[Note Update at end.]
The underpinnings of modern Liberalism include a number of assumptions, among them the following:
1) Conservatives are bad people, usually racist and anti-Semitic, though the more clever among them are typically subtle enough to keep their beliefs hidden. Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the most reasonable Liberal commentators, illuminates how this works:
It is fair to ask if Beck knows that these people are Jewish (It is not widely-known that Rendell is Jewish, I think). But Beck is a smart person, and has researchers at hand with access to Wikipedia. Further, most of these people on Beck's "big lie" list are already the targets of straightforward attacks in the dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Web, so an extended Google search, in some cases, would show that much of the opposition to some of these people is motivated by anti-Semitism. That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish. Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. Beck is speaking to a certain constituency, and the thought has now crossed my mind that this constituency understands the clear implications of what Beck is saying.
2) Republicans are in league with Corporate America and control the government in ways which increase the power and wealth of the corporations. Democrats/Liberals, are the party of the people and fight against the special (corporate) interests. (Citations are far too numerous to list.)
3) The world is divided into Oppressors and their victims. Typically the oppressors are White and Western and Israel and the Palestinian conflict is the paradigmatic example; as such, all of the ills pertaining to the conflict can be best understood as the result of Israeli intransigence. A subsidiary assumption, the centerpiece of the Obama "Peace Process", is that Israeli settlements (as symbols of the neo-colonialist appropriation of Palestinian land) is central to the conflict and must be addressed first, before any other movement toward Peace can be made.
There are, of course, additional aspects of the Left/Liberal ideology that are active at any one item but it is fascinating to see how each of these assumptions have faired recently in light of dis-intermediated news.
Jeffrey Goldberg's perception of a "dog whistle" anti-Semitism has been addressed by Steve Sailer. (For the record, there are often comments at Steve Sailer's website that echo traditional anti-Semitic tropes; however, such ideas do not require a dog's auditory acuity to perceive and I have seen no real evidence that Steve Sailer harbors anti-Semitic beliefs.)
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, was born and bred in America. Yet, having enlisted in the Israeli Defense Force, he seems to have picked up some of the Jewish state’s characteristic frankness. So, while much of the rest of the MainStream Media was flailing about trying to concoct new rationalizations for their furious attempt to pin that Arizona psycho’s rampage on mass-market Republican spokespeople like Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck, Goldberg cut to the chase. In Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem (January 18, 2011), Goldberg simply accused Beck, the autodidactic Fox News talker, of anti-Semitism.
"This is a post about Beck's recent naming of nine people—eight of them Jews—as enemies of America and humanity. … "
According to Goldberg, Beck denounced billionaire George Soros, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, 1920s’ PR man Edward Bernays, 1920s pundit Walter Lippmann, Obama Administration official Cass Sunstein, National Welfare Rights Organization co-founder Frances Fox Piven, former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, former SEIU labor boss Andy Stern, along with one unnamed gentile, as "enemies of America and humanity."
Goldberg is willing to concede:
"That said, Beck has not crossed a certain line, by identifying his targets openly as Jewish."
But Goldberg can just tell that Beck is guilty anyway:
"Nevertheless, this, to me, is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling. … My modest suggestion to those Jews who fear the building of mosques in American cities is that they look elsewhere for threats that seem to be gathering against them." [Links added]
The first question is whether there’s actually any story here at all. Did Beck announce a list of enemies of America and humanity? Or is Goldberg just overexcited?
Goldberg doesn’t link to any page on the Web to support his claim. This lack of documentation should have made me immediately suspicious, since it’s easy to put in a link … if you have one. (The large number of links in VDARE.com articles are often accused of being hard on the eyes, but at least we show you exactly where we get our facts.)
Please read the whole post (replete with links) to see how Sailer answers his own question. I do not regularly follow Glenn Beck but my impression is that he is quite pro-Israel (though not in the acceptable to Liberals way that J-Street, which advocates policies that most Israelis believe would cause great harm and increase terrorism for Israelis, are "pro-Israel") and his animus is reserved for those, Jewish or otherwise, who propose policies that he thinks are damaging to this country. He may be overly simplistic but I doubt he is anti-Semitic.
What about the idea that Democrats are virtuous protectors of the people from the predations of crony Capitalists? Allow Dave Shuler to comment on this:
Somewhere Theodore Vail must be smiling.
This morning GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, recently tapped by President Obama to chair his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, has an op-ed in the Washington Post sketching his thoughts for the new council. The preliminaries rest on three principles: re-emphasize manufacturing and exports, free trade, and innovation.
