'Tard of the Week - Pat Buchanan

Monday, June 23, 2008
You gotta love Pat Buchanan. When it comes to public demonstrations of idiocy, logical fallacies and bigotry, he's the gift that keeps on giving.

Who could forget these gems:

  • His claim that gays brought AIDS on themselves by "declaring war against nature."
  • His opinion that women's liberation is responsible for imperiling western civilization. Uppity wimmin.
  • His support for the South African Apartheid government.
  • The idea that African Americans should be grateful their ancestors were sold into slavery. After all, aren't their lives better than those who remained free in Africa? Ungrateful, that's what they are.
  • Let's not even discuss those godless evolutionists, terrorist Muslims, and liberal journalists.
  • And more to the current point, his admiration for Hitler.

But his 'Tard of the Week award is for a completely different piece of crap.

Pat's latest book is called Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War. Can you guess what it's about? That's right, boys and girls, World War II was a completely unnecessary war! How stupid of us to sacrifice all those men and materials when it would of been so much better to just let Hitler have his way in Europe. Since Hitler was so admirable and all.

According to a review of this POS by Christopher Hitchens in the June 23rd issue of Newsweek, Pat attempts to make his case for this thesis with the following points:

  • "That Germany was faced with encirclement and injustice in both 1914 and 1939.
  • "That Britain in both years ought to have stayed out of quarrels on the European mainland.
  • "That Winston Churchill was the principal British warmonger on both occasions.
  • "That the United States was needlessly dragged into war on both occasions.
  • "That the principal beneficiaries of this were Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
  • "That the Holocaust of European Jewry was as much the consequence of an avoidable war as it was of Nazi racism."

Well.

Mr. Hitchens has already done a fabulous job of refuting these points, so I recommend you read his analysis. But really, I can't let this go without some snark of my own.

The part that really gets my goat on this is the idea that stopping Hitler, a certifiable whackjob of the highest order, was not a worthwhile endeavor in its own right. Really, Pat? Really? Because letting Hitler have his way throughout Europe is such a fabulous idea? Because living under the Nazis was such a treat that we should of allowed all of Europe to do so? Granted, Stalin was no angel, and you may be able to argue that we made a devil's bargain in that case, but Hitler? And his commentary about the Holocaust just makes me physically ill. Of course, Pat has also hinted that he's somewhat of a Holocaust denier, so there you go. Clearly, those uppity Jews were just asking for it, and besides, it wasn't as bad as you've been led to believe. So it's all good!

Pat Buchanan, I try very hard not to wish others ill, if only for the benefit of my own Karma. But really, when Karma rings you up, I will be there with bells on.

Yeah. World War II was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. You're right. Fucking 'Tard.

19 comments:

Michelle K said...

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

vince said...

Yeah, he's an idiot on so many levels. But oddly enough, he did get the Iraq war right. In the March 24, 2003 issue of The American Conservative, he wrote:

"We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.

Not in our lifetimes has America been so isolated from old friends. Far worse, President Bush is being lured into a trap baited for him by these neocons that could cost him his office and cause America to forfeit years of peace won for us by the sacrifices of two generations in the Cold War."

I don't know about the collusion with Israel (I don't doubt that Israel was happy to see Saddam Hussein gone, but evidence of collusion with Israel doesn't exist to my knowledge), but he was right about the neocons. And he has called the Patriot Act and similar actions as "Bush’s Big Brother schemes."

So even an asshat can sometimes be right.

(Why yes, that was meant to be a bad pun. Glad you noticed.)

vince said...

...the United States was needlessly dragged into war on both occasions

Buchanan doesn't have much of a grasp of history, either.

Hey Pat, Pearl Harbor!

Janiece Murphy said...

Vince, my Hot Mom calls that the "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" theory.

Eric said...

Buchanan is such an idiot that his crititque of the Iraq war always forces me to reassess my own criticisms--good grief, if Pat Buchanan and I agree on something... maybe I'm wrong.

