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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in phthisis' LiveJournal:

Tuesday, October 21st, 2003
9:30 pm
Paul Krugman Loses It
I haven't been jumping on the Hate Krugman bandwagon out of respect for the fact that economics ain't my thing, and often I just can't bring myself to care what a moribund and vapid academic has to say about topics he's hardwired to misunderstand. But his recent New York Times column is really beyond the pale. With respect to Dr. Mahathir's nasty villification of Jews at the OIC, Krugman apologizes for the incident as follows:

"Not long ago Washington was talking about Malaysia as an important partner in the war on terror. Now Mr. Mahathir thinks that to cover his domestic flank, he must insert hateful words into a speech mainly about Muslim reform. That tells you, more accurately than any poll, just how strong the rising tide of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism among Muslims in Southeast Asia has become. Thanks to its war in Iraq and its unconditional support for Ariel Sharon, Washington has squandered post-9/11 sympathy and brought relations with the Muslim world to a new low."</p>
Krugman hits a trifecta here. He misreads the cause and thus dangerously downplays the import of hemispheric Muslim Jew-hatred, makes the specious and now memetic Boykin analogy, and implicitly justifies the hateful lunacy Mahathir represents by blaming it on Bush in order to score partisan points. This man is nearly as crazy as Mahathir.

As Charles Johnson points out, Krugman's assertion is so off in its timing that it's absurd. Both Mahathir's Jew-hatred and its general sustenance in the ummah long predate Bush or the war on terror. I'd like to argue that such a child-like blunder serves to disqualify Krugman from further commentary on Middle East affairs.

I mean, there's always been Maureen Dowd, but I really can't believe this is what passes for insight on the New York Times editorial page.

From Andrew Sullivan.

P.S.: I'd like to commend the New York Times for otherwise getting it right.

Update: David Hogberg writes:

"... Krugman ignores Mahathir’s history of making anti-Semitic remarks. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes of Google searching to find this article detailing Mahathir’s long-time hatred of the Jews. It extends all the way back (at least) to his 1969 autobiography in which he wrote “The Jews ... are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 1991 he accused leaders of Australia’s Jewish community of plotting to overthrow him, and in 1994 he banned the movie Schindler’s List from Malaysia because he felt it was pro-Jewish propaganda.

Krugman purposely ignores all that. How do I know that Krugman “purposely ignores” it? Because of the way he whitewashes Mahathir’s 1997 remarks. Although Krugman notes that Mahathir “talked like this” in 1997, he then states that Mahathir “loudly blamed machinations by Western speculators.” Here’s what Mahathir actually said, according to the article in the Sun-Times:

Mahathir told Forbes magazine that his government had "definite information" that George Soros, a Jewish financier, was responsible for the Malaysian economy's collapse. "When a person of Jewish origin does this kind of thing [currency speculation], the effect is the same as when a Muslim carried out something akin to terrorism.
Why did Krugman leave out the fact that Mahathir fingered Soros specifically? Because including it would cast Mahathir in an even worse light and expose his seamy history of anti-Semitism. It would reveal that Mahathir had engaged in anti-Semitism before the War on Terrorism was even a thought, and during periods (the 1990s) when the U.S. did not give Israel unconditional support. That would, in turn, undermine Krugman’s absurd contention that President Bush made him do it.
This is either naked distortion on Krugman's part, or true ineptitude. I remember reading Krugman's bit about "Western speculators" and tripping over a cognitive snag: surely Mahathir was talking about Jews. But I didn't follow it up...

Don Luskin, Krugman's most dogged critic (he writes maintains his own web site and writes the Krugman Truth Squad feature at National Review) described a recent encounter with the man at a book-signing:

"I thought it would be fun. I thought I could throw a tough question at him, or get him to autograph a copy of The Great Unraveling for me before he realized who I was. But there was nothing fun about this experience. I have looked evil in the face. I've been in the same room with it. I don't know how else to describe my feelings now except to say that I feel unclean, and I'm having to fight being afraid."
This seems ludicrous, no? Ridiculous conservative hyperbole, on par with some of the villification of the Clintons. Now David Hogberg says:

"There are three things to conclude from this. First, Krugman’s willinnginess to excuse anti-Semitism in order to bash Bush policy proves that his hatred of this President is pathological. Second, despite the removal of Howell Raines, the New York Times still suffers from a leadership without any sound judgment. And, finally, Don Luksin [sic] recently referred to Krugman as “evil.” Privately, I thought that was a bit over the top. Don, I cannot tell you how wrong I was."
He's right. I've chronicled what I believe to be the out-of-the-box dysfunctionality of liberal thought on the war on terror. I've talked about the left-liberal inability to correctly process the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the algorithmic anti-Semitism of far-Left ideology in the face of a non-shtetl Jewry. I have watched the recent coverage of Mahathir's tirade. Some liberal media get it, but most miss the point. They downplay its explicit path to genocide in favor of its precedential criticism of Islamist forces in the ummah. Or, fearing racist condemnation of Muslim culture, they indulge their exonerative reflex by equating General Boykin and his parochial audience to the Malaysian Prime Minister and his worldwide adulators, among them all the important Islamic heads of state including Hamid Karzai.