As to innovation, I’m reminded of something my old business partner used to say in parody of Voltaire from time to time, “I agree with what you say but I deny your right to say it.” Among the greatest barriers to innovation are the industrial giants like GE which have shed jobs at an alarming rate over the last 30 years while wielding intellectual property laws and political clout to crush upstart competitors which are hiring. One way of spurring innovation would be to get dinosaurs like GE, grown huge through rent-seeking, the hell out of the way. I doubt we’ll see suggestions in that vein from Jeffrey Immelt.
Theodore Vail was the legendary CEO of American Telephone & Telegraph (later AT&T Corp.) during its heroic period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He believed that competition in business was inefficient and immoral. His vision for America was one in which each industry was dominated by a single massive company and these titans would meet together to set the course for the future. Welcome to Theodore Vail’s America.
I heartily endorse Mark Safraski's comment on the matter:
The only jobs Immelt will create in America are for K Street lobbyists to secure yet more government contracts for GE. Expect a blizzard of proposed agency regs and executive orders this year as the Oligarchy tries to lock in as much of a permanent rentier economy as they can before the next election cycle.
Rent seeking is a concept in which every Liberal should be well versed, but their primary organs of perception (The New York Times, et al) carefully craft their narrative to make it appear that those rent-seekers who are on their side, like Immelt, are never questioned, while those who do the same with Republicans are uniquely evil (think of "Big Oil" or Pharma.)
[Come to think of it, isn't The New York Times a for profit enterprise that is looking to the government to protect them? After all, laws that restrict speech of which The Times does not approve (ie, hate speech) would have the effect of muzzling their competitors.]
[Interestingly, The Times framed the Glenn Beck controversy over Frances Fox Piven as a case of Beck labeling her as an enemy and therefore encouraging violence against her. In reality, Frances Fox Piven has overtly called for violence and Beck was simply quoting her writings. Ron Radosh has the details. (HT: Glenn Reynolds) Where else have we seen this idea, that those who quote actual hate speech in an effort to shine a light on the fomenters of violence are themselves guilty of hate speech? When a commentator notes the vicious hatred being propagated routinely by those who speak in the name of Islam, the commentators are guilty of hate speech and inciting Muslims. The parallels are remarkable; it must simply be a coincidence.]
As to the third assumption, concerning the Israeli-Arab dispute (over Israel's existence), recent leaks by Palestinians interested in undermining the PA have revealed that Israeli settlements were never a major impediment until Obama made them so. Robin Shepherd, among many others, including the Jerusalem Post, has the story:
Game over. No way back. An entire edifice of anti-Israeli demonisation definitively consigned to the scrap heap, never to be recycled again. This is the uncompromising message that comes out of yesterday’s revelations on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. To the horror of a European political intelligentsia which has been steadfast to the point of fanatical in its opposition to Israeli “settlements” in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership itself, we now know, has long accepted that the vast majority of Israeli settlements can be considered legitimate and would become part of Israel under any reasonable peace agreement.
This is utterly devastating since it simultaneously shows that everyone from the British Foreign Office and the BBC to the European Commission and the continent’s passionately anti-Israeli NGO community have been adopting a position which was significantly more uncompromising on “settlements” than the Palestinian leadership itself, and also that that same Palestinian leadership had accepted that the so called 1967 “borders” — the gold standard for practically every anti-Israeli polemic around — are irrelevant to the prospects of a lasting peace.
[While this news was leaked by Palestinians for their own purposes, ostensibly to discredit the "moderate" Abbas regime, a debt is owed to Wikileaks for inadvertently showing an alternate route by which a reality signal can emerge from the noise of the MSM.]
Robin Shepherd, being British and polite, does not mention that equally as devastated by this news should be the Obama administration's approach to the Middle East, yet if we have learned anything in the last 30-40 years (or the last 2000 years) it has been the Protean nature of anti-Israel (anti-Jewish) sentiment.
The primary link between these disparate stories is that they represent parts of the conventional Liberal narrative that have sprung leaks (pun intended) through which a different narrative which, to most people more closely approximates reality, has begun to emerge.
The erosion of a longstanding consensus narrative is a slow process at first; like most collapses, it will continue to occur "slowly, and then all of a sudden."
[Update: Barry Rubin suggests that the "Palestinian Papers" are probably altered, forged, or mistranslated. The wonderful thing about this is that either way, they support the idea that the Palestinians have never had any interest in making Peace. Abbas is claiming he never offered to compromise and his enemies are using the suggestion that he did as a way to undermine him with the Palestinians and the Arabs! So either he did offer to compromise (but then why would Israel not have accepted the plan they had already proposed?) but then reneged because he could never sell the idea to his followers or (much more likely) he never offered to compromise in the first place; either way the story of Israeli intransigence is revealed as nonsense. It has always been the Arabs who proclaimed the "Three No's."