("Quid coniuratio est?")
The Nation Takes Off Its Gloves
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Of note is the April 10, 1995 issue of The Nation magazine. In this issue, The Nation gang (with help from their buddies at the Roger Baldwin Foundation?) take off the gloves and really give it to various conspiracy theorists. The problem is that they (of whom better might perhaps have been expected) stoop to the usual Berlet-ian smear tactics. For example, an elegant twist on the usual "they are anti-Semites" smear is offered up by Christopher ("Doesn't Get Money From CIA") Hitchens in his "Minority Report":
...First comes the claim that [Pat Robertson] can't possibly be an anti-Semite, because he's such a staunch friend of Israel. Any fool ought to be able to see through this. Robertson has actually been a staunch friend of the millenarian racist minority in Israel, those who believe in the God-mandated rule over a "Greater Land of Israel." This is no favor to the Jews. Moreover, the dogmatic Christians who offer such "support" are the same as those who say that only "Bible-believing Christians" are true Americans...
So Hitchens seems to be saying that, because Christians believe that theirs is the "one true religion", this means that they are anti-Semitic. The "challenge" for all those followers of the school of Berlet seems to be (1) pick a target; (2) by some twist of logic (here is the heart of the "challenge") "prove" that your target is "anti-Semitic"; (3) then lastly, dress up your recoined crud of a smear in the latest elegant and aristocratic snobbery of language and send it out as something "new". Hopefully, the suckers will keep buying it.
Here's another example of the same old crap being served up in the place of solid argument in the April 10, 1995 issue of The Nation:
Unlike Rush Limbaugh's straightforward propaganda for the Republican Party line, [Chuck] Harder rallies his fervently loyal audience around a paranoid, conspiratorial vision, seasoned by a facile scapegoating that in its worst moments degenerates into a vehicle for thinly veiled xenophobia and anti-Semitism...
So again, in a different article ("The Paranoid Style" by Marc Cooper), we have the usual "they are paranoid", "they are anti- Semitic" type of argument. Somehow I had expected a better quality of argument from a magazine like The Nation. Can Sherman Skolnick be correct? Is The Nation receiving funding from the CIA? If not, then you explain to me why this prejudiced smear of conspiracists from a supposedly intellectual and intelligent magazine.
Let me state something I have said before. It relates to an old tale about "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". I will try to make it as plain as can be.
Once upon a time, there was a young lad named Ivan. In the village where Ivan lived, a careful rule had been set up: if the anti-Semites came, one was to sound the alarm and yell out "Anti-Semites! Anti-Semites!" Then, the villagers had all agreed to rush out and defend against these bad people.
Ivan liked to give speeches in the town square, during which he would urge his listeners that a social-welfare state was in their best interests. But Ivan's friend Igor also liked to give speeches. Igor gave his speeches from the other end of the town square. He often urged his audience that big government was the enemy of the people.
To Ivan's dismay, the people began to favor Igor's ideas over Ivan's. What could Ivan do to get the people's attention!?
Ivan had an idea. To get the people's attention, he would yell out the special alarm word, "Anti-Semites!"
So that very day, with the people all listening to Igor, Ivan shouted out, "Anti-Semites! Anti-Semites!"
It was the special alarm word! The people all rushed from where Igor was speaking to the other side of the town square. "Where, Ivan? Where?" they cried in alarm. "Where are the anti-Semites!?"
"False alarm!" replied Ivan. "However, now that you're here and I have your attention, let me explain why there is no such thing as conspiracies and that big government is your friend."
"That Ivan," someone muttered. "He has diluted our special alarm word just so he can advance his personal politics."
The next few days, Ivan kept doing the same thing. The people in the town square would be favoring what Igor was saying, so Ivan would yell out the special alarm word, the people would rush over to his side of the square, and then Ivan would say, "False alarm. But since you are here, let me tell you why you can be sure that Oswald acted alone."
I'm going to leave off the story at this point. Did the real anti-Semites show up one day? Did Ivan's petty use of a specially arranged alarm word just for the purpose of his personal politics thereby lead to disaster? Let's hope not.
On the up side, we conspiracy theorists, persecuted as we often are by persons of whom we may have hoped better, can at least take heart that the high and haughty Nation magazine has now (for some reason) noticed that we exist. Can it be that we (like Igor) are being listened to? Why else the smear? Why else is The Nation stooping so low?
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"