For the first time since the electric days leading up to war in Iraq, I feel that clarity again. In less anxious times, it's easier to give people the benefit of the doubt, to tolerate their stupidity and apologetics for tangible evil as "dissent" or "a different perspective". Please. I haven't read and digested Goldhagen's thesis, so I may be off here, but surely at least in part he means to say the smug, unthinking and partisan stupidity of a Paul Krugman is the substrate that nourishes great tragedy.

Addendum: The bit about Karzai underscores how shallow the liberal media understanding of the Mahathir event really is. You would think an enterprising pundit on that side of the political spectrum would question Bush's choice of Karzai to helm the Afghan reconstruction, a man who called Mahathir's speech "very correct". If we're looking to transform the ummah in order to dismantle the milieu that breeds terrorism, doesn't this make Karzai seem a troublesome choice? That looks like a golden opportunity for criticism to me.
7:36 pm
Leftist Anti-Semitism: A Quickie
David Rosen, professor of anthropology and law at Farleigh Dickinson University, makes an interesting point while discussing Leftist anti-Semitism during another FrontPage Magazine symposium on the topic.

The central meaning of Anti-Semitism is hatred and discrimination against Jews. It developed as a cultural, social and political force in Europe over the centuries and it now has an increasingly global dimension. As a form of irrational hatred it has expressed itself in many ways. At first, it was mostly religious hatred but by the time of the Spanish Inquisition it had taken on a racial dimension. Nowadays Anti-Semitism’s main expression is political. It is found in actions and ideologies that call for the destruction of the State of Israel or that assert that Zionism per se is racism. Religious Anti-Semitism charges Jews with having committed a terrible original sin -- such as killing Christ or poisoning Mohammed – that justified collective punishment. Racial Anti-Semitism portrays Jews as subhuman, diseased, and parasitical. The narrative of original sin has returned to political anti-Semitism where the “sin” is the dispossession and treatment of the Palestinians."
I think he's wrong about the racial form of anti-Semitism coming out during the Spanish Inquisition, unless he's talking about the tail end of it, which would be around 1800-34. But most of what was important about the Inquisition took place during the 16th Century, and racial anti-Semitism was neither pioneered in Spain, or in any real way during the early 1800s. It was more of a mid-to-late-19th Century brainstorm in and around Germany, although to be sure it had its predecessors earlier in England, Scotland, France and even northern Europe. The best treatment of this topic I've found, which I'm currently reading, is George Mosse's Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism.

Rosen does make an interesting point about the recapitulation of the original sin narrative. That's quite apt, and ominous.
Friday, September 12th, 2003
6:30 pm
The Flaccidity of Hate
It's not quite as dramatic -- actually, I'd call it definitively flaccid, which is funny considering the politics involved -- but doesn't this remind you of scenes from the desegregating south? What is wrong with these people?

For the 75 students who attend the Harvey Milk High School, the first day of classes yesterday included not just the usual confusion over new classrooms and new electives, but also a walk past a crowd of chanting demonstrators.
By 7:30 a.m., about a dozen demonstrators had gathered on the north side of Astor Place in Manhattan, waving signs and Bibles, and protesting what one called "the special school for gays." Across the street, about 250 people demonstrated in support of the school.

The Harvey Milk High School was established in 1985 as an alternative program for gay and lesbian teenagers, and other students suffering from violence or intolerance in New York City public schools. Before this summer, it had generated little controversy.

But a front-page article in The New York Post in July about the expansion of the school — from 50 students in two classrooms last year to eight classrooms and a projected 170 students by the end of 2004 — has suddenly made the school something of a lightning rod. The school received extensive coverage nationally on television, and in newspapers and magazines.

Ruben Israel, 42, a construction worker from Los Angeles, said he had come to New York to protest the school's expansion.

"This is a historical moment, and this school is a blemish on our society," Mr. Israel said. "It's my duty as a Christian to share Jesus' take on all this."
Thanks for your input, Mr. "Israel". I'm sure Jesus is thrilled.
Thursday, August 21st, 2003
2:39 am
Coffee-House Chatter
In my utopia, this is what the coffee-house chatter would sound like. An aside to my one socialist friend:

I still don't understand why, even in light of completely unrelated socialist doctrines, you would align yourself with an ideology that uniformly claims that the Israelis are 100% to blame, the Palestinians and other Arabs are 0% to blame, and with which the mass murders of Jewish civilians doesn't emotionally register. That is what socialism is. Socialism is a discredited cops-and-robbers cartoon in which the historical narrative becomes fat robber barons who smoke cigars and grind their patent-leathers into the necks of worker-saints. For 100 years, socialists have located empowered and self-defensive Jewry in the place of those robber barons. Find me a socialist thinker, party or movement that says otherwise. When Jews transcend the throng of faceless, pacifist, international drones that are the socialist's vision, they become little gold monopoly men whom it is ok to blow up -- along with their children -- so long as an ever-receding list of ahistorical "root causes" isn't addressed through prostration and appeasement.

