Monday, June 16, 2014

This is Quite Exciting!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we just may be witnessing the birth of something old.

The right's latest ass-backwards analogy has been unveiled in a ceremony so informal that it could almost pass as casual conversation. Indeed, that is the form that that the roll out took.
On his radio show, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, interviewed attorney Nicole Martin of the Orwellian-named Alliance Defending Freedom. The host made the requisite stale Nazi analogy by wondering, “I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to, uh, start hauling off Christians?”

But rather than running with the leading question, Nicole Martin may have broken new ground with a whole new analogy. Instead, she spoke of a "witch hunt" against Christians. Just roll the irony around on your frontal lobe for a moment. Savor the flavor.
Of course, it performs the exact same function as a Nazi analogy, but it's like a jazz variation - something simultaneously familiar yet different that playfully delights the listener.

The hand-off was something like a baton-passing - or truncheon-passing - between the two analogies. No doubt the older, veteran analogy will stay on a while to share its wealth of rhetorical experience with the rookie one. But there is no question that this was a historic snapshot moment like Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. There is a certain electricity in the air that gives bloggers that giddy tingling feeling that is so often sought.

Where did this exciting
"witch hunt"analogy come from? Perhaps someone made Nicole Martin read Arthur Miller's The Crucible back in high school and she remembered it is precisely as Ted Cruz did one of his "favorite" books Green Eggs and Ham. Perhaps it is a reference to the patriotic passion of Joe McCarthy, Robert Bork, or Clarence Thomas at the hands of the dread "liberal elite."

It is still too soon to tell if this was a planned remark or a happy accident organically blossoming from Ms. Martin's subconscious. Projection is a well-honed defense mechanism is conservative circles.
As I write in my book, It is why most professional homophobes turn out to be closet cases. Or why those who are temperamentally hostile to America's central ideals of liberty, equality, and democracy reflexively question other people's patriotism. Or why an editor of the National Review, a publication that had launched the careers of so many Holocaust deniers like Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran, wrote an entire book called Liberal Fascism. I wrote a whole chapter devoted to such contradictory comparisons. The witch hunt analogy may have been a cynical tactical decision or it may have just felt right to the speaker because it had a certain "truthiness" as Stephen Colbert calls it.

In any case, the remark has all the sublime delight of a Jackson Pollack painting.

It should be widely shared to edify our republic while it yet stands.


Less than a week after I wrote this, Mike Huckabee made a Nazi analogy against gay marriage throwing in Martin Luther King to boot.

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