Cross posted at my place.
A good investigative journalist, if needed, can hide aboard a cruise full of white supremacists and manage not only to escape without punching someone and thereby blowing their cover, but also get out with one hell of a story. That is exactly what Johann Hari did when he joined the National Review cruise and their motley of hate. The result is breathtaking and incredibly frightening. One has to wonder how Jewish travlers aboard this hate vessel did not recognize the rhetoric and make way directly to the nearest inflatable device.
Over the flip - I give you the masterful Hari article,The Ship of Fools:
"I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, both chilling and burning, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. "Is he your only child?" I ask. "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe.""
If you are concerned that the hate constituency hates only Muslims, don't worry, they hate everyone who is unlike them and suggest not so novel ideas for taking care of undesirables (emph mine):
"I am getting used to these moments – when gentle holiday geniality bleeds into... what? I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a chatty, scatty 35-year-old Californian designer. As she explains the perils of Republican dating, my mind drifts, watching the gentle tide. When I hear her say, " Of course, we need to execute some of these people," I wake up. Who do we need to execute? She runs her fingers through the sand lazily. "A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralise the country," she says. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get." She squints at the sun and smiles. "Then things'll change.""
The gas chamber, eh? Executions for fellow citizens? Is that where we are now?
"I am travelling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino – and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success". Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, "If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them." And I have nowhere to run."
You can assume that some of the 500 of the floating confederacy included American right wing hate stars who will soon no doubt have their talking points ready to put at arms length the few bad apples among them. But that won't fly, not when books written by white supremacist Ann Coulter advocating for terrorist attacks against US citizens are flying off book shelves.
But what is really striking is that there are Jews in this Neo-Nazi filth and that there are blacks counted among these racists and that there are Americans among these imperialists. Obviously hate is more compelling than one's own citizens, religious and ethnic background, or the cruel lessons of history.
"To my left, I find a middle-aged Floridian with a neat beard. To my right are two elderly New Yorkers who look and sound like late-era Dorothy Parkers, minus the alcohol poisoning. They live on Park Avenue, they explain in precise Northern tones. "You must live near the UN building," the Floridian says to one of the New York ladies after the entree is served. Yes, she responds, shaking her head wearily. "They should suicide-bomb that place," he says. They all chuckle gently. How did that happen? How do you go from sweet to suicide-bomb in six seconds?"
From Ann Coulter's rotted out brain to the lips of a Park Avenue society lady. No difference, a monster is a monster.
"There is something strange about this discussion, and it takes me a few moments to realise exactly what it is. All the tropes that conservatives usually deny in public – that Iraq is another Vietnam, that Bush is fighting a class war on behalf of the rich – are embraced on this shining ship in the middle of the ocean. Yes, they concede, we are fighting another Vietnam; and this time we won't let the weak-kneed liberals lose it. "It's customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who's 'we'?" the writer Dinesh D'Souza asks angrily. "The left won by demanding America's humiliation." On this ship, there are no Viet Cong, no three million dead. There is only liberal treachery. Yes, D'Souza says, in a swift shift to domestic politics, "of course" Republican politics is "about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers.""
Noted, D'Souza's next article will mark whatever publication runs it to the heaps of liner for kitty litter. Not that I am surprised, but it is nice to see fascism express itself so fully and honestly when the ugly of it thinks that the civilized world is not paying attention. Even some of their own icons are ashamed of this bunch and even in private:
"Buckley is an urbane old reactionary, drunk on doubts. He founded the National Review in 1955 – when conservatism was viewed in polite society as a mental affliction – and he has always been sceptical of appeals to " the people," preferring the eternal top-down certainties of Catholicism. He united with Podhoretz in mutual hatred of Godless Communism, but, slouching into his eighties, he possesses a world view that is ill-suited for the fight to bring democracy to the Muslim world. He was a ghostly presence on the cruise at first, appearing only briefly to shake a few hands. But now he has emerged, and he is fighting.
The ghosts of Conservatism past are wandering this ship. From the pool, I see John O'Sullivan, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher. And one morning on the deck I discover Kenneth Starr, looking like he has stepped out of a long-forgotten 1990s news bulletin waving Monica's stained blue dress. His face is round and unlined, like an immense, contented baby. As I stare at him, all my repressed bewilderment rises, and I ask – Mr Starr, do you feel ashamed that, as Osama bin Laden plotted to murder American citizens, you brought the American government to a stand-still over a few consensual blow jobs? Do you ever lie awake at night wondering if a few more memos on national security would have reached the President's desk if he wasn't spending half his time dealing with your sexual McCarthyism?"
He smiles through his teeth and – in his soft somnambulant voice – says in perfect legalese, "I am entirely at rest with the process. The House of Representatives worked its will, the Senate worked its will, the Chief Justice of the United States presided. The constitutional process worked admirably."
Read the whole thing and spread it far and wide. The western world shamed fascism back into the shadows during WWII, but apparently not deeply enough. They appear to simply have gone underground, and rebuild, growing like mold until they could finally come back when they had purchased enough propaganda power, enough votes, and enough people to ensure that they would be able to steer the S.S. Americana as far away from democracy as possible.
But just one more snip for the road:
"Enough – I see another, more intriguing ghost. Ward Connerly is the only black person in the National Review posse, a 67-year-old Louisiana-born businessman, best known for leading conservative campaigns against affirmative action for black people. Earlier, I heard him saying the Republican Party has been "too preoccupied with... not ticking off the blacks", and a cooing white couple wandered away smiling, "If he can say it, we can say it." What must it be like to be a black man shilling for a magazine that declared at the height of the civil rights movement that black people "tend to revert to savagery", and should be given the vote only "when they stop eating each other"?"