Socialism is evil. There is no other way to describe it.
2:33 am
Lileks on the Jerusalem Bombing
James Lileks, the Dickens of the blogosphere, on the mass murder in Jerusalem:

"The bomber was a father of two. A man who has children who walks down the aisle of the bus, looking at the children whose small short cheerful lives he is about to destroy, contenting himself with the knowledge that they are mere Jews - such a man has abdicated his humanity. The fact that he died in an instant and 100+ victims survived to live with the pain for the rest of your days makes you wonder which side God is on. Or it makes you certain there’s a hell. Or it just makes you not want to think about these things at all.

Whenever I hear 'never again!' I remember when that seemed a possibility.

But nowadays the phrase never again is met with sneers: of course again. And again and again, as often as possible. Fascists in thrall to a death-god, again. Creed-addled men who shrug at the death of babies, again. Poison-fed people who pass out candy to celebrate the murder of Jews, again.

Never again has become please, not tomorrow."
Saturday, August 16th, 2003
9:31 pm
This day in history
Today, I strolled around downtown Greenpoint, admired oxymoronically tanned Polish girls, and bought meatloaf from sausage-fingered women in hair-nets.
Thursday, August 14th, 2003
2:10 am
The Case Against Israeli "Apartheid"
Here's an excerpt from a conversation me and guave' Guav are having about an unconstitutional law, Israel and moral clarity. It's interesting in general, but it's more important in that it vets the notion that Israel is comparable to apartheid South Africa. You often hear this claim, and this is my first truly expository attempt to analyze it.

Part I

"I would however, find the comparison to Apartheid South Africa not too far off."

I think the occupation of the West Bank is a necessary security measure. I think it was undertaken as such, and that the settlements are an unfortunate byproduct of that security need, as well as the misguided notion that physical claim to the land would diplomatically strengthen Israel as an occupier.

Regardless of the merits, which we can debate until our dicks fall off, there is no doubt that the occupation compromises the democratic character of the state of Israel. The recent racist marriage law and a casual glance at the B'Tselem web site are examples enough to support that claim.

This phenomenon, as well as Palestinian irredentism and intransigence, leads to apartheid-like measures in the West Bank.

The analogy falls apart, though, because these measures are intimately tied to the security situation in the territories; they wane accordingly when it improves; and they were, and are, directly fostered by ongoing Arab rejection of the state of Israel.

I visited apartheid South Africa. I have not been to Israel or the West Bank, so maybe I'm wrong. But in the aggregate, I don't think Palestinian refugee camps, from what I've seen or read in media, have anything on the shantytowns of South Africa. Their squalor is unfathomable. They are camps filled with outhouse-sized huts fashioned out of corrugated tin and garbage bags. Human waste is in the streets. Stutter-walking past children, end-stage drunks with explosively hemorrhaged eyes cry, fight and kill each other. Babies are raped. The townships are lined up along highways that took the still-functioning blacks into white cities to labor as helots. They have little running water, and barely any electricity. The violent crime and disease rates are stratospheric. They received little press coverage, unlike the territories, and no international funding. Consequently, they had nothing resembling public works or facilities. I don't think the UNRWA, in its current role as the indefinite steward of Palestinian misery, had a sister organization operating in the townships.

There was no security reason for creating the apartheid system. There was no African rejection of the state of South Africa, except perhaps those malleable elements of African culture that didn't conform to a nation-state model. There were no anti-white African depredations to speak of. Almost all crime in South Africa was monochromatic; that is to say, black-on-black. Things are changing, but to my knowledge, that fact mostly remains. The apartheid state was rank colonialism at its historical worst, and there is no counter-narrative to offset that fact.

Excepting Lesotho and the Transkei experiment for simplicity's sake, South Africa was a single polity predicated on a serf economy. As the UN put it accurately, "apartheid was racism made law". Every aspect of black life in South Africa was controlled by Nazi-like regulation, which was handed down by a colonial minority. This colonial minority legally and violently suppressed any criticism of its system. In the Palestinian territories, the opposite is true. Most of the poverty is directly attributable to misrule by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA is the organization that tortures or executes Palestinian dissidents. The IDF suppresses militants, undertakes raids on bomb factories, and occasionally assassinates mass murderers. Surely, mistakes are made, and individuals can do evil. But the IDF is highly scrupulous, and the majority of evidence screams this from the rooftops. It does not suppress political speech when it is speech, and to say so is simply a lie. Anti-Jewish incitement is prolific in Palestinian media, and many Israelis foment against Israeli state policy, in both the territories and Israel.

