Dog Whistles For The McCarthyist Right

Harvey Manfield is supposed to be a big conservative cheese in the field of political science, the “most visible conservative intellectual” at Harvard. Turns out he’s just a hack.

‘We have now an American political party and a European one. Not all Americans who vote for the European party want to become Europeans. But it doesn’t matter because that’s what they’re voting for. They’re voting for dependency, for lack of ambition, and for insolvency.”

Having lived in Europe my first three and a half decades, I laughed. What exactly is a “European Party” supposed to be? Golden Dawn? The British Tory Party? The German SPD? Syriza?

There’s no argument there about what exactly constitutes a “European” Party as distinct from an “American” one nor any argument that one US political party has become this nebulous “European”.

In other words, it’s dumb name-calling (“Socialists! Commies!”) dressed up in faux-intellectual clothing, same as the word “radical” used by the folks at Powerline today to describe Obama. Dog whistles for the Mccarthyist Right, many of whom see black helicopters and FEMA re-education camps everywhere.

People, I wish Obama was a democratic socialist. He’s not. On most issues, he’s to the Right of mainstream European conservatives.

As for “voting for dependency, for lack of ambition, and for insolvency”, it’s just another variant on “the 47%” of “takers”, a variant on the notion that Obama bought the election by handing out “gifts” – paired with an utter refusal to admit which party is being so obstructionist as to cause more fiscal problems than doing something would.

In other words, the same bankrupt denialism we’ve seen from most of the rest of the conservative “intellectual” stable. The Republicans need some new intellectuals who are, y’know, intellectual. Oh, and trying to solve problems rather than just use their intellects to spin words in blatant pander to their grumpy-old-white-man base. You know, the people who still think McCarthyism was a good idea.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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  • I read Manfield’s pseudo-intellectual nonsense over at digby’s Hullabaloo blog yesterday and thought it was utter tripe too. When he says he was a liberal until he came to believe that liberals were “too sympathetic” to Communism, I knew he was a phony. Too sympathetic to communism? Like Kennedy invading the Bay of Pigs? Or Carter helping fund the mujahedeen in Afghanistan? If this is what passes for serious foreign policy analysis on the right-wing, it is no wonder the GOP is headed for extinction!

  • This is one of my favorite memes, because it hinges so completely on American ignorance and gullibility. Most of Western Europe has higher rates of entrepreneurship than the US, you know “job creators”. I credit this mainly to socialized medicine; a European can follow a dream like that without worrying about whether someone in the family needs medical care, while Americans get trapped in the cubicle by health insurance. Most of Western Europe buys things. They still spend on clothes, consumer goods, electronics, cars, and vacations. In many cases they spend more and enjoy higher quality goods than Americans. And after all that and their taxes, they still tend to save more money than Americans.

    Now this may be in the process of changing with the Wall Street into Austerity that the EU took up in the 21st century. But, shit, i wish there was a European Party because i sure as shit would vote for a higher standard of living, health care, plenty of vacation time, better consumer protection and all the other things that have traditionally been European.

    The right wing European meme is designed to make Americans hate what most of them actually want. It’s insidious. And it’s a shame that Americans are stupid enough to fall for it and loudly proclaim that the things that make their lives so difficult and shitty are the greatest things.

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