Sunday, November 09, 2008

a season of prodigies

Well. Being a Republican Party lawyer, I always thought, would be a job that at least got you out of bed full of curiosity at what the day might hold. A garage stuffed with uncounted ballots that have to disappear before sun-up? Suitcases of Saudi greenbacks? An unmarked Gulfstream-IV full of Cuban mercenaries with compromising video? A sickening whispering campaign of paedo vileness?

Clearly you'd have to deal with the sensation of your heart dying, calcifying into a sticky lump of careworn evil - but at least it wouldn't be dull. Better rule in hell than serve in heaven, as John Milton put it; and he was in a government that cut the king's head off when he wasn't poeting. (Now that's change you can believe in.)

So I have to say I feel for R. Dick Schifcofske III as he heads for Alaska; is he going to secretly replace the Secretary of State with a robot in time to influence a recount? Smuggle Todd Palin out to Colombia? Release cocaine-crazed pigs into Obama campaign headquarters? No. He's got to account for Sarah Palin's wardrobe, piece by piece. It's enough to make you quit and devote yourself to a life of service to the poor.

Meanwhile, can you imagine that Brad DeLong actually linked this? The Stock Market Implications of CIA Coups d'Etat. It wasn't that long ago that the prof ruthlessly purged references to the Long Pig Factor from his comments threads. Now look at him. A sign and a wonder, I think.

Whilst I'm on the underpants-of-the-election theme, here's something else from the Poor Man Institute (for freedom, democracy, and a pony):
Jonah Goldberg wrote of Hitler’s Willing Executioners. These men and women are Obama’s.

Down through the ages, it is through the treachery of those leaders entrusted with the defense of freedom who abandon their posts in the hour of greatest need that the enemies of freedom and the agents of tyranny find welcome to our shores and entry into our citadel.
I’d hardly equate support for Obama with serving with the einsatzcommando or as a capo at Auschwitz, so we ought to be careful wiht such analogies on the off-chance that some Obamunists have actually read Goldberg - or read anything for that matter...
The problem, I think, is that for a second or so I actually thought Jonah Goldberg might have written Hitler's Willing Executioners, and I've read the bloody thing. In fact I've studied it. It's a very bad book - the whole thrust of it is that Germans had a specifically evil kind of antisemitism, not further explained, which is sufficient to explain Nazism monocausally despite the fact that most antisemitic violence before 1938 happened almost anywhere in Europe but Germany. Somehow, burning your neighbour to death in a pogrom isn't "eliminationist" according to HWE; I remember writing in reply to this that the difference between elimination and a pogrom is the availability of rolling stock. That's studenty AJP Taylorism, of course, but I think I had a point.

I also recall that in a sense Jonah Goldberg could have written it. Goldhagen didn't seem to engage with the fact that lots of non-Germans were at the same time doing almost equally horrific things to other target groups - were Stalin's willing executioners eliminationist anti-anti-communists? - nor with the fact that lots of Germans emigrated to the New World but apparently didn't take the poison along with them. It's full of idolisation of America and rejection of any kind of structural argument for a very neo-con insistence on "evil". (If you want a good book on the subject, try Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men.)

That's another way of saying that HWE dodges all the difficult things (why did those French civil servants do it?) about the Holocaust in favour of a good story arc. And you don't get more Goldberg than that. Truly, that nameless wingnut knew more than they thought.

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