Palestinians travel into their rich neighbor, Israel, to comprise much of its proletariat, but this is a volitional arrangement commonly mirrored throughout the world. Palestinians can also work for themselves, each other, or other Arabs throughout the Middle East. Black South Africans had no such choices. There is no validity to the notion that the West Bank is a Jewish plutocracy buoyed by the slave labor of Palestinians. It's not even a state, but it would be -- and a majority Palestinian one -- if the Palestinian leadership decided to create it.

I agree with most of what you said. However, I disagree that the boycott is racist.

I concur that, in a vacuum, to boycott a government is not racist. But, there are facts and there is truth, and intoning this does not erase the fact that many people tranfer their anti-Semitic energies, or more common, superimpose their tired Marxist narratives, onto Israel. This is done with great frequency and exaggeration, and it is self-evidently bizarre to pretend that Israel deserves the international outcry it generates. This does not mean that Israel is blameless. As I said, Israel is led to compromise its democratic character by its ongoing military stalemate with the Arab world. When this phenomenon wreaks havoc, it should be protested. But keep things in perspective.

Why do people criticize the concept of a Jewish state, but are a-okay with Saudi Arabia? Sure, they'll say other countries are bad, but do you see Turkey or SA being protested in the streets of San Francisco? Does the UN try to take out hundreds of resolutions against Indonesia? Is Belgium threatening to indict Gadhafi for war crimes? How about Belgium indicts some of the Phalangist militants who actually performed those massacres at Sabra and Shatila? It's like blaming the Jews for Christ's death and not the Romans.

Unbelievable. Why do people criticize The OccupationTM, but don't even know that Syria has taken Lebanon up the ass for nearly as long? Do you think Syria's reasons are of self-defense? FUCKING LEBANESE PEOPLE care more about Israel than Syria. What about Western Sahara? No one knows what Western Sahara even is.

You ask people why they "change the subject" by bringing up this kind of stuff when Israel is criticized. Well, this is why. Do you have any appreciation of how morally broken this all is?

Thomas Friedman is right:

"Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction -- out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East -- is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest."
"If it were a boycott on 'Jewish' goods and products, I would oppose it vehemently."

Then I trust you were outraged by incidents like Oxford Professor Andrew Wilkie's summary rejection of a Jewish Israeli student's application, and Oxford Professor Mona Baker's summary dismissal of two Jewish Israeli academics from her journal staff. These incidents were based on religion and nationality, not personal actions or economic considerations.
Monday, August 11th, 2003
11:00 pm
The 'Spectre' of Genocide
The following is a lengthy excerpt on socialism and racism from George Watson's "The Lost Literature of Socialism" (The Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, pp. 77-80). It's well worth a complete read.

"But it was the issue of race, above all, that for a half a century has prevented National Socialism from being seen as socialist. The assumption that socialism was never racist can now be seen as a misunderstanding.

The proletariat may have no fatherland, as Lenin said. But there were still, in Marx's view, races that would have to be exterminated. That is a view he published in January-February 1849 in an article by Engels called 'The Hungarian Struggle' in Marx's journal the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and the point was recalled by socialists down to the rise of Hitler. It is now becoming possible to believe that Auschwitz was socialist-inspired. The Marxist theory of history required and demanded genocide for reasons implicit in its claim that feudalism, which in advanced nations was already giving place to capitalism, must in its turn be superseded by socialism. Entire races would be left behind afer a workers' revolution, feudal remnants in a socialist age; and since they could not advance two steps at a time, they would have to be killed. They were racial trash, as Engels called them, and fit only for the dung-heap of history.

That brutal view, which a generation later was to be fortified by the new pseudo-science of eugenics, was by the last years of the century a familiar part of the socialist tradition, though it is understandable that since the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945 socialists have been eager to forget it. In 1902 H.G. Wells concluded his Anticipations with a programme of socialist genocide, and Franz Mehring, a German Marxist who in 1902 had edited the Engles article of 1849, echoed the point with qualified approval in his life of Marx of 1918. In the United States, meanhwhile, Jack London (1876-1916), the Californian socialist whose writings would one day fascinate the young Orwell and Lenin on his deathbed, had independently arrived at a similar conclusion, combining revolutionary socialism with white-supremacist views in what a recent reviewer has called 'a strange mixture'. It would not have seemed strange, however, at the turn of the century. Jack London believed in Darwin as well as in Marx, and Darwinian theories of evolution, he held, demanded the triumph of the fittest proletariat on earth, which of course was white. 'The lesser breeds cannot endure', he wrote defiantly in a letter of 17 April 1899. 'I cannot but hail as unavoidable the Black and the Brown going down before the White.' This is socialist imperialism at its most full-blooded; and as the S.S. Oregon returned to San Francisco from the war with Spain, when the US annexed the Philippines and Cuba, London hailed it rapturously on behalf of the Hearst press in the San Francisco Examiner of 14 June 1901:

Up, up she swept, grandly on the breast of the flood tide, this huge gun platform, this floating fort, this colossus,
praising her great guns as 'teeth which have tasted' and recording 'the hot blood' that rushed at the sight back through centuries of mere civilisation to a darker and more potent age, 'things primordial and naked'. Tomorrow the lion may lie down with the lamb. 'But today it were well that we look to our Oregons and see that they be many and efficient'. That was written within months of H.G. Wells's appeal for socialist genocide in Anticipations, and doubtless in ignorance of it.