Part of what's bewildering about the thesis of Buchanan's book is the point Vince hits on. Let's just say, purely for the sake of an argument, that we didn't have a dog in the European fight--that's obviously noxious horseshit, but let's just say it's true for the sake of a what-if: it's still irrelevant. From the mid-1930s onward, the United States was doing an elaborate tango with Japan over Japanese expansion and U.S. influence on the Asian mainland and in the Pacific Ocean, with war being an almost inevitable result that strategists on both sides saw coming sooner or later. We nearly ended up in a shooting war with Japan as early as the mid-to-late 1930s during the Japanese seizure of Manchuria. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941, it was an attempt to take the upper hand by neutralizing our Pacific influence--of course we declared war on Japan (four days after Japan had already declared war and attacked American soil) and then on December 14, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States in "defense" of their ally in accordance with their treaty obligations.

In other words, we didn't actually declare war on Germany to help our European allies who we maybe--if you accept Buchanan's amoral and boneheaded argument--didn't actually owe anything: we declared war on them because they declared war on us after we declared war on their ally who was already at war with us. To believe we didn't have to go to war in Europe is to pretend the Eastern Hemisphere didn't exist and nothing was happening there from, say, 1905-1941. Nice job, Pat. Maybe your next book can erase the Southern Hemisphere from existence, and we can have a nice orange-quarter world for Americans, Canadians, and anyone on the British Isles west of Greenwich. Tidier, simpler, and (dare I say it?) whiter. Well-played, sir.

Janiece Murphy said...

Eric, his hypocrisy is simply astounding. A direct quote: "There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country."

And yet we should of minded our own damn business in both World Wars?

Yeah.

It does seem like he'd be a great happier if all them thar colored folk and Jews would just accommodate him and begin an "out of sight, out of mind" existence. I mean, really, it's the least they can do, after all the white folks have done for them. Since Jesus was white, and all. And spoke English.

And if you don't believe that, you clearly hate America.

Janiece Murphy said...

And Eric? Quit confusing the issue with historical fact. It only shows that you hate America.

Godless evolutionist liberal.

Jim Wright said...

Pat Buchanan is an idiot. Obviously. A racist, bigoted, paranoid goof.

What disturbs me here is not Crazy Pat, but the fact that a significant number of Americans can't immediately see that he's a fucking nutbar. A rather large number of folks in this country send him money and sing his praises and hang on his every word simply because he claims to represent their God. A god, if we are to believe Pat, who is little better than a spoiled, selfish and malicious bully with ADD.

Maybe you can't blame people like Pat Buchanan, because I suspect that they are fundamentally (heh) wired wrong, but people who follow him are deliberately stupid.

Eric said...

Godless evolutionist liberal.

What's awesome is that I had to read that twice before I realized it was a (tongue-in-cheek) insult. "Godless?" Check. "Evolutionist?" Check. "Liberal?" Hey, thanks! Right back at'cha!

:-)

Janiece Murphy said...

Jim, I think that "fundamentally," those that choose to follow a leader without question are almost always incapable of independent, critical thinking. In the case of Crazy Pat, it makes me wonder how many of his followers are closet anti-Semites, since so much of his rhetoric revolves around that theme.

Eric, I figured you'd take it as a complement. As it was intended. Hehe.

Eric said...

Jim, I don't know if it's deliberate stupidity or not. By and large, we're a people with no depth, no history, no reflection, and an inordinate pride in just those things. We've created a national image for ourselves based on large helpings of mythology and amnesia; perhaps, I regret to say (because it's the last thing I want for my country) we haven't suffered enough to be reflective--except that may not be true, either: I live in the South, the region that reimagined a crushing defeat and near-obliteration into an epic tale of sorrow and honor. Perhaps it's just something in the water on this side of the Atlantic.

