Shorter Dave Neiwert: Liberal Fascism would be an oxymoron, if it weren’t just moronic.
David Neiwert is reviewing Jonah Goldberg’s Bizarro History, a book which has been appropriately and adequately mocked by Sadly, No! already. I was particularly struck by this passage:
Liberal Fascism is like a number of other recent attempts at historical revisionism by popular right-wing pundits — including, notably, Michelle Malkin’s attempt to justify the Japanese-American internment in her book In Defense of Internment, and Ann Coulter’s attempt to rehabilitate McCarthy’s reputation in her book Treason — in that it employs the same historical methodology used by Holocaust deniers and other right-wing revanchists: namely, it selects a narrow band of often unrepresentative facts, distorts their meaning, and simultaneously elides and ignores whole mountains of contravening evidence and broader context. These are simply theses in search of support, not anything like serious history.
Neiwert could easily have tossed DI Senior Fellow Johnny West’s Darwin Day in America into his list of revisionist pseudohistory. In the creation/evolution controversy, the name for this phenomenon is Morton’s Demon, and it is a hallmark of denialists and woomongers. It is the central argumentative approach of all creationists, not least Explore Evolution, the newest textbook from the Disco. Inst.
It is also why Kevin Drum is far too optimistic in thinking that yet another study showing no link between thimerosal and autism will make people finally stop pushing their anti-vaccination bogosity. He’s right that many of them are motivated by heartbreaking circumstances, but that doesn’t excuse their efforts to make flu vaccines more expensive for senior citizens (childhood vaccines no longer use thimerosal, so their anti-thimerosal campaigns in state legislatures wouldn’t make any difference on autism, even if there were a thimerosal autism link (and there isn’t). I vaguely hoped that a study of 28,000 Quebecois children would bring an end to the thimerosal/autism claims, but I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t. I’m not surprised that Tiktaalik and other discoveries haven’t shaken creationists loose. I’m not surprised that Jonah Goldberg thinks that Joe McCarthy was a liberal, or even that all populists are liberals.
I am disappointed, though. Morton’s Demon is a wicked master, but it can be overcome. Glenn Morton, after whom the demon is named, was able to see through the sham of creation “science,” and these other folks could do so as well. Voters in New Hampshire are taking the early steps in a process which will pit an evolution-backer against an evolution denier. We need a president who can choose a wise course, overcoming his or her own biases, whether those biases surround Iraqi WMD, basic science, or political ideology.