Ethnic cleansing was orthodox socialism for a century and more. 'By the same right with which France has taken Flanders', Engles wrote in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung of 10 September 1848, as well as Alsace-Lorraine, and will soon take Belgium, 'by that same right Germany takes Schleswig: with the right of civilisation against barbarism, of progress against stability'. That, as he believed, was the supreme right, 'worth more than all treaties, for it is the right of historical development'. Havelock Ellis saw it as part of the essential socialist quest for white racial purity. Capitalism believes in mere quantity, both in terms of goods and in terms of people; socialism, by contrast, in quality: 'the question of breed, the produciton of fine individuals, the elevation of the ideal of quality in human production over that of mere quantity' -- a noble ideal in itself, and also 'the only method by which socialism can be enabled to continue on its present path'. That is from Ellis's Task of Social Hygiene of 1913, which unites Marx's early vision of inevitable class conflict with eugenic theory and the coming triumph of the white races.

Sidney and Beatrice Webb echoed the point in the same year in the New Statesman. If the higher race, as they call the whites, were to lose their world predominance through a falling birth rate, there would be a cataclysm in which they would be replaced by a 'new social order developed by one or other of the coloured races, the negro, the Kaffir or the Chinese'. That prospect made the Webbs ultra-imperialists:

It would be idle to pretend that anything like effective self-government, even as regards strictly local affairs, can be introduced for many generations to come -- in some cases, conceivably never (2 August 1913)
So the socialist intelligentsia of the western world entered the first world war publicly committed to racial purity and white domination, and no less committed to violence. On 16th December 1939, after the partition of Poland by Hitler and Stalin, Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury, defended what Stalin had done, though not on the grounds Stalin had offered. He should, the Dean wrote in the New Statesman, have simply said: 'We are trustees for the world's first Socialist State.' It was a word that justified, by then, any action whatever. Since there is no morality but class morality, G.D.H. Cole wrote in the same journal after the war, 'it was therefore justifiable and necessary for the proletariat to use any method, and to take any action, that would help it towards victory over its class-enemies'.

Socialism offered a blank cheque to violence, and its license to kill included genocide. In 1933, in a preface to On the Rocks, for example, Bernard Shaw publicly welcomed the exterminatory principle which, to his profound satisfaction, the Soviet Union had already adopted. Socialists could now take pride in a state that had at last found the courage to act, though some still felt that such action should be kept a secret. In 1932 Beatrice Webb remarked at a tea-party what 'very bad state management' it had been to allow a party of British visitors in the Ukraine to see cattle-trucks full of starving 'enemies of the state' at a local station. The account is predictive, nearly ten years before the Nazis began their own mass deportations at the height of their second world war. 'Ridiculous to let you see them', said Beatrice Webb, already an eminent admirer of the Soviet system. 'The English are always so sentimental', adding with assurance: 'You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.' The story was recorded years later by her niece, Konradin Hobhouse, in a letter to the Manchester Guardian in February 1958, and it makes plain that some socialists knew of the Soviet exterminations as early as 1932 and accepted, even welcomed them as an essential part of a socialist programme. Such ideas were not limited to dictatorships. A few years later, in 1935, a Social Democratic government in Sweden began an eugenic programme for compulsorily sterilising gypsies, the backward and the unfit, and continued it till after the second world war.

The claim that Hitler cannot really have been a socialist because he advocated and practised genocide suggests a monumental failure, then, in the historical memory. Only socialists in that age advocated or practised genocide, at least in Europe, and from the first years of his political career he was proudly aware of the fact. Addressing his own party, the NSDAP, in Munich in August 1920, he pledged his faith in socialist racialism:

If we are socialists, then we must definitely be anti-semites -- and the opposite, in that case, is Materialism and Mammonism, which we seek to oppose.
There was loud applause, and the young Hitler went on promptly to accept the challenge of answering how one could be both a socialist and an anti-semite: 'How, as a socialist, can you not be an anti-semite?'
Friday, August 8th, 2003
12:05 am
Epitaph for Uday
Uday Hussein Celebrates Himself

I loathe Uday Hussein like people must have hated Hitler in the years immediately after the war. I don't know why I revile him so much. There are plenty of cruel people out there to abhor, dead or alive, starting with his father and brother.

But something about Uday is so viscerally disgusting that I can't let go just yet. He was a cipher representing our basest instincts. But I think my revulsion is a reaction to his face. It's lurid but juvenile, like the face of a child who molests even younger children.

