Monday, August 20, 2007

Right-wing reductio ad absurdum

-- by Dave

Well, we've seen how the right-wing cult of Bush Worship -- now down to about, what, 25 percent of the voting populace? -- has steadfastly refused to accept that the Codpiece Commander has been anything but stellar in his tenure in the presidency. The Bill Kristols and Rich Lowrys reassure us that things are getting better and that, besides, his "steadfastness" (and not his "stubbornness") will be proven over time the correct course.

And so we get the Victor Davis Hansons of the world relying on near-useless historical analogies to justify the Bush wars, even arguing that a good public dose of military history would cure our ills. And he's got a point, but as Nitpicker says, "it doesn't help you if, like Hanson, you're a blind, foolish partisan infected by cognitive dissonance."

Then there's the "300 is the best movie EVAH!!! crowd, who assure us it tells you everything you need to know about why we're at war in Iraq. Right.

I guess the logical outcome of this utter absurdity is the recent work of Philip Atkinson of Family Security Matters, who earlier this month published the following:
The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable -- for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

Damn that democracy. What we need is just a good ruthless dictator, right? Well, that's right:
The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation's powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

...If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Well, as you can imagine, this piece didn't last long. Not only has Family Security Matters scrubbed the piece from its site, they've scrubbed all of Atkinson's work from the site (as of yesterday he was still listed among their contributing editors, though today that list seems to have been scrubbed as well).

Who is Family Security Matters -- beyond, that is, their jingoist mission statement and a board that includes right-wing luminaries like Barbara Comstock, Laura Ingraham, and Frank Gaffney?

According to SourceWatch, (which in turn cites Media Matters):
In fact, Family Security Matters (FSM) is a front group for the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a conservative Washington think tank "committed to the time-tested philosophy of promoting international peace through American strength." (The phone number listed on the FSM website is answered by the CSP.)

Obviously, they're doing the right thing in distancing themselves from Atkinson now, but the natural question the incident raises is: Why hadn't anyone at FSM noticed before now that Atkinson is a certifiable loon? After all, he had a history of publishing pieces that were nearly as bad, and which in fact served as predicates to the "Bush as President for Life" piece.

In my comments, the indispensable Trefayne did some digging into what Atkinson's published at FSM and elsewhere:
For anyone who wants to dig up more editorial sludge from the piece of work that is Philip Atkinson of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, I've already taken out my shovel for you. His recent outrage is not so surprising when you look at other things he's written. ...

Atkinson's commentaries are apparently now missing from, but they were all under their "FSM's Must Reads" heading. They must have liked his work at some point, including "Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy" [linked above]. So, why were they all deleted? Did they not know the kind of person they were dealing with, or did they get caught and embarrassed for associating with a rather open fascist?

Here are the other writings that had been on the FSM site, but which I had to find via other means. The last one is of special interest.

-- Muslims in Australia

-- The Insanity Test

-- America’s Choice -- [cache not available, and scrubbed from site]

-- Heresy Prosecutions Signal Re-appearance of Inquisition in 21st Century (which is critical of the criminal prosecutions of Holocaust deniers in Europe)

-- The Tyranny of Political Correctness (also available at Atkinson's site)

-- How Our Decaying Civilization Will End, Too Enfeebled to Resist Invasion [also available at Atkinson's site.]

This last one may be especially interesting to Orcinus readers, since it is an anti-immigrant screed by Atkinson, in which he used the "host"-"parasite" metaphor. He claims that Mexicans are "invading" and "colonizing" the U.S. [See more here and here on that.] He also mentions Indians and Pakistanis in an apparent reference to Britain, Atkinson's country of birth. He describes Hadrian's Wall as an immigration fence, and likens the 9/11 attacks to "a barbarian raid upon the USA,". The piece was titled "The Barbarians are Coming: How Our Decaying Civilization Will End, Too Enfeebled to Resist Invasion". We're clearly dealing with a second-century intellect here.

Are there any Orcinus readers in Australia? If so, you may be interested in the following.

In a couple of pages on his personal site, Atkinson defends "heroine" Pauline Hanson's "simple truths" from their treatment by the forces of "political correctness" ( here and here).

Philip Atkinson's "" has a page for one Dr. L.J.M. Cooray of Sydney, Australia, and Cooray has (or had) an e-mail address through Atkinson's domain. According to some sources, Cooray also seems to have issues with democracy, as noted by They copied a 2005 article titled "A Bunch of Theocrats" by a Brian Baxter, from Australia's The Skeptic magazine. Baxter reported that in October 2003, a document by Cooray was on the website of the Australian Christian Lobby, (formerly known as the Australian Christian Coalition), in which Cooray claimed Biblical infallibility as well as divine delegation of authority to various humans, with kings and governments listed first. I cannot verify Baxter's footnotes for these quotes, because I do not have the print article from The Skeptic, or Cooray's paper. Maybe someone else knows where to find them.

Sounds like the Anglosphere is indeed under threat. But one horde to be wary of includes Atkinson and friends.

It isn't hard to see that the "Clash of Civilizations" rhetoric employed by so many on the right regarding the current hostilities abroad leads directly down this path. At least we know that there really are people like Atkinson out there, espousing beliefs that are plainly fascist, especially in their hostility to democracy and their exaltation of violence. And we can see all too easily how they got there.

UPDATE: s9 at MojoWire has more, and Gonzo Muckraker has a revealing e-mail exchange with Atkinson.

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