Monday, January 31, 2005

Extreme Left, Meet Extreme Right. Shake Hands.

I figured I'd use today to point out a highly dangerous extreme in American politics that I haven't discussed. No, I'm not talking about the left (I know, it's a shock to me too). What I'm talking about is the highly extreme right, namely Dr. Thomas E. Woods, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. The book claims to be attempting to counteract the liberalism of high-school textbooks by frankly telling you what really happened in our over 200 years of existence. But what is the real message here?

First of all, Woods is not your typical Republican. Heck, he isn't even your typical "arch-conservative" Republican. Instead, he's a member of a sect populated by what InstaPundit calls "fringe libertarians" and what I call "white supremacists". Yes, Woods is a neocon, but in this case, that doesn't mean he's a neo-conservative so much as a neo-Confederate. If you don't believe me on this one, read what IsThatLegal? has to say about it. Eric Muller did some digging on Woods there, and he has unveiled him as a founding member of the secessionist League of the South in a character study that is nothing short of eye-opening.

Read Muller's dissection for a glimpse into the "white power" side of the League of the South (and Woods himself). I'd comment on that, but it left me appalled. What I will mention is what the good doctor Woods said on a secessionist bulletin board:

...I agree completely with what has been said here: the book is being pitched to precisely those who need it most, namely the neocon-influenced right-wing-radio-listening masses. Perhaps it might help draw them back to antistatism. We can hope.

Yes, it is being pitched to us. The pitch is coming from Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, Joe Scarborough, and pretty much anyone else who is giving Woods air/facetime. This is relevant because of all the talk of secession from the extreme left, which is strangely overlapped by the League of the South (albeit in a very different manner). When I first heard about this book, it was by watching Scarborough when he had Woods on to plug the book. I almost never watch Scarborough's show except that I saw an ad for that night's program. (As I recall, Pat Buchanan, of all people, took over anchoring duties the night that Woods was on.) I noticed that it was being pitched as the cure to the poison of liberal history books, which made me stop and think, "Wait a history book really wasn't that bad!" The book that my AP History course used in my junior year of high school actually integrated straight facts with opinion-based summaries, and although it was a little old (no Monicagate coverage yet), it absolutely tore apart Bill Clinton's first term as setting a poor moral precedent. Yes, I clapped when I read that part of the book. No, I'm not kidding. Apparently, it's just the students in all the other history classes who have to sit through leftist retellings of America.

The book is also obviously attempting to cash in on conservative disagreement with Clinton, FDR, and LBJ. The Claremont Institute warns that the right should not buy into every book that does this, because, as in this case, there may be another agenda to push. In columnist John Kienker's opinion, conservatives "do [them]selves more than a disservice when [they] promote books, like PIG and others, that seek to discredit the principles of the American Founding....the 'single coherent philosophy within the conservative movement.'"

Well said.


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