What a weird reprise of the family narrative of The Godfather. Two sons: one older, flamboyant, and favored; the other a quiet, initially unpromising replica of the patriarch. Uday had all the cupidity of Sonny Corleone (although telescoped beyond the human into an extra-chromosomal realm), but neither his true virility or anything approaching his primitive sense of honor.

Instead, he was smothered by the anxiety of his father's influence, corrupted by absolute power and privilege, and broken by a nearly successful Causeway-style assassination. In the end, he was a crippled satyr with a pig-tail squiggle for a dick that he forced on 12 year-old girls to shore up his bottomless ego.

Only in the Islamic version of a Miltonian hell could this man meet a fate suited to him.
Thursday, August 7th, 2003
11:54 pm
Update and Leftist Anti-Semitism Bibiography
Andrew Sullivan is currently taking his annual August hiatus. Quite naturally, and without knowing of Sullivan's sabbatical tradition, I have been doing the same thing. Sullivan says,

"...blogging each day, sometimes thousands of words a day, is a wonderful but grueling way to write. I think bloggers do well to take time out. We can lose perspective, stop thinking in longer form, and also get exhausted."
I am in complete emotional agreement with him, although I didn't realize until I read his entry that my posting procrastination was part of a break I was forcing upon myself.

Sullivan is burnt out from vetting all the contemporaneous gay marriage/high school/rights hysteria. As for me, I'm not really burnt out by anything in particular, or even really burnt out at all. I don't plan on making this a month-long thing. Sometimes I just feel like I owe it to myself and others to just stop posting for a bit and, well, read.

Blogging is great in so many ways. It's a wonderful outlet, and a blog is a proving grounds for one's writing and rhetorical skills. But the more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn.

What better way to make something positive out of this hiatus but to share my current reading list? I realized while making this post that not only am I ripping off Sullivan's laziness, but he's tiding his readers over with a reading list of his own. Grr. Well, my list is not so much a reading list as a research bibliography on the topic of Leftist anti-Semitism. So, with that value-add, here ya go. If I ever make it through half of this stuff, I'm gonna be qualified to hit the lecture circuit.

I present these books in no implied order of importance.

My Scintillating List of Really Obscure Toilet Readings on Leftist Anti-Semitism

Between Redemption and Perdition: Modern Antisemitism and Jewish Identity by Robert S. Wistrich

Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World by Robert S. Wistrich

Socialism and the Jews: The Dilemmas of Assimilation in Germany and Austria-Hungary by Robert S. Wistrich

Out of the Red Shadows: Anti-Semitism in Stalin's Russia (Russian Studies) by Gennadi V. Kostyrchenko

Karl Marx and the Radical Critique of Judaism by Julius Carlebach

Anti-Semitism and Zionism: Selected Marxist Writings by Daniel Rubin

Against Fragmentation: The Origins of Marxism and the Sociology of Intellectuals by Alvin Ward Gouldner, Cornelis Disco (Editor), Janet Gouldner (Editor)

The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It by Phyllis Chesler

If I Am Not for Myself...: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews by Ruth R. Wisse

Antisemitism: Historically and Critically Examined by Hugo Valentin

Was the Red Flag Flying There?: Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965 by Joel Beinin

Stalin's Secret Pogrom: The Postwar Inquisition of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (Annals of Communism) by Joshua Rubenstein (Editor), Vladimir P. Naumov (Editor), Laura E. Wolfson

The Future of a Negation: Reflections on the Question of Genocide (Texts and Contexts) by Alain Finkielkraut, Mary Byrd Kelly (Translator), Richard J. Golsan (Introduction)

On Socialists and "the Jewish Question" After Marx (Reappraisals in Jewish Social and Intellectual History) by Jack Jacobs

The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left by Michael Lerner

Harder-to-find items

Judaism and Socialism by Jacob Tarshish

British Socialism and Anti-Semitism, 1884-1914 by Peter Dahle Colbenson

Zionism, Israel and the New Left by Milton Ellerin
Wednesday, July 30th, 2003
5:34 pm
Take the Qusay and Uday Test!
If you were killed in a shootout with federal authorities, the military, or a crazed pack of Hatebreed fans angry about your preference for Throwdown, what would they find in your suitcase?

In mine, they'd find a small container of tahn-koko from Les Aliments Karnie, "The Lost Literature of Socialism" by George Watson, and a picture of Chester and Peaches.

This test was inspired by Qusay and Uday Hussein.
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003
2:09 am
Letter to a "Peace Activist"
To: Anti-Israel Lunatic
From: A Friend of Israel
Re: Your Mawkish Protest of Being Labeled an Anti-Semite

Dear Anti-Israel Lunatic,

What is self-evidently bizarre (to borrow Andrew Sullivan's phrase) -- and therefore gives rise to the question of antisemitism -- is that you are obsessed with the sins of Israel (and America) alone. Furthermore, you athletically exaggerate them.

The baldly dishonest moral revisionism required to do this in the face of the innumerable and far worse crimes of many governments is what marrs you. It's your Scarlet Letter.

