Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Brotherhood Week

Everybody seems a little disagreeable these days, so let's enjoy a few moments together.

First, here's some theme music from Tom Lehrer:

So many mean things have been said about Our President lately. Wonder where we've heard that before:

One hallmark of the new mainstream Hitler rhetoric is that the speakers typically try to soften the accusation right after making it. [Andrew] Greeley said, "He is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism." [Guido] Calabresi said he was "not suggesting for a moment that Bush is Hitler." No, course not. That was probably the furthest thing from his mind when he decided to link Bush with Hitler. In his heyday, Joe McCarthy used the same rhetorical device. If he wanted to plant the idea that someone was a traitor without quite saying it, he would announce that somebody or other "is a traitor to America's highest principles," which is not exactly an accusation of treason.

As a test of the state of "Bush the Nazi" rhetoric, I went to Google and typed in "Bush is a Nazi" and got 420,000 hits, well behind "Hitler was a Nazi" (654,000 hits), but then Hitler WAS a Nazi and had a 75-year head start. (Computer searches like this are very crude instruments. They sweep up many references that cannot fairly be listed as slurs. But they do offer a rough idea of the amount of name-calling.)

President Clinton did fairly well in the Nazi sweepstakes (158,000 hits, but that's only 20,000 references for each presidential year, compared to 120,000 annually for the 3 1/2 year-incumbency of George Bush.) The odd thing is that I typed in the names of every Nazi I ever heard of, excluding only Hitler himself, and the group total was still less than George Bush gets alone. This might indicate that either that George Bush is by far the second most important Nazi of all time, or that the Democrats and the left now require some sedation.

That's from a John Leo column in 2004. Do the same search today and you get over 5,000,000 hits. By the way, in case you were wondering, Guido Calabresi is a sitting federal judge.

I am heartened that the Democrats are getting the vapors right now about some of the mean, rotten, awful things that those astroturfin', teabaggin', knuckle-draggin' Republicans are doing, especially the handful of miscreants who were totin' swastikas at a few rallies. I'm sure we'd be able to enter a new era of good feelings, if only I could stop dragging my knuckles. I'm working on it. We do need to make the world safe for Andrew Sullivan, of course.

We might need to get some help to a few other needlessly angry people, though.

(H/T: Instapundit)


my name is Amanda said...

Half of those 420,000 hits are probably people complaining about the other half saying Bush is a Nazi. (The same with Clinton, etc.) Personally I find it uncreative and meaningless when people are accused of being Nazis (unless of course they are literally championing a Nazi-similar cause or agenda).

I don't think "all Republicans are knuckle-draggers." But it does seem to me that to be so specific about whose bad behavior ought to be criticized, is another way of condoning the bad behavior of their opposition.

Mr. D said...

I think we're largely in agreement, Amanda. The point I'm making is that there has always been a lot of name-calling involved and it's risible for the Andrew Sullivans of the world to be shocked, shocked that such things happen. That's why I dug back 45 years into the archives for the Tom Lehrer.

We Americans are a contentious lot. That's what makes the "shut up, they explained" tactics I'm seeing so problematic to me. I don't like government sponsored snitch lines and I don't like SEIU thugs beating down protestors. Nor do I like people shouting other people down. But I'm working my side of the street here. :)