But the result is that someone like Buchanan wins people over not just because of his religion, but because he appears intelligent if you don't know what he's talking about. He writes books and gives lectures; I imagine that if you don't know much of anything about history or geography he comes off as an intelligent, articulate gentleman who just happens to confirm your own predjudices and presumptions. If you know he's full of shit and you buy into what he's selling, that's one thing. But even a number of ostensibly well-educated Americans (I can think of some attorneys I know; no doubt there are similar doctors and bankers) are essentially ignorant. (E.g., a co-worker, a graduate from a decent law school, who until recently had never heard of The Trail Of Tears, and that turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg when it came to what else she didn't know about her own country. She's not dumb. She has a college and postgraduate education. Nice young woman. But you can fairly say she's ignorant.)

Janiece Murphy said...

Eric, you make a good point.

The older I get, and the more "educated" I become, the more I become convinced that formal education doesn't necessarily lead to a lack of ignorance.

Some of the people with whom I attend University have the most appalling lack of critical thinking skills, and some can hold their own with people who profess to have advanced degrees.

Thankfully, the DU curriculum includes plenty of material on logic, fallacies, and argument, so if a student wants to learn how to think, they can. But the key is a desire to increase one's intellectual prowess.

To reuse Vince's favorite joke, you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

Nathan said...

Actually, Buchanan (like Hitler), doesn't always sound like a lunatic. Sometimes he sounds downright reasonable. I'm sure his book makes an excellent case (if you don't know about or are willing to ignore his omissions). This all makes him that much more dangerous.

David Duke wasn't all that scary in his white robe and hood. It was when he put on a coat and a tie and got his hair styled that he started to scare the shit out of me.

It's that cloak of respectability and reasoned tones that make a fanatic truly dangerous.

Pat's all over that!

Janiece Murphy said...

Nathan, the fact that Crazy Pat defended David Duke in his political ambitions makes your correlation that much more accurate (and disturbing).

Unfortunately, there's never a shortage of the Crazies in the world.

vince said...

To reuse Vince's favorite joke, you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

It is, it most certainly is!

...co-worker, a graduate from a decent law school, who until recently had never heard of The Trail Of Tears, and that turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg when it came to what else she didn't know about her own country. She's not dumb. She has a college and postgraduate education. Nice young woman. But you can fairly say she's ignorant.

When it comes to history, or should I say, especially when it comes to history, our education system sucks. This is not the first time I've expressed this opinion (which I can back up with facts), nor will it be the last. And I blame extremists on both the right and the left for this. They water down history books so that any history that doesn't confirm to their worldview never happened.

And while I'm not sure how well you can actually teach a person to think critically, our education system as a whole doesn't even try.

Unfortunately, there's never a shortage of the Crazies in the world.

Amen, sister, and they come in every political and religious stripe. And I like you're mom's "blind squirrel" quote.

Janiece Murphy said...

Hey, Vince - want to hear something cool? When I took my "Scientific Method" class at DU, one of the textbooks was Michael Shermer's "Why People Believe Weird Things." My current "Effective Communications" class has a whole section on logical fallacy.

Hehe.

Like I said, if someone wants to improve their critical thinking skills, the material is out there.

Cindi in CO said...

I'm afraid I can't comment intelligently on a guy who maintains that being a feminist will cause a woman to become a lesbian and kill her children.

Jeesh.

vince said...

Janiece, I found the first part of the book where Shermer explains skepticism, science as a methodology, and 25 fallacies that can lead us to believe weird things to be the best part of the book. Some of the latter chapters are a bit weak, in my opinion.

And kudos to those who chose books for the classes that include critical thinking.

A couple of other books I recommend are Thomas Kida's "Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking" and Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions."

I agree that the material is out there, but it still needs to start in school by at least junior high, and if not there, then in the home.

Janiece Murphy said...

Vince, those were my favorite parts, too. Which is why they're referenced in my Troll Policy.