Thursday, January 09, 2003

If you can't win the argument, smear

I used to like Michael Gove, I really did. However recently his writing has become, erm, unbalanced. This recent article is a gem of what they used to call the paranoid style.

"Hatred of America is the Socialism of Fools". The socialism of fools is a Marxist reference to German anti-semitism. So what makes those who oppose the present British alignment to America (as it is clear "hatred of America" means scepticism on the war) equivalent to the precursors of the concentration camp in Mr Gove's ever fertile imagination? Well it's simple. If you oppose the present British alignment with America then you knock "America off its superpower pedestal". If you wish to humble American - in Gove's halucinations- then the thread linking you to the right is hostility to Israel. And that, of course, means that you are anti-semitic.

Forget the debating points in the article about how benign a hegemon America is, the real meat of the article is this - if you don't support Blair's policy on Iraq you are doing it out of European prejudice towards the Jews. This doesn't apply simply to his main left wing target, it also applies to the "old Right". This is the same Michael Gove who lamented the use of prison to stifle free speech and claimed that it was stifling public discourse. Of course claiming that anyone who opposes you is an anti-semite is going to open public discourse wide open.

I am divided on this article. Substantively it is good, if the Atlanticists are relying on smears and non-sequitors to win their case then they obviously realise that they do not have a prayer at winning the substantive arguments about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein (after all isn't that what we're supposed to base any decision about placing our troops in Mesopotamia). On the other hand this is a sad decline of one of the youngest and best hopes of the journalistic right.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive