The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

For Crying Out Loud! ‘The Paramilitary Wing of the American Right,’ Ma’am?

Posted on | May 28, 2022 | Comments Off on For Crying Out Loud! ‘The Paramilitary Wing of the American Right,’ Ma’am?

Michelle Goldberg lives in Brooklyn and writes for the New York Times, and I doubt she has ever actually spoken to any member of “The American Right.” In a column that endeavors to connect the Uvalde massacre to the 2021 Capitol riot, she seems utterly unhinged:

It will be impossible to do anything about guns in this country, at least at a national level, as long as Democrats depend on the cooperation of a party that holds in reserve the possibility of insurrection. The slaughter of children in Texas has done little to alter this dynamic.
Republicans have no intention of letting Democrats pass even modest measures like strengthened background checks . . . Victims of our increasingly frequent mass shootings are collateral damage in a cold civil war, though some Democrats refuse to acknowledge it, let alone fight it. . . .

Permit me to interrupt this to point out that (a) Democrats certainly will not be satisfied with “modest measures,” (b) it has been demonstrated that “strengthened background checks” would not have stopped the Uvalde shooter, and (c) “mass shootings” are not “increasingly frequent.” Such incidents continue to be rare, but we have had two this month — in Buffalo and Uvalde — to which the national media have devoted saturation coverage, while habitually ignoring the daily death toll from the wave of violent crime in major cities. Goldberg continues:

Throughout the country, reported The New York Times, “right-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable in opposition to those who dislodged him” — meaning Trump — “from power.” Expecting those same Republicans to collaborate with Democrats on public safety is madness.
The horrifying irony, the hideous ratchet, is that the more America is besieged by senseless violence, the more the paramilitary wing of the American right is strengthened.

You can read the rest of that, but you see how the lazy demonization of gun owners and Republicans (whom Goldberg seems to assume are one and the same) gives way to this paranoia about the threat of the “paramilitary wing of the American right.” When Republicans are in power, Democrats proclaim themselves the “resistance” fighting against the allegedly “authoritarian” GOP. Oh, but when Democrats have power, they immediately start hatching plans to criminalize dissent and speak of opposition as if everyone who voted Republican is a neo-Nazi menace who needs to be arrested. Remember how, when Bush was president, Democrats insisted that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” but once Obama got elected and the Tea Party movement started, we were told that dissent is RAAAAACISM! Liberals like Michelle Goldberg don’t even notice, much less admit, the hypocrisy of their attitude on this subject. In their minds, because Republicans are evil, anything that hurts Republicans is good, and their habitual slanders must always be flexible, adaptable to whatever the circumstance may be.

Isolated from the rest of America, hunkered down in her bunker in Brooklyn — in a neighborhood that boasts “one of the city’s finest collections of nineteenth-century houses,” including the home in which Winston Churchill’s mother was born — it may be easy for Michelle Goldberg to imagine that everything south of the Hudson River has been taken over by “paramilitary” Republicans. After all, didn’t her own newspaper report that “right-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable”? That was last November, and their evidence for this assertion included, for example, Republican candidate Josh Mandel, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, declaring in a video, “When the Gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do.” This was apparently a reference to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and if Mandel was engaged in hyperbole, well, it was a contested primary. But having recently been to Ohio, where my wife’s family lives, I could assure Michelle Goldberg or any other fretful Brooklyn liberals that right-wing paramilitaries are not — repeat, not — running rampant in the Buckeye State, no matter what any Republican candidate in the Senate primary might have implied or suggested.

Residents of the Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, forced to rely on the New York Times to tell them what’s happening out in the provinces, can be forgiven for thinking latter-day Sturmabteilung have taken over vast swaths of America. After all, didn’t that dangerous extremist Glenn Youngkin get elected governor of Virginia last November? Here’s how the NYT article about the Republican “menace” concludes:

But even at right-wing gatherings of the like-minded, there is a shared assumption that political confrontation could escalate into violence.
At a Virginia rally last month for conservative supporters of Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor, the urgency of a call to arms was conveyed right from the opening prayer. The speaker warned of the looming threat of “communist atheists.”
“Heavenly Father, we come before you tonight,” said Joshua Pratt, a conservative activist. “Your children are in a battle, and we need your help.”

Has Terry McAuliffe ever denied being a “communist atheist”? Did these enterprising journalists from the New York Times ask him that question on the campaign trail? But never mind that. The martial reference to the Lord’s children “in a battle” and in need of help from their Heavenly Father is not alarming to anyone with access to a hymnal:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high his royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
His army shall he lead,
Till every foe is vanquished,
And Christ is Lord indeed.

This “paramilitary” anthem (which I recall being the tune played when our children marched into the sanctuary during Vacation Bible School) was composed in 1858 by the Rev. George Duffield Jr., who “was known as a zealous advocate of abolition and Union causes during the U.S. Civil War.” Given its author’s sentiments, and its origins in those days of “Bleeding Kansas” and other provocations that subsequently led to the Civil War, I suppose Duffield’s hymn could be considered “extremist,” but most listeners understand these verses as a poetic metaphor. Surely no one could be hired as a reporter for the New York Times who doesn’t know what a metaphor is, but we are expected to believe — and apparently, Michelle Goldberg does believe — that Joshua Pratt’s prayer was some kind of coded message, a threat of armed violence.

How is the opening prayer at a Glenn Youngkin rally, or the “Gestapo” reference in a Josh Mandel campaign video, related to the Uvalde shooting? This is unclear to me, but Michelle Goldberg is certain that these things are related, perhaps by a syllogism as simple as this:

A. Guns are bad
B. Republicans are evil,
C. Vote Democrat!

Strip away the finely crafted verbiage and this is the core of her “argument,” although I doubt any student of rhetoric would dignify Michelle Goldberg’s column by that name. It’s really just an 876-word insult, but what else do we expect from “communist atheists”?

Well, she hasn’t denied it, has she?

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!



Comments are closed.