Friday, January 25, 2013


Rubbing liberals' noses in the D.C. Circuit court's recess-appointment ruling and the Harry Reid capitulation on filibusters, Jennifer Rubin cackles:
It was a bad day for the lefties afflicted with the totalitarian temptation. (Relax: It is a term of art, a well-known one, and I am not calling Democrats totalitarians.)
Really? She's not calling Democrats totalitarian? Yeah, not exactly.

If you're don't have a Wall Street Journal online subscription and don't feel like using Google as a back-door route to the link, let me quote it for you: the link quotes the British political philosopher John N. Gray. Here's what Gray wrote (emphasis mine):
One of the features that distinguished Bolshevism from Tsarism was the insistence of Lenin and his followers on the need for a complete overhaul of society. Old-fashioned despots may modernize in piecemeal fashion if doing so seems necessary to maintain their power, but they do not aim at remaking society on a new model, still less at fashioning a new type of humanity. Communist regimes engaged in mass killing in order to achieve these transformations, and paradoxically it is this essentially totalitarian ambition that has appealed to liberals. Here as elsewhere, the commonplace distinction between utopianism and meliorism is less than fundamental. In its predominant forms, liberalism has been in recent times a version of the religion of humanity, and with rare exceptions -- [Bertrand] Russell is one of the few that come to mind -- liberals have seen the Communist experiment as a hyperbolic expression of their own project of improvement; if the experiment failed, its casualties were incurred for the sake of a progressive cause. To think otherwise -- to admit the possibility that the millions who were judged to be less than fully human suffered and died for nothing -- would be to question the idea that history is a story of continuing human advance, which for liberals today is an article of faith. That is why, despite all evidence to the contrary, so many of them continue to deny Communism's clear affinities with Fascism. Blindness to the true nature of Communism is an inability to accept that radical evil can come from the pursuit of progress.
So, if I understand correctly, when Rubin links to this, what she's saying is:

If you believe in recess appointments or filibuster reform, you have the blood of all who died in the gulags and the terror-famine on your hands, you filthy hippie. Or, at the very least, it's clear that you're willfully blind to the fact that your desire for filibuster reform and recess appointments is the first step on a slippery slope that leads inexorably to totalitarian genocide.

Thanks, Jen. Got it.


Victor said...

So, did anyone check if Jonah Goldberg cribbed this BS for his crappy and ignorant book, from this British political philosopher, John N. Gray?

Jennifer Rubin is one very, very strange and deranged person.

Maybe she's right.
After all, didn't the Democrats pull a putch via the SCOTUS to win an election?

And, then, after a couple of Kryrstallnacht-type episodes, in the countries capitol, and it's most populous city, didn't the Democrats drum up foreign wars, like the Fascists and Totalitarians like to do?

And, didn't the Democrats then set-up "Free Speech Zones," so that protesters voices wouldn't reach the ears of the Totalitarian Democratic leaders?

And, didn't the Democrats disenfranchise voters, and screw with elections, like Fascists and Totalitarians do?

And didn't Democrat spy on their own people, you know, like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Castro, those Totalitarians?

And, wasn't it the Democrats who coined the phrase "The Heartland," and also "The Department of Homeland Security?" Kind of like what Totalitarians Hitler and Stalin did, no?

Yeah, Jen, you punTWIT, those Democrats are some really bad-assed Totalitarian motherfuckers, aren't they?

Superfluous Man said...

"Totalitarian" seems like much more pleasant name-calling than what she linked to.

Monty said...

J-Rube is just an opportunistic and dishonest asswipe.

Communism (as state totalitarianism) has obviously failed, but since communism was never an expression of liberalism, her entire argument is a silly non-sequitur.

I'm not familiar with the writings of John N. Gray, and so can't comment intelligently on his political philosophy. Based on your quotes, he seems to be anti-Hegel (human history is process-driven). However, that last sentence you included (but didn't bold) is telling:

"Blindness to the true nature of Communism is an inability to accept that radical evil can come from the pursuit of progress."

IMO, substituting 'Capitalism' for 'Communism' doesn't significantly change the meaning of Gray's observation that "radical evil can come come from the pursuit of progress." And even that last part is essentially meaningless, since radical good can come from the pursuit of progress.

My relevant views are more aligned with John Rawls.

Ten Bears said...

One of, if not the predominent, undercurrents of Zinn's "Peoples History" is that all change pretty much since the dawn of the Robber Barons has been piecemeal, a band-aid... kewl-aid.

No fear...

Examinator said...

Not wishing to be too pedantic But
You said [J-Rube is just an opportunistic and dishonest asswipe.]

You know that's slander... asswipes of the world are insulted ! they're useful. >:-\
Notwithstanding, one must be careful about what we call philosophy, her (Grunt) Errrt! "there it is in all its brown peppered with corn smelly glory (any one got an asswipe?) isn't philosophy as in detailed well thought out series of arguments, rather an opinionated polemic,
centering on a unique semantical reinterpretation of words.

Mind you is is common fare for the right wing to misuse and redefine words from their original meaning. In political philosophy what the US right call socialism, communism, conservatism, and liberalism are perversions at best.
this especially true when one read Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations'. as Chomsbky regularly said there are two Adam Smiths the one the conservatives love and.....the real one. In his book he actually talks about all the things like responsibility to the poor etc. And this Decades before Communism...the real one(Marx and Engles) and Socialism. I note this woman spends time trying to convince (herself?) that the various perversions of Communism were actually COMMUNISM. that a bit like saying that English is like Norwegian(as spoken by the Vikings) yes there are many roots but I'm blessed if I can read the Viking texts and comprehend them. In short just because a political philosophy declares that it's a rabbit and it suffers from sores on its policies doesn't make it an actual rabbit.
She is way too generalised and relies on assumptions to be philosophic.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Wow. I wish you had included a link to that Gray piece where it's not hiding behind a subscription requirement. Talk about savage and over the top. Jeez.

Philo Vaihinger said...

More proof, btw, if more were needed, that famous and admired philosophers, too, can be complete jackasses.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Or did you in fact quote the whole of Gray's piece?

He must've been falling down drunk when he wrote that.

Steve M. said...

That's everything the Journal posted at the link Rubin provides.