Posted on | November 30, 2012 | 39 Comments
Did I ever mention that I was friends with the late Sam Francis? That I have shaken hands with Pat Buchanan and once interviewed the late Joe Sobran? I’m bringing this up — doing “guilt-by-association” against myself, as it were — to make the point that I’ve hung out with Thought Criminals of the Dreadnaught class, the kind of right-wing extremists your nice Republican mother warned you about.
Having been smeared as a “hater” myself and having seen good people suffer from intra-conservative factional infighting, I am loath to support purges of people on the basis of cheap attacks from the Left or flimsy accusations of ideological impurity.
Ask Pamela Geller who stood up for her when Charles Johnson accused her of abetting “Euro-fascism.”
So now we confront the problem of Brooks Bayne.
Exactly who he is, or thinks he is, or has convinced other people that he is, Brooks Bayne has recently decided to auto-marginalize himself. It’s a hell of thing to say about somebody that I’d rather link a Firedoglake article about them than to link anything they ever wrote.
That was in March, when Bayne decided to go off on a weird tangent about Sandra Fluke’s boyfriend being Jewish and the scion of a family who subscribed to “the typical Jewish variant of socialism.” Marc Tracy offers an examination of Bayne’s rant at Tablet Magazine.
Just to demonstrate that one can speak of “the typical Jewish variant of socialism” without being a Jew-hater, I would direct you to David Horowitz’s memoir Radical Son, in which he ponders how and why his Jewish parents became members of the Communist Party U.S.A., and thus idolators in the totalitarian personality cult of a mass murderer named Josef Stalin. Horowitz recognized the cultural roots of this and discussed it in the context of tikkun olam. As I wrote in February 2011:
Tikkun olam is a rabbinical concept that might properly be translated as “for the public good,” but which in the modern era has been politicized by many on the Left, so that it is indistinguishable in their interpretation from “social justice.” Most famously, Michael Lerner — a 1960s anti-war radical who once led an SDS splinter group called the Seattle Liberation Front — named his magazine Tikkun.
“Social justice” is, as Hayek said, a mirage. Whatever you call it, and whatever compels you to pursue it, chasing the mirage of social justice will eventually bring about disillusionment, if you are intelligent and honest with yourself. It would be good if more Jewish conservatives spoke bluntly about this, just as it would be good if more Catholic conservatives spoke bluntly about how various “social justice” teachings of their church empower Welfare State liberalism that is ultimately hostile to faith and morality. For that matter, most Protestant churches could use a stern lecture or two about this perverse and nonsensical misinterpretation of Christian teaching.
Brooks Bayne rather reminds me of another enthusiastic political parvenu, Glenn Beck, in that during his famed chalkboard lectures, Beck was often teaching his viewers facts that he himself had just learned. Not that there was anything wrong with that — Beck’s genuine excitment as he traced the historical background of current politics was quite infectious — but there is always a danger that such student-teachers will let themselves be sidetracked into well-known dead-ends that more experienced teachers might have warned them about.
The origins of the Federal Reserve system are indeed a frightful mess, but if you start ranting too excitedly about Jekyll Island and “international bankers,” you’ll sound like a kook — and might actually become one. More than a few well-meaning folks have started down that path and ended up on the paranoid fringe, barking madly about the Bildebergers, the Bavarian Illuminati and the New World Order.
It is in such light that we must evaluate Brooks Bayne and the suspicious whiff of anti-Semitism that surrounds him. I don’t want to be hasty. It takes more than a few sharp jabs at “neocons” to arouse my suspicion in this regard; many of my good friends are paleoconservatives, traditionalists or libertarians who have their own legitimate complaints against neconservatives. Such an éminence gris as Russell Kirk once infamously quipped that it seemed some neocons “mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States.” Unless we’re willing to airbrush Kirk from the conservative pantheon, then, we can’t be haphazardly purging people on the basis of random remarks.
Nevertheless, Brooks Bayne keeps tallying up marks against himself, and has managed to alienate so many conservatives that it’s difficult to find anyone willing to defend him anymore. And this brings me to the incident that inspired this long rumination: After a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Aaron Walker’s federal lawsuit against Brett Kimberlin — I blogged about that decision, and the PDF of the judge’s ruling is here — Brooks Bayne made a comment at his own blog mocking the plaintiff as “Walkerwitz.”
What the hell is this? Never mind why Bayne, who endlessly celebrates himself as a True Conservative, would take sides with Brett Kimberlin. Why would Bayne make this bizarre anti-Semitic jest about Walker, a conservative Presbyterian from Texas? Maybe because Brooks got this idea (as he has seems to have gotten so many other falsehoods) from the pro-Kimberlin “Breitbart Unmasked” site.
This was preposterous. And where did “Breitbart Unmasked” get that silly idea? From an anti-Semitic site whose idiot author evidently decided anyone with the first name “Aaron” must be Jewish.
So, a falsehood makes its way from a Jew-hating site to a pro-Kimberlin Twitter account and now, it seems, to Brooks Bayne, “True Conservative.”
Anyone care to defend Bayne in this? Anyone? Bueller?
UPDATE: Phillip McGuire on Twitter informs me that Bayne has been throwing this “Walkerwitz” idiocy at Aaron Walker for weeks now, and Google confirms this as true, raising the question: Why were none of Bayne’s fanboys troubled by this? And why do mainstream conservatives think they can safely ignore people like Brooks Bayne?
On the one hand, he may be an irrelevant distraction. On the other hand, he seems to have made himself the center of gravity of a minor galaxy of “True Conservative” posturing, so that when he starts Jew-baiting a Presbyterian, maybe we ought to take time to warn people about this dangerous fool.
UPDATE II: Back in September, Ladd Ehlinger Jr. subjected Bayne to a memorable satirical beatdown.