A response to Jim Geraghty’s “The Road That Brought Conservatives and Republicans to This Point”
On Friday, National Review’s Jim Geraghty directed an inflammatory series of smears against Trump Supporters. I wonder how much thought he put into his column. I honestly wonder. Is it really what he thinks of us? Or is it just a lazy caricature he rushed out to meet deadline? He did so well in the begining, describing common past and shared values for NeverTrumpers and Trump supporters. Then he descended into a false strawman argument, apparently convinced that all Trump supporters care about is winning. Then he wraps up with a tightly condensed series of vicious smears tarring anyone Trump-affiliated. I guess this meritless and underhanded attack is supposed to shame us into joining him on the supposedly “principled” side of Conservative, Inc? I’m not sure that’s going to work any better for him than it did with ole “Basket of Deplorables” herself. But I’m sick of the lies. I’m sick of the people who supposedly share our values fighting us harder than they do the real authoritarians on the other side.
I’m sorry this is so late, but a lie travels around the world before the truth can put its pants on. Here I’ll address Geraghty’s vile smears. Hopefully I’ll have time for another post to give the rest of his missive the spanking it so soundly deserves. Addressing the smears, charge by charge:
“Alt-right nuts are shooting up Wal-Marts and synagogues and Jewish centers.”
Yup. Anti-Trump alt-right nuts are shooting places up. A corrupt press has given a lot of attention to anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant smears, mostly in an effort to attribute them to President Trump. One poignant example is the Charlottesville Fine People Hoax. We know press attention motivates copycat attacks. This is one of the rare times the NRA-ILA and NPR can agree on a firearms issue. And we know from the manifestos that have been left behind that the alt-right nuts are anti-Trump and more than anything are trying to leverage this corrupt press coverage to incite a race war.
Mr. Geraghty forgets some shootings, though. For instance, there’s the militant vegan who shot up the YouTube headquarters in oh-so-gun-controlled California on April 3, 2018. She was apparently upset that the media company had changed its monetization algorithms, affecting her income. Or the hardcore leftist shooter in Dayton, OH this past August. Or the armed Antifa member who was killed in July while attacking an ICE facility with a rifle and incendiaries. This was one of four such attacks on ICE facilities in a one-month span.
It’s almost as though nutcases of all stripes are being driven to extremes by a 24-hour news cycle that’s been completely corrupted to maximize sensationalism and polarization. Several of the alt-right shooters have had manifestos and statements where they deride President Trump. None have praised anything he’s said or done. At least two left-wing shooter manifestos have mentioned prominent Democrat talking points. I don’t blame those Democrats for the violence, and I don’t encourage Mr. Geraghty to, either. I have to wonder, though, How does Mr. Geraghty blame Donald Trump for violence by alt-right loons who can’t stand him, while completely ignoring leftist violence that quotes prominent Democrats? Maybe I’m just engaging in the dreaded “whataboutism.” Is it really “whataboutism” to demand that a person not cherrypick the data to draw a predetermined conclusion? To acknowledge that the full data set suggests the issue is bigger than a single Twitter account?
Yup, a reporter with probably a hundred hot takes on a tense day got too salacious with one and deleted the tweet. A tweet. A. Single. Tweet. There were lots of tweets remarking on the garbage testimony these unelected officials delivered. There were lots of tweets observing their attitude, tone and professionalism. Or arrogance. And one of those tweets was over the line and quickly deleted. I’m not going to defend this tweet. When people think to themselves, “That really didn’t come out the way I meant it,” or maybe, “What the hell was I thinking?” they delete the tweet. And if they’re rightwing, Newsweek prints an entire article smearing them for it. And then NeverTrumpers apparently recirculate the smear. Now let’s do all the other press hot takes, especially those that were quickly self-deleted.
Hate crimes are always to be, in the words of Donald Trump, “condemned totally.” Hateful slurs and bullying should always be addressed and discouraged in schools. It’s good that educators will try to make the school environment as safe as possible and educate bullying out of existence.
This is an interesting choice, though, linking to a left-wing education publication that partnered with left-wing ProPublica to document incidents, but to avoid all effort to identify perpetrators. There have been a lot of claims of “spikes” in hate crimes these last several years, but when actual investigations are performed, and perpetrators are found, much of this “spike” in hate crimes turns out to be something else entirely. For instance, the most famous incident is the 2017 “spike” in hate crimes loudly touted by the Anti-Defamation League, an institution that’s been led by an Obama alum since 2015. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is a similar anti-Semitism-fighting organization, but its leadership has no anti-conservative axe to grind. Here they promote a post by Professor David Bernstein, Equire, that does a thorough job of debunking the ADL’s false “spike” claims. The games the ADL played with its data to manufacture their preferred results are mind-boggling.
There’s also been a spike in hate crime hoaxes. The Daily Caller News Foundation has taken the liberty of compiling some of these hoaxes in this post from February. Several of the hoaxes also happened at educational institutions. Again, this isn’t apples to apples, because Geraghty’s original source specifically avoided any efforts to falsify data. So now we’re left to try to extrapolate from somewhat similar data sets where somebody started with a hypothesis (“Hate crime!”), actually applied some rigor to investigate it, and a shocking number of claims wound up being falsified by honest investigations.