You see, we know that the only way you could have come to this conclusion is to embrace an ideology, not an empirical reality. And to embrace such a far-fetched ideology, and the monolithic scapegoating of Jews it demands, is quite telling.

It is all the more so considering the nakedly genocidal intentions of Arabs across the Middle East, easily sampled in their press, school curricula, and in the speeches of their imams and political leaders.

Whether you like it or not, whether it seems right or wrong to you, Israel is currently home to nearly 5 million Jews. Not many of them had anything to do with the founding of the country. When your ideology drives you to call for Israel to politically compromise itself, or to reduce its security measures in spite of relentless Palestinian violence, you jeopardize those Jews.

The question is not whether you are anti-Semitic. The question is in what way are you not anti-Semitic?


A Friend of Israel

Current Mood: apathetic
Thursday, July 10th, 2003
2:09 am
One Canard Down...
Not that it will matter to anti-Semitic propagandists, but Israel has been cleared of wrongdoing in the famous USS Liberty attack, by the National Security Agency, of all things.

"New documents released this week by America's National Security Agency support Israel's version of a long-festering controversy between the two countries: Israel's shelling of an American spy ship, the USS Liberty, off the coast of Gaza during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel has always said it had no idea the ship was American, but conspiracy theorists and anti-Israel propagandists still claim Israel struck the ship in the full knowledge that it was American."
The tragic attack on the USS Liberty has for decades been harnessed by the worst of the anti-Jewish worst to try to convince Americans of Jewish perfidy and sap support for Israel. It's nice to see this information finally aired.

From Little Green Footballs.

Update: Here is the NSA's actual index of materials related to the disaster. It includes .wav format reproductions of the Hebrew communications between the Israeli attack planes and their ground control, as well as .pdf transcripts of them in English translation. There are also condensed summaries of the communications.
Tuesday, July 1st, 2003
2:24 am
On Leftist Antisemitism - One of a Few Working Drafts
Part I

I hardly fly [the swastika/Star-of-David] flag, but now I know how you found this journal. My point in that instance was that the Likud ideology differs in no meaningful fashion from Nazism and that the abyss has clearly gazed back into them.

This mercuric slide into Nazi metaphor is crushingly predictable, and adds nothing that might alter my detection of Leftist antisemitism in you. We will take up the moral and historical blindness that produced it momentarily.

Actually, I'm a card-carrying Communist.

Of course, but saying this in reference to being called a socialist is like saying, "I have melanoma, not cancer."

There are two media through which the Leftist shapeshifts his ideology to fit the rhetorical needs of the moment. First, there is an obliviousness, all too common among socialists of all stripes, that allows for an ignorance of influence (to tweak Harold Bloom). This enables him to distance himself from the socialist tradition when doctrinal or empirical potholes crop up.

Second, there is the "my socialism is the real socialism" gambit. Sometimes purposeful, most often just uninformed, this allows acolytes to wriggle around the discursive sandbox until things feel right. Also, it enables one Third World socialist dictator to distance himself from another, Communists to distance themselves from fascists (yes, fascists), and Social Democrats to distance themselves from everyone else -- "the collectivists, the fascists, the Luddites, the whole cotillion of idiotarians" [James Lileks]. Intramurally, it allows Communists to claim that [Stalin|Pol Pot|Mao]'s Communism isn't the real Communism. It's my [Trotsy|Plekhanov|Autonomist|Glue-Sniffing Toilet-Reading Pucker-Whacking] variant that's The One!

More than just interesting exposition, the above should serve as a useful framework for considering the following.

Part II

I have nothing against Judaism that I don't similarly hold against every other religion. I do object to Zionism on the grounds that a.) while it may be perfectly fine to believe that one is a member of a people set apart by a mystical being from beyond space and time who entered a compact granting a certain plot of land to you in perpetuity, it is not acceptible to pander to such nonsense by actually aiding those lunatics in ousting the current residents of that land and forming a religious state where they await the next stage of their prophecies.

This oddly and offensively collapses Israel into one minority segment of its population: orthodox and ultra-orthodox Zionist expansionists. Doing so is not dissonant with some ego-defensive Leftist polemics that seek to separate Israel from the construct of a normative world Jewry. The latter is posited to meliorate the obviously genocidal implications of the Leftist desire to destroy Israel. Most Jews live elsewhere, and not all Jews are Zionists, you know... The ones who are in Israel are just religious nut-jobs!

The offensive becomes outrageous when you consider the fact that Israel was largely born not out of some fantastic religious Nazism on the part of Herzl, but rather the very real Nazism of Hitler. (The pre-Holocaust Jewish influx was due to Herzl's prescience of the latter.) Do you really think the tattered masses of Jews fleeing Europe in the wake of their near annihilation were thinking about religious conquest?

