Jonah Goldberg

When an abortion provider in Wichita, Kan., was murdered, the predictable chorus pointed fingers at Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. After all, O'Reilly had said that George Tiller was a "baby killer" and had railed against the doctor's late-term abortion practice for years. He must be to blame! No one bothered to ask whether Tiller's accused murderer had ever watched O'Reilly, or to ponder whether a militant pro-life extremist really needed a talk-show host to tell him anything he didn't already know about one of less than a dozen doctors in the country who still performed third-trimester abortions.

But, never mind. Such details don't matter when you're trying to delegitimize people.

Now we have James von Brunn. He is an 88-year-old loon, considered a dangerous nut even within the dangerous-nut community. He took his gun and shot up the Holocaust Museum and murdered a guard. Reporting suggests that von Brunn wanted to fulfill his revenge fantasies against the Jewish-neocon globalist cabal, which apparently outsources much of its work to the Bush family. A 9/11 truther, convinced that the bagel-snarfing, string-pulling Jooooooooooozzz are behind everything, von Brunn is the kind of fanatic the zombies who talk to themselves at the bus station would give a wide berth.

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But, of course, we have Sarah Palin to thank for von Brunn. So says some genius at the Daily Kos. A competing braniac at the Huffington Post says, "Thank you very much Karl Rove and your minions." Pretty much the entire media establishment is comfortable labeling von Brunn as a member of the "far right." Putting aside other objections to that nomenclature, if von Brunn is a member of the far right, then it would be helpful and journalistically responsible if the press would start calling Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, et al., moderates and centrists.

That won't happen, because the whole point of these exercises is to paint the right as an undifferentiated blob of evil.

Never mind that von Brunn isn't a member of the far right. Nor is he a member of the far left, as some on the right are claiming. He's not a member of anything other than the crazy caucus. Von Brunn's True North is conspiratorial anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. He's not a member of the Christian Right. In fact, he denounces Christianity -- just as Hitler did -- as a Jewish plot against paganism and Western vigor. Nor is he a capitalist. Again, just as Hitler did, he hails socialism as the solution to the West's problems.

Still, if we are going to play this game where we take the words of politicians and pundits, compare them to the words of murderers and psychopaths, and then assign blame accordingly, then let's blame the New York Times, Chris Matthews, left-wing blogs everywhere and the academics who penned "The Israel Lobby" (which blames a fifth column of Israel loyalists for our troubles).

After all, for years, mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives -- usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel -- as an alien, pernicious cabal. "They have penetrated the culture at nearly every level from the halls of academia to the halls of the Pentagon," observed the New York Times. "... They've accumulated the wherewithal financially (and) professionally to broadcast what they think over the airwaves to the masses or over cocktails to those at the highest levels of government."

NBC's Chris Matthews routinely used the word "neocon" as if it was code for "traitor." He asked one guest whether White House neocons are "loyal to the Kristol neoconservative movement, or to the president?" Von Brunn may have wondered the same thing, which is why he reportedly had the offices of Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" on his hit list.

Unhinged Bush-hater Andrew Sullivan insists that, "The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right." Leading liberal intellectual Michael Lind warned about the alarming fact that "the foreign policy of the world's only global power is being made by a small clique" of neoconservative plotters.

Even with Bush out of the picture, some see the problem emerging again. Just this week, Jeremiah Wright, the president's longtime mentor and pastor, whined that, "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."

Maniacs like von Brunn connect dots that aren't there because that's what paranoid anti-Semites do. What's the left's excuse?


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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