To be sure, there are some real hate crimes and “hateful slurs and bullying” happening in education, and they also should be condemned. For example, here is something from ZOA National President Morton A. Klein’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in April this year:
The harassment and intimidation from SJP is frightening. SJP and its allies stage ugly, antiIsrael “apartheid weeks,” “die-ins” and mock checkpoints. They place fake “eviction notices” under students’ doors, which contain hate-inciting lies about Jews and Israel, and cause Jewish students to feel unnerved and afraid. SJP also disrupts and attempts to shut down Jewish and pro-Israel speakers and activities.
In addition, SJP enforces an “anti-normalization” policy – the dehumanizing refusal to have any normal interaction with a Jewish or pro-Israel student. For instance, at a recent college event in California, Jewish students tried to be friendly to members of SJP, and walked over and offered: ‘Would you like some falafel?’ The SJP activists responded: ‘Don’t talk to them. They are occupiers. Get away from us, you Zionists!’
At John Jay College in New York, when the Muslim Students Association (MSA) planned to cosponsor an event with Hillel featuring a Muslim police officer and a Jewish police officer (a particularly relevant program for a school of criminal justice), the MSA withdrew its sponsorship after SJP warned and reportedly threatened the MSA not to work with Hillel.
The situation is so concerning that the Algemeiner newspaper published annual lists of ‘The 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students’ with a litany of horrors from each of the ‘Worst 40.’ The Amcha Initiative database lists almost 2,600 incidents, many of which involved SJP, on campuses across the United States targeting Jewish students and staff, expressing anti-Semitism, and involving BDS activity, during the four-year period from 2015 to today.
I’m sure Mr. Geraghty would join me in condemning these incidents and more listed by ZOA President Klein. While he’s at it, perhaps Mr. Geraghty could clarify what percentage of Students for Justice in Palestine members he suspects vote for MAGA candidates. And what percentage probably vote for DSA candidates. I’d love to hear the ratio that gets Donald Trump labeled the cause for this behavior.
Yup. Deep blue New York City is, in fact, experiencing a surge in anti-Semitism. Not a surge in people wearing MAGA hats. Not a surge in folks sporting Trump signs. But the city that gave us AOC; the city that Nancy Pelosi assures us would elect a glass of water if it had a “D” next to it; that city is experiencing a massive surge in anti-Semitism.
In fact, the NYPD confirms a 2018 surge in not just swastika graffiti, but also other forms of anti-Semitic hate crimes. This news report shows video of teens allegedly harassing a Jewish boy on the street on the same day they allegedly threw a pipe through a synagogue window. I don’t see a MAGA hat in the group. Take a look for yourself; maybe you can find one. This report contains video footage of a harrowing assault. The victim recounts horrific anti-Semitic language. This news report contains a photo of the alleged suspect. He is wearing a hat, but it does not appear to say MAGA, or have a confederate flag, swastika, or any of the other trappings of real or supposed white supremacy leftists and NeverTrumpers keep trying to smear this Administration with. Here’s another news report with a better-quality photo they claim is of the alleged suspect. Maybe you can find some incriminating MAGA or KKK details there.
Another series of Brooklyn incidents involved more vandalism than a painted swastika, although the perpetrator thankfully did not direct physical violence against people. The alleged perpetrator, Democratic activist James Polite, is charged with scrawling anti-Semitic statements on the walls of the Union Temple of Brooklyn, as well as setting fires in five other locations affiliated with the Jewish community. Breitbart has a good write-up on this, but if that’s not far enough left for you, they also point to the New York Times’ write-up.
At the same time the Democratic Party refuses to condemn specific anti-Semitic statements within its own ranks, one of their strongest strongholds is succumbing to vile anti-Semitic violence and vandalism. Apparently, when Mr. Geraghty casts his gaze about for possible culprits, he doesn’t see the emboldening of BDS fronts such as SJP; he doesn’t see increased tolerance for anti-Semitic rhetoric in the Democratic Party; he doesn’t see the refusal of ALL Congressional Democrats to attend the dedication of the Jerusalem Embassy. Nay-nay, in Geraghty’s eyes, the most likely conclusion is that these appalling actors are not only fans of Donald J. Trump, but also their deeds are somehow inspired by him.
This one links, yet again, to the ADL. The ADL? Really? Above, I pointed to the ZOA’s excellent work debunking the ADL’s 2017 hate crimes “spike” claim. If you continue to believe the group’s credibility is today what it was even as recently as 2010, I urge you to read this critique or this one. Is Mr. Geraghty unaware of the ADL’s increasingly leftist polarization, or does he not care? Perhaps to NeverTrumpers, the TDS is more feature than bug.