This microcephalous nonsense could only be born of a mind that thinks an ideology that ranges in venality from stone soup in Cuba, to tens of millions of murders worldwide, is a good idea, in spite of the lack of a single economic accomplishment in nearly a century. And indeed, now we come to:

b.) the "everybody gets a homeland set apart" idea is a leftover of the same religious bigotry and fascist pseudo-science that persecuted the Jews in the first place and aiding such separatism only serves the forces of cultural balkanization.

a perfect parrot of Marx's teachings about Jewish culture.

In "On the Jewish Question", Marx writes:

"The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism."
This is a striking statement. Why is Marx calling for the elimination of Judaism from "society"? Move up a couple of lines in his essay, and you see:

"Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew -- not the Sabbath Jew, as Bauer does, but the everyday Jew. Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money.

Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.
Eek. Seems like the roots of progressive politics weren't so progressive after all, but let's put general observations aside.

For Marx, the Jew is the apotheosis of what socialism is fighting against: materialism. This of course easily flows from the antique antisemitic hatreds of Europe, and consequently many socialists aver that Marx's Jew-hatred was simply a vestigial echo of time-worn prejudice. But while that may be the primal, emotional muse for Marx, his writings on the "Jewish Question" were directly sourced from socialist critique. Think about it. Against the backdrop of persistent antisemitism, how can socialism locate the Jews anywhere but in the realm of anathema when it embraces the following?

1. The reified notion of a parasitic bourgeosie that eats the wealth of the vast majority
2. A call for international proletarian solidarity that must transcend nationalism (especially any borne out of a "nation within a nation"!)
3. The harmfulness of religion (palpably expressed in your own comments)
As such, it is clear that Jew-hatred cannot be separated from the provenance of the doctrine of socialism itself.

Part III

We've established that deeply ingrained Jew-phobia is inherent to the Marxist worldview:

"The capitalist knows that all commodities, however scurvy they may look, or however badly they may smell, are in faith and in truth money, inwardly circumcised Jews, and what is more, a wonderful means whereby out of money to make more money." -- Das Kapital
And it is clear that your blame-Israel-first attitude and blinkered ideological reading of the Arab-Israeli conflict is informed by it. But here's where it gets really weird. In his essay on that subject, Marx was also addressing another side of the "Jewish Question": namely, how do the Jews overcome antisemitism in the Diaspora?

The Jews are an infection that must be eradicated, he says, but this socialist dictum is also the most humane remedy available to the Jews! It is a typical Marxian sophistry, cerebral and cyclical. I paraphrase it here using your words: in order for the Jews to save themselves, they must put aside the "religious bigotry... that persecuted the Jews in the first place..." which "... only serves [sic] the forces of cultural balkanization." In other words, they must abnegate their Jewish identity. In so doing, society is emancipated from the depradations of capital.

Your earlier reduction of Israel into an ultra-orthodox caricature is the emolient that smooths this process. Marxists merely dismiss Judaism -- multifariously problematic in all its racial, cultural, economic and para-national substance -- as a set of superstitions that modern men should do without. Besides helping the Leftist digest his genocidal policy prescriptions, this process of self-effacement is what facilitates the paradox of so many Jews embracing socialism.

For the Leftist, Palestinian irredentism and Islamofascism are each a wonderful fusion of two of his obsessions: Jew-hatred and anti-imperialism. Furthermore, they allow for the present-day articulation of a fourth bullet in my list of socialist tenets in Part II. It was an anachronism viz a vis Jews during Marx's time, so I refrained from mentioning it earlier, but it is very much a part of the socialist moral cosmos:

4. The embrace of conflict ideology; dogmatic underdoggism that endlessly grants a moral pass to those perceived to be "oppressed"
Therefore socialists, when confronted with a non-shtetl Jewry, especially one empowered to the extent Israel is, twist themselves into pretzels exonerating the putatively non-socialist excesses of any "revolutionary" group bent on destroying the Jewish state. These include murder, terrorism, fundamentalism, and the oppression of women and gays.

Nowadays, Leftists including Communists tend to favor any nationalist liberation movement, even -- especially -- the rag-tag and corrupt flailings of Third World death cults like the PLO and Al Qaeda. What doesn't fly is any Jewish national liberation movement. Unwavering opposition to Zionism has been a facet of Leftist politics since Marx's Faustian solution to the Jewish Question was put forth to compete with Herzl's vision.

Congratulations. You trace the sordid, anti-Jewish arc spanning from Marx to the modern day, where we see kiddies running around downtown San Francisco with hook-nosed effigies of Ariel Sharon and brandishing your favorite flag: the swastika superimposed on the Star of David. This ideological excess is borne partly out of the far Left's disenfranchisement by its Chomsky-channeled support of Saddam. But it is much moreso the legacy of historical Marxist positioning on Zionism.

Of all the things that enrage me about bias against Israel, there is one that stands out. There is nothing worse than watching oozingly pompous asses like you equate Israel, the result of the enduring persecution of Jews, with Hitler, the very avatar of that hatred.
Friday, June 27th, 2003
12:18 pm
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