Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paul Krugman on Eliminationist Rhetoric

If history really did repeat itself, we would know in advance what to expect from tomorrow.Yet, while we all know that tomorrow is an unknown, many of us continue to believe that tomorrow is going to be the same as yesterday.

To some people, we are in the year 2011. Others are doing their darndest to persuade us that we are reliving 1995.

Many pundits and political operatives see the Tucson shooting as a great opportunity for liberals. They can do to the Tea Party today what Bill Clinton did to Rush Limbaugh then.

For those who see Obama’s midterm election loss as a Clintonian step toward a second term, the Tucson shooting was a chance to seize. Many of them did.

To his credit, President Obama, has not counted himself among them. One can only hope that he maintains this correct posture.

One cannot say the same of left thinking politicians and pundits. First out of the gate was Paul Krugman who argued that the shooting proved that he was right.

That wasn’t very newsworthy because Krugman always thinks that whatever happens proves that he is right. There’s a word for that state of mind, but it escapes me just now.

Krugman had believed that the Tea Party was really a radical right wing movement in disguise, so he was convinced that it would one day lead to political violence. He would then grab hold of the violence, weave it into a narrative, and use it to discredit the Tea Party, Republicans, and neocons.

His goal: to restore liberal hegemony.

Like someone who has only the most tenuous hold on reality, Krugman did admit that he did not much care whether Jared Loughner was a right winger.

Loughner had presumably been breathing in right wing rhetoric, and, as night follows day, such rhetoric would always lead to violence. If not today with Loughner, then tomorrow with someone else.

Many have noted that Krugman himself had already called for Sen. Joe Lieberman to be hanged. And he certainly did not want to deal with inconvenient truths about the people who hung Sarah Palin in effigy or about Congressman Kanjorski who called for the governor of Florida to be taken out and shot.

Be that as it may, Krugman took it all a step further in his column two days later. He called this right wing rhetoric “eliminationist.” Thereby, he shifted his historical perspective and deftly moved from 1995 to 1935. Link here.

"Eliminationist" is not an innocent word. It has a context, and within its context, it is code for: Nazi.

We owe the most common use of the term to Danial Goldhagen’s book:  Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. It refers to the Nazi propaganda that paved the way for the Holocaust.

By using the word, Paul Krugman is telling us that he sees himself as waging war against a political movement that represents the reincarnation of the Third Reich.

You have to start thinking that Krugman seems to be living in an alternative universe, a universe where the Gestapo is coming to get him, where Neo-Nazi Republicans are running extermination camps like Gitmo, and where the Tea Party is rife with anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli fervor.

You might want to say that none of it is true, and that the Tea Party is rife with pro-Israeli sentiment. Where the vast majority of Israelis thought that George Bush was a great friend of their nation, the vast majority today believe that Barack Obama sides with the Palestinians.

Again, these are mere facts. They do not carry weight when placed next to Krugman’s alternative universe.

Krugman is not entirely wrong to attack eliminationist rhetoric. It is alive and well in the world today. It is directed against Jews, especially Israelis, and even Christians. It infects and infests the Middle East Muslim world.

What do Palestinian terrorists really want if not the removal of all Jews from what they consider to be their land? By now Jews have been nearly completely removed from the rest of the Muslim Middle East.

Isn’t bin Laden‘s goal the return of Islam to Andalusia, thus to eliminate Catholics from the South of Spain?

It is fair to say that Islamic terrorists have not constructed gas chambers and crematory ovens. They want people to leave what they believe their lands, and it does not matter to many of them whether the Jews and Christians leave in caskets or boats.

But is also fair to say that Muslim terrorism has been exceptionally lethal, not just against Christians and Jews, abut against their fellow Muslims, especially when these Muslims seem to have aligned themselves with the enemy.

As you know, these same terrorists murdered thousands of people in lower Manhattan.

This caused Congress to authorize military action against terrorists and the nations that harbor them.

Led by George Bush, America and her allies went to war against those who were fomenting violence and who were using eliminationist rhetoric.

So, you need to ask yourself: Where did Paul Krugman stand on the eliminationist rhetoric flowing from mosques and madrassas? Was he a strong proponent of the war on terror, or did he, like the New York Times, militate against the Bush administration and defend the civil rights of terrorist enemy combatants.

Here’s Krugman Jan. 11, 2010. “I’ve always assumed that the wildly overblown right-wing reaction to Islamic terrorism — yes, these are scary people, but there are other much scarier things in the world — was essentially political. That is, I’ve always seen the war on terror as being in large part a war on liberals, a way to change the conversation away from things like competence in governing toward the undoubted conservative superiority at talking tough and striking heroic poses.”

Osama bin Laden is an honorary liberal? Mullah Omar is an honorary liberal? Saddam Hussein is an honorary liberal?

If there is a Neo-Nazi movement afoot, it is called Islamic terrorism. In that war, Paul Krugman is AWOL. Lacking the courage to confront real threats, he is doing what he accuses his enemies of doing: “talking tough and striking heroic poses.”

Krugman thinks that the Neo-Nazis who are coming for him, as a liberal, are Neocon Republicans. Rooted firmly in the past, he seems to believe that the Nazis are still the greatest danger.

The trouble with using the past as your guide to the future is that sometimes you get so caught up in it that you lose touch with reality.


smfish said...

I graduated from medical school (with honors in psychiatry and surgery) in NYC in 1976 when the "son of sam" murders were going on. Krugman has the same crazy look in his eyes that Berkowitz and Loughner had.

RKV said...

Stuart, America already IS a democratic fascist state. We'll see whether or not it turns authoritarian fascist state or not soon. When Obama "we bring a gun" loses in 2012, the the left will really have a fit. The 1st and 2nd Amendments aren't up for grabs as some of the Demopublican Party would have us believe. Note: I use the definition of fascism precisely (in a political sense) , not as a pejorative. You've read Jonah Goldberg I imagine.


Anonymous said...

I've got some eliminationist rhetoric for you:

"Try Metamucil! It is the best! no other laxitive comes close for massive, comfortable eliminations! And it lowers cholesterol...."

That is the strongest eliminationist rhetoric I've ever heard. Paul Krugman is complete ass.


wv: "surfdqrm". If I could ever decrypt dqrm, I would....

Dennis said...

If Krugman keeps doing what he is the one person who will be eliminated will be him and better yet Krugman would be responsible for it.

Anonymous said...

Here's the "Fire Paul Krugman Petition";

Your help is needed, read and sign. Then cut and paste this text to all you can.

Please distribute to all who understand the issue of insinuation libel.


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