Damn liberals. They don’t want to invade Iraq. They don’t want to eliminate dividend taxes. They don’t even want to kill a 200-foot-tall baby that’s murdering people and destroying property on the California coast.
Perhaps that particular failure of nerve escaped your attention. Well, not to worry. The rampaging baby and cringing liberals exist only in a bizarre National Review Online column by Jonah Goldberg.
Peggy Noonan once concocted a wholly imaginary Hillary Clinton speech simply in order to castigate Mrs. Clinton for not delivering it. When Noonan did this, it seemed that she had reached the shadowland where liberal-hate meets clinical delusion. Goldberg has gone a step further. Goldberg has sublet his apartment in the real world and is now using La-La Land as his base camp.
OK, I’m being flip. Goldberg hasn’t gone mad. Goldberg is providing us with a thought experiment. But like virtually every product of modern conservative thinking, this thought experiment is not particularly thought-provoking. It rambles on for nearly 3,000 words merely in order to say, for the millionth time: We conservatives are better than Barbra Streisand. Here is Goldberg describing the reaction to his fantasy baby’s rampage. Surprise! -- the usual suspects are rounded up:
East Coast newspapers began editorializing for mercy; in a column titled "Get Away Kid, You're Bothering Me," Maureen Dowd flatly called the president of the United States an "upper-crust W. C. Fields . . . who only cares about children when they're in the womb or in the hands of a nanny at a safe distance from Dad."
…The National Council of Churches held an emergency meeting and issued a communiqué, reprinted in part in an ad in the Washington Post. "Mr. President, You Were a Baby Once Too" blared the headline. Most of the Democratic congressional leadership signed the ad, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, which surprised some, as the giant baby had crushed 15 of her constituents to death in a single afternoon in Haight-Ashbury.…
…A host of Hollywood stars suffering from various medical problems gave impromptu press conferences expressing hope that this giant baby might contain the cure for their ailments. There was talk that Barbra Streisand was going to hold a concert. George Clooney told Charlie Rose that he'd leave the country if anything bad happened to that baby….
It was only a matter of time before "human shields" arrived.…
What, no Jane Fonda? Do these right-wing insult comics ever plan to come up with any new material?
Goldberg fleetingly castigates libertarians and other bit players on the right for their failure to confront his totally imaginary baby menace, but liberals are his main target. He closes his case by making a preposterous leap from the baby to Saddam and Osama, by way of "oppressed peoples":
If a giant monster goes strolling through San Francisco, wantonly killing people, and taking great pleasure in it, we're all comfortable with the idea of doing violence to it. But change the category from slithering monster to cooing baby or "oppressed peoples" and leftists put on their blinders. They think if we just give Hamas or Saddam or bin Laden what they want — "independence," "respect," "reparations" whatever — everything will be fine.
Do you know anyone who thinks the multimillionaire Osama bin Laden is an "oppressed" person? Or Saddam, with his multiple Joe Millionaire palaces?
The problem here is the lack of subtlety in the thinking of right-wingers such as Goldberg. Goldberg apparently can’t even grasp the notion that the vast majority of liberals want to avoid war and neutralize Saddam -- avoid war because the combination of chem/bio weapons and bunker-busting nukes and flammable oil fields in the Middle East might lead to an unimaginable horror; neutralize Saddam (via containment and deterrence and persistent inspections) because, yes, he is a nasty piece of work. Right-wingers can’t grasp this notion because they are like Goldberg’s monster baby -- determined to crush whatever they take it into their heads to crush, impervious to moderation or nuance, and, alas, apparently unstoppable.