the answers: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.)

You get the point. If you have ever perused Stormfront (a lovely experience, I can tell you), you will find that a great deal of what is said there sounds remarkably, eerily similar to things said by Limbaugh, by other conservative talk-radio commentators, and by their millions of listeners. Both crowds attack liberals, socialists, and communists, usually treating the three categories as interchangeable. Both think Hollywood and the media are "run" by left-wing subversives. Both assail welfare, affirmative action, feminism, multiculturalism, gun control, global warming science, and amnesty for illegal aliens. Both consider themselves at war with "elites." Both embrace conspiracy theories, and both see President Obama as an anti-white radical.

Of course, there are also substantial differences between the dittoheads and the Goebbelheads. Limbaugh is strongly pro-Israel and supports the Iraq War, neither exactly a popular stance among white nationalists (who hate Bush almost as much as they hate Obama). He has never explicitly embraced biological racism; he rationalizes his attacks on blacks and other minorities by saying he is only against the way liberal institutions coddle them. I don't believe he is an anti-Semite, and I disagree with the ADL that his remarks about Obama and the banks were "borderline anti-Semitic." His argument was that Jews might perceive attacks on bankers as veiled bigotry because anti-Semites talk that way, not that the banking industry is actually "Jew-controlled."

I just find it fascinating that he would make such an inference, apparently blind to the fact that his very own career is built on a style of demagoguery closely resembling that of some intensely anti-Semitic groups. He spends day upon day vilifying and demonizing many of the same institutions and organizations as the white-power folks do--Hollywood, the media, the government, the ACLU, the Ivy Leaguers--only he doesn't go around describing his targets as Jewish or Zionist, even though many of them do in fact include a disproportionate number of Jews. But as soon as someone utters a word of complaint about the ways of Wall Street, in swoops Mr. Limbaugh to protect us Yids against the slander. It's nice to know someone cares.