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September 08, 2009

John McWhorter at TNR: Hey, There's Nothing Wrong with a Bit of Trutherism

Via Hot Air, Jonah Goldberg notes the left is finally admitting they have a lot of Truther conspiracy nuts... but that's okay.

Jones was wrong, actually, in disavowing his support for 9/11 conspiracy theory. He signed the document, which can only mean that he supports the idea that 9/11 was planned, or that the Bushies knew something more than they have said, or at least that the charge is plausible enough to require investigation.

But support for that idea is hardly unknown among people of the left – and often gestural in its own way; look one of these types in the eye and ask “Do you really think George Bush and his cabinet engineered the murder of thousands and have kept the secret for eight years?” and watch the nervous pause and the look off into the distance. Speculations in this vein hardly meant that Jones was not sincerely committed to working within the government to do good.

Just a few years ago, Peter Beinart wrote a TNR cover story (which became a book) on how intellectually serious "fighting liberals" needed to confront their own anti-American left flank. Now TNR is running pieces insisting that just a little trutherism is okay in the liberal big tent. Good to know.

I hope this means we will hear fewer meditations about the right wing's coddling of the lunatic fringe and the "paranoid style" of the Right from The New Republic.

Actually the whole beginning of McWhorter's piece is a screed against the "paranoia" over Obama's school speech, and an attack on Glenn Beck and other purveyors of "paranoia."

Having embraced the paranoiacs in his own party, how in the hell can McWhorter attack those "paranoids" in the opposition party?

As they say of victory: Conspiracy theories are like farts; only our own smell sweet.

Actually I never understood that quote, but replace "sweet" with "not quite as objectionable" and I can deal with it.

While the left will not shut the hell up about Birtherism, they kept quiet about Trutherism (when they weren't playing footsie with it) for eight years. They only get around to mentioning Trutherism now to mainstream it.

I reject the whole Birth Certificate Conspiracy. I don't buy it. It requires the falsification of too many facts I know to be true to be considered borderline-plausible.

But I'll tell you one thing: You need to falsify far more facts, and assume much greater malignancy of the main actors, to buy into Trutherism.

Birtherism is silly. Trutherism, on the other hand, is insane.

And yet here is John McWhorter and TNR instructing all us rubes that while conservative "paranoia" is poison, Trutherism's just jake so long as you drink it in moderation.

To his credit, The Nation's David Corn is having none of that:

“As far as I can tell, the only thing the so-called 9/11 Truth movement has accomplished is this: it’s caused the Obama administration to lose its most prominent expert on green jobs. So well done, Truthers. . . . The 9/11 conspiracy–of which I have not written about in years–was always a load of bunk. You don’t have to be an expert on skyscraper engineering or top-secret government communications to know that the two variants of the theory–the Bush White House orchestrated 9/11 so it could subsequently exploit the tragedy or the Bush White House knew the attack was coming and allowed it to occur so it could exploit the tragedy–make no sense.”

Which makes the paleo-liberal left-wing The Nation now centrist as compared to the supposedly neo-liberal, center-left TNR, at least as regards the acceptability of adherence to lunatic anti-American conspiracy mongering in high public officials.

Do not doubt: Any Republican office-holder who has ever so much as breathed a word of arguable support for Birtherism -- even if his support is merely confined to the inarguable proposition that the President has no right to hide his birth certificate and ought to release it to the public -- will be found by TNR, McWhorter, and the rest of the growing legion of Truther-apologists to be entirely unacceptable for public service and a clear and present danger to the Republic itself.

Oh, By the Way: McWhorter deems the conservative reaction to Van Jones' paranoia to be itself "paranoid."

As for Jones calling Republicans idiots, the way things are lately plenty of Republicans are doing that too, and quite a few of them are hardly above making the charge of Democrats. And Jones’ flirtation with Communism was brief and partly rhetorical. There are genuinely committed Communists, but Jones’ life story gives no indication of his being one. I knew quite a few “Communists” in college who are now mowing their lawns and working as management consultants. All of which is to say that what Glenn Beck was calling Jones out for were things inconsequential, having nothing to with his competent execution of his job. Jones’ job wasn’t even a position of any particular power. Therefore – even if Glenn Beck and assorted websites had been screaming about this low-level Administration functionary nightly for the next six months, how would it have mattered in any significant way? Sure there is a health care bill that needs to be worked out – but which Congressmen’s votes would have been affected by what right-wing radio hosts were saying about the Czar of Green Jobs?

As to voters, how many would stop supporting Obama because of a paranoid characterization of Van Jones?

Jones' embrace of the ultimate paranoid conspiracy of Trutherism = unobjectionable; how would it effect his job? (By the way, he also embraces the paranoid economic theory of Communism, by his own admission, and claims that conspiracies of white power companies are pumping toxic waste into black communities to murder them, and conspiracies of white cops and jurors framed Mumia, etc.)

The "paranoid" characterization of Jones' paranoia = awful, something we must not tolerate


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posted by Ace at 04:02 PM

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