As for 2018? There was an especially harrowing and difficult incident. It represents a tragic high-water mark, it should be taken seriously, and we should definitely learn from it. What may be the single largest act of mass violence against Jewish people in American history was perpetrated on October 27 when a white supremacist killed 11 people in a synagogue, and injured 6 more, including 4 police officers. He allegedly told a SWAT officer he “wanted all Jews to die.” The 46-year-old man (hardly an impressionable age) apparently also complained on social media that “Trump is surrounded by too many Jewish people.” Obviously a white supremacist, this is also clearly not a man who sees raging anti-Semitism from the Oval Office.
2019 isn’t over yet, but we already have experience to draw on. In April, there was the Poway Synagogue shooting in oh-so-gun-controlled California, where a predator killed one and wounded three before fleeing when he met armed resistance as his rifle jammed. In this instance, press reports indicate that the Rabbi lost his index finger, one parishioner was shot in the leg, and an 8-year-old girl got shrapnel in her face. But at least the three survived. I hope they’re lucky enough that their wounds leave only scars. I wish they didn’t have even that much to deal with. The congregant who lost her life was a co-founder of the synagogue and had been instrumental in raising the funds to open it in the mid-1980s.
So what are some lessons to be learned? Well, for one, this was a copycat crime. The shooter was inspired by the 2018 Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, PA, and the March 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, NZ. It looks like focusing a 24-hour news cycle for days and weeks on end on shootings, publicizes them. Filling that coverage with as many emotionally jarring details as possible, then stimulates the audience. And giving inordinate attention to the name and image of the shooter glamorizes them. All this together leads to copycats. It pushes people from the realm of dark thought to the realm of dark action. Maybe highjacking these incidents to push politicial points is not the behavior of somebody who cares about protecting the vulnerable from predators. But let’s not forget why we’re here. Mr. Geraghty associates vile anti-Semitism with Donald Trump. Except that the Poway shooter’s manifesto describes POTUS as a “Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous c**ksucker.” Hardly a white supremacist’s endorsement. Interestingly, mainstream press is scarce on specific details about the manifesto’s attitude toward Trump. They offer snippets, they offer synopses of the shooter’s monstrous philosophy, but they never mention his critique of Trump. It’s as though that one paragraph is the only one they just happen to miss.
There was also the Halle synagogue shooting in Germany in October. The shooter was unable to enter the synagogue, so he shot passersby with his homemade firearms. Forgive my succinctness; it wasn’t in the USA.
PSA: A church/synagogue/mosque/theater/conference center all face a similar, otherwise unique security dilemma. A shooter enters from behind, while all backs but the speaker are turned. This presents a target-rich environment with slow reaction time. Please, have a security plan in your house of worship. Discuss it with your Deacons, Elders, Rabbi, Imam, whatever. “Without deliberation, plans go wrong; but with many advisers, they succeed.” Establish your security plan. Who will be armed? How do you maintain eyes on the entrances? Should there be a code word if something goes awry? Do you need training? Cherev Gidon Israeli Tactical Training Academy is one of the firms offering such training. They have locations in PA and AZ. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has written a terrific piece on the debate between worshipping armed or disarmed.
Seriously, Jim? HuffPo? Even worse, HuffPo citing ProPublica? And let’s add one more layer on there: HuffPo citing ProPublica citing self-reported incidents! I can see citing the far left when you want to point out for left-wingers that even the far left agrees with a point. But you’re going to chide me based on HuffPo citing ProPublica citing self-reporting? Here. I’ll cite HuffPo, too. I’ll cite your very HuffPo article: “Throughout American history, expressions of hate have been punctuated with variations of the same sentiment: Go back to your country. Go back to Africa. Go back to China. Go back to Mexico. It’s a foundational white nationalist insult, meant to threaten a victim into believing that they don’t belong and that this is a country for white people.” It’s interesting that your beloved HuffPo seems to think this is some kind of uniquely American phenomenon. I’ll let you in on a secret; it’s not. I will concede that there are racist a**holes in every corner of every society, including our own. That bias crimes exist and should be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted resolutely. That a corrupt media will likely embolden some perpetrators by smearing the oval office with unmerited allegations of “white nationalism.” And that leftists will cherry pick the data to make it look like racism was invented on June 16, 2015. Isn’t this move beneath a “principled conservative?”
“A wave of hateful bigots just coincidentally happened to emerge from under rocks during the past three years, as if they perceived some sort of national green light, some sort of giant signal that it was okay to express these views and behave this way. God only knows what could have given them that idea.”
No, those of us who’ve been paying attention do know where the bigots are coming from. The leftwing bigots that NeverTrumpers ignore come from radical progressive and AnCom movements. The handful of rightwing bigots that are real crawl out because they’re animated by a sensational press that frequently lies about how high their influence goes. And then there are the fake bigots–the hoaxes and inflated statistics. This is probably and hopefully the largest of the three groups.
I have now spent way too much of my life and energy addressing these lazy smears. This can only mean one thing: I need to read Between Two Scorpions. Anybody who can get this far under my skin with two paragraphs, must write a damn compelling novel! Hopefully it’ll be available in audio soon. The only novels I read in print are the People’s Republic series. I hear NeverTrumpers